This review about Legoland Windsor has been written by Tanya Leary who writes an excellent blog which you can find here. Mumma Leary also tweets @mumaleary and can be followed on facebook here.
It’s no secret that family Leary love Lego.
Mr L and I both had it as children. I loved following the pictures to create a house or car or throwing away the instruction booklets and free styling something fantastic and I have fond memories of building things with my dad in comfortable silence.
Basically, it’s the perfect toy; it’s robust, doesn’t age, doesn’t break, doesn’t need batteries, can be played with by anyone of any age or sex and the only limit is your imagination. The only negative is how much it kills your feet if you accidentally step on a piece. No major surprise that the word Lego translates as ‘ Play Well’.
Knowing all of this it made perfect sense for us to take the girls to Legoland and frankly, I was as excited as they were!
Now, I have realised of late that blogging and reviewing products is turning me into a miserable old hag. The sort of person that instead of taking the positives out of a situation casts a critical eye and looks for things to whinge about lest I should be accused of not telling the full story. It isn’t a quality I like- I tell the girls that no one likes whingers and I certainly need to take some of that advice myself.
However, I know you do appreciate honesty, so here, for your reading pleasure is our lowdown on Legoland Windsor.
1) Plan ahead and Pay less:
As with everything, a little preplanning goes a long way; we didn’t decide until the day itself that we were actually going to go to Legoland. We were staying with Mr L’s parents for the weekend and, having discussed various options over the course of the week, Legoland was the winner…I don’t know if the daily whispering in the girls ears was the key but never the less
I they got their wish.
Be warned though; this is by far the most expensive way to do it however and at £48.00 for one adult a cheap day out it ain’t. However, you can save yourself a lot of money simply by booking online 2 or more days in advance. If you can book more than 7 days before you visit you can save 25% and, if you can get your hands on any of the vouchers that Kellogg’s or some newspapers print then you can get a free ticket for every paying adult which obviously makes a big difference.
Kids under 3 go free too so if you’ve got a child aged 35 months- definitely get involved!!! There is also the option to return the next day for a £5 which, if you’ve got the time is a fab idea- you can go back to all your favourites from the first time.
I don’t want to sound like a killjoy but I must admit I was shocked to find that there is an additional £5 charge for parking on top of the admission fee which to be honest felt like a bit of a liberty especially given that we weren’t even parking on Tarmac- sorry, getting into whinge mode.
I’m not teaching you how to suck eggs but with big days out half an hours prep the day before can save you a load of hassle on the day; get your bags packed, clothes laid out and picnic ready once the kids are in bed and you can be at the gates for opening time.
Legoland usually opens at 10am (check the website before hand) which means you can get a good 2 hours in before it gets really busy and then find a patch of grass to eat your picnic and recharge your batteries for the afternoon.
2) Marvellous Mini-land:
As soon as we got into the park we headed to Miniland (via slides no less) which is where you will find the models of famous landmarks. They are absolutely brilliant with moving pieces and fantastic detail.
I loved the Glastonbury exhibit and the stork on the roof of Buckingham Palace was a nice touch too.
Most of Europe’s landmarks are included as well as the NASA space station and I loved Mount Rushmore too.
By the time we had ambled through Mini Land (and then raced back to the toilets) it was the ideal time to stop for our picnic; thankfully the park is really quite big which means that even at its busiest you don’t feel too hemmed in and there is always a free patch of grass to lay out your picnic blanket and relax.
3) Splashy Surprise:
After lunch we headed over to Duplo Valley which was absolutely perfect for our girls. I wouldn’t be surprised if some families of toddlers spend a whole day just in this section.
Firstly there is the water park, Drench Towers, so don’t forget your swim stuff- the weather was absolutely gorgeous when we visited which meant that it was incredibly busy but it is a good size so it can accommodate plenty of people and the air was ringing with squeals and laughter.
(If you do forget your trunks there is conveniently a shop which stocks swim nappies, towels and costumes but now you know you won’t need that…!)
Once you’ve dried off you can leave your clothes in a locker and catch your breath at the theatre before hitting the rides- Fairytale Brook was our absolute favourite keeping our eyes peeled for the 7 dwarves and hiding from the Big bad wolf.
After that it’s off to Brickville, with the police cars, play houses and slides. One word of caution though; on a hot day the slides are scorching so not for little ones in skirts or shorts- the big little burnt her bum and only ice packs from the picnic basket and an ice cream could stop the tears…OOOWW!
4) Get yourself some wheels:
We took our double buggy and, even if your kids are slightly older I reckon a set of wheels is a good idea. There is a big area to cover and tired legs make for wingey children which in turn leads to stressy parents. There are buggies available to hire (£9 for a single and £14 for a double) so if you want to play it by ear they might be a good option- if they are happy walking it is a good spot for the bags and picnic!
5) Girls will be girls?!…
One of the only things I don’t really understand about Lego is the invention of Lego Friends and the Heartlake city area was probably my least favourite. It is clearly aimed at little girls and the emphasis is on becoming a pop star or a TV presenter. I know little girls often tend to like this stuff but it’s a chicken and egg thing and I think that Lego is way better than your regular pink vs blue sort of toy and could do so much good by not pandering to gender stereotypes. I absolutely appreciate that it is easy for me to say this given that our children are 3 and 2 so pester power hasn’t really kicked in yet but the dinosaurs and Pharaohs were of far more interest for us- long may that continue. I would love to hear your thoughts on this.
There is so, so much more I could have written about here but without making this post biblical in length let me just say this;
I was ranting about the price of the tickets and paying for parking for about 90 seconds beyond the park gates and then I saw the first dinosaur model and realised the amount of work that goes into the park.
The models are amazing, the rides are age appropriate and well manned, there is plenty of open space for running about, lazing about and getting the picnic out and you can absolutely be there from the moment the gates open until kicking out time. We all had a really excellent day.
Yes it is expensive but there are ways around that and it isn’t an every day event, it’s one to plan ahead and look forward to.
We wholeheartedly recommend a visit to Legoland Windsor and are already planning our return trip…but when to go?! Halloween or Christmas both look pretty good!