Legoland: the Mumsnet survival guide

A trip to Legoland Windsor is a great day out for all the family - but it pays to be prepared

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Getting there

Aim to arrive early. The park is officially open from 10 am - however, you can get through the main gates and into the square from around 9:30 am.

If you are driving in from the M4 Junction 6 (Slough/Windsor) or M25 Junction 13 (Staines), it is definitely worth following the signed alternative route, which is longer but quicker.

Be aware if races are on at Ascot as the roads will be busier.

Premium parking is only marginally closer than normal parking.


Getting in and passing go

There are coupons and offers galore to bring entrance costs down and you can also save by booking online in advance. To get the best price, don't buy tickets on the gate. Redeeming Tesco points is cost effective, although you can only swap for an annual pass, not day tickets. If you have a three-to five-year-old, the pre-school annual pass is a great buy: £50 for unlimited weekday, term-time visits for one child plus one accompanying adult. 

Before 10am you can still get through the gates to the main square at the top of the park. There are shops (you can hire a buggy here), a cafe and toilets, plus Q-Bot hire - see Getting around for more details. If your child is under 90cm they will not reach height restrictions for every ride. If they scrape just over 90cm, get them measured at customer services - they will issue a wristband to say your child is okay to ride, which will save you arguing with every single ride attendant.

Once the main gates open, the consensus seems to be not to take the train down. Plough on down the hill and maintain your position within the crowds. Taking the train may mean less walking, but it's actually quicker to walk down the hill. Save the train ride for back up the hill at the end of the day when you're tired - your feet will thank you for it. 

Before you set off into the main park, go to customer services upon entering to get wristbands for your children to write your mobile number on, just in case anyone gets lost. If you don't get the wristbands, just use a pen to write your number on your children's arms.


What to bring

  • A change of clothes and something warm. Except for shops, cafes and a handful of attractions, everything is outdoors, so bring plenty of extra clothing for all. Be warned: the water rides get you very wet. If you are soaked through, there are dryers around the park for £1.
  • A pram/buggy. Even if your children no longer need one to get around: it's somewhere to dump the picnic and drinks while you're on rides, and you may find it useful if your children are slow walkers, too.
  • Pushchairs can also be hired from the Big Shop at the park entrance: a single pushchair costs £9 and double costs £14. There are buggy parks at the rides. 
  • Remember a small rucksack or cross body bag for your valuables to take on the rides. A waterproof one is a great idea. 
  • A picnic and plethora of snacks and drinks. This will save money and save you having to think too much about what you're eating and when. It is also sensible to pack some food/snacks for the journey home as you are in for a long day. If you are looking for somewhere to eat later in the day, you may be able to bag a bargain: children eat for free at some restaurants after 3 pm.
  • Your own swimming gear. Join the kids in the splash area to cool down on hot days. 
  • And it goes without saying: don't forget comfy shoes, sunglasses, sun hats, rain macs, insect repellent, and all the usual family-day-out paraphernalia. 

Getting around

Forward planning pays dividends. Print off the map and get your bearings before arrival. Research what rides your children really, really want to go on and plan a sensible route that incorporates as many as possible.

Q-Bots are incredibly nifty pieces of technology that hold your place in the queue and will notify you when it's time to ride via a handheld pager or your smartphone. On a busy day a Q-Bot will make life easier but, of course, they come with a price tag. The standard £15 Q-Bot gives you the same waiting time as everyone in the actual queue - it just means you can go off and do other things rather than actually standing in line. The £30 Express Q-Bot cuts your waiting time by half, and the £70 Ultimate Q-Bot bumps you straight to the front. You will need one Q-Bot per person, per ride, so a family of four will need four Q-Bots if they all want to ride together.

You can decide to buy a Q-Bot on the day - and if you pick a quiet day you might find queues more manageable. However, if you really want one, book ahead - there are a limited number. And remember to return them at the end of the day, or you'll be charged £50 for each. Whether you are armed with Q-Bots or not, the consensus seems to be to head towards the busiest rides first - or whatever rides your DC would be devastated not to go on.

If you don't have a buggy to carry around your belongings, there are lockers at the top square (park entrance) and by the splash park. These require a £1 coin which is non-refundable.

You may well be persuaded to part from more of your money in the gift shops, but don't worry about precariously balancing expensive Lego kits in your buggy while you walk around the park: if you buy stuff in any of the shops, you can arrange to collect it on the way out.


Getting out

legoland cars

  • If you can (and you are not reading this for the first time on your way back to the car) pay for parking online first. It saves queuing for pay machines at end of day.
     
  • Prepare for an exhausting final slog to get out of the car park. Everyone is tired and tempers will be short. Whack on the air-con/wind down windows, turn on the iPads/stereo and dig deep.
     
  • Follow the magical alternate route and it will save you about 1 hour in travel time as everyone floods out of the park. Upon exiting Legoland at the bottom of the hill, turn right towards Ascot for all routes.
     
  • One final piece of travel advice from a Mumsnetter who's been there:

"Do not be tempted to go left towards Windsor if traffic is not moving. Turning right will take you to the M4 Junction 5 in 20 minutes and M25 Junction 13 in 25 minutes. Turning left will take you to Junction 6 on the M4 in 1 hour+ at closing time. You have been warned!"
 

And finally:

Enjoy it! The kids will have a blast and will be shattered that evening. You may need a stiff gin and tonic, of course.drinking out of bottle 

 

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Last updated: about 2 months ago