Tuesday, August 02, 2016

The Ultimate list of LEGOLAND Tips!

Welcome back to our solo parent road trip across the UK, where I took four of my five children for some summer fun. Last week I told you about an unbelievable deal I got with Stena Line, if you haven’t seen it catch up HERE. We were staying at the Holiday Inn Express in Slough and had a hire car so we were only a 10 minute drive from Legoland Windsor. If you’re coming here just for Legoland tips you’ve hit the jackpot!

Public transport to Legoland from Central London

You can get a GWR train from Paddington Station this stops at the train station right beside the Holiday Inn Express in Slough to Windsor & Eton Central with a journey time of about 30 minutes. Alternatively you can get a South West Train from London Waterloo to Windsor & Eton Riverside; this has a longer journey time of about an hour. There are numerous buses you can take from either train station the short journey to Legoland.

If you’re staying at the Holiday Inn in Slough the easiest way would probably be getting a taxi costing £20-£24 for the 10 minute journey, there is a disadvantage though, if there’s a large amount of traffic which there is during peak season it could cost a lot more.

How to get the best deal on tickets to Legoland Windsor

I spent a while researching this as I was bringing 4 children, I’m always trying to find the cheapest and easiest way possible to do things. It’s worth spending some time planning rather than wasting a lot of money.

Gate Prices at Legoland

If we paid at the gate it’d take an age in the queue and cost £50.40 per adult and £46.20 per child a total of £235.20/€278.01. Under 3’s are free.

Online with Legoland

There are a few options for tickets and offers available online directly with Legoland some even include a meal and a surprise with a price tag of a whopping £73pp/€86.29 and a requirement of a minimum purchase of 3 tickets. The further in advance you book the better deal you can get, ticket prices start at £37/€43.74 per adult/child when booked more than 7 days in advance. If you book online you can avoid the main queue and head straight to the turnstiles where you can scan the barcode from your mobile or your pre-printed tickets.

TESCO Boost Vouchers for Legoland

If you’re a Clubcard member with Tesco you can exchange €11 for either an adult or a child ticket to Legoland. These can be ordered online and are usually received within a week. Skip the main queue outside Legoland and head directly to the ticket collection point beside the turnstiles with your Tesco vouchers.

Kellogg’s Vouchers

Over the last couple of years Kellogg’s have a great Grown-Ups Go Free offer on promotional boxes of cereal and cereal bars. Did you know that printed on the inside of the cereal boxes is a code that you can use online to pre-book your tickets? This means that you can skip the huge queue at the main gate and head directly to the turnstiles with your pre-printed tickets.

If you are using the voucher cut out from the box you must join the main queue.

Stone Travel Paying it Forward Tip: If you use your Kellog's voucher to book online your physical voucher is still valid so we brought a fistful to let the little ones give out to other queuing families. Gave them the boost of doing a good deed & helped other families while we were at it. It's win/win.

Cadbury’s Vouchers

You’ll find a 2 for 1 fun day out voucher on selected promotional packets of Cadbury’s, you’ll need to cut it out and bring it to the resort. Unfortunately you have to queue in the main queue using this voucher.

How I Saved Over €220 on Legoland Tickets

Don’t be afraid to mix it up like we did. I used 3 Tesco vouchers costing €33 from my Tesco points balance so it didn’t cost me anything really as I earn points every time I pay my electricity or mobile phone bill. I also pre-booked online with Kellogg’s using a Grown-Ups Go Free voucher code costing £46.20/€54.61. That’s all I paid for 1 adult and 4 children, just under €55!

Stone Travel Top Tips for LEGOLAND Windsor

· It probably goes without saying but check the weather forecast, when it’s raining they close a lot of rides. It drizzled in the morning when we were there so they closed a few rides but luckily the rain cleared and they re-opened.

· Avoid the enormous queue by pre-booking online or using Tesco vouchers as outlined above.

· Arrive early, gates open at 9:30am rides start at 10am but there will be queues no matter what time of year you go so plan to arrive early to avoid the queues and inevitable traffic jam.

· If you’re driving I highly recommend parking in the priority parking lot for a number of reasons. You don’t have to join the huge line of traffic to get to the main car park. You’ll be able to park right beside the entrance. You’ll also be right beside the exit at the end of the day, cutting out a lot of queuing time to leave the car park. 

Main car park costs £5 priority costs £12. You can pay for priority parking online before you go at a discounted rate of £10 or on the day as you enter the car park or at the parking machine at the entrance to Legoland.

