LEGOLAND Windsor Resort opened in 1996 and is a children’s theme park for 2 to 12 year olds. It’s only a few miles from Windsor Castle and is just 8 miles from London Heathrow Airport.
As it’s aimed at younger children it’s not all about looping roller coasters and sheer drop rides but there is a good mix for the age range. Adults also love the Viking River Splash where you get completely soaked but scream with joy.
There are over 55 interactive rides, live shows, building workshops, driving schools and attractions, including the much-loved Miniland so there’s no way to see everything in one day meaning it’s always worth coming back again.
It’s no great surprise if I tell you the Park is immensely popular – especially on a sunny day and during UK school holidays. (See below for dates.)
Not Open All Year Round
While the LEGOLAND Windsor Resort Hotel (more below) is open all year round, the Park is open March to November only.
Some Rides Specify Height
More than age restrictions or guidelines, the rides have height restrictions so some riders must be over 0.9m to ride on their own, 1m, 1.1m and some rides in Knight’s Kingdom need riders to be 1.3m.
You Won’t Get Wet On All Rides
I’ll admit I was concerned about being soaked and cold all day but we were there on a gloriously sunny day and, in the end, didn’t go on the wetter rides as the queues were long and we could see other places to play which were just as much fun. There are stand-up driers (coin-operated) so you can get soaked and then dry again in minutes. Bring waterproofs if you’re worried and ponchos are on sale in the shops. Consider bringing a towel and a spare set of clothes just in case. And definitely bring your swimming costume if you want to play at the DUPLO Valley Splash Park.
In May 2013 a whole new themed land opened as DUPLO Valley became the pre-school splash play paradise. The lower level has the DUPLO Splash Safari with a menagerie of DUPLO animal friends including lions, giraffes and elephants for little ones. The animals look great but don’t let children climb on them. Older children (over 1.1m height) should head up to the top of the Valley for DUPLO Drench Towers, the largest water structure in the UK where 1200 litres of water floods down guaranteeing a soaking for all below.
If you are at the park on a hot day it’s definitely worth going here first as it gets very busy later on and they have to keep a limit on the number of guests who can play. There are lots of lifeguards on duty but parents of younger children should go barefoot and stand at the side to look after their children. While I was there one mum and dad went in fully dressed and were having a lot of fun!
There’s a dry area too with Brickville designed for exploring and imaginative play with climbing frames and slides plus DUPLO buildings. We took a ride on the gentle Brickville Express DUPLO train and joined the short queue for the simple ‘up and down’ helicopter ride. We also saw a show at the DUPLO Puppet Theatre.
Another popular attraction for younger visitors is Fairy Tale Brook which is one of the resort’s original attractions and has been improved for 2013. It’s a toddler friendly boat ride that journeys through a magical LEGO world created with around 5 million LEGO bricks. Meet Little Red Riding Hood and the Three Little Pigs, Snow White & the Seven Dwarves and Cinderella with her stunning princess carriage and LEGO glass slipper made from 250 transparent bricks.
As English weather is not always sunny it’s good to know which attractions are indoors (but all rides continue running even if it’s raining).
- LEGO Legends of Chima has a 12 minute 4D movie.
- LEGO Star Wars Miniland Model Display opened in March 2012 and depicts famous scenes from the film series with more galleries added for 2013. This is right near the main Park entrance, at the top of the hill.
- Atlantis Submarine Voyage opened in 2011 and this year welcomed a new family of Bamboo sharks and a collection of infant rays. When you come off the world’s first submerged underwater LEGO ride there is an area where guests can climb under the tanks and pop-up within glass domes to see the fish swimming past their nose.
You can rent a QBot to save on time waiting in line. There are different levels of QBot which reserve you a place for a ride starting from the standard level but you have to wait as long as the queue time. For example, if the current queue time is 60 minutes you can reserve a place but don’t have to be there and can go and do other things and simply turn up and use a dedicated short cut at the ride. That costs £15 per person. After that you can get a QBot that halves the wait time (£30 per person) and another that means no wait but the price (£70 per person), I think, makes it somewhat prohibitive.
