What is it? Prices at the Coppid Beech Hotel range from L169 for a one-night stay for two in high season to L480 for a family of five staying two nights at the same time. Special offers are considerably less. Visit www.coppidbeech.com or call 01344 303 333. Legoland prices range from L23 for a child’s ticket to L29 for an adult, two-day passes are better value. Children under three go free. Visit www. legoland.co.uk or call 08705 040404.
Where? The cold weather had finally gone and we needed to recharge our batteries. Finding something to keep my two sons, who are nine years apart, happily occupied for an entire weekend was daunting. A trip to Legoland seemed like a brilliant idea. Sammy is just six and a huge fan of anything Lego, so I knew that for him visiting Legoland would be a dream come true. Max is 15 and loves theme parks but was equally eager to stay at a hotel for the weekend. A two-night hotel package, with a one-day theme park pass, seemed perfect – Sammy would love the park and Max would also enjoy the hotel’s swimming pool and restaurants. We decided on the Coppid Beech Hotel, just a short drive from the park. A gorgeous three-storey triangular aquarium, as tall as the hotel itself, amazed both the boys, while my husband John and I were impressed by the family suite we had booked. Our room was big and spacious and the boys had comfortable single beds and their own television. Plenty of space for everyone. We set off to explore the surroundings before having a swim in the hotel pool. While the boys splashed around I had a nice, relaxing sauna, and soon everyone was hungry for dinner. We ate in Rowans, the hotel restaurant, and the food was exquisite as was the service. After the boys got off to sleep, John and I sneaked up for a nightcap at the lobby bar. The nightclub seemed to be quite popular but we were too tired! [THE_LEGOLAND_SHOP.jpg]
Next morning we drove the 15 minutes to Legoland. First stop was the large Lego shop, which put Sammy in heaven but made a dent in my wallet! Then we proceeded to explore the park. Miniland was next, with landmark buildings from different parts of the world all built from tiny pieces of Lego. Sammy loved them, and we had to practically pull him away from jumping in and starting to build one himself. Luckily, Max announced he wanted to try the Dragon ride, so we headed there before it got too busy. Sammy and John then went on the Dragon’s Apprentice ride, then Pirate Falls. I declined as I didn’t fancy getting wet so I wisely decided to take pictures instead. Max then dared to try a new ride, the Jungle Coaster. I was too scared but John was brave enough to accompany him while Sammy and I kept busy building a new Bionicle figure. By the time we were finished it was time for lunch. At first Legoland seems enormous, but it’s actually quite manageable for little young legs as well as tired old ones. And there are plenty of places where you can have a snack or a proper meal. We had our lunch at the Crossed Ribs by the Pirate Falls, then headed on to the Fire Academy. It is quite a physical experience and the family had to work fast as a team. Sadly, we lost to the other teams because our fire engine rolled in the wrong direction. To calm ourselves down, we had a balloon ride. Sammy was tired by this time and wanted to go back to the hotel. We made a brief stop at the Build and Test workshop, then headed back for dinner. [SAM_PLAYING_WITH_LEGO_WITH_JOHN.jpg] This year Legoland celebrates its 10th anniversary, and a fireworks and laser display was organised for 8pm at the lakeside. A lovely hotel dinner followed by a brief rest gave us enough strength to return to see the fireworks. It was starting to rain as we approached the lake but we were determined to see the show. The lights in the evening sky were brilliant and Max danced his heart out, waving his laser stick and feeling happy. Sammy watched the show on John’s shoulders and as soon as he got back in the car fell fast asleep. A few nightcaps in the hotel bar and John and I were ready for bed as well. The following morning we had a lovely breakfast then headed for Windsor. The shopping area is very pretty and we fed the swans by the river then decided to go on a French Brothers riverboat trip. The boys had a great time and after a quick lunch we headed for home. They were happy and I felt rested. Mission accomplished. * Lena Haskins is a medical secretary who lives in Kent with her husband and two boys.
Description: Max, 15, says: ‘The lights in the evening were the best and there was good music and dancing.’
Our top tip: Pace yourself when you’re at the park, especially if you have small children with you. Don’t save the best for last and plan in advance so they’re not too tired.