· Bring a picnic including drinks, right behind our hotel there was a Tesco extra where I bought lunch deals for my family costing just £3 each for a sandwich/salad, crisps and a drink. I supplemented this with snacks and extra drinks. I packed Lego party bags that I’d pre-filled with snacks at home. We just bought ice pops at the resort which are reasonably priced at about £2.50 each.

· By eating your picnic on the go while queuing for rides you can squeeze in another ride or two!

· Download the free Legoland app before you go so you can see queue times in real time on your mobile.

· Register for the The Cloud Wifi app before you go so your phone will automatically connect to free WiFi when you arrive at the resort, further details on Legoland website under FAQ’s

· Do your research; let your children see the Legoland website before you go so you can make a list of the rides you’d like to go on, by doing this we managed to go on all the rides we’d picked out. But be realistic you’re never going to be able to do all the rides in one day so prioritise those you want to go on.

· We went on a Sunday in summer so it was peak season but I still wouldn’t waste money on a Q-Bot to skip the lines. You must have a Q-Bot for everyone in your group with prices ranging from £20pp to £75pp for me it just wasn’t worth it. A little research and forward planning saved us a fortune.

· During summer months bring swim gear and towels for children so they can cool down at Drench Towers and Splash Safari in DUPLO Valley. If you forget to bring plastic bags for wet clothes you can buy one in the shops for 5p.

· If you’ve younger children bring a buggy, my 4 year old is out of a buggy since he’s 18 months but we brought one anyway to cart around our picnic and swim bags, I would have been wrecked without it. You can also hire a buggy at the Big Shop by the entrance £9 for a single buggy or £14 for a double.

· Start at the back of the park and work your way forward to avoid long queues, people tend to start right at the front in the morning.

· If it’s your child’s birthday bring them to the Customer Service desk in Heartlake City to get a birthday badge. It was really lovely to hear staff members wish the children with badges a Happy Birthday and make a fuss of them at each ride. They’ll also have birthday wishes displayed on boards around the park.

· Some of the rides operate a Parent Swap facility for parents with more than one child where one parent can ride with a child and then swap with the other parent or children so you don’t have to queue again. I went as a solo parent with 4 children aged 9,9,8 & 4 and thankfully I never encountered any problems, I might have if my children were younger.

· Don’t waste your time on the Laser Raider ride, there’s always a massive queue that snakes around inside the building so you can’t judge how long you’ll be. There’s no notice board outside advising queue times. Even though the queue wasn’t that massive when we went it still took over an hour queuing inside a hot building for a ride that only lasted a couple of minutes.

· Head down to Atlantis Submarine Voyage later in the day as there are no queues, the park closed at 6pm the day we were there so we headed there at quarter to 6 and managed to get 3 goes on the submarine, it was my children’s favourite ride of the day.

· If you play any of the games like hook-a-duck and are lucky enough to win a giant teddy like my 4 year old did you can buy a humongous plastic bag in the shop for only 5p. It saved us untold hassle trying to carry his huge penguin around the resort and home on the ferry.

· Leave Lego Star Wars display, Miniland and the remote control boats to the end of the day after the rides close to make the most of your time.

· Set a budget for each child and let them know before you enter the shops as there’s a shop in every section of the park. Some Lego sets are reasonably priced others not so much! If you buy something early in the day you can have it sent to the Big Shop and collect it as you leave.

· At the Big shop at the main entrance you can make your own mini figures, they’re great value at 3 for £5.99. We did this at the end of the day when the rides were closed so we could wait for the crowds leaving to dissipate.

· My 8 year old was thrilled with himself when he saw I’d packed his Lego t-shirt to wear to Legoland and there was a surprise for my younger two of Lego pj’s when we got back to the hotel as I’d bought them on eBay before we went (a great tip for Disney too HERE).

· If you’re driving turn right off the main roundabout as you leave to avoid the traffic heading through Windsor, there are alternative routes to the M3, M4 & M25 signposted.

Stone Travel Verdict? 

Having only 1 day at the resort we don’t feel we missed out on much so I wouldn’t be in a rush to book two days next time we go. We had a fantastic day filled with lots of fun and we made some wonderful memories. Controversial but my twin girls aged 9 said they preferred Harry Potter Studio Tour even though they don’t have any rides. Check back next week and I’ll tell you all about it.

Hopefully using these tips will save you not only money but time and stress too. If I help just one parent to travel solo with their child/children I’ll have achieved what I set out to do with this series of posts, it really doesn’t have to be so daunting. If we waited for my husband to get time off work to travel with us we’d still be waiting so I just booked it, started researching and tried not to think about it otherwise I’d panic!

Have you been to Legoland Windsor? Have you any top tips of your own you’d like to share?

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