Legoland Windsor by Dave Catchpole on Flickr
LEGO must be the one toy ever invented that is just as much fun to play when you are 33, 43 and 53 as it was when you were just three? It’s the only toy that I will happily play with my kids for hours. Which is why we were all excited at the prospect of immersing ourselves in a land of those little bricks for the day.
Most of Britain’s theme parks are little more than permanent fairground structures and best avoided, with two exceptions: Blackpool Pleasure Beach, because it is deliciously tacky to the extreme; and Legoland Windsor, because it bares no relation to any other UK amusement park.
It is also in a lovely part of the UK, just up the road from the Queen’s weekend pad, Windsor Castle. There are usually deals on offer at several nearby hotels, generally throwing in a second day at Legoland free with an overnight stay and there is enough to do on site to make a two-day pass worthwhile. Plus, you can easily spend a few days exploring the surrounding area.
Legoland Windsor is not cheap, £41.40 an adult and £31.20 a child, so you want to grab the deals where you can. You get a discount for booking in advance online at www.legoland.co.uk and there are often 2 for 1 ticket offers to be found, so do a quick web search before you set out. You can also pay extra to avoid waiting in the lines. But depending on whether you choose the premium or the standard Q-bot system and if you are visiting in peak or off peak times, it can add up to another £40 to each ticket price.
There is plenty to do at Legoland for kids of all ages, but if you have a child hovering just under 90cms in height, as I do, and one that wants to do everything her big sister does, as I do, and one that throws fantastic tantrums, as I do, hold back that visit until he or she has grown to that milestone. A lot of rides require participants to be over 90cm in height.
Nijago at Legoland Windsor by David Catchpole on Flickr
What to do first?
Once inside, you’ll find yourself on the top of a very steep hill and most of Legoland at the very bottom of it. There is a train that will take you down there, but the stroll down has been made quite fun with a series of slides and shutes to give little legs a rest en-route. Save the train ride for the way back up again.
Despite Legoland being all about Legos, when your kids look up and seen the Sky Rider and Space Tower and down to see the Chopper Squadron and Driving School they’ll want to race straight to the rides, so save the LEGO stuff for later.
Duploland, with its gentle Fairy Tale Brook ride, Waterworks wet play area and cute puppet theatre shows is the best place to start for pre-schoolers. Whilst slightly older kids will be eager to get to the traffic area where they can take their driving test, go to ballooning and boating school and put out a fire at The Fire Academy.
Other rides not to be missed are Digger Challenge in LegoCity, where you get to take control of a full-size mechanical digger; Wave Surfer in Adventure Land, where you go ducking and diving and risk getting drenched on jet-ski pods; and, the Dragon’s Apprentice mini rollercoaster in Knights Kingdom. Whilst if the lines are getting you down, the Pirate Training Camp adventure playground is quite something also.
After a morning spent being whirled, twirled and propelled around, it is now time to get back to the building blocks of this theme park. If you’ve come to Legoland after your first trip to the Capital the incredible scaled down LEGO models of London’s landmarks will hold extra wonder. At the moment they even have the Royal Wedding of Wills and Kate played out in front of Buckingham Palace. Other parts of the UK, Europe and America are also in wonderous miniature here too.
Finally, inspired by what can be done with those little bricks, head straight for the Imagination Centre where you can start experimenting with them yourself at the Build and Test and Mindstorm workshops.
The only aspect of the park that might disappoint is the catering. They are trying, but the food options are limited and not particularly appealing. Maybe pick up a picnic hamper from the yummy Italian deli-style cafe Carluccios first, they have a branch in Windsor town centre. Order in advance at www.carluccios.com
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