So one wet weekend we decided to set off to Manchester to check out the Legoland Discovery Centre.
Firstly, this is not the same as the Legoland Windsor, and is not a theme park.
Think of it more as an indoor play barn, but with LEGO and some rides.
It is actually part of the massive Trafford shopping centre, and is situated above a large LEGO shop.
What’s to see and do at Legoland Discovery Centre?
After entering you are given a quick “this is the Lego factory” talk where the kids picked up a certificate (though LDC note, this ‘show’ gives the impression that the kids receive the LDC bricks that are created and were disappointed in just a printed ‘certificate’).
The Legoland Discovery Centre estimate that most people spend 2-3 hours there. We spent a bit more, but I think it will depend on how much your kids like Lego and the attractions there.
Whilst older kids with younger siblings can find some things to do, we would say that the Legoland Discovery Centre is targeted to ages 10 and below.
Kingdom’s Quest is the first ride you get to go on.
These are cars you that take you around the knights kingdom and you have to zap trolls and skeletons with a laser gun.
The ride takes 5 (three in the front and two in the back), and if you have bags they can easily be kept at your feet.
We went back and did this ride several times.
Following Kingdom’s Quest you go through the Lego Mini-land. If you have visited Legoland Windsor, this is not as big, however being inside they can do some different things, and on the main exhibit the lights dim and the mini land lights up showing the model at night. The picture above is Blackpool Illuminations.
The other cool thing, for those of us that live and visit this part of the country, is that they had lots of items from the more Northern part of England. You know that this isn’t a mass reproduction that Lego do at all their Legoland locations.
Here’s some pics…
Lego Play Pits
After you are through Miniland, you are in the main Legoland Discovery Centre.
Right in front of you is a huge LEGO play pit – like a ball pit but full of LEGO bricks. Any young builder will dive straight in.
There are a few of these build places, such as Duplo Village and LEGO Friends.
We did spend quite some time here.
Basically there’s lots of LEGO around and you have to build a car that will go down a number of tracks. Some straight like the photo above, and also a few half-pipes.
The biggest challenge here is finding wheels. There didn’t appear to be enough for the people wanting to make cars, but persevere and you’ll find some.
I’m pleased to say that my little lad and I had the fastest racer when we were there 😉
Lego Studios 4D Cinema
This is where you watch a Lego film with 3D glasses and a few other effects. I won’t spill the beans here, but just say that we all enjoyed it.
Fire Academy/Construction Site
This is a large soft play climbing area. There are two: Fire Academy for taller kids and Construction Site for smaller.
Height restrictions do apply, and the LDC enforce it. Our eldest couldn’t try the Fire Academy. However, it did mean the youngest could play on the Construction Site without older kids being in the way. And yes, Parents are allowed in with the smaller ones into the Construction Site.
Lego City Forest Pursuit
This is a ‘driving school’ where kids drive electric Lego cars.
This was the only thing that we had a noticeable queue for (about 15 minutes), and the session only lasts a few minutes, however it depends on the skills of the other drivers in the session as to how good it is.
When our kids had a go there were a lot of very small kids that didn’t stay in lane and couldn’t turn corners, so it ended in one big traffic jam. A couple of LDC staff are there to sort things out, and they suspended the ride while they did, but it was a disappointment after the wait.
Height and age restrictions do apply: minimum age is 4.
And no, they don’t go as fast as the photo above looks 😉
Another ride at Legoland Discovery Centre is Merlin’s Apprentice.
In this ride you must pedal to fly higher.
Eating at the Discovery Centre
You can take a packed lunch. There are some seats provided but not enough for the people there.
There is also a cafe. A kids lunchbox was in the region of £4.50.
Entrance and Tickets
As it is an indoor attraction they have to control the number of people in the building.
Tickets are allocated an entrance time, though once in you can stay in there all day. If you missed your entrance time you may have to wait until there is space.
If you turn up on the day then tickets after 4pm are cheaper, but generally pre-booking tickets are cheaper.
We pre-booked via the Legoland Discovery Centre website, but the offer below from Attractiontix is considerably cheaper than what we paid.
Finding the Legoland Discovery Centre
This was surprisingly hard to do.
It is located at Manchester’s vast Trafford Centre, so depending on which way you enter the complex, you may have to go past lots of car parks before getting there.
There were no obvious signs for the Discovery Centre. Follow the (very few) signs for Barton Square car park. This is actually away from the main Trafford Centre, with a bit of the Centre connected by a bridge over a road.
Use the post code M17 8AS in your Sat Nav.
We did see the electronic car park signs saying Barton Square was closed, however when we got there it wasn’t. So my advice is to ignore the signs and head straight there, as it will be quite a walk from the other car parks.
This was a good day out. The only gripe was that for the ticket price we paid, only a little percentage more would have got us into a theme park, so our advice is to use the discounted tickets above and pre-book.
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