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Phil's Travels - Legoland Windsor, England (07.15)


Phil's Travels - Legoland Windsor, England (07.15)

My nephew chose to celebrate his sixth birthday at Legoland last Saturday and invited my daughter. As her chaperone and guide, I collected her from a sleepover at her best friend's house in Hampstead at 08.30 and met my brother and his boys at Legoland at 11.40. Three hours is how long it takes to take two buses to Paddington, two trains to Windsor and a shuttle bus to Legoland.

Paddington was a kaleidoscope of colour and wall-to-wall 'well spoken persons', all heading to Henley for the regatta (including some real, live, walking giants in size 20 shoes and bulging blazers). Every ticket machine had a line 30 people long, making navigation of the concourse with a nine-year old something of a challenge. Struck by a moment of inspiration I headed for the ticket office, where the queue was only 10 people long and we were done in minutes. It would appear that your average well spoken person is perhaps not accustomed to public transport. Or is it just that people these days are so accustomed to technology that they follow it blindly thinking it will always quicker. I believe the old face-to-face approach still has a lot of merit and machines should not rule our lives to the degree we have permitted them to. Indeed, the modern world is so taken with technology that face-to-face is becoming more efficient than high-tech.

Windsor station has to be the most peculiar in England. It has one line (in and out) and one platform, and yet the station complex is immense. A maze of cafés, shops and bars. And yet, for all this retail, not a single newsagent or kiosk for the purchase of a quick ice cream for the journey home. The complex opens out on to main street directly opposite Windsor Castle - a stunning sense of arrival and ideal for Castle commuters (although I doubt the Queen uses the train that often, and even if she did I am sure she would have more sense and use the ticket office rather than the machines).

Outside Legoland we applied dollops of lotion against the sun and bought tickets using cereal packets (free adult vouchers). Legoland is a smaller version of Disneyland and both should be renamed Standiland. All I ever seem to do in these lands is stand - stand in line for the rides, stand in the shops whilst the kids can't decide what to buy (too overcome by the plethora of kitsch on offer) and stand around for food, toilets and shows. We hit a water ride (and got soaked), rode a rollercoaster (good fun, despite a nervous pause half way through the ride, but no limbs lost at least), enjoyed an elevated train and scrambled over the climbing frames. We watched a 4D show in the Imagination Theatre and got wet all over again. We panned for gold (getting wet yet again) and won a medal.

Did you know?

  • Lego is from the Danish phrase leg godt, meaning 'play good'.
  • Lego first started making wooden toys in 1932.
  • Plastic Lego is based on a UK patent (1939, "Kiddicraft Self-Locking Bricks").
  • The first Lego bricks were called "Automatic Binding Bricks" .
  • In February 2015, Lego replaced Ferrari as the "World's Most Powerful Brand".

 Phil's Travels - Legoland Windsor, England (07.15)

We left the park at closing time and spent a good 10 minutes admiring the best thing about Legoland Windsor - the view from the entrance area. The view is stunning. From the entrance terrace you can see Windsor Castle, Heathrow and the skyscrapers of London. The view is so good, and not to miss a trick, Merlin (the owner/operator of Legoland Windsor) charges £1 per commentary on the talking telescopes. A shuttle bus, two trains and a tube ride later we were home. The next day my son and I went to the movies to see the new Terminator. If you want to know what the future holds for all you machine-dependents and Apple Addicts out there, just think Skynet.

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