School’s back into its flow and the Summer’s out, so what day’s out and activities are there for our preschoolers in Autumn? Well, there’s toddler rhyme time, soft play, forest school and perhaps why not try a theme park?
If I’m being completely honest, it never crossed my mind that I could take my 2-year-old to Legoland, I had gone from being immersed into sensory groups galore to messy play sessions to notice my little one was not a baby anymore.
Legoland Windsor has a lot to offer from rides and Lego building to meet-and-greets and live pirate shows. There isn’t a dull moment – I even found that a day isn’t enough and that the land of Lego keeps you wanting more.
What is there to do?
For my Lego–loving tot, from the moment he entered Legoland excitement built up. You could see a twinkle in his eyes as the Lego figurines littered the entrance and around the park.
After finding our way around Miniland and taking a trip around the world we walked into Duplo Valley, perfect for 0-3-year-olds. We started with the world’s first Duplo rollercoaster – Duplo Dinocoaster.
With strict height restrictions, the Dinocoaster is suitable from 0.9m. It’s a ride that is big but not intimidating for little ones and made my son feel like he’d accomplished a huge feat.
If you can, I would suggest paying a bit extra and getting some fast track tickets to help beat queues if visiting at peak times, however, weekdays and out of school holidays will be considerably quieter.
Duplo Playtown is a beefed-up playground park, where my little one pretended to be a firefighter one minute or a princess the next. There’s also the Duplo Express, which my toddler wanted to ride by himself, giving him confidence in the newfound independence he’d just gained by riding the Lego train.
Also in Duplo Valley is Duplo Airport, climb in a Lego helicopter with your tot and steer your ride up and down and round and round in your own time. Interaction and developing gross motor skills at its finest.
The park feels completely safe and when the good weather is not on our side some rides are off-limits. So while Drench Towers was closed the day we visited, Splash Safari was open and plenty of fun. The interactive safari-themed water feature has the potential to be great but was hugely let down by the lack of cleanliness and safety hazards caused by the green algae. My son slipped and had a fall while making his way around this section. Despite the lack of proper sanitisation and the accident, my son greatly enjoyed playing in the water with his new Lego animal friends. A nice touch here is the giant-sized lego animals, which can be bought in miniature size and played at home - a wonderful way to help build your tot's memory by discussing the day out when you’re home, too.
You can then move over to Lego City and little ones can get their ‘driving licence’ by driving, with a little help from Lego staff, small Lego cars. There’s also a bigger Driving School, suitable for 6-13-year-olds.
Stay in Lego City for Lego City Deep Sea Adventure, which we rode twice! This adventure includes going underwater in a Lego submarine (which we also own in toy version at home) to explore life under the ocean and browse sharks, stingrays and plenty more fish.
Lego City also has a couple of boat rides (Fairy Tale Brook and Coastguard HQ) where you can explore more fun Lego builds.
Other areas around the resort include Lego Mythica, Knights’ Kingdom and Lego Ninjago World - built for when you’re taking older kids along.
Head over to Pirate Shores for a little ice-cream stop and live-action pirate show (Return to Skeleton Bay), which is full of stunts and drama. Before sealing off lunchtime with either a picnic (Legoland has picnic spots and benches around) or at one of the resort’s restaurants.
My toddler was tall enough for Dragon’s Apprentice, a rollercoaster a bit more thrill-seeking than the Dinocoaster, situated in Knights’ Kingdom. It feels like a proper mini rollercoaster and gathers speed – I wasn’t aware how fast this ride went but suitable for tots 3 years and above, my son left a happy chap from this one.
And if all the action gets too much, try a chill-out option in the shape of a 4D movie, at Lego Studios 4D or perhaps a theatre production at Duplo Valley Theatre to listen to your little one’s favourite fairytale.
What is there to eat?
Outside of the picnic areas, there are also convenient refreshment stations dotted all over. We opted for a pit stop at Farmer Joe’s Chicken Company. Themed with farm animals, the staff were what I like to call ‘Disneyland-style interactive’ – they were in character for the restaurants' theme and also gave out Lego badges to the kids.
There isn’t a shortage of food selection and it’s all reasonably priced for a theme park. Other restaurant options are Bricks Family Restaurant, City Walk Pizza & Pasta and Pirate’s Burger Kitchen. You can also get waffles, ice-cream or Costa Coffee on site.
Getting around Legoland Windsor resort
The theme park is kitted out creating easy access for buggy/wheelchairs. If you want to leave the buggies at home there is something called a Scooter Bug which you can rent for £15 and will save little feet from getting too fatigued. They double-up as the perfect little snooze pods for little ones, too.
At The Beginning (area obviously at the start of the park) little ones and grown-ups can opt to use slides instead of stairs to make their way through the park.
Legoland will give little ones the fun and safe independence they yearn for but also satisfies the big kid inside us parents too. It left us all wanting more. I would recommend two days to fully explore the park as one day just isn’t enough.
Travelling to Legoland
If you have a fair bit to travel it may be worth considering a hotel nearby. Perhaps an Airbnb job. There are however two impressive Lego hotels on-site (The Legoland Resort Hotel and The Legoland Castle Hotel) – this may however make your trip a bit pricey.
Overall we’d head back to Legoland in a heartbeat. The park is well kept with tons for the little ones to do, from rides to interactive Lego stations at Lego Mythica and watching shows to the educational sections. The resort isn’t just for a specific age group, there’s something for everyone to enjoy, and especially for those Lego lovers out there, as you prance around the 12 Lego-themed lands!
From 14th - 31st October 2021, Legoland will be transformed into a pumpkin-filled wonderland for what is sure to be the most frightfully fun event of the year perfect for the young, and the young at heart.
Read next: Family days out in the North West