George Maguire

Puzzles are a refuge from all things modern. There are no screens, no beeps, no buzzing; just a chair, a table and pieces that need sorting. There is no doubt that puzzles can be complexing; just why would you want to sit down after a long day and begin another task – one that often takes dedication spanning weeks! Is it the satisfaction of the process as you near completion? The elation of finding the final piece and proving it was not lost forever to the dog or hoover? Perhaps the final image complete in its… completion? But puzzle we do, with lockdowns spurring puzzles sales to dizzying heights (240% increase in the first lockdown!). 
Why not join in with this selection of UK treasures… 

1. London by Michael Storrings – 1,000 Pieces – link here

Piccadilly Circus London puzzle available at Oliver Bonas. Link here

Remember when London looked like this? Kicking off this selection is a fantastic puzzle of the wild and wonderful Piccadilly Circus. Certain to bring memories back for those that have visited our England’s capital city and perhaps give a sense of normality to those living there currently. This is as British as it gets.
Price: £14.99.

2. The Whiskies of Scotland Puzzle – 500 pieces - link here

Whiskey fans rejoice. learn where your Scottish whiskey comes from. Image via Culture Vulture
Did you know that Scotch whiskey dates back to 15th century? Documents read ‘Eight bolls of malt to Friar John Cor wherewith to make aqua vitae.”? There is really only one way to enjoy this puzzle and that’s by pouring yourself a dram of Scotch Whiskey and getting stuck in. This puzzle map features details to savour such as whiskey terroir highlights, landmarks, locks and of course, distilleries. Slàinte Mhath! (cheers in Scots Gaelic)!
Price: £18.99.

3. Bristol’s Suspension Bridge by Jenny Urquhart – 1,000 pieces - link here

Bristol’s Avon Gorge replete with the iconic Brunel’s SS Great Britain. Image via
Bristol’s Avon Gorge, links together a myriad of landmarks; each as famous as the next. This gorge-ous scene by Jenny Urquhart titled ‘Flags a Flyin’ boasts the Clifton Suspension Bridge, the SS Great Britain and a terraced street of classic Bristolian houses. Almost as good as the real thing. 
Price: £34.04

4. L.S. Lowry: Market Scene – Pendlebury Market – 1,000 pieces - Link here

Lowry’s iconic Pendlebury Market, Salford scene. Image via WHSmiths
Market Scene, Northern Town’ was painted by L.S. Lowry in 1939. Atmospheric and stylised, Lowry’s ‘matchstick’ people crowds and muted colour palette are typical of his style in which the artist painted both what he saw and what he imagined. Purchases of this puzzle support The Lowry in Manchester.  
Price: £10.65.

4 London’s Marble Arch – 1,000 Pieces – link here

Marble Arch by Macneil Studio. Image link here
Ah… sunny days riding a bike around London. This puzzle depicts the 19th century old Marble Arch which sits neatly next to Oxford Circus. The image is complete with a red telephone box, Boris bikes, shopping bags, British flags and the passing by modern red double decker buses. Watch out for the pigeons…
Price: £14.99.

5. The Worlds of William Shakespeare and Jane Austen - 1,000 pieces.

Shakespeare’s hotspots following the River Thames. Image via WHSmiths.
Surprising to nobody is the fact that WHSmiths offers some immense puzzles to order online. Two puzzles I’ve got my eye on are The World of Jane Austen and The World of Shakespeare both of which will whisk you around the UK. With Shakespeare, visit destinations such as The Globe and The Tower of London and follow his characters around the streets and waters of London. Jane Austen’s tribute puzzle features characters across Derbyshire, Lyme Regis, Hampshire and Bath. Watch out for Mr Darcy.
Price: £11.99 to preorder puzzle.

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