Last weekend I was invited to Legoland Discovery Centre Manchester (LDCM) with Tall Boy. Aimed at children aged between 3 and 10 years, I was keen to find out how the attraction would appeal to its youngest audience. Keep reading to find out what we thought of it.
How to make a Lego brick
Before we were granted access to the activities we were taken on a tour of the Lego factory.
A wizard explained how lego bricks are made, encouraged the children to set the painting machine in motion, and explained that the bricks are placed in a fridge to set. It’s all pretend, but it’s designed to encourage the children to think about where the ubiquitous toy comes from.
Things to do at Legoland Manchester
Inside the main attraction, everything is hands on. Children can let their imaginations run wild as they race Lego cars, build models, and create stop-motion films. They can catch a 4D movie and experience a variety of rides. A Lego themed soft-play frame gives them a place to let off steam.
As you might expect, there is a spectacular collection of Lego models, including scale models of Manchester’s and Liverpool’s biggest tourist hot spots. The city scenes are the only displays behind glass. Everything else is accessible for children, which creates a welcoming and stimulating environment.
Merlin’s School of Magic
Merlin’s School of Magic has taken over Legoland Manchester for Summer 2019. Children are transported in to a magical world of wizardry and witchcraft as they help Merlin break the curse that has been cast over the centre.
In keeping with the magic theme we built a Lego wand, which I was delighted to discover we could take home. Older children were encouraged to build Lego monsters, with the chance to win a prize. A magician performed a host of tricks, although the sleight of hand went over Tall Boy’s head.
There were a series of clues to solve in order to break the curse. We didn’t attempt this with Tall Boy but slightly older children would enjoy the treasure hunt aspect and revealing an answer in each location.
I asked Tall Boy what he had enjoyed the most. His favourite was racing Lego cars. He constructed a car to test on various ramps and in multi-car races. I found it amusing to witness the competitive streak amongst parents as they encouraged their children to build the fastest car possible. Tall Boy was happy with adding a few bricks to the wheels, and he’d have spent the entire time testing the tracks if he’d been given the chance.
He also enjoyed pushing his car over the Lego scenes.
Other highlights for him included the soft- play and the chance to sit in a life sized Lego racing car.
As you might expect, having two babies in tow restricted our ability to fully explore all the activities with Tall Boy, but everything was accessible enough to give him the freedom to play and experiment on his own.
I couldn’t resit having a go at making my own animation either. I could have played for hours, although you can see from the picture that Tall Boy was not impressed with my efforts.
We did find the centre very hot and we struggled to find the baby change facilities. There was a changing table in the disabled toilet but this required a special key to use it. We eventually found an accessible toilet with baby change which you could only enter via the cafe. We would have missed it entirely if I’d not needed to grab a drink while I fed the twins.
The cafe itself offered a children’s meal deal, which was reasonably priced. Luckily Tall Boy didn’t realise that he could have it served in a Lego brick lunchbox or we’d have seen ourselves down a few extra pounds.
I was unsure how much Tall Boy would get out of the attraction at his age, but he absolutely loved it. If we hadn’t planned to visit Sea Life Manchester as well I am sure we could have stayed much longer.
Legoland Manchester knows its audience and caters for it extremely well. There was plenty to capture the attention of older children too, which makes it an attraction to return to time and again.
I was gifted our visit to LCDM for the purpose of writing a review. Views are, as always, my own.