London Landmarks is a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle of a stylised map/view of central London, drawn by Maria Rabinky and produced by Gibsons, and is possibly the most fun map to have arrived the desk of Mapping London Towers for a very long time. Not content with reviewing the box and the individual pieces, we of course had to actually complete the jigsaw puzzle itself, which was achieved by 2-3 people, working fast over 3 two hour sessions earlier this week (so that’s around 12 hours of effort!). We were hoping that our geographical knowledge of central London streets and landmarks would be enough to allow an swift completion of the puzzle – many of the streets and features are named on the map, and there are very few similar coloured pieces – even the Thames helpfully shifts from dark blue to light blue as it heads eastwards – so we hoped this would be an easy puzzle. How wrong we were, as the “birds eye” view of London, looking roughly northeastwards from somewhere above Battersea park.
The topology of the puzzle is pretty good – obviously many streets have been omitted for clarity, but buildings appear in the right location when you look at the finished puzzle, even if they don’t appear too when you are putting it together. The toughest building was the Houses of Parliament, as the project used makes it appear huge, and our final piece was the labyrinthine Royal Courts of Justice. Favourite building representations include Waterloo Station (which is represented by its famous four-sided meeting place clock) and London Zoo (which includes a veritable menagerie of animals in a single spot (note there is sadly no panda there in real life).
When building the puzzle, we did the traditional filling out of the edges, then worked up the River Thames, building the bridges across it by remembering their sequence. Different street lighting designs (a lovely bit of detail) on the bridges helped these. We then worked on the road network and filled in buildings as we spotted them. Some tube stations are included, identifiable by special blue/red text. Watch out when putting together the Millennium Wheel though – there’s two, the second one forming the compass points indicator:
This is a really lovely jigsaw puzzle and we would love to see both more maps like this (it’s a lovely looking map, and doesn’t just focus on Zone 1, but includes the Royal Observatory Greenwich, Hampstead Heath and even Windsor Castle (in a cloud). You can buy it from Amazon for a bargain £13, the artwork itself is also available as an art print.
Thanks to Gibsons Games for sending a review copy.