Yesterday I had one of my best days EVER with L, our 6 and a half year old.
Hubs was working, I had a rare day with no children to mind, so I suggested that L and I head to Legoland just the two of us. For those who don’t know, Legoland is in Windsor, which is about 1 hour by train from us, and rather conveniently is quite close to my retired parents’ house….so I, very cheekily, asked my dad if he would like to play taxi driver/babysitter to C, our 9 month old.
As he’s such a lovely and wonderful dad (creep, creep) he agreed – although he did ask me to put 3 nappies on C so he wouldn’t have to change her! We arrived at Windsor and Eton train station, where Dad met us, drove L and me to Legoland (including using a sneaky shortcut to avoid the Legoland traffic), before heading off back to their house with C.
It is the first time that L and I have had a day together just the two of us since before C was born, and we had an absolute ball! We have been to Legoland about 5 times now I think, thanks to our Merlin Annual Pass, which I can’t recommend enough, and which I talk about in more detail here. This means there was no pressure to do everything or any one ride in particular, as we know if we miss something we’ll do it another time.
As there was zero pressure I told L she could choose which rides she wanted to go on and where she wanted to eat, and she LOVED everything being down to her.
We started off with the cinema 4D which was great fun – L was delighted when some “snow” landed on my 3D glasses and when we got sprayed with water.
Following L and what she wanted to do, we then headed to the Fairy Tale Brook ride, which had no queue at all. We’d done this one and it was possibly a bit young for her, but it didn’t stop her from grinning all the way round and shouting at the various fairy tale characters.
From this we moved onto the driving school – again L has done this before but fortunately didn’t crash this time! We were then heading to lunch when we turned a corner and heard the pirate show starting. This is a firm favourite with L (even though it’s the same story each time, and she’s seen it at least 3 or 4 times), so we stopped and watched it, enjoying the sunshine for once, as we always seem to go when the weather is miserable.
Next it was time to have lunch, L had chosen the Knights’ table rotisserie, which I was very impressed with. Whilst you can totally overdose on sugar at Legoland should you choose to (think unlimited soft drinks, ice-cream, popcorn, sweets…), it was great to see that there were healthier options available too. L had the kids’ meal which was chicken goujons (which actually tasted pretty good), chips, side salad, a choice of Capri Sun, milk or water and an apple for dessert. I thought this was a good mix of healthy options and fun food to win kids over without dosing them up on junk. I had half a roast chicken with BBQ sauce, jacket potato, a side salad and coke (an enormous cup with unlimited refills). With our 20% discount, thanks to our Merlin pass, this came to just over £13 which I thought was pretty reasonable as we were stuffed afterwards.
(Another good thing about lunch – despite the park being packed, and choosing to have lunch at 1pm we were served at the till in a couple of minutes and our food was at our table as we were sitting down, this is great for hungry, impatient little ones!)
With lunch digesting we headed to the gift shop where L chose to spend some pocket money on a little bag of gems. Whilst it is true that you can spend a fortune in these places, it was great for her to find something she truly wanted for less than £4 (we saved another 10% by flashing our Merlin pass), which I think is pretty bargain-tastic.
Next up was Knights’ Quest, although our original choice was Dragon’s Apprentice. Top tip – on busy days choose rides that carry lots of passengers at a time as the queues go down much faster. Knights’ Quest must take around 50 people at a time, whilst Dragon’s Apprentice only takes around 15, which means a lot more waiting around.
After having got onto Knights’ Quest without too much of a wait we decided to head up the hill to Vikings’ River Splash, face the massive queue and get wet! This was a first for us as we’ve never been to Legoland in the sun before, so decided it was worth braving the queue. The announced queue time was 60 mins but the queue stretched on and on past this sign. We ummed and ahhed and decided to suck it up and wait. I’m glad we did as we only queued for 45 mins in the end and it did seem to move very quickly. And we both LOVED it! I haven’t been on a ride like this since Thunder River at Thorpe Park circa 1990. It is great as you get wet, but not horribly so, and with yesterday’s sun we dried off fairly quickly.
As it was beginning to get late we decided to stay in this area of the park, so next up was the Jolly Rocker, pirate ship – you know the one that goes way, way up in the air. The thing is I couldn’t back down as I’d told L we could go on anything she wanted to go on. I’m not much of a daredevil, so watched her the whole time, which was just as well, as when I glanced down I nearly lost my lunch.
Fortunately L decided she wanted to go into the Pirate Training Camp so I was allowed a little breather – this is a great playground of sorts, where L would spent most of the day if you let her. It’s a great place for small ones to let off a little steam and for grown ups to catch their breath.
Once L was worn out by the obstacles and climbing we moved on to the Viking boat – Longboat Invader – this was far more like it for me, it still moves around a fair amount but is nowhere near as scary as the Jolly Rocker. Our final ride was the Spinning Spider – not for the arachnophobes out there, check out the MASSIVE spider on top of it! Although I’d had an amazing day I’m glad I got a call from my parents saying they were on their way after this ride as my head was totally spinning as I got off it.
As you can see, L and I both totally love Legoland. There is very little negative to say about it. It is clean, there is clear communication, it is in lovely surroundings with lots of greenery/nature, there is plenty of shade/shelter, there are plenty of toilets/baby change facilities. The only negative I can think of really is the access: we got the train from London which is nice and easy (trains from Waterloo and Paddington), but it is about 3 miles from the park so you need to get a taxi or take the (paying) shuttle. Judging by the traffic jams we witnessed between the station and Legoland, getting there can take a while. Thanks Dad for knowing that shortcut! Apart from that it really is perfect in every way.
So, what are my tips/suggestions/recommendations?
A lot of friends have asked me if it is suitable for younger children, well, we first went there when L was 4 and we never felt she was too young (despite being very small). I would say that is brilliant for any children age 3 and above, as long as they are over 90cm as this is the minimum height for a lot of the rides. The rides mentioned in this review are all possible for children of a metre or over, and around half of them have a minimum height restriction of 90cm.
The park is ENORMOUS so if your child is under 5 or isn’t much of a walker I’d recommend getting the Legoland buggy so you don’t end up with a fractious little one. These fit two children and can be hired for the day. Also as the park is so big think about comfy shoes – I wore my Fit Flops which were fab for all the standing and walking.
There are lots of areas to stop and have a picnic, but if the weather is not great I would recommend getting lunch there (especially if you have a Merlin pass), as it gives you an opportunity to take shelter inside.
There are two types of unlimited refill drinks bottles – for £7.50 you have a Legoland bottle that is valid for the day for unlimited refills of fizzy drinks and tap water. However for £16 Merlin pass holders can buy a (bigger) bottle which is valid in all theme parks for the rest of the duration of your pass, again this is for fizzy drinks and tap water. This is the one we went for so we had tap water all day in yesterday’s heat, and so we can use it again and again.
Like most theme parks the best time to go on the popular rides is first thing or later on in the day: we went on the spider ride at around 5pm and went almost straight on.
My biggest tip though, if you live anywhere near Windsor, is to get a pass and go again and again. That way you can go at a leisurely pace each time, sampling a different part of the park each time. We have been there in the rain, in zero temperatures, in the sun; I have been there pregnant, and with a 4 month old. We have loved it each time. I can’t recommend it enough. It is a FAB family day out. Enjoy! And tell me all about your time there.
Disclosure: I do not work for Merlin or for Legoland. I was not paid to write this review. We just love Legoland as a family, and yesterday was honestly the best day I’ve ever spent with L, and she agreed with me too, I’m smiling now just writing this review. Sorry to gush and write such a long review but this is one memory we’ll be treasuring for a long time.