First of all, I should admit that as annual pass holders we are BIG fans of Legoland. We only live a short drive away, and both my four and one-year-old love it every time we go. When we ask ‘what shall we do today?’ a regular response is to cry ‘LEGOLAND!’.
From the second you reach the roundabout to turn into Legoland, you can see the influence of the Danish company. Lego deer graze on the roundabout, and brightly coloured posts hold road signs aloft. A series of hard-working Lego figures are busy constructing huge Lego letters, and the Lego policeman standing at the zebra crossing outside the hotel always makes me slow down in case someone is ready to cross!
A well-organised entrance allows you through turnstiles into a Lego wonderland. Dragons and Lego people sit on benches and are perfect photograph companions as you weave your way through ‘The Beginning’ and down into the park. There are amazing views looking out over the park and to London – on a clear day you can see the London Eye. Currently, the park opens at 9.30, and the rides at 10 am with an opening show in Miniland at 9.50am (please do check the opening times on the day you wish to visit!). I’d recommend using this 30 minutes to take a look around Miniland (the model Lego village). There are some amazing replicas of some of the world’s most famous sites – Central London, Scotland, Italy, Belgium, Kennedy Space Centre amongst others, all with working model cars, buses and trains. My boys could spend hours looking at them (but be careful you don’t spend too long here – there’s so much else to do).
When the park opens at 10 am, there are so many rides it’s difficult to know where to go first! Download the app before you go, and you can check all the ride heights to make sure your little ones can go on (you can also use the app during the day to check queue times). Favourite rides for my children with no height restrictions are Fairytale Brook, the Duplo train (both in Duplo Valley) and The Heartlake City Express (found in Heartlake City). Also in Duplo Valley is Duplo Valley Airport which is a firm favourite with my oldest (height restrictions apply), and it’s is a great opportunity to hand them the controls. We also love Coastguard HQ, which has no height restrictions, although the children will need an adult to ride with them and be aware there is a maximum of three people in a boat (we have on more than one occasion, witnessed a parent needing to leave a child with a Legoland member of staff whilst they ride with other children). Atlantis Submarine Voyage is an excellent underwater adventure. Beware on Heartlake City Express and Coastguard HQ – you may get wet!
The Waterpark is amazing on a hot day for all ages, and still good fun on a warm day. For rides where you need to be a bit taller, Spinning Spider is dizziness inducing (but great fun!), Viking River Splash (wet bums and feet ahoy!), Fire Academy and Dragon’s Apprentice all offer excitement for young daredevils. Lego City Driving School is incredibly popular, as children can earn their very first ‘driving licence’. They must be 6 years old to ride, although for younger children (3 – 5) there is ‘L-drivers’. Be aware that for both rides, children must go on alone, so ensure your child is confident doing this before you join the queue.
There are regular shows at the Duplo Valley Theatre for younger visitors, but by far the most popular for us is the ‘Pirates of Skeleton Bay’ show. It features acrobatics and pyrotechnics and is a great interactive show. We tend to try and make the most of the show by getting some popcorn and taking the opportunity to sit down with the boys for a much-needed rest. Be warned though – you need to get there early to get a seat!
Legoland, like most theme parks, have positioned plenty of concession stands around the park offering a variety of food from the aforementioned popcorn, to candy floss, hot dogs, steak baguettes, ice creams and refillable drinks. As ever at attractions like this, these are offered at inflated prices for at best average quality. There are a number of restaurants dotted around the park, so even the fussiest of eaters should find something amongst the pizza, pasta, burgers, fish and chips and chicken restaurants (although inevitably if your children choose different things, you may find yourself in several different queues during the busiest periods). It’s worth bearing in mind that feeding a family of 4 in the restaurants is not for the faint-hearted and costs can add up pretty quickly – for example, the unlimited pizza and pasta buffet will cost around £40 for 2 adults and 2 children. As regular visitors to Legoland, we find taking a picnic to be a much more cost effective and enjoyable option. Firstly, it avoids long queues in restaurants, but also by bringing a picnic it allows us to keep them entertained with snacks in particularly long queues and often means we don’t have to ‘stop’ for lunch and can make the most of the park while others pack out the restaurants. For those who do want to take a break, there are plenty of spots around the park to sit and picnic, including in ‘Miniland’, ‘Heartlake City’ and ‘Duplo Theatre’.
For those times when kids need a break from queuing and run off some energy, there a few brilliant play parks. One in Duplo Valley and another in Pirate Shores. Whilst these get busy, they’re plenty big enough to allow all kids to run around. No visit to a theme park would be complete without a trip to a gift shop, and Legoland is no exception. Several stores offer a variety of Lego theme merchandise, some of which you are able to personalise (including lunchboxes and key rings).
My Top Tips
- Arrive early, have a plan of which rides you would like to go on, and make sure you’re one of the first in the queue for that ‘must-do’ ride. On days we’re feeling particularly organised, we’ve been able to go on 3 or 4 rides in the first hour (impossible once the queues start to build up).
- On warm/hot days, bring swimwear and towels for water park fun (those who don’t will be appropriately punished at the tills when purchasing their Legoland branded swimwear and towels).
- Consider buying the unlimited refill drinks (approx. £8) – 1 or 2 shared between a larger family can work out a lot cheaper and mean you make them better value for money. It also means you don’t have to carry around a large bag of drinks all day.
Those looking for a cheap day out should be aware that you can spend a lot of money once you add tickets, food, snacks, drinks and extras in, but if you’re smart, take advantage of offers that are often available on tickets, plan your day, bring a picnic and steer the kids away from the added extras you can keep the costs down and have a fun filled family day that doesn’t break the bank. Legoland is a park definitely aimed at younger children but is a great introduction to rides, queuing and the overall theme park experience.
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Outnumbered. Wife to one man. Mother of two boys. Owner (slave) of one cat. Sales Account Executive. Football nut. Follower of cricket and occasionally golf. Lover of American TV dramas. Once avid reader, now occasional peruser of books I’d love to read. You can follow me on Twitter
As with all reviews on The Motherload®, we strive to be truthful and fair. All tickets were paid for by the reviewer.
Image credit: Wendy Kilgannon