Nestled in the shadows of Windsor Castle and Heathrow Airport to the West of London is a theme park with a difference known as Legoland.
Recently as our daughter approached her 8th birthday, we had a dilemma that I imagine crosses most parents minds ahead of a birthday, “What are we going to do this year?!”. As we were still in the British Summer our initial idea was to throw a garden party however after pricing up the cost of bouncy castles, food and entertainment, we quite wisely decided that for the price of a party we could go away for the weekend.
So the next question we pondered as we sat in our living room surrounded by half built Lego Structures was where could we go ?
Quite quickly we realised that the answer was literally staring us in the face as we hit the internet to seek out a last minute deal for a trip to Legoland and a potential stay at the Legoland Resort. Therefore, the next question we had to ask ourselves was “Is it worth paying extra?”
What is there to do at Legoland
Having decided that we would be visiting Legoland, we had a plan of action to execute therefore the next question we asked ourselves was “is there going to be enough to keep our children entertained at Legoland and how long should we go for?”
Legoland is predominantly aimed at children ranging from 3 to 12 years of age and consists of 9 different areas all based on various Lego themes such as Ninjago World, Lego City, Duplo Valley and Heartlake City. The height restrictions for most rides start at 90cm where a child must be accompanied by an adult and all ride restrictions and queue times are clearly displayed at the entrance to all rides.
The park itself is situated on a fairly steep incline which is something to bear in mind if travelling with young children or people with disabilities. There is a Hill Train situated near the entrance which will take you to the heart of the park though for those willing to explore the park by foot you will discover that the children (and adults young at heart) can take advantage of the slides on offer to assist with the incline into the park.
As an aside and quite often an overlooked perk to visiting Legoland is that from the entrance you get an amazing view of the London Skyline and Windsor Castle which is well worth taking a few minutes of your day to admire. Also, as you navigate your way round the park you will constantly be amazed by the overhead traffic of planes constantly departing and landing at the nearby Heathrow Airport.
Rides, Shows and attractions at Legoland
The park itself is a relatively small in size compared to an Alton Towers or Disneyland and is easy to navigate your way round once you find your bearings though just because it’s small in size does not mean it is short on things to do.
Below is a list of few of the attractions that stood out for us on our recent visit:
Haunted House Monster Party: This ride was a big winner with our children as they wanted to visit it over and over again. This is the parks newest ride where you get to enter a Lego Monster House and sit on a swinging bench whilst room rotates around you to some annoying catchy background music that you’ll be singing for days.
Atlantis Submarine Voyage: Another big hit was a ride where you enter an actual Lego Submarine and explore an actual underground aquarium containing actual sharks and Lego structures.
Ninjago the Ride: This was an excellent interactive ride where you get to don a pair of 3D glasses and pretend to be a ninja for 5 minutes as you travel round karate chopping all the evil characters of the Ninjago World
Mini World: One of the more fascinating aspects of a visit to Legoland is the display of famous world monuments all made out of Lego. Situated in the middle of the park you will be able to take in sites such as Big Ben, Sydney Opera House, Eiffel Tower and the White House plus much more all in one small area.
Lego City 4D: A visit to the 4D cinema is well worth making the effort for. Shows take place around every half an hour and as well as enjoying a 3D movie there is a chance you may come out a little wetter than when you went in.
Splash and Play Park: If you are visiting on a warm day then it is advisable to remember your childrens swimming costumes as if you do not then there maybe disappointment when they want to enter the splash and play areas. This consists of two separate areas known as Splash Safari for the younger children and Drench Towers for the slightly older ones.
Above are just a few of the highlights from a trip to Legoland though there is still so much to see such as an interactive Pirate show, a Lego train ride around the park or maybe a ride on the river rapids in the Land of Adventure plus much more. One thing is for sure there is something for everyone and no one will go home disappointed.
When looking at how long to spend at Legoland it is well worth considering how often you visit the park and what type of ticket you purchase.
For example if you are a regular visitor or have purchased a QBot ticket then one day will more than sufficient as you will either be familiar with the park or be able to cut down your queuing time by utilising your QBot ticket. It should be noted that a QBot is considerably more expensive though from time to Legoland do put offers on their website so it well worth signing up to their newsletter for the latest deals.
