Best LEGO sets for adults: NASA, Star Wars, architecture and more
LEGO sets aren't just for kids. There's a huge array of fantastic kits for adults, from a bonsai tree to the enormous Star Wars Imperial Star Destroyer.
Who says LEGO is just for kids? Some of the best packs out there are perfect for adults, offering incredibly intricate projects to power through in your spare time. Whether you're simply looking for a quick break, a relaxing past-time, or a chance to relive some nostalgia, LEGO kits for adults are a fantastic choice.
The best LEGO sets for adults aren’t just the ones with 7,000 pieces that require a structural engineer’s sign-off before you build them (although, to be clear, those ones are our favourites). There are also sleek and simple designs that look good on a shelf, brick-by-brick robots that you control with an app, or imaginative sets that tap into the fandom around film and TV series. Its current collection also includes ‘mindful’ sets designed to reduce stress.
Whatever you're looking for from a LEGO set, we've picked out the absolute best picks below including Star Wars megabuilds, classic cars, scenes from Harry Potter and full engineering projects of skyscrapers, vehicles and trains.
Looking for a present idea? Check out the best Lego gifts for 2023.
The best LEGO sets for adults in 2023
LEGO Great Pyramid of Giza
The LEGO Architecture isn't just kits of the Empire State Building and the Paris skyline. With this set, you can look back across the centuries to Ancient Egypt.
The top of the pyramid lifts off to show the inner structure, including the system of ramps that may have been used to move stones during construction. The model is a cross-section, showing the main tunnels and chambers, but if you're willing to splash out on a second kit, you can slot them together to show the whole pyramid in all its glory.
LEGO Vincent van Gogh – The Starry Night
This iconic painting is one of van Gogh's most loved works – and now you can build it yourself as a 3D diorama. The Starry Night comes alive with this LEGO Ideas set, with the village and church in the foreground standing out from the swirling stars in the background.
Created in collaboration with the Museum of Modern Art, the finished work features a wall hook so you can display it with pride.
LEGO Optimus Prime
Fans of 80s cartoons will love this nostalgic LEGO set. This model of Optimus Prime contains an ion blaster, energon axe and jet pack to help you take on the Decepticons, and a chest chamber containing the Autobot Matrix of Leadership.
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And, of course, Optimus Prime is a Transformer, so this Autobot can be transformed between robot mode and truck mode. You don't even have to take the LEGO model apart.
There are several flower displays in the LEGO Botanical Collection, but our favourite is this orchid. With this customisable kit, you can arrange your flowers however you like.
It's designed to look as much like a real orchid as possible, even including the plant's wandering air roots made with repurposed dinosaur tail pieces.
LEGO Star Wars Death Star
For the ultimate Star Wars fan, this LEGO Death Star is going to hit the spot. It includes 3,803 pieces, making it a big project. It even includes 25 figurines to set up across the Death Star. It is by no means a cheap pack to pick up, though.
LEGO Harry Potter crest
Whichever Hogwarts house you belong to, this LEGO Art set will allow you to show it off proudly. You can build the crest of one of the four houses, and then switch it up if your allegiances ever change. It comes with 4,249 pieces, including a brick-built frame for displaying the crest, and a hanging element.
LEGO Technic Ferrari 488 GTE
Ferrari is a name steeped in legacy and easily one of its most famous cars is the 488 GTE. To celebrate this multi-championship car, LEGO is letting you build your very own model. It includes authentic features you'd see in the real car including doors that open in the same way, a V8 engine with moving parts and front and back suspension. You'll also get a sticker pack allowing you to customise the car to its exact original style.
LEGO Star Wars AT-AT
If you live and breathe Star Wars, there will be no better LEGO kit than this one. It will take a lot of time and determination, but by the end, you will have a huge AT-AT to display proudly in your home. It comes with 6,785 pieces, making it the largest Star Wars LEGO kit out there. At just over 69cm high, this is a huge build complete with 40 figurines, 4 speeder bikers and plenty of other moving parts.
LEGO Super Mario NES
Ever feel nostalgia for the days of the Nintendo Entertainment System? LEGO is helping you relive those glory days with this impressive kit. You can build a TV playing Super Mario, a NES system, controller and game. With 2,646 pieces, this is quite an intricate project and one that will look great on your shelf once it is all completed.
LEGO Adidas Originals Superstar
Who knew you could create your very own Adidas trainers out of LEGO? Of course, wearing them out of the house is optional – the kit comes with its own stand so you can proudly display them in your home if you prefer. As a finishing touch, LEGO has supplied real shoelaces, which you can weave through the bricks to give it the final look.
