Thursday, 23 August 2018

Legoland Windsor Resort Hotel - Honest Review

We have just returned from a trip to Legoland Windsor Resort Hotel so here's my honest review. It was our first visit. The entrance was as expected for me and the kids LOVED it. Check in easy and baggage drop off a good service and very friendly staff member.

I was disappointed hotel guests only get 30 mins early access although did know prior to going. I really believe for the cost an hour should be standard. When we visited only Kingdom of the Pharaohs was open at 9.30 so we did Laser Raiders which everyone enjoyed but the other rides in this section were a little babyish for my children so it's not a great advantage.

Our room (pirates) was clean, tidy and had everything you needed. It was a little too warm and air conditioning didn't seem to work but we slept ok. Beds were comfortable, shower great and tea/coffee selection.
Legoland Hotel Windsor Ninjago character
Legoland Windsor Hotel
The Lego Lounge was brilliant very calm compared to downstairs. Small PlayStation room, movie den and brick pit. Only criticism needed more bricks!

Bricks restaurant was an experience. I hadn't realised was buffet only and probably would have eaten elsewhere. Was £67.80 for 4 people. The food was ok and lots of choice but sooo busy. Dirty tables everywhere. Hard to find clean cutlery. At home we usually pay £40 to £50. I knew it would be expensive but was a little surprised at the cost. It was not value for money in my opinion. If possible I would definitely eat elsewhere. From other reviews some people drive into Windsor for dinner.

Breakfast is included and in Bricks again. Similar experience. Busy, dirty tables, no cutlery etc. Staff seemed chaotic. Food ok. Kids were happy. Would I eat there again? Given the choice NO but if staying at the hotel I don't think there's another option.

Swimming pool was a big hit with my kids and lovely staff. You do need to book which is slightly annoying although understandable as so many guests. I think it should be much bigger and made into a real feature of the hotel. Could be a huge selling point for the hotel especially for Winter guests when the park isn't open. Flumes, lazy river etc (Legoland take note!). Changing rooms clean and good size, no money needed for lockers and towels provided.

Parking great especially as day guests have to pay £6 (I enormously disagree with this. Should be included in ticket price). Just over the road and lots of spaces.

Do I think it's good value? We booked over 7 months ago during a promo. £350 for 2 days in park and 1 night in pirate room. I was happy with this. If I'd paid full price I would have been disappointed. Needs longer guest only access to park, better dining experience and larger swimming pool.

Did the kids love it? 100% yes and they want to go again next year.



Legoland Windsor Review & Tips

We have just returned from a trip to Legoland Windsor. Here's my review and some top tips. 

The kids LOVED it and that is the main thing and I would return but there are a few things that as an adult that are very irritating about Legoland.

I found the amount of win a teddy kiosks enormously off putting and unnecessary. It's just another way to get money out of parents. I also believe there should be more drinking water fountains and/or cheaper bottles of water on sale. Definitely take a picnic the food is as expected very experience and not the best quality. There's lots of picnic spots dotted about although many people just snack in the queues.

Unless you plan well you will be in huge queues all day. I would recommend using the app and heading to the rear of the park first. I had done a lot of research before going but obviously you cannot tell queue times or what rides maybe closed but the planning 100% helped.

The Ninjago ride had a 40 minute queue time but was actually over an hour. Later in the day it was 90 mins! If short on time I would skip this ride as although good not worth the queue time.

Mia's adventure often had a short queue (under 30 mins) and our whole family enjoyed it. Another great one with shortish queues was the Squid Surfer and my kids loved the Raft Racer but you do get VERY wet! Be prepared.

Pirates of Skeleton Bay
Unfortunately the Dragon was closed which we were really disappointed about as got there early to beat the queue but did mean we got on Pirate Falls (Log flume) in just a 10 minutes. Later in the day it was 90! If the log flume is a must for you head there early or very late.

The park was clean, tidy and fun. Certain sections of miniland are looking very faded and Drench Towers seriously needs more changing rooms/toilets but I thought it was well laid out.

I would definitely see a show Pirates of Skeleton Bay was brilliant and a good chance to rest your feet, eat a snack and chill out. Head there 15+ mins early though to get a seat.

We didn't use any of the play areas although Castaway Camp looked great but time didn't allow.

Our top rides were (in no particular order) -
Mia's Adventure
Jolly Rocker
Squid Surfer
Raft Racer
Pirate Falls
Coastguard HQ

One's we wouldn't do again -
Lego City Driving School- too slow, some cars didn't work very well and you have to pay for driving licence which let's face it the kids all want.
Ninjago- huge queue times. Good ride but not amazing. My daughter didn't like the 4D element as scared of spiders!
Skyrider- shorter than expected. Nice view of miniland but nothing special. 

