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(REVIEW) Legoland Discovery Centre Manchester “the clutch and downs”

May 2, 2016

So the title of this blog may only ring true with die hard brick fans! Fear not though that is the end of Lego terminology!

So it’s Saturday night  (bank holiday weekend) and we have nothing planned for Sunday. We’ve been planning on taking Lochlan to Legoland Windsor for his 5th Birthday later this month so we thought why not visit the Legoland Discovery Centre in Manchester, you know to wet the appetite for all things brick!

Tickets booked and Sunday morning we are on our way. It’s a relatively short drive (just under two hours) and we arrive well before our time slot (12.45pm). Now the LDC is located on the same site as the Trafford Centre and has a convenient walkway over into retail heaven. In the hour we spent “killing time” we said goodbye to some hard earned £££ at Hamleys Toy store!!

The LDC recommend that you arrive 15 minutes prior to your time slot. Diligently we make our way there and joined the rather large queue. Thankfully just inside the door there is a small play area for kids who by now have likely had at least one major meltdown waiting to enter Lego utopia. I’d say we queued for about 25 minutes or so before getting to the desk. Tickets checked and lanyard purchased – these are strategically placed on the counter at child height so you really have no choice but to buy one – for £3. There are different challenge cards attached to the lanyard which are meant to be completed as you go around.

We are now ready to enter the LDC. Queue excitement! No wait…..queue for photographs. Then into Lego Wonderland, after you’ve queued for the lift. First off is the Lego Factory, this part is really quite fun. The kids get involved with the demonstration and there’s even a little gift at the end. You are then allowed to enter the main attraction. Straight off your hit with the photographs you had to queue for at the beginning. More hard earned £££!!

The first ride is the Kingdom Quest which involves shooting orcs and goblins to rescue the princess. We waited about half an hour to get on to this ride. Thankfully there are conveniently placed play mats on the walls to keep the kiddies busy. The ride itself is short but enjoyable. Who doesn’t love firing lasers at orcs?!?! Your then ready to enter “Miniland” which is the Lego model area and is pretty awesome! We spent quite a while admiring the creations.

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Once through the Miniland area you then enter the main area, this is where all of the other rides and attractions are based. There’s the 4D Cinema, City Forest Pursuit, Merlins Apprentice, Soft Play and a few other areas. There’s also a cafe and seating area. All of the rides had at least half hour waiting times. Although the 4D cinema was only 10 minutes and was arguably the best bit!

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Lunch time! The cafe does not have a huge selection but I was pleasantly surprised to find a Gluten Free wrap. Unfortunately the coffee machine was out of order for that much needed caffeine fix. There was also nowhere to sit in the seating area, a lot of people had already claimed their spot and where using it as a base. Lunch was eaten “on the run” whilst waiting on another ride.

After lunch Lochlan spent ages building cars in the three massive play pits. He then tested his creations in the Build and Test area, which was filled with ramps and race tracks!

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By around 4pm we were all pretty shattered so we made our way through the City Builder and Ninjago laser training camp  (which in reality is a few laser beams). Once you leave this area you then enter the Lego shop! The prices are roughly the same of all major retailers and there is an excellent selection to choose from! We escaped relatively unscathed……I think Lochlan was so tired by this stage making Lego buying decisions was the last thing on his mind lol. Our LDC experience had come to an end. On reflection would we do it again, heres my pros and cons:

PRO’s

– Easily accessible for those that live in the North of England.
– Sealife Manchester is literally right next door so you could easily do both in one day. You can buy combo tickets from the website!
– The centre itself is quite compact and fully indoors so perfect for bad weather days
– Lots of interactive activities for the kids (building, playing etc)

CON’s

– Overcrowded!! You book in 15 minutes slots which I assume is to stagger the intact but there is no time limit so once inside you can spend all day in the centre. Leading to very long waits!!
– Not enough seating. Aside from the seats by the cafe and some bucket chairs dotted around there was nowhere to sit. Tired legs all round!
– Overpriced!! Prices range from £9.95 per adult (anyone over 3) up to £18.95 per adult depending on the time of entry and whether you have booked online. There are parent and toddlers tickets but I think they may only be available through the week. Because we booked last minute we paid £50 to get in.
– Not enough for older children. I’d say the LDC is aimed primarily at children under 7.

So would we go again. Yes! If we could use vouchers or secure a cheaper time slot. I would encourage those considering visiting to research your options, book online at least 24 hours before and perhaps go mid week if possible.

I hope you find this useful in planning your Legoland Discovery Centre trip. We are still going to Legoland Windsor for Lochlans birthday. Once a brick fan always a brick fan!!

L x

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