It's a big place – 55 million Lego bricks have gone into creating the theme park that's just down the road from Her Majesty's Berkshire pad. Aimed at a younger crowd (two to 12-year-olds), Legoland Windsor embraced its girly side for 2015 by painting the town pink and purple to showcase the Lego Friends. Olivia, Stephanie, Andrea, Emma and Mia's new song-dance-and-adventure routine now alternates with the stunt-tastic pirates show in the 'harbour'. This area, rechristened Heartlake City, is also home to some fresh experiences, such as an interactive tour of Olivia's House, and a new stomach-churning thrill: the equestrian-themed Mia's Riding Adventure (see below). Meanwhile, the charming train trip-cum-safari gets a new name: Heartlake City Express.
The old favourites are still a big draw, from Lego City Driving School (six to 13-year-olds steer whizzy electric cars amid roundabouts, traffic lights and much confusion; there's a scaled-down version for tots) to the Jolly Rocker pirate ship, Miniland (London landmarks in miniature) and the Castaway Camp adventure playground with treehouses and rope walks. Other star turns include The Dragon – which passes slowly through various Lego-brick-built medieval scenes before giving punters the full rollercoaster treatment – and the wicked Pirate Falls Treasure Chest, a watery voyage that culminates in a drenching drop. There are drying-off cubicles dotted around the park for cold or rainy days.
Predictably, school holidays are the busiest times to go. Best to pack activities that can keep the kids amused while they're standing in line; Legoland also provides play tables full of the ever-popular bricks to play with mid-wait. Since the biggest downside to any theme park visit has to be the queueing, you might want to consider splashing out on the Legoland ride-reservation gadget, a handheld device called the Q-Bot (£15-£75), which lets you book the times of your rides in advance.
Most unusual ride: Atlantis Submarine Voyage
Spot live sharks and rays swimming among Lego mermaids as you travel through a 1 million-litre tank in a slow-moving submersible.
Wettest ride: Pirate Falls Treasure Chest or Vikings' River Splash
No, not Atlantis Submarine Voyage – because all that water stays on the outside. It's a draw between the swashbucklers' flume and the swirling rapids of the Norse
Giddiest ride: Mia's Riding Adventure
Clamber on to a 'pony' that spins on a giant frisbee which glides back and forth along a track that rises up at each end (remember: what goes up must lunge down)… Why would anyone put their insides through that? The kids loved it.
Kids can't bear to leave?
Book into one of the Legoland Hotel’s rooms which are colourfully furnished along the same lines as the theme park's various zones. Hotel guest benefits include early access to certain rides, free parking and a Lego gift for every child.