Family days are pretty rare for us at the moment and by that I mean a day where we have no plans and are free to do as we wish. Wednesday 14th February 2018 was one of those days. It was a miserable, wintry, half term day so we needed something indoors and preferably something that would amuse both of our girls: 5 years and 18 months.
We made the last minute decision to head to the Trafford Centre in Manchester with the ultimate goal being to go to the Legoland Discovery Centre. We knew that Sea Life was positioned beside Legoland, so that was a Plan B option. Ryan (the husband) loves lego and Holly (5 year old) is getting really into it so they were both keen to make it to Legoland.
We arrived around 10:45 and for a half term, rainy day, the car park wasn’t as busy as I imagined it would be. We took a short walk to the entrance of Legoland and were told that if we hadn’t pre bought tickets online, we would need to buy them now and would be allowed entry at 12:30. They obviously try to stagger the morning and afternoon visits which can only be a good thing. It wasn’t a cheap day out and cost us £58 (under 3’s are free) and this included a lego activity pack for £4 which Holly had a fancy Lego lanyard so Holly could wear around her neck. The time delay wasn’t an issue for us as we decided to have an early lunch. We could have walked to the main Trafford Centre for much more variety of eateries but we didn’t really have time so we ventured to Next which was opposite Legoland and they had a Patisserie Valerie. For £24 we got a hot sandwich/savoury croissant each plus a drink each and a couple of bags of crisps.
We were advised to head back to Legoland for 12:15 which we did and after a short queue, were allowed entry to Legoland. You start by having your photograph taken doing a variety of poses with a green screen behind you. There is a buggy park as you enter and we decided to (stupidly!) leave our buggy, although you are allowed to bring buggies in and there was another buggy park in the main centre so you don’t have to decide at this point.
We started the trip with a factory tour where an employee gives an interactive talk on how lego bricks are made. You watch the machines working and at the end, each child is given their own lego brick. We then went on the first of the three rides that the centre has: Kingdom Quest. Katie (18 months old ) couldn’t go on the ride so Ryan waited with her and I went on with Holly. We had to queue for around 15 minutes with the ride itself being a few minutes in duration. The ride itself involved you shooting skeletons and trolls in order to save the princess and the treasure. Holly didn’t seem very bothered for the game and I think she found it hard to keep pressing the trigger but she liked the story and watching the lego creations as we went round.
When you come off the ride there is a photo kiosk where you can purchase the images taken at the start as well as on the ride. As a photographer, I am a little obsessed with buying photos so had to give in to but their top package which was £20 and include two 9×6 prints, a keyring, a magnet, 2 wallet prints and digital images of the products selected. They are nice keepsakes and the selling point for me was having photos with the 4 of us in them but the quality isn’t great and even when I downloaded the digital files, the quality wasn’t great.
We then explored the main centre which included lots of lego models including London and all its landmarks and other areas of the UK including Manchester, the Lake District, Peak District, Blackpool and the Corn Exchange in Leeds, numerous sections where children could build lego and lots of lego characters that you could take photographs of. Holly could have spent a long time making lego but her little sister wasn’t a fan! Katie is at the age where she wants to run around everywhere, she wasn’t bothered for staying still for one minute! This made it quite difficult as either Ryan or I had to chase after her while the other person stayed with Holly.
There is quite a large cafe area within the open plan centre, which sells Costa coffee, soft drinks, sandwiches and snacks. In the middle of this area is the Duplo Farm which has a small soft play and a tunnel slide. I had hoped this could be an area to amuse Katie but it wasn’t enclosed enough, and was full of older children so not safe for Katie especially as all she wanted to do was climb up the slide and wander off!
Holly wanted to go on another ride: Merlins Apprentice, so Ryan queued with her this time while I entertained Katie. The queue for this ride was much shorter. I located a lego Police car for little people to sit in so this kept Katie still for a good 15 minutes. After Merlins Apprentice we queued for the 4D cinema. We had to queue for around 15 minutes (the film was running every 20-25 minutes) and the film itself lasts around 10 minutes. Each persons gets a pair of 3D glasses. I was worried Katie wouldn’t sit still but she actually really enjoyed it and even put the glasses on which she loved. The movie was quite interactive and kept the kids amused. I would definitely recommend the movie for 10 minutes away from the business!
We finished our trip here as Katie was shattered and it was all becoming quite stressful so we missed the Lego City Forest Pursuit (the 3rd ride) and the Lego Ninjago City Adventure. Generally speaking, Holly could have spent a lot longer in the centre as there was lots for her to do. It was an expensive day out (although thankfully we didn’t have to pay for Katie) and not suitable for toddlers, but in a couple of years, I would go back with the girls as I think they would then both get a lot out of it.