LEGO Darth Vader Helmet
This Darth Vader kit is part of LEGO's Star Wars helmet collection, which also includes the likes of the Stormtrooper and Boba Fett. So, it’s a fantastic collection piece for anyone who loves the epic space franchise. Along with the bricks, you’ll get a display stand and nameplate.
This special kit nods to the founder of the LEGO Group, Ole Kirk Kristiansen. It’s based on the typewriter he used, with the classic 1950s mint-green colouring. Once completed, this LEGO set is more than a display piece. You can insert real paper into the mechanism and if you press on the letter keys, the carriage moves from left to right like a functioning typewriter.
LEGO Apollo Saturn V Rocket
Adult LEGO sets are a great way to depart the real world for an hour or two, and what better place to go than the Moon? Spaceflight fans will not be disappointed here: the metre-tall model breaks up into smaller pieces just as the real Saturn V did. The first and second rocket stages come away, and the lunar lander and lunar orbiter detach too. The attention to detail is out of this world.
LEGO International Space Station
Originally designed by a LEGO fan and space enthusiast, this sprawling, faithful rebuild of the ISS features adjustable solar panels and the robot arm that's used to move supplies around the station. More a display model than one to play with for hours, it nevertheless features a miniature Space Shuttle and cargo ships to dock and tiny astronauts that you may or may not want to take on a space walk.
LEGO NASA Space Shuttle Discovery
The Space Shuttle Discovery set comes with a mini Hubble Space Telescope, which was launched by Discovery in 1990. There's a geeky thrill in opening the payload doors and deploying the telescope, which features movable solar panels and aperture door.
For more space-themed LEGO, check out this comprehensive list from our sister title Sky at Night.
LEGO Star Wars R2-D2
LEGO Star Wars is a wildly popular sub-genre that has spawned video games and TV series, but it all starts with detailed, authentic sets like this 2,300-piece R2-D2. Standing more than a foot high, your favourite droid from a galaxy far, far away features a rotating head, rising periscope and even Luke Skywalker's hidden lightsaber from Return of the Jedi.
LEGO Star Wars Mos Eisley Cantina
As well as droids and spaceships, LEGO has recreated entire sets from the Star Wars universe, including the Death Star and the rebel base from Hoth. One of our favourites is the Mos Eisley Cantina from A New Hope, that "wretched hive of scum and villainy" that comes with 21 minifigures to reenact some of the saga's most memorable scenes.
LEGO Star Wars: The Mandalorian Razor Crest
A more recent entry to the Star Wars canon, this ship comes from the popular Disney+ series. The set of Mando's Razor Crest ship includes a cargo hold with opening sides, spring-loaded cannons and – obviously – a teeny, tiny Baby Yoda. This is the way.
LEGO Empire State Building
LEGO's Architecture range is probably the one most markedly targeted at adults. It allows you to recreate iconic buildings like the Sydney Opera House or the Burj Khalifa. New York's towering Empire State Building is for display, not play, with eye-catching details like the Art Deco antenna at the top and yellow taxi cabs on the base.
This one actually sits in LEGO's Creator series, a faithful model of Rome's famous amphitheatre made of 9,000 pieces: at the time of its release, it was officially the largest LEGO set ever released. The architectural detail is incredible and you can even build the hypogeum, the elaborate structure beneath the floor of the arena. Truly colossal.
If you love LEGO, why not book a trip to LEGOland in Windsor? It’s a fun day out for LEGO-lovers, young or old, and offers everything from theme park rides and theatre shows to restaurants and shopping experiences. Book tickets for a day trip or short break at LEGOland Holidays or Virgin Experience Days.
One of a number of city skylines that LEGO offers, this set lines up the most famous buildings in Paris, from the Eiffel Tower to the Louvre. Other cities in the collection include London, New York, Dubai and Tokyo.
LEGO Trafalgar Square
Imagine Trafalgar Square without the pigeons. LEGO's take on the famous London landmark does away with the feathery menace but retains lots of other details, including Nelson's column, the fountains and a couple of Routemaster buses. Around 1,200 pieces in this one.
LEGO Harry Potter Hogwarts Castle
It's not just Star Wars fans that are well served by LEGO. Anyone who grew up reading and watching the Harry Potter series will happily lose a few hours exploring this sprawling recreation of Hogwarts. The sheer number of rooms and hidden details make it worth the outlay, with extras like a moving Whomping Willow, proof that it was surely made by fans.
LEGO Art The Beatles
LEGO Art is another collection aimed at an older audience, with a series of build-your-own wall art sets available. Alongside Andy Warhol and some vintage Disney, you can make individual portraits of The Beatles inspired by the band's White Album artwork. Pushing the mindful aspect of creating with LEGO, this set comes with an accompanying soundtrack.
LEGO 1989 Batmobile
The noir-ish good looks of Tim Burton's 1989 Batman movie are present and correct in this build. Again, it's the details that impress: a slide-open cockpit, intricate dashboard and pop-up machine guns that take you back to a sticky-floored cinema of your youth. If you have very understanding housemates, you can also buy an accompanying Batwing that you can hang on the wall.
LEGO Stranger Things The Upside Down
Stranger Things won us over with its nostalgic take on 1980s pop culture that included dozens of winks and Easter eggs for fans. This LEGO set does the same thing for the Netflix series, with lots of beautifully realised visual touches. Best of all, the entire set is reversible, mirroring the spooky Upside Down world from the show.
LEGO Creator Volkswagen T1 Camper Van
The Creator Expert collection is where LEGO and LEGO fans show off. These builds are not only complex but beautifully imagined and designed. Case in point: this hippie-style camper van, complete with original styling, pop-up roof, textile curtains and a T-shirt hanging in the window that says, "Make LEGO Models, Not War." Amen to that.
LEGO Creator Bonsai Tree
LEGO's Botanical collection is made for mindfulness: slow, creative builds that you can display in your home or office. There's a very detailed bouquet of flowers, but our pick is this Bonsai tree, which comes with green leaves and pink blossom, so you can switch it up with your mood or the seasons.
LEGO Creator Roller Coaster
Fiendishly complex but hugely rewarding, this 4,000-piece head-scratcher becomes a fully working roller coaster with cars that crank up the chain lift and zoom along the track. Scream if you want to build faster.
LEGO Technic Liebherr R 9800 Excavator
If you're looking for a monster engineering job this weekend, this 4,000-piece excavator should keep you busy. It's hardly one for the mantlepiece, but it does come with seven different motors, all controlled by a smartphone app that let you drive and rotate the machine, as well as operate the boom and bucket.
LEGO Technic Remote-Controlled Stunt Racer
This relatively simple build (it's under 400 pieces) comes into its own as an RC toy operated with an included controller. Pull wheelies and 360º spins then, when you inevitably crash, rebuild the car in a new way. Endless fun.
LEGO Technic Land Rover Defender
Developed in partnership with Land Rover, this set is all the more realistic for it, with a number of great touches you'll have to resist filming for social media. As well as authentic wheel rims and treaded tyres, the Defender has a functioning steering wheel and a six-cylinder engine with moving pistons. Come on, that's cool...
LEGO Technic Dragster
tProof that it's not just the expensive sets that fire the imagination, this pull-back-and-go dragster comes in at around £20. You can also build it in two different ways to maximise the fun. Technically it's age 7+, but when it comes to LEGO, we've always felt that age is just a number.
LEGO Ideas Tree House
LEGO Ideas is a platform where fans can submit their own LEGO designs and other fans appraise and vote for them. The best are made into sets that go on sale. This one is perfect for anybody who'd love to build a tree house but doesn't have a garden, a tree, or any of the required skills. It's 3,000 pieces with almost as many charming ideas included within.
LEGO Ideas Ship in a Bottle
Another one that tugs on feelings of nostalgia and make believe, this build first has you piece together a detailed ship with crow's nest, captain's quarters, cannons and more. You then slip that inside a brick-made bottle and imagine how chuffed your grandad would be.
LEGO Ideas Grand Piano
This one seems expensive for what looks like a small and relatively simple build. Amongst fans, however, it's known as one of the most imaginative LEGO sets ever made: each of the piano's 25 keys moves and is linked to its own hammer. Better still, hook it up to LEGO's Powered Up app and you can learn to play 14 songs. Elton-inspired sequined onesie sold separately.
LEGO Mindstorms Robot Inventor
Made for budding robot engineers, LEGO's Mindstorms set lets you design, build, code and control your own droids. There are five different designs, each one with its own abilities, including walking and driving around, picking up bricks, smashing through objects as well as firing missiles and playing ball games. The T-1000 never did that.
A former deputy editor at Science Focus, Ian once undertook a scientific ranking of the UK's best rollercoasters on behalf of the magazine. He is now a freelance writer, which is frankly a lot less fun.
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