Follow us on Facebook

Related Items

Article: A day out at LEGOLAND Windsor - The Return!

Attention: open in a new window. PDFPrintE-mail

legoland Windsor


Legoland EntranceOur summer would not have been complete without a return to LEGOLAND Windsor following much harassment from our children! To be honest we were quite excited at the prospect too, and it was a chance for us to not only see the new LEGOLAND hotel (unfortunately only in passing!) as well as a little more of the park that we didn't get round to visiting last time (see our previous comprehensive LEGOLAND review by clicking here), and also the highly anticipated new Star Wars Miniland Experience.

As to be expected in the school holidays, the park was unfortunately at what felt like maximum capacity, and this certainly impacted heavily on the waiting times for rides. Having been to LEGOLAND Windsor before I was expecting a certain amount of waiting in line, however queuing times varied from an acceptable 25 minutes to a less acceptable 90 minutes+, which in turn led to some very frustrated parents and very wingy kids! This not only limited the number of rides we could physically fit into one day but also put us off even bothering to queue for others. Also in our attempt to make up for lost time in queues, we barely even stopped to take breaks and grabbed bites of our sandwich while lining up for the next ride!

Legoland image

Now the Q-Bot Ride Reservation system may seem like the perfect answer to this - a separate add-on to your entry ticket, consisting of a handheld device to carry round which enables you to select the rides you want to go on, for which you are designated a virtual queue time. This allows you to go off and explore other parts of the park and then return at your allocated ride time (using the Q-Bot entrance) to enjoy instant entry to that ride without having to queue. However, this luxury certainly comes at a price: the basic 'Q-Bot Regular' is £15 per person and can only be used once on 22 of the park's rides. LEGOLAND have also now introduced a 'Q-Bot Express', a whopping £40 per person, which reduces the wait time on your chosen rides and allows you instant access to your first ride, and also a 'Q-Bot Ultimate', a massive £70 per person (yes you read correctly), which reduces your wait time even further, and allows you to add on a couple of the attractions to your available entry list. If you can afford it then this is obviously a worthwhile optional extra, although for those of us who cannot justify the cost of Q-Bot, it just adds to the frustration (and the wait time!) as the Q-Bot-ers are let through in front of you! 

Legoland Pirate Falls

Don't get me wrong, when you strip away the cost and the queues, the rides themselves are very enjoyable (cue many cheers from the kids!) and we managed a reasonable number in the time that we had. We obviously went back to some old favourites such as the Atlantis Submarine, the
S.Q.U.I.D. Surfer (previously called the Wave Surfer), the Dino Safari, the Pirate Falls Dynamite Drench and the Laser Raiders ride (click here to see a summary of these in our previous review), and also enjoyed a few attractions we haven't visited before. As in my previous review, 
I have listed these below with a brief sum-up based on our own experiences which may differ from the experiences of others (our children are aged 4 and 7 years):

