Legoland in Windsor always has something extra to offer, so we went along to find out what's new for the 2010 season.
This year the park has been invaded by pirates, with a new land just opened – Pirate's Landing.
There's an enormous galleon called the Jolly Rocker, which will swing your family up to 18 feet high in the air. Pirate Falls Dynamite Drench is a boat ride that will see you soaked by cannons – we had to wait over an hour to get on this one, so get there early if you can. Both of these rides require a minimum height of 1 metre, so measure your child before you go.
Pirate Training Camp is a large adventure playground (so no queues) with plenty for little buccaneers to do – under sevens will need to be supervised on this.
The park is also offering three new live shows this year: Pirates of Skeleton Bay, Elves and the Shoemaker for younger children at the Duplo theatre, and Clutch Powers 4D Adventure.
The 4D theatre has quite a large capacity and regular shows throughout the day, so this is a good one to head to if you need a sit down without too much queueing. But be warned – 4D means that you might get wet at this show as well.
The day we went was very hot, and I spotted lots of children having meltdowns from around lunