Right, let’s just get one thing straight from the off about LegoLand: it isn’t cheap.
A quick-fire Google search for a standard room for a weekend in the summer holidays returned a rate of, wait for it, £876.
Of course, that is peak rate for the busiest time of year and staying at the LegoLand Hotel but, even so, certainly beyond the pocket of most working families. So you will need to stalk the fluctuations in price and seize upon the right deal for you when it pops up.
It is, of course, the reviewer’s duty to get said the awkward truths that the PRs will never utter, and so with that out of the way, I can address what is quite simply a magical place that every child ought to experience at least once, preferably whilst they are young enough to be enchanted by it.
Aged two and five-years-old, my boys had the time of their lives, and it begins from the moment you walk in the door of the hotel.
Whilst the larger-than-life Lego-assembled characters are impressive in themselves, it was actually the creative building stations that draw the children in, allowing them to freestyle with the humble block upon which this company was founded whilst the particulars of check-in are completed.
Now, some will know this and others won’t, but placing these pits of bricks in the foyer draws on the very essence of Lego’s founding ethos, the name being coined from the shunting together of the Danish words ‘leg godt’, meaning play well. It is no fluke that the children are invited to play from the moment they are guests. That’s what Lego do.
Sticking with the hotel for a moment, the quest upon which the children must embark as they enter the accommodation is a brilliant touch. A secure safe sits locked in the centre of the room, the only way to release the bind is to solve the riddle from clues that are hidden in the walls and carpets around the room. And treasure awaits.
As you might expect from the inventors of the twice-crowned ‘Toy of the Century’ these guys are masters of the art of capturing our attention and captivating the imaginations of anyone imbued with a spirit of fun and adventure.
But, I am pleased to report, this theme park hotel is as serious about looking after the grown ups as it is the children, and that is where some high-profile theme parks let themselves down. LegoLand doesn’t. The food served in the hotel’s restaurants is up to a good standard and is certainly something to look forward to after a long day of exploration and discovery around the park.
And what a park! From submarine voyages around Atlantis to the new addition – and quite spectacular – Haunted House Party; there is more than enough around the place to provide you with a different day out every time you visit.
It is impossible to reel off all of the highlights – this is a sprawling facility with endless rides and attractions to choose from – though the 4D cinema with fire and water coming at you and the jet-spray swimming pool are right up there.
Then, the pièce de résistance: LegoLand Miniature Village. Painstakingly put together by skilled craftsmen and women – some of whom are on display, beavering away at their latest creations in little viewing capsules – this ought to be awarded Wonder of the World status, not least because it completely changed the way my five-year-old thinks about what is now possible with Lego.
If that translates into a shift in his perspective of his potential in the world, that in itself is worth saving for.
- Lego was founded in 1932 by Ole Kirk Kristiansen.
- The company has actually passed down the generations from father to son, and is now owned by Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, a grandchild of the founder.
- It was originally a small carpenter’s wood shop and in 1939 – 80 years ago - employed just 10 people.
- The Lego brick as we know it did not come about until 1958.
- In 2018 the Lego Foundation gave away $100m to Sesame Workshop to help children caught up in wars around the world. Visit www.legolandholidays.co.uk for full prices and latest offers.