As I mentioned in my most recent post, the young emeralds and I went on a UK road trip in August this year. First stop on our trip was Legoland Windsor.
We spent one full day at Legoland, from 10am to 6pm. We only left at 6pm because our feet could not take any more walking – the park was actually open until 7pm. The young emeralds had a ball. Despite the August crowds, we got to try lots of different rides, there really is something there for kids of all ages.
To be honest, one day is not long enough to visit Legoland Windsor. You do need a minimum of two days to get the full benefit of your visit – which is probably why their website advertises 2-day ticket offers. As our time was limited, I asked the girls to choose one ride each that they really really wanted to visit. We did those first. 9yo chose the Legoland Driving School – she really wanted that driving licence.
13yo chose LaserQuest, where we got to shoot lasers at snakes and mummies – Indiana Jones style – as we travelled through a Lego pyramid. The only other ‘must visit’ on their list was the 4-D cinema. That cinema is worth a visit. We got rained on, snowed on, and sneezed on by a dragon while we watched a movie there. (Note: Don’t sit in the middle section if you don’t want to get wet!)
And now for some hints and info for any of you considering a visit to Legoland Windsor. First things first, entrance tickets. I used Tesco vouchers to buy our one day entrance tickets, so the cost was a very reasonable €11 per person in vouchers. I sent our vouchers to Tesco and got an entry voucher which we had to exchange for tickets once we got to Legoland. The downside to buying tickets this way is that you have to queue at the ticket booths once you get to LEGOLAND (at least you do if you have the Irish vouchers, it may not be the same if you have UK vouchers). If you book online directly with Legoland (not involving Tesco vouchers) you pay more for your tickets but get to enter the park immediately at the turnstiles without visiting the ticket booth. Because we were there in August the queue at the ticket booth was well over half an hour. If you go outside of UK school holidays then I imagine the queues are a lot shorter.
Secondly, food. We heard that eating in Legoland is expensive and that the food is not great. So we brought our own. We bought our food – sausage rolls, sandwiches, fruit etc – from the M&S section in a Petrol Station near our hotel (after failing to find an ordinary supermarket in the area). There are lockers provided at Legoland so we were able to leave the food there while we enjoyed the park. We did buy one refillable Legoland drink bottle in the park. It costs about £7 but can be constantly refilled during your visit at any of the drink vending booths. And sharing is caring so we shared our one bottle!
Finally, where to stay? We stayed at the Beaumont Estate in Old Windsor. The reviews on trip advisor are very mixed but I have to say it was a lovely hotel, freshly decorated and very clean. It is huge and sprawling, and some rooms are quite a walk from reception, but the kids loved the walk from our room to the restaurant/reception area. And the grounds of the hotel are beautiful and include a children’s play area. There were LOTS of families with kids staying at the hotel – the restaurant at breakfast time was very busy and noisy - but that’s to be expected when it is so close to Legoland. We got a 20% discount on our booking by signing up for the hotel newsletter before we booked. I then booked our room directly on their website using the discount code.
The only downside to the Beaumont Estate Hotel is that the evening buffet isn’t great. The breakfast buffet was fine, but the choice wasn’t so good for dinner and the á la carte menu didn’t interest us. So each evening we went to the local Harvester pub for our evening meal. “The Bells of Ouzely” is just outside the hotel’s entrance gates and their food is freshly cooked and really tasty at a reasonable price. The staff are very friendly and efficient too.
The Runnymede Hotel was also recommended to us for accommodation but was slightly outside our budget for this trip. We drove by the hotel one day and it is in a lovely location right beside the river and looked like a really nice place to stay. So that might be another option for you to consider if you are heading that way.
Hope this info helps any of you considering a visit to Legoland Windsor. Any questions? Use my contact page or twitter, I’ll be glad to help.