Splash and Play at DUPLO Valley in LEGOLAND Windsor
If you are in need of a fantastic, totally kid-focused, fun packed family adventure, an overnight stay at LEGOLAND Windsor is definitely the place to go!
My husband and I trotted off on the two hour journey to Windsor with our three year old and one year old in tow, fully expecting that what the park had to offer would be nice, but limited for our very young kids. How wrong could we be?!?! Both of them had the time of their lives and I have never seen our baby son look more enthused and animated!
We started off at DUPLOÂ® Valley - a splash area, with water slides aimed at toddlers (and older children!), filled with life size animals and water shoots galore. The kids did enjoy the splashing around and watching the huge red brick soak everybody, but the weather was not the warmest, and wet suits were required for the kids to fully immerse themselves in the water fun. There were, nonetheless, haystack dryers at the ready to warm them up, although be prepared to part with Â£2 per go!
We then decided to explore the rest of the park before checking into the LEGOLAND Hotel. Despite our expectations that our three year old might be limited for choice, she easily made the 0.9m height restriction that applied on many of the rides and found herself in a wonderland of thrills and adventures. She particularly enjoyed the pirate ship, the log flume, chair swing and the Knight's Kingdom climbing area, yet the highlight of her afternoon, was the open-air Â“pirate showÂ”. The show reminded me of a mini pantomime, but with amusing stunt-man style water dives. The baby, was contented to toddle around soaking in the atmosphere, but even he managed a boat trip down the Fairy Tale Brook and was in total awe of the Â“Star WarsÂ” Lego exhibit.
As the park is inevitably busy (and queues are a fact of park life, so try to go with young ones outside of the school holidays!), there is the constant worry that your child may get carried away and lose sight of you. It was reassuring to witness therefore a little one being reunited with his father by the security team. Having momentarily lost sight of our three year old a few minutes previously, leading to a minute or two of blind panic whilst I searched for her, I decided to quiz the security team on their procedures. I have to say I felt reassured by the park-wide systems they had in place to locate and safeguard lost children.
We then headed off to Bricks Restaurant, where the whole family could eat as much as they wanted. Although it wasn't the cheapest (Â£18.95 per adult and Â£6.95 per child) the food far exceeded my expectations, as the range and quality was excellent. The children's selection included a good mix of nutritious items, as well as the usual junk options that they love! The best part of the evening, however, had to be the kids' entertainment show. If you are hoping for a quiet meal
and a drink with the kids calmly drawing, then this isn't the restaurant for you! The whole central lobby was filled with cheesy music, whilst the children danced with Â“Olli the dragonÂ” in a session of musical bumps.
As this show is conveniently put on prior to the kids' bedtime at about 6.30, we wrestled the kids up to our room for bed, only to find even more exciting surprises in store (Bang goes calm bedtime!). The room was brilliantly themed as a Pirate Ship, with a pirate bunk bed and treasure hunt, culminating in the code to a pirate chest with a Lego surprise inside! The rooms were comfortable, with the kids area separated from the parents' area (and room for a baby's cot in with us). There were also separate TVs in each zone, with a decently priced offer of snacks, two drinks and a movie for Â£10. Well worthwhile when you have to retire to the hotel room by 7:00 pm! Surprisingly, we didn't hear any noise from the tens of other families with kids in the hotel, which either meant that the walls were soundproofed, or we were the annoying ones making all the noise!?
All in all, we had a fantastic weekend break with the kids. Although quite expensive, considering how much you can do in an overnight stay in LEGOLAND Windsor and how much the children get out of it, I would definitely recommend it to anyone in need of an intensive child focused break!
by Kim Morgan and family May 2013
The LEGOLANDÂ® Windsor Resort is a family theme park for children aged 2-12. It has over 55 interactive rides, attractions, live shows, building workshops and driving schools, and a staggering 80 million LEGOÂ® bricks, all set in 150 acres of parkland. The LEGOLAND Windsor Resort opens from 16 March Â– 4 November 2013. It is closed on selected midweek days in May, September, October and November. For further details please check www.LEGOLAND.co.uk. LEGOLAND Windsor Resort is free for under threes!