Hamburg Miniatur Wunderland

Let me tell you a little story: Back in 2010, my brother Jamie posted a link on my Facebook profile saying "My life ambition is to visit here". The link was to Miniatur Wunderland- the largest model railway in the world. It was a half-ironic post as he finds the mundane hilarious (I once bought him a book called The Untold History of the Potato. He loved it!) When Ami and I booked our trip to Hamburg, I had a quick look on Trip Advisor and, well, you see where this is going. The number one attraction was Miniatur Wunderland! I managed to convince Ami to come along with me but neither of us were expecting much. As it turns out, we had a surprisingly good time!
Miniatur Wunderland Review
It's pretty tricky to find as it's along the waterfront in a big warehouse and not signposted too clearly, but we found it in the end... and then realised we were going to have to walk up two flights of stairs. It wasn't exactly a promising start, but the stairs led into a big spacious lobby with no queue, which was a relief as the website had warned of long waits. To make things even better, I got a discount with my NUS card so the initial bad start was quickly forgotten!
Hamburg Miniatur Wunderland Miniatur Wunderland Cars
We headed up to the top floor to start and, at first, it was exactly what I expected- a big model railway. However, we both quickly found ourselves getting sucked up into the little world. It was so intricate with fun details, and there were buttons all over that you could use to manipulate the scenes. Everywhere you looked, there was another funny or surprising aspect. Oh and FYI, the water's real... and cold, according to Ami.
Model Santa Topless Protestors Ferris Wheel Fun Fair at Night
Every fifteen minutes, the lights dim to represent sunset and nightfall, and the scenes are lit up as they would be at night, with tiny lights in the windows and, our favourite, the multi-coloured neon lights of the funfair. I was very excited to see Wilde Maus- a tiny replica of the rollercoaster Wilde Maus XL (or is the life-size version a massive replica of the miniature one?), which pops up every year at Winter Wonderland. Back in 2013, Jamie and I actually rode it and it was hilariously terrifying so that was a perfect combination of sibling in-jokes. 
Wilde Maus rollercoaster Hamburg Airport Miniatur Wunderland Miniature signpost
As well as models of the Hamburg area, including the airport which is an amazing little scene, the top floor has miniature Austria, Switzerland, Sweden and America- the latter with a rocket that takes off when you press a button. I mean, it's attached to a string but you kind of get swept up and forget that it's not a real tiny rocket. You can also see the operators at work in front of the screens, since everything is controlled by hand. It's amazing when you see the cars driving around, seemingly free of anything to hold them in place, indicating at junctions and stopping at red lights. Although it's essentially a model railway, the trains aren't really the focus. In fact, I found them more a peripheral detail. It's the little glimpses into life that are the main draw.
Model rocket space shuttle Miniature stadium Miniatur Wunderland staff
Downstairs is dedicated to Italy and Monaco is mid-construction. What I found really interesting was that the construction process isn't taking place behind closed doors. While visitors are exploring, you're walking right past staff updating and creating the landscapes. According to the website, Miniatur Wunderland won't be finished until 2020 and they'll start building the UK in 2018, after France has finished. 
Miniatur Wunderland Train Cafe
Afterwards, we went to the cafe where the seating is designed to look like a train carriage, with train seats and tables next to windows showing countryside scenes. It was the perfect way to unwind after what was a surprisingly enjoyable couple of hours. Yes, a couple of hours! Honestly, we skipped through pretty quickly (although we both took a lot of photos) and still it filled up a large chunk of our day. If we were to take it slow and really look at everything, it would be possible to spend even longer.
Nutella hot air balloon
If you're going to Hamburg, it's well worth taking the time to visit. I know it sounds naff and cheesy and, to be honest, it is a bit naff and cheesy but it's also surprisingly fun. There's a reason why it's the most popular attraction in Hamburg!

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  1. This actually looks really fun! I look geeky stuff like this and it's nice to see how much work has gone into building it - the attention to detail is incredible x

    Sick Chick Chic

  2. Train cafe?! Love it. The Budapect miniversim is like this and a great place to hang out if it is -4 and raining like it was when I was there.

  3. This actually does look really fun. I love things like this, and the train carriage cafe really sells it for me, too! x x

  4. This is so darling! And your photos are brilliant. I've heard of a few model cities here in the UK but I doubt they are as intricate as this. You've given me serious wanderlust.



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