Points to Frogdancer for guessing my next port of call!
As a child of the seventies, Lego was my toy of choice. I collected a large number of Lego models and I constructed my own Lego town. I only liked the ‘Town’ models – police and fire station, hospital, houses and so on. I wasn’t into Space Lego with all their lunar landscapes and spaceships or the Technics Lego where you made working models of engines, cars and boats. I was all about town planning and the people. I even made a Lego cemetery as there would be regular Lego disasters in which the unfortunate inevitably occurred. As a child the only Legoland park was in Denmark and I always imagined travelling there one day.
Thirty-something years later as I approached Legoland Winsdor, which opened in 1996, I realised that there’s something a little problematic with realising a dream thirty years too late. The Legoland I dreamed of going to was the one with all the scale models of world landmarks. Kids today aren’t as interested in that and so Legoland Windsor focuses on theme park rides. Lots of them. You really need to have a child with you to gain the full advantage of the park. I didn’t do the rides but wandered around and took everything in. At least there were still Lego models dotted around the park.
There was the Knight’s Kindgom.
To illustrate this they had Saint George slaying the Dragon…
… and a damsel in distress being rescued. For good measure she was a princess too.
Land of the Vikings.
My guess is they weren’t really going for historical accuracy.
The Kingdom of the Pharaohs.
The fez on the camel was a nice touch.
There was also Adventure Land, Traffic (Car Rides), Duplo Land…
The Imagination Centre.
They are even building a Legoland Hotel where families can spend the night. It would actually be a good thing to do as there are just so many rides and attractions you could easily spend two days there if you had children. You might be homicidal by the end of it but at least the kids would sleep well. All over the park was the same thing – crazy screaming children followed by their tired, long-suffering parents. The good thing is that once you’ve paid your entry fee all the rides are free. There are of course lots of Lego souvenir shops and places to eat.
Can you imagine the mess at 4 o’clock?
On this sign someone has placed a sticker on the letter L so that at first glance you think they are advertising dog meat.
The thing I really came for though was Miniland. It is the the Legoland of my childhood memory: the world in miniature constructed out of Lego.
There was Italy.
The Moulin Rouge even came with a passed-out prostitute. I think that was an accident though. Or maybe she was a hit-and -run victim of that white Fiat.
Mont St Michel.
Sweden had an Abba concert.
The United States was represented by a Space Shuttle launch at NASA
and Mount Rushmore. There were many other countries as well.
Mini London was my favourite.
London Eye and a rather truncated Houses of Parliament.
St Paul’s Cathedral and 30 St Mary Axe in the background (otherwise known as the Gherkin).
Horse Guards Parade – the band plays and the soldiers actually march. The Queen is in yellow standing outside the building on the right. I was very glad that I saved Miniland until last. The other fascinating thing is that all the vegetation is real – the trees are actually little topiaried bonsai.
You also get a great view of Windsor Castle from Legoland. This picture really emphasises the vast size of Windsor Castle in the distance as it dominates the town.
I couldn’t leave without seeing the Lego Royal Crown Jewels.
As I left the park the sun clouded over and the rain started to fall. I was very lucky I was at the bus shelter at the end of my day and I thought of the hundreds of poor families getting soaked back in the park.
That was the last major stop on my trip. I had dinner that night at an Indian Restaurant and left for the station in the morning. I had a fifty minute train ride from Windsor to Waterloo, a ten minute tube ride to Euston Station and then a two hour high-speed train to Liverpool. Plus a cab back home. I am now tempted to get all my Lego out of its storage boxes and reconstruct my own Lego town. Unfortunately it takes many hours to construct and my friend Pam isn’t in this country to help me build it.
Tomorrow I will be meeting up with a friend who is staying in Liverpool for a few days. She is my ex school principal, who is travelling with two colleagues on a work trip. They have attended a conference in Ireland and will visit some schools in Liverpool before heading off to London. I will spend the next few days showing them around.