LEGOLAND Windsor Resort Hotel
If you have so much fun and don’t want to go home you’ll be pleased to know about this wonderland. The hotel opened on 17 March 2012 and was the first totally LEGO-themed hotel in the world. While the Park closes from November to March the hotel is open all year round.
There are 150 imaginatively themed Pirate, Kingdom and Adventure bedrooms and a host of premium facilities with LEGO inspired twists. Guests are in LEGO heaven with an indoor and outdoor play area, a LEGO Pirates-themed splash pool and LEGO on every table in the Brick Pit restaurant.
The hotel is priced from £247 low season to £337 high season for a themed family room (2 adults/up to 3 children) including breakfast and park tickets for two days, plus special LEGOLAND benefits such as Early Ride Time on selected rides. The hotel opens directly onto the bottom of the Park meaning guests can reach the popular rides there first.
There are conference facilities at the hotel and a hotel bar which quietens down by 10pm as everyone is too tired after a day at the Park.
Legoland Windsor Park Tips
- Download the free Legoland Windsor Resort app to help with planning before your visit although be aware there is no wifi (and hardly any 3G signal) at the park so it won’t be much use when you’re there.
- Buy your tickets in advance and get there early. The Park has been known to close the gates to guests when it gets too busy inside.
- Although the rides open at 10am the turnstiles open at 9.30am.
- Start at the back of the Park for shorter queues as we all get overwhelmed when we arrive and rush for the fun stuff near the entrance.
- Playgrounds are still enjoyed and there’s no wait to use them. The Pirates Training Camp is exceptionally good.
- Dress the kids in bright clothes, if possible, and add your phone number on them in a pocket or on a sticker too. Always tell your child where you are and where you want to meet as it is an exciting place and easy to get separated. My seven year old ran off before we had this discussion.
- Go straight to the popular rides that you really want to go on.
- The big shop near the entrance/exit gets very busy near closing time.
- Don’t overlook Miniland as just LEGO. That’s what makes it so wonderful!
- If you can, and you have the energy, stay for the whole day as the rides get quieter towards the end of the day. It also means you won’t have such long queues to leave as the car park is full every day.
- There are lots of food outlets but you’ll save money if you bring a picnic.
Key Information About Legoland Windsor Resort
Address: Winkfield Road, Windsor, Berkshire SL4 4AY
Opening Times: March to November from 10am daily. Closing varies through the season from 5pm to 7pm.
You may want to try and avoid UK school holiday dates as these are definitely the busiest days. School dates can vary but are roughly: September to December with one week holiday at end of October and two weeks over Christmas; January to Easter with one week holiday in mid-February and two weeks at Easter; April to July with one week off in late May and six week of holiday from last week of July to early September. Schools have other closures too for staff training (known as INSET Days) and these days often extend a school holiday by a day so try to avoid Mondays and Fridays near UK holidays.
One parent told me they managed only one ride by 1pm during the school holidays and all the rides suitable for her two year old by 1pm in term time.
Official Website: www.legoland.co.uk
Tickets: Adults from £34.20 / Children (3-15) from £27.45 / Under 3s free
Discounts available when booking online, seven days in advance. Advance booking recommended.
Directions: You can get the train from London to Windsor & Eton (or Slough) in around half an hour and then catch the Legoland Shuttle Bus or grab a taxi from the station. You can also drive to the Park (£3 car park charge). If you are driving from London, take Junction 6 off the M4 and follow the brown signs.
Deals: The best deals for UK residents seem to be via Tesco Clubcard vouchers where you can buy a day pass, annual pass or even a Merlin Annual Pass for all of the Merlin Entertainment attractions.
Don’t forget: Raincoat/poncho (good for water rides), sun lotion as there’s little shade, towel and swimming costume to play at DUPLO Valley, snacks and bottles of water.
All images © Laura Porter.