With a 5 and 3 year old
With over 55 rides, live shows and attractions including the world famous Miniland, plus building workshops and driving schools, Legoland Windsor is an ideal day out if you have grand-children aged 2-12 or in my case a chance to win serious ‘Auntie brownie points’ with my two nephews Freddie (aged 5) and Artie (aged 3) visiting from Australia.
I’ve been to Legoland several times before and in fact was there for the opening now 20 years ago. However, my last visit was back in 2006 and I was keen to see how much it had changed along with what was new for the birthday year. When Legoland first opened its doors, it was considerably smaller with only 25 million Lego bricks, today it boasts more than 80 million, best illustrated in Miniland, a miniature Lego world recreating famous international landmarks from the major sites in London (the boys were enchanted having seen all the sites the day before on an open topped bus tour) to the canals of the Netherlands (home of their late Grandmother). Living so far away it was a perfect geography lesson but they were disappointed not to see Australia, no Sydney Harbour Bridge or Opera House, although it was a great way of exhausting them asking them to run around and search for them.
Sadly, on the day of our visit the weather could not have been worse raining solidly but we weren’t going to let the weather dampen our spirits. On a hot day, Duplo Valley is the place to be, a 4,250 square metre themed area designed specifically for families with younger children with the focus firmly of splashing and playing. The land caters perfectly for the under-fives, with colourful nappy changing areas, swim nappies for babies plus swimwear for kids of all ages and even stand-in drying machines for use post-Splash. However, we were wet enough as it was, so made the most of any indoor attraction.
It its 20th Birthday year, there’s some seriously awesome film fun to be had with the opening of an all new 4D cinema presentation. The Lego Movie 4D – A New Adventure reunites characters from The Lego Movie and features a whole new plot (which to be honest went completely over my head) but Freddie and Artie loved the 4D effects (I won’t give away the surprises but let’s say cinema has moved along a fair bit since black and white movies at the local Odeon) and for us Silver Travellers a chance to sit down for half an hour is always welcome.
If there are mostly little girls in your party then there’s the whole world of Heartlake City to Explore, like Mia’s Riding Adventure, an exciting equestrian adventure ride whilst little boys will love the famous Lego city driving school which is now bigger and better than ever.
Atlantis Submarine Voyage is another indoor attraction, ideal for either escaping the midday sun or rain in our case. Here we were submerged into an aquatic world of awesome sea creatures. You climb aboard a yellow submarine on the world’s first submerged underwater ride. The submarines submerge below the surface and giant viewing windows allow you to come face to fin with over 2,500 amazing marine creatures – from mesmerising Cownose Rays to Zebra and Nurse Sharks (not as large as the Jaws variety but if you’re 5 and 3, a shark is a shark !) and eying them up from a few inches away was without doubt one of the highlights of the day. The unique aquatic landscape features nearly 100 Lego models including sunken treasure, swimming mermaids and a gigantic model of King Neptune himself. With Finding Dory currently on at the cinema, this ride is bound to be a winner.
Dominated by the gigantic Knights Castle, the Knights Kingdom is a land of daring and fantasy and also got the big thumbs up from Freddie and Artie, particularly as they were able to experience their first roller coaster. Only the bravest, can take on The Dragon – a thrilling rode of twists and turns, travelling through the depths of the castle, past animated
Lego models including a giant red dragon before flying through the treetops. However, for my little Knights there was the Dragon’s Apprentice – a mini roller coaster with maximum thrills and spills.
Unlike the Florida theme parks or even the likes of Alton Towers and Thorpe Park (the latter more specifically aimed at teenagers and young adults), Legoland Windsor is relatively compact and easy to get around. There’s a train that takes you from the entrance up and down the hill to the main attractions whilst the resort has been designed with the needs of less able guests firmly in mind – the park is 95% accessible to wheelchair users. Wheelchair hire is available and a Guide for Guests with Disabilities can be collected from guest services. There is a large car park allowing easy access to the park and each toilet block has two toilets available for wheelchair users.
Legoland Windsor is a park that encourages repeat visits, we only touched on a few rides but it left Freddie and Artie hungry for more whilst my sister won’t have any difficulty in persuading me to take them again.
For more information visit www.legoland.co.uk