  • Spinning Spider (Land of the Vikings)
    A great family ride (similar to spinning teacups) where you sit in large pods on a brilliantly designed spider's web. While rotating around a main centre point, you can also make your own pod spin faster and faster by turning the central wheel - not one for delicate tummy's if you don't like repeated spinning motion. The queues for this look long but actually reduce quite quickly as the ride can seat a good number of people on each go.
  • Thunder Blazer (Kingdom of the Pharaohs)Legoland Thunder Blazer
    This is one just for the kids to enjoy and is a nice variation on a carousel, involving individual swing chairs (of varying height to cater for different ages) which 'fly' gently around a circular conveyor. The seats all have drop-down bars which keep your child securely in the swing, and help is at hand from the ride supervisor to help them on and off the ride.
  • Knight's Quest (Kinght's Kingdom)
    Another fun carousel ride for both adults and children to participate in, consisting of a fast moving train, divided into carriages for 'passengers' to sit two to a seat (secured in via a locking bar), which travels up and down at speed around a circular track. The queues for this weren't too bad, and the ride was surprisingly fun for such a simple design. The kids loved this due to the speed, but it is probably not advisable for those with delicate backs or necks as the ride is quite 'jolty'.
  • Build and Test Workshop (Imagination Centre)
    On the day we visited the workshop was laid out for the kids to build and race their own LEGO cars, with tables, chairs and trays of LEGO for them to construct their vehicles, and two large ramps (with starting blocks) to race them down. Very educational for getting older children to think about the speed and dynamics of their cars, but also great for encouraging even the youngest of children to get creative (our youngest son was also very good at collecting the cars up at the bottom of the ramp!). An additional tiered seating area also provided a useful place for parents to sit and watch their children at work.
  • Pirates of Skeleton Bay Stunt Show (LEGO City)
    Having missed out on these open-air performances laLegoland Stunt Showst year, we made sure we caught one this time around and we were really impressed with what we saw. This is a really fun pirate-themed stunt show for children of all ages which is performed live at scheduled times throughout the day at the LEGO City Harbour, and is full of special effects, swashbuckling comic routines and acrobatics into the water to keep the kids well amused. These events do get very busy though so it's a good idea to get there a little early to grab a good spot in the audience.
  • Pirate Training Camp (Pirates Landing)
    This is the ideal place for children to let off a bit of energy and is a very large and complex multi-level wood and rope climbing play area, brilliantly designed around a pirate ship. There is enough here to keep children running around for hours, and plenty of places inside the play area for parents to perch while their kids play. It is important to note that the Pirate Training Camp is designed for children aged 7 years upwards, and is not supervised so you will need to keep close guard of your children. And any children under this age will need to be accompanied by an adult as they may be unable/unsafe to go around it on their own. 
  • Miniland
    If only for a few minutes, you must make time to visit this particular attraction - the area is a Legoland Minilandcollection of old and new models, and the sheer work and attention to detail involved is quite stunning to see. The attraction is divided into various sections representing different countries, cities and places. Particularly noteworthy are the City of London, Wembly Stadium and Edinburgh Castle, and there are plenty of moving parts, vehicles and people, along with a multitude of familiar landmarks to keep children entertained. This is a large area with so much to see, and you will need a fair amount of time if you want a decent look around.
  • Star Wars Miniland Experience
    This is situated near to the entrance/exit (The Beginning), and we visited this area towards the end of the day which seemed to avoid many of the inevitable crowds. The 'experience' is indoors, laid out in darkened rooms which follow from one to the other, with animated and interactive scenes from each of the Star Wars films featuring familiar ships, characters and selected battle scenes. Especially impressive is the Millenium Falcon and the Return of the Jedi scene. Brilliant stuff if you're into Star Wars, but it may be lost on those not familiar with the films. On exiting the experience you come straight out into an adjoined LEGO Star Wars store with a whole host of (pricey) Star Wars related LEGO products to tempt you into getting your wallet out. Also new however is a Last Chance Marketplace situated directly above the Star wars store where you might be able to grab yourself a bargain on discontinued and discounted LEGO products.

Legoland foodAs I mentioned in my previous review, LEGOLAND Windsor is certainly good as getting you to spend lots of money once you're in the park, thanks to its abundance of well positioned merchandise stores, vending machines and 'quick bite' food stalls dotted around the park and also in the queues, offering a good selection of products - although be sure to adequately factor in money for extras such as coffee, ice-creams and sweets as these can add up pretty quickly. There are a couple of new and very tasty looking eating establishments which have appeared this year, and be sure to look out for meal deals in the family restaurants (e.g. kids eat free after 4pm). If you prefer to bring your own food into the venue, then the Enchanted Forest is a lovely peaceful place to enjoy a picnic, with plenty of available seating. 

Overall, despite our gripes about the general expense and waiting times that we have experienced in the venue, we all had a really enjoyable (if tiring) day at LEGOLAND Windsor, and one that the kids will remember long afterwards...definitely worth a visit, even if you can only every afford to go once in your lifetime!

For more information on LEGOLAND, visit their website at www.legoland.co.uk.

To go to our previous review of LEGOLAND, please click here.


Click here to go to all product reviews

Click here to go to all articles