The day after H resigned we sat down and made a list of all the things that we want to do this summer, and then we went back through and worked out what we ought to do before the schools broke up. Top of the list was Legoland. It wasn’t really a surprise, we play Duplo almost every day and there’s Lego at my Dad’s house that was still being played with when we were in our 20’s (we made an F1 pit lane, it was very cool and grown up and everything!).
It’s a couple of hours drive from us and I think the girls got us there almost entirely fuelled by excitement. And as we drove in I think it became infectious, as more and more giant lego men came into view on the side of the road, hauling giant Welcome letters into place.
Legoland is huge. From the entrance at the top of the hill there’s an amazing view across to Windsor Castle and when you’ve finished taking that in and look down, there it is, a leafy green valley with hints of lego peeking out through the trees. We knew right from the start that we’d never get around the whole place, it’s only open from 10-5 and you’d need at least a couple of days to explore everywhere, so we focussed on just a few areas.
The girls were adamant that we were going to the Lego Friends Harbour, and we were definitely going to Olivia’s House, because it had lego you could build with, but once we got off the hill train all that was forgotten when they saw first a carousel and then a chair swing. Kitty was straight off and into the queue and to our huge relief Elma was just tall enough to go on the first and H and the second all by herself. When I measured her, realised that actually she was big enough, and sent her off to join Kitty and H she was all her Christmases come at once levels of happy.
The Heartlake City section is new this year and the girls loved running around looking for all the Lego Friends characters and hugging them. It’s very pink and purple which just happens to be a four year old and a two year old’s idea of perfect decor. Olivia’s House had lego to build as promised as well as a scale model of the village with buttons you could press to make the lego people dance, the lighthouse light up or the boats go buzzing around. And Pip and I found a corner with some giant rubber lego, perfect to make him the nearest approximation I could manage to a double decker sofa (a chair).
Having read everyone’s top tips we finished playing just in time for the pirate show at the harbour. Now we stayed very well clear of both the splash zones and the soak zones and tried to settle down for our picnic but the heavens had other ideas. First it started to spit and we ducked under a tree for cover, and then, well then the clouds opened and it poured. Properly properly poured and as about half the audience scattered to find shelter we suddenly found we had a much better view. But the show went on, the rain cleared, and the pirate show was awesome. There were jet skis, water cannons, tumbling, falling in the water from the dock and some seriously impressive dives from the top of a lighthouse all wrapped up in a story about a treasure chest and a golden key. The girls may have been damp, and at least one sandwich crumbled under the weight of the raindrops but it was one of their highlights of the whole day.
From there we moved onto the next thing on Kitty’s list; she wanted to have a go at driving a lego car, but as she was the only one old enough (or young enough depending on your perspective) she and I queued up while the others went off to do some more exploring. And then there was one of those most magical moments where the internet and real life collide.
If you look carefully at this picture of Kitty waiting for her turn to drive, there in the middle is the top of Caro from Sweetener and Spice‘s Thomas! They were three people ahead of us in the queue. How crazy a coincidence, both that we should choose to go to Legoland on the same day and then end up in the same queue! It was so lovely to meet her and Thomas in real life and chat as our little ones did a few laps of the mini track.
And as we’d just about dried off from the rain at that point it was clearly time to get wet again. Pip, Elma and I played with the splash pad in Duplo Valley while Kitty and H headed up to Drench Towers. I’m told it was amazing and also cold. The water wasn’t much warmer down the hill and while Elma decided it wasn’t for her and curled up in the buggy, Pip was in his element. He crawled around between water spouts, tried to hold onto the jets and generally gave the impression of a very very happy, very very wet baby!
We planned to finish our day at the model village and then head up the hill to the Star Wars exhibit but the idea of doughnuts and ice cream lured us back down to the harbour again and as we needed somewhere to sit we ended up catching most of the Lego Friends to the Rescue show. By the end of it Kitty was dancing and singing along and her absolute top moment of the day was meeting Mia, Emma and Olivia and having her picture taken with them.
And with some speed walking up the hill we did make it to Star Wars (Pip hated it so he and I went through at a sprint!) and just a little pocket money spending in the big lego shop at the top before taking some very tired but happy little people home again.
We found it really helpful reading other people’s top tips so I thought I’d add ours to the mix just in case you can be tempted to spend a day in all things lego.
- How young is too young? Kitty at four, and a very tall four at that, was the perfect age. She was big enough for the junior rides, old enough for the driving and the big splash pad, and had enough stamina to be on her feet all day. Pip and Elma enjoyed it, Elma probably more so until we found the splash pad when Pip found his idea of heaven, but I think if it had just been the youngest two we would have been better waiting for them to be older.
- The hill train is great – and takes buggies without folding them!
- The pirate show is really worth seeing if only for the stunts. The seating area fills up fast so it’s worth being early.
- It was definitely worth having the buggy. Pip alternated between the buggy and the sling, Elma spent a bit of time in the sling too and Kitty caught a ride up the hill on the baseboard but as well as getting the kids around it was great for carrying the picnic and waterproofs and swimming kit and all the other clobber that comes with a family of five. If we’d all wanted to go on rides together we’d have had to leave it out of our sight which I wouldn’t have been terribly comfortable about but I think by the time we’re interested in rides, the kids will be big enough to walk.
- The Heartlake City has a really great baby zone sponsored by Mothercare with a changing room and some seats for feeding and in our case, drying everyone off after the rain. Pip needed some milk and it was lovely to have an easy comfy spot.
- The City and the Miniland zones are looking a little old and some of the buttons and power boats don’t work but don’t be put off by that, it is still very very worth seeing!
- Bring your swimming kit! And not just for the children. If you go in the splash pad in clothes you will get a bit wet but if you want to go to Drench Towers (and under 6’s need supervising) you need to be in proper swim kit. Fortunately H had packed board shorts in case it got too hot as Kitty would have been gutted to have missed it.\
- And last but by no means least, just in case you’re a bit pushed for time …the park officially closes at five but we did’t leave until almost 5.30, there’s time to get back (and time to do a little shopping!).