If you are not a regular visitor to the theme park and don’t wish to spend extra on a QBot ticket then it you may be better purchasing a ticket to visit the park over two days. This will allow you take in the park at a leisurely pace and ensure that you cover everything you wish to experience.
What added value can we expect from staying at Legoland Resort
Having decided to visit Legoland for a couple of days the next question to ask is where you plan to stay overnight. If you are on a budget then there are many budget hotels such as Premier Inns or Travelodges located at nearby Slough or Heathrow with room rates starting at £30 a night and are more than adequate.
If you are looking for something a little more upmarket and memorable then Legoland quite often provide offers which includes a nights accommodation and a couple of days admission into the Theme Park.
The dilemma you have here is whether you take advantage of what is usually an excellent deal to stay in a 3 or 4 star accommodation with breakfast or whether to pay a considerable amount more to have the full Legoland experience and stay at the Legoland Resort.
If you decide to stay at the Legoland Resort then what can you expect from your visit. Well firstly there are two Legoland Resort hotels known quite simply as the Legoland Resort Hotel and the Legoland Castle Hotels.
Within each hotel there are themed rooms to enjoy such as Adventure rooms, Ninjago rooms, Heartlake City rooms plus many more. Each room comes in the theme you have chosen along with Lego sculptures around the accommodation. As you arrive in your room your children (or you) can complete a treasure hunt to solve clues to unlock a treasure chest in the room which may contain a prize for your children.
Around the hotel there are lots to keep the whole family entertained from meet and greet with various Lego characters, Brick Pits for children to play thousands of pieces of Lego or for the slightly older child there are many PlayStation 4 consoles to enjoy with various Lego themed games to play.
Along with these constant distractions there are also bars to enjoy a refreshing drink, continual entertainment in the resort hotels, a themed buffet restaurant and there is also the opportunity for the whole family to enjoy a swimming and splash pool.
Therefore you can definitely see that staying at the Legoland Resort provides a one off memorable experience that will live with your family forever that a nice hotel perhaps wouldn’t offer.
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Additional Tips For Your Day Out At Legoland Resort, Windsor
Firstly should you choose to stay at the Legoland Resort my first tip would be to resist booking into your room as long as you can as once you’ve checked in they will not want to leave the hotel. Also, if you do decide to stay at the hotel then it is advisable to book in advance should you wish to go swimming or eat in the restaurant for evening meal.
From personal experience it is worth taking advantage of the opportunity to go swimming as you are allocated an hour time slot and the splash pool is a real hit with the kids. The restaurant is also fairly good value for the family and is buffet themed though it is advisable to book in advance as it can get really busy.
As for navigating your way round the park it is advisable to plan your way round as it is divided into many themed areas. If you arrive early it is worth heading straight for some of the more popular rides such as Monster Party as queues can get quite big later in the day. It is also worth making a note of all the show times taking place throughout the day to ensure that you don’t miss anything you really want to experience.
As for food and drink, you are allowed to take your own food into the park and this can be quite a saving though the food prices within the park are quite reasonably priced compared to other parks across the country. There is also the opportunity to get refillable drinks in the park which comes with its own souvenir cup and can be quite good value if you known you are going to be consuming plenty of drinks throughout your visit.
Finally if you visit on a hot day then why not take advantage of the excellent free sun cream dispensers situated around the park.
So Should I Stay at the Legoland Resort or Stay Elsewhere
The key to your decision will firstly be what your budget is plus what the overall experience you are hoping to have. Having gone down both routes on previous visits there are definite positives.
If you are on a strict budget then it is definitely advisable to book an independent hotel as although you may miss out on some of the razzmatazz offered at the Legoland Resort Hotel you will maintain your own independence in an evening with regard to eating out and many associated hotels with Legoland also offer facilities which children can enjoy such as swimming pools and play areas.
However if your budget is fairly relaxed and you would like your children to receive non-stop entertainment then as a one off experience it is well worth staying at the Legoland Resort hotel as you will not be disappointed.
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