We didn't go on any rides in Duplo Valley (expect raft racers) due to time and age of children so cannot comment on this zone.

We were disappointed with Kingdom of the Pharaohs as kids thought it was a bit babyish but it obviously depends of the age of your children.

In short absolutely great for Lego fans and my kids loved it and would go back tomorrow.

Legoland please remove some of the teddy/arcade stalls, put in more water fountains and improve food quality and value. 

Parents be prepared to queue and HAVE FUN!

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Friday, 3 August 2018

Outside Swimming and Splashparks near Northampton

Northampton has loads of country parks and outside spaces for the kids to get rid of some energy and be in the fresh air.  Northampton does not have many outdoor swimming pools or splash parks and considering we are pretty much as far away the sea as possible this can be annoying in the height of summer.

Over the last few weeks I have been researching places to go.  I couldn't find any in Northampton but most are not far.  

Splash park at the Embankment Wellingborough

Children's water play next to the River Nene at The Embankment, Wellingborough NN8 1LD. Completely free!  Currently open every day 12pm to 6.30pm.  Toilets, small play area, picnic tables and regular ice cream van make this a great day out.  Sometimes there is a mini fair next door and you can see canal boats drift by and lots of swans. Approx 20 minute drive from Northampton.

Wellingborough splashpark 

Wellingborough splashpark 

Wellingborough Splash Park

Woburn Lido

The Swimming Pool is approx. 22m x 8m and is heated! It costs £7 per adult and £4.50 per child under 3's are FREE.  You can purchase a family ticket (2 adults and 2 children) £20. It is cash only so please remember to get some on your way and run by voluteers. There is parking available at the Lido but if this is full you can use the car park at the village hall or behind the Woburn Hotel and walk the short distance.  You can call 01525 290611 to confirm opening times or check their Facebook page which is updated regularly. The address is Woburn Lido, Crawley Road, Woburn, MK17 9QG.It is approximately 30 miles from Northampton. Please check online for opening times as currently operating a new timetable due to heatwave!
Woburn Lido
Picture from Woburn Lido Website
Eversholt Swimming Pool

Lovely village location outdoor pool.  Open dailt 1pm to 7pm and operates 3 swim sessions. 1.15-3.00, 3.15-5.00, 5.15-7.00.  Sessions can be booked by phone or in person from 11.30am. on the day itself. £5 per adult and £4 per child spectators are free.  Children’s playground and playing fields next week. Snacks, hot drinks and cold drinks are available onsite. Changing room facilities with hot showers.  Run by volunteers.  Call  01525 280515. Postcode MK17 9DT.  Approximately 30 miles from Northampton.

Eversholt Swimming Pool

Willen Lake open water swimming & splash park

You can book an open water sessions for a new experience. (Updated covid open Saturday/Sunday mornings & Tuesday/Thursday evening - no changing facilities open) £6 per session or 10 for £55. Water temp was 22.2 Celsius 20th August a leisure pool is between 26 & 28 so prepare to be a little chilly!
Willen Lake is also home to Splash 'n' Play with 60 features and £5 per 45 minute session. (updated covid open from 18th July reduced capacity all tickets must be booked online, only 1 adult per child, no changing facilities available).

Olney Swimming Steps (all summer long) 

The River Ouse runs through Olney and the swimming steps are popular with locals to take a paddle/dip.  Signs do state no swimming so please take care.

Rutland Water Beach

Rutland water is open all year round but the beach is open 30th June 2018 to 2nd September 2018.  
The bathing area is currently open 10am to 6pm.  The Beach at Sykes Lane, (post code LE15 8QL) can get very busy but does have overflow car parks and they ask you have your money ready to ease the flow of traffic. Entry is £10.00 per car before 3pm, £5.00 per car after 3pm. 
PLEASE NOTE - The beach will be closed until 2pm on Wednesday 8th August 2018 for a fresh sand delivery.  Approx 40 miles from Northampton and 1 hour journey.

Bosworth Water Park
Water swimming, pirate adventure playground, crazy golf (£3 per person, £10 family of four), pedalos, row boats and canoes (£15 per half hour) and fishing.  Payment to the park is per vehicle and on an hourly basis.  It also depends on time of year for August it is £2.50 per hour midweek and £3 per hour weekend.  Camping is also available and they have some lakeside lodges.  Postcode CV13 6PD Approx 45 miles from Northampton 1 hour 15 mins.

Go and have some watery fun!!!  If there's anywhere you would recommend let me know.
Emma xxx

All details per August 2018. 

**I have been to the Embankment and my children had a great time and a brilliant value day out.  My son went to Bosworth on a school trip and loved it but I have not been myself.  Olney is wonderful but please be respectful of parking & take ALL your rubbish with you.  The other venues are just ones I have researched but not visited**