The Art of Brick - DC Superheroes, South Bank

Following amazing reviews of Nathan Sawaya’s Art of Brick exhibition last year, I thought I would take my family to the latest opening of this talented artist and Lego enthusiast. 

Based in the popular culture centre of the South Bank, the Art of Brick is nestled behind the National Theatre in a purpose built structure (looks a bit like a massive tent!).

Art of Brick Yellow Lego character

We visited the exhibition with another family (their son is 9) and a friend of Ben’s (11).  Therefore our age range started at 8 and was topped at 42. Definitely a wide enough age range to test the challenge of the brick!

Faced with the choice to drive in or take the train we opted for car.  The drive was just over an hour and we parked for a total of £10.50 for our 4hrs stay (only 1hour was spent at AOB). The car park is literally opposite the Art of Brick so it was an easy transfer with minimum fuss. 

Outside of the Art of Brick exhibition

Now, before I go any further I have to confess I am not a huge fan of DC Superheroes and even a lesser fan of Lego.  However, after swatting up on my superheroes from my sons, I realised there were quite a few that were relevant from my childhood, so at least I would recognise one or two!

Upon entering the make-shift tent our e-tickets were scanned by the host at the door and we were led into the foyer, where you can check in your coats and buggies.  Immediately, we are face to face with a Lego Joker (I remembered who he was) sitting on a sofa eating popcorn!  He was literally lifesize and so intricately made!  There is a space next to him for you to join him in a photo - was a fantastic start!

We then were invited to watch an introduction movie hosted by Mr Sawaya himself, highlighting his inspiration and a small insight into how he made the models.

Superman looks in the Mirror in Lego

The rest of the exhibition was made up of a series of rooms, all filled with the most enormous Lego models; by themselves, with other characters, Marvel posters made out of Lego, huge model faces and even their masks.  The final display that literally took my breath away, was a lifelike Bat-mobile - it was spectacular!

The thing I liked most about the show was the way each room had a different feel depending on what models were displayed.  The Batman room (well, thats what I'm calling it) had a darker feel to it, whilst the first room with all the characters felt more like an introduction and a locker-room of superhero power!

Catwoman in Lego from Batman film

At the end of the exhibition was the obligatory shop.  There were lots of lego sets, stationery, posters, mugs etc. all of which were horrifically expensive - I was really shocked!  There were also TV monitors where kids can play Lego Dimensions and tables of Lego for kids to interact with (for free).

This was not my preferred family outing, but everyone else had an amazing time, however I can appreciate the skill and design that has gone into making such creations. At £10 per person, it was a lovely afternoon out and there is plenty to do around the South Bank afterwards, but that's another article.

Tale as Old as Time - The Kensington Hotel

As a dedicated and self-professed Disney fanatic, you can imagine my complete delight when The Kensington Hotel announced they were going to host a limited edition Beauty and the Beauty Afternoon Tea!

This Disney classic is now a live-action remake of the1991 animated film and has just hit our screens, leaving Disney addicts like me singing ‘Be Our Guest’ in our sleep!

For the first time ever my hubby and I (who are regular Afternoon Tea’ers) decided to take our two boys (Ben 11, Noah 8) to their first Afternoon Tea.  They are avid Disney fans too so it was the perfect introduction.

To get a reservation for this event was as difficult as getting Belle to go out with Gaston, but after holding on the phone for two hours we finally got a table at 4pm on a Sunday afternoon.  Not perfect as homework, school uniform and early nights are our normal routine for a Sunday, but when needs must……

We drove into London as there is no Congestion Charge on a Sunday and parking on a yellow line is free.  We made it there in an hour and parked pretty much outside.

The Kensington Hotel is effortlessly stunning and welcoming with plenty of elegant rooms to drink or dine in.  We spotted our friends Mr and Mrs Smith have included this beautiful hotel in their collection and we can see why!

We were directed into the Lounge and welcomed by attentive and helpful staff, who showed us to our table.  Our table was split into two, so to fit many tea condiments on!  Waiting for us on our table were our favourite characters from the movie, Lumiére, Cogsworth, Mrs Potts and the Enchanted Rose, instantly transporting us into the movie and setting the scene.

picture of Lumiere Cogsworth Mrs Potts the Enchanted Rose

Now down to business: The food!  Noah is a fussy eater. He eats lots - but nothing with a sauce, so this tea was going to be an interesting experiment!  We asked for plain smoked salmon sandwiches for Noah and just chicken ones for Ben.  The waiter didn’t raise an eyebrow and wrote down their order.  Hubby and I obviously had the full compliment!

Afternoon tea menu at Kensington Hotel

The first course was a trio of savoury bite-size delicacies, Noah tried them but it wasn’t for him.  Ben loved the bite size venison pie so ate Noah’s too!  Each dish was very tasty and different - but not filling which is good as we had so much more to eat!  

Then the three tiered tea stand was bought to our table looking very elegant and full. The bottom tray had two warm brioches with pots of apricot preserve and chocolate to dip in, which I thought was a nice French twist on the traditional English scone, as our movie is set in France.  The sandwiches were lavish with the bread fluffy and fresh. The Roast Devon Red chicken with cranberry sauce was my favourite and exceedingly yummy.

grey stuff in chip with cogsworth

The Piece de Resistance was the delicate and intricately decorated cakes and sweets that were nestled in the top tier.  The most eye catching was Cogsworth, a chocolate ganache clock encased in pastry and topped with marzipan! The character Chip had the honour of containing the infamous ‘grey stuff’ which was a grey light mousse on top of the most heavenly white chocolate mouse. The macaron I unfortunately lost out to Noah, though he assures he it was fantastic.  The vanilla and gold jelly was my least favourite, however the effect of serving the glass upside down to represent the enchanted rose, with actual rose petals falling down, more than made up for it.  The final offering on this plate was the beautifully decorated Belle’s dress biscuit.  It was a yellow marzipan layer on a gingerbread base.  Now, Hubby is really the only one who likes gingerbread in my family so we all ate the marzipan dress and handed him the biscuits! 

If we could offer any constructive feedback it would be the addition of themed or classical music to enhance the atmosphere (Noah’s suggestion).

All in all, our first family Afternoon Tea was a fantastic success and we highly recommend it!

For reservations:

The Kensington Hotel  +44 20 7589 6300

(fully booked until end of Nov 2017)