Building on a successful formula

THERE’S no need to hit a brick wall if you’re stuck for a great place to take the kids this summer, writes Steve Sims.

Legoland Windsor is celebrating its 15th season this year and with Lego being voted the number one toy in a recent TV poll, we had the foundations for an exciting adventure when I took the family along to check out the facilities.

It may have been open a number of years now but this is one children’s themepark keen to build on its success with new rides and attractions opening all the time.

The varied zones all offer something completely different, from Duplo Land which includes some more gentler rides for the little ones to Pirates Landing which features the fearsome Pirate Falls Dynamite Drench – which made a splash with my five-year-old daughter despite the fact it was quite a chilly day.

Other themes include Traffic, Lego City, Adventure Land, Kingdom of the Pharaohs, Knights Kingdom and Land of the Vikings – something to please all tastes.

There’s also the impressive Miniland – a model village which gobbles up nearly 40 million (count them!) bricks. The largest model is Canary Wharf Tower which is 5.2 metres tall and took three model makers 850 hours to complete using 200,000 bricks.

Scenes from the USA and Europe are featured, complete with sounds, traffic, trains and boats – and my two-year-old son spent most of his time chasing the trains across the landscape.

A new creation this year is a unique tribute to the Royal Wedding, with the happy couple shown returning to Buckingham Palace after the ceremony and waving from the balcony with fellow royals to the crowds of well-wishers below. The scene took over 30 hours to build using 10,000 bricks.

Visit the Lego Creation Centre and you can see those dedicated model makers working on the next big thing. There’s also a gallery of Lego portraits and celebrity heads to wander through and amaze you.

At just under 50 miles from Luton. If you get a clear drive across the M1, M25 and M4 you can be there in an hour. With so much to see it’s a challenge to see and have a go at the full range of attractions – and next time I may well opt for a hotel stay to take travel time out of the equation. But to make life a little easier on that front, Legoland Hotel is opening on the site this summer.

There’s also a new attraction scheduled to launch early summer called the Atlantis Submarine Voyage, yet another excuse to venture back.

And later this year you won’t want to miss (well the kids won’t to miss) Legoland Live! My First Festival. It’s on July 16 and features Postman Pat, Fireman Sam, the Zingzillas, Fifi & The Flowertots and Roary The Racing Car all taking to the stage for a singing and dancing show.

Worn out and exhausted from their outing (they even slept in the following day until a record 7.20am!), it didn’t take long for the excitement to build in the Sims children when they were promised a return Legoland visit very soon!

For more details about Legoland see www.legoland.co.uk

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