This time last week we were on our way to Legoland Windsor. It was our second visit so I thought I would share my thoughts and tips for taking children under 5. We first visited 18 months ago when F was 2 and a half. This time she was just 4 and E was 11 months.
There is plenty to do for under 5’s and we even took E on a few rides that she enjoyed too. F enjoyed it both times but got a lot more out of it this time. The minimum height for some rides is 0.9 meters so I’d say it’s worth waiting until your child is that height to really enjoy the park. That said there are some rides that children under this height can go on which is worth noting if you are taking a younger sibling.
Rides for toddlers and preschoolers
There is Duplo valley which is specifically for under 5’s but there are rides in other areas they can ride on too. The Duplo area is great though. There is Fairy Tale brook, a very small train, a small helicopter ride, raft racers, Brickville (a playground) and Safari splash which is a water play area for under 5’s (this is next to a much bigger drench towers area for children over 0.9 m) and the Duplo puppet theatre.
F loved Safari Splash when she was younger and I’m guessing she would have this time too but we just didn’t have time this time round and it was raining when we arrived in Duplo valley. We also, unfortunately, missed the shows at the Duplo puppet theatre this time round. They are based on classic fairy tales. Last time round we watched 3 little pigs and F loved it.
Other rides that F enjoyed both at aged 2 and 4 were Coast Guard HQ, Balloon school and a classic merry go round.
Since she was over 0.9 meters this time she was able to go on more rides, accompanied by one of us. Her favourites were squid squirters and the learner driver school. She went on the dragon’s apprentice, a children’s roller coaster but she didn’t enjoy it.
Rides for babies
We took our 11-month-old on Atlantis Submarine Voyage, Heartlake City Express and Fairy Tale Brook. You can find a list of all the rides with no minimum height on Legolands website. On the day we visited this year, the hill train was not working but it is good for getting up the hill to the entrance to Legoland. As you can see from the list there are more rides we could have taken her on but she slept quite a bit in her pram. When we first visited and F was 2, these were the only rides we used. It was a slightly busier day in September so we did queue a bit more than last week and she had a nap in her pram. Even so, we managed to fill the day and all had fun.
Atlantis Submarine Voyage is an indoor boat ride which is meant to seem like you are going underwater in a submarine. The submarines do not go under water but the only windows are low down under the water so it feels like it. Underwater are lots of lego models and also a variety of fish and small sharks. We all enjoyed this ride, even our 11-month-old as it’s quite sensory. I have no photos of the ride as it is dark and flash photography is not permitted.
Heartlake City Express is a train that goes around some of the park and Fairy Tale Brook is a slow moving boat ride with lots of large lego sculptures of different fairy tale characters around it (and music and narrative playing). For both rides, babies can not sit on your lap and need to sit unaided on the seat next to an adult. At 11 months E could do this (obviously, one of us was holding on to her, more to stop her moving off than to support her).
We were so lucky on this visit. We didn’t have to queue for any rides so we worked out afterward that F had been on over 20 rides (this includes going on a few multiple times). At busy times be prepared for queuing and getting on fewer rides.
We love lego and lego sculptures so the first time we visited we spent F’s nap time looking at all the miniature lego sculptures of all over the world. This time we had a much shorter look around. F was fascinated by some of them especially the ones with moving parts like boats, trains etc. Obviously, though she lost interest pretty quick and wanted to get back to the rides.
We enjoyed the pirates of skeleton bay stunt show on both visits. This features gymnastics, explosions, slapstick fights, water sprays and jet skies. It is on several times a day at the Heartlake marina. Arrive early as even on the quiet days we visited it got quiet busy. This area is in full sun so make sure you have sun cream and hats for little ones if required. There are signs around the edge showing which areas are splash zones and which are drench zones so it worth picking where you sit carefully. We’ve sat in a splash zone at the top of the steps and never felt more than a little spray of water.
There is also a lego friends show some days. We caught a bit of it last time (lots of singing and dancing) but it was not on the day we visited this year. The following photo was taken in September 2015. The burger kitchen in the background is now a Fish and chip cafe.
There is also a 4d cinema showing short films but we’ve never been in this.
Food and drink
Food prices and quality is as you would expect for a theme park. There are lots of outlets for both around the park. Not all of them were open on the day we visited since it is low season. However, there was still plenty of choices.
If you can take a picnic, there are plenty of places to enjoy it. Our favourite place to eat is on the marina steps, watching the pirates of skeleton bay show.
There are lots of shops selling Lego throughout the park. We didn’t spend a lot of time in them this year as F was not bothered by them. Last time we bought her a Duplo set and it was the same price as the high street. I love this pick a brick wall, just look at the colours.
If you need somewhere to stay over then consider Legoland hotel or a travel lodge, premier inn or similar. We paid £90 for one night at the Legoland hotel as part of a splash and stay deal. The park was not open on the day we checked in but it was the following day. It was a lot more expensive to stay on the day the park was open. We stayed in a premier inn, a short 30 minute drive away. Legoland hotel is fantastic for kids and you get in the park 30 minutes earlier than the gates open. I will be writing more about our stay next week.
On our first visit, we stayed in a travel lodge in the centre of Windsor. Family rooms at travel lodge or premier inns were very affordable and perfect for our needs on short stopovers. I wrote about visiting Windsor with a toddler here. The Legoland website allows you to search for short breaks at their hotel and nearby cheaper options. They also offer an exclusive 2nd day in the park for free.
- Visit during the week in term time if you can. The park will be a lot quieter so you’ll have to queue a lot less.
- You can usually find a 2 for 1 ticket deal with a well know cereal brand. These 2 for 1 tickets need to be purchased on the day, at the hotel or park entrance. Since we needed 3 tickets, we purchased one online in advance (as this was about £10 cheaper) and used the 2 for 1 voucher on the day. On our first visit, we paid around £5 using vouchers from a well-known newspaper.
- Take swimwear and towels if you plan to go in Safari Splash or Drench Towers. All children under 6 years require a supervising adult (also in swimwear).
- Download the Legoland app for show times, ride queue times and much more.
- Ride queue times are shown around the park on digital display boards so you can plan where to head next.
- If like us you take along a baby who is not able to go on the majority of the rides ask about parent swap. We didn’t need to use it on this visit as there were hardly any queues but at busy times it means that both parents get a go on the ride without you having to queue twice and the child gets to go on twice. The website says it is not available on some rides but since we didn’t need to use it, I don’t know which.
- If you do stay nearby, you might find my post on visiting Windsor with a toddler helpful.