Looking for inspiration for trips in the summer holidays? For a touch of luxury for the parents, and oodles of sparkle for the children, the eagerly awaited Legoland Castle Hotel has now opened, inviting families for a magical ‘Knights’ stay, or perfect short-break. Jessica Way has been along, with family in tow, to discover more about the hotel where the magic happens.
Legoland’s first themed family hotel opened around 5 years ago, the Legoland Resort Hotel, and for my daughters, who at the time were aged 4 and 7, this was the perfect base for an overnight staycation, where we could comfortable enjoy 48 hours of family-filled non-stop fun and excitement.
The Legoland theme park itself, for me, had always far-surpassed other similar resorts when fancying some adrenaline-filled family entertainment – and for what it lacks in terms of the upside down rollercoasters it wins on hands down in imagination, creativity and of course, attractions designed for children.
I did however wonder if our experience staying at the new hotel, with our children now in the double figure tween years, would have lost all appeal? We arrived however open-minded, and it was a pleasure to see the girls still gleaming with excitement on arrival into the impressive Hotel reception and our fun Wizard-themed room. The hotel was noticeably smaller than the Legoland Resort Hotel, with 61 magical Wizard and Knight bedrooms in total as opposed to 148 rooms, we were made to feel very welcome by warm and attentive staff, and the corridors and guest areas felt more spacious.
In the entrance lobby you are greeted by a spectacular, floor to ceiling, 35,000 LEGO brick wizard which comes to life in colour, light and sound at the press of button. The Lego theme is everywhere, in reception, the rooms, restaurant and corridors. Over 2.1 million individual LEGO bricks were used to create the models throughout the hotel, bringing the total number of bricks on the resort to over 80 million!
The bedroom was fun, bursting with LEGO magic from potion bottles, spell books and mystical LEGO creatures! The girls had bunk beds and their own television – designed to be in a separate area of the room, though not shut off by a door or curtain, and in the main part there was an en-suite bath/shower room, all the amenities you would expect, with the tea/coffee, hairdryer and so on, and with an impressively large bed fit for a King and Queen.
As we finished getting ready for dinner, the girls enjoyed solving the special clues hidden in the carpet and walls to unlock the LEGO surprise that awaited discovery in the safe. Inside there was some gorgeous LEGO merchandise, including drinking flasks, keying’s, towels and a cap, which proved very convenient for the following day of sunshine at the park.
Our evening meal in the Tournament Tavern, Castle Hotel’s new gourmet a la carte restaurant, was up to scratch, offering something for everyone. There was an open-style kitchen and some interesting menu choices including a selection of the finest quality meats, seafood and shellfish presented to your table to cook on a volcanic ‘Hot Rock’, allowing you to tailor your meal to your exact tastes. For the younger ones Jesters Play Den was a huge hit, with visible access from most of the tables, you could see relieved parents able to share a relaxing moment in a situation which otherwise could be quite the opposite occasion. There was also some great evening entertainment, including Table Magic at dinner, where Jes the Jester still managed to impress our harder-to-excite pre-teenager with his stylish tricks.
There was not a swimming pool in the Castle Hotel, but as a guest you were welcome to use the indoor swimming Pirate Splash Pool at the neighbouring Resort Hotel. You do have to book a time-slot though to use the pool, as it is not huge, and I would say our daughters were definitely too old for this. Still they made their own fun, and still went on the slides and shot water at each other from the giant blasters (you’re never too old right?!)
It is brilliant to be able to experience the park from the very start of the day, missing the queues, and feeling fresh from having not had the car journey in getting there that same morning.
Legoland claim to appeal to families with children aged 2-12 years, and I would agree that they achieve this well with the impressive range of quality rides they have at the resort. While we may have moved on from the memory we shared of our daughters previously favourite-ride, Driving School, where little ones have their own cars, and drive through roads and roundabouts in LEGO City, we still took great pleasure from the fun over rides such as Laser Raiders, where armed with laser guns you shoot your way through a labyrinth, competing on points scored.
Duplo Valley’s Splash Safari and Drench Towers are perfect for a summer day, a water play area with slides and interactive water features. The water-theme didn’t end there either, with other park favourites including the Atlantis submarine voyage, an underwater experience where sharks and exotic fish swim right past your capsule, and the parks two log flumes: the Vikings river splash and the Pirate falls dynamite drench.
For the Lego aficionado’s out there like me, you could spend hours in MINILAND, this is personally my favourite attraction in the park, and this year we also discovered the brilliant model making studio for the first time. Visit the upstairs balcony with LEGO pictures and 3D model-portraits, and you are likely to have the space to yourself – a hidden gem bound to have the family smiling.
So in answering my question on whether the magic would still exist in visiting a fantasy-world adventure play park, staying in a fantasy-themed hotel, with daughters aged 9 and 12 years – the answer is thankfully still yes! I am pleased we took the opportunity to re-visit, and the second experience has only highlighted to me further, what a fantastic achievement it is by the Merlin Entertainments plc, to have accomplished such a widely-appealing destination, with a concept which makes it even easier to visit from a distance, whether that might be for those living in faraway UK locations, or even those visiting from overseas. Hopefully their third hotel will open to appeal to teenagers!
Prices at the LEGOLAND Castle Hotel start from £572 for a family room (2 adults / 2 children) including breakfast, access to the leisure and entertainment facilities at the LEGOLAND Hotel, park tickets for two days plus exclusive LEGO gifts and collectables. For bookings and more information visit: www.legoland.co.uk/castle.
To find out more about upgrading your day at the LEGOLAND Windsor resort to a VIP experience, to include special perks such as instant ride access and a private LEGO workshop email firstname.lastname@example.org
6 Interesting facts about the LEGOLAND Windsor Resort:
1) The name ‘LEGO’ is an abbreviation of the two Danish words “leg godt’, mening “play well”
2) There are over 55 interactive rides, attractions, live shows, building workshops and driving schools.
3) There are a staggering 80 million LEGO® bricks set in 150 acres of beautiful parkland.
4) The biggest individual model is a 160,000 LEGO brick knight on horseback standing at 8.5ft tall, designed by 11 year old competition winner, James Waine from Darlington, UK.
5) The smallest individual model is a 7cm high dragonfly.
6) Grey is the most frequently used LEGO brick and Lavender is the least
There are seven other LEGOLAND® parks in the world – LEGOLAND® Billund in Denmark, LEGOLAND® California in the U.S.A, LEGOLAND® Florida, LEGOLAND® Deutschland in Germany, LEGOLAND® Dubai and LEGOLAND® Malaysia and LEGOLAND Japan.
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