Wednesday 21st September was no ordinary Wednesday. Usually I’d be tidying the house, putting the kids in bed and if I was feeling wild I might even have a cup of tea after 7pm. Not this particular Wednesday though, this was a much fancier affair. Land Rover held the worldwide launch of the brand new Discovery, and I was lucky enough to be invited along to photograph and report from the event.
I’ve never been to anything like this before and to be honest I had no idea what to expect. Land Rover had played their cards close to their chest and all that had been revealed was that it was to be held in the beautiful grounds of Packington Hall, a stately home not too far from Birmingham. I arrived at the hotel early afternoon to be met by my personal driver for the day (yes indeed!) who took me off to the site to catch the rehearsal.
I have to say I was pretty stunned on arrival, firstly by the beautiful estate with deer and stags roaming freely, a rolling driveway and a house that would have made Mr Darcy a little green about the gills. We pulled up to a huge marquee, at the rear of which I could see the stage was set. I say I didn’t know what to expect, but I never would have guessed this! A replica of London’s Tower Bridge, made out of 5.8 million Lego bricks, complete with a Lego garden, butterflies, a snake and a rabbit, and very fittingly a stag.
The event actually took over a year of planning by a team of engineers, specialised contractors and Lego master builders. I can see why! As the rehearsal began I got my first peek of the car itself as a Discovery zoomed out and impressively scaled the steep incline onto the bridge, drove across it and then down the other side. Another repeated this the other way and then both cars drove up onto the bridge as it opened up (eek! I hope they used glue on those Lego bricks!) to reveal another Discovery driving through the pool of water underneath pulling a replica of Land Rover BAR team racing boat!
It was fantastic for me to get this behind the scenes glimpse, and an opportunity to photograph the cars in daylight. However the whole event really came to life in the evening and I was still in for a few good surprises! When I arrived back at the venue dusk was falling and the evening was getting into full swing. If you caught my Instagram stories that evening you’ll already know that Bear Grylls dramatically dropped in out of a helicopter to add the final few bricks to the bridge, completing the world record breaking Lego build. (I do wonder how the people who spent a year building it felt about him getting this accolade! Haha!)
Five times Olympic sailing champion Sir Ben Ainslie was this time to be the driver of the car that came through the water under the bridge. He took it a little quicker than in rehearsal and caused a bit of a tidal wave! His entire team were all in the Discovery with him, which is quite something in itself to see seven huge blokes climbing out of a car!
Zara Philips was also there, all three having been ambassadors of Land Rover for many years. I was actually given the chance to have a little chat with Zara, we sat at the Lego table, like you do, and had spoke briefly about horses and photography. She was extremely gracious but I don’t think I’m going to be headhunted by the BBC any time soon, give me a camera to hide behind any day!
I really loved the fun factor of the whole event, and I think it really portrayed well not only the car’s performance capabilities but also it’s capacity as a family vehicle. Impressively the Discovery has seven seats, and the rear seats also rather ingeniously fold away to create a huge boot space if needed. The technology in the car as a whole is pretty mind blowing, and it’s also geared up to impress the kids with up to nine USB points and plenty of cubby holes to stow away iPads. You can watch a very cool video here (click on “watch the film”, I’d recommend it 🙂 ) of the seats moving at the touch of a remote button, and those seven large blokes disappearing comfortably into the car again and driving speedily through desert and water.
It was certainly a night to remember, and one which seemed perfectly befitting of this high end car which definitely has the family fun factor. I’ve put together a slide show below with more details from the set and the full glory of the evening events.
This post was kindly sponsored by Land Rover. All opinions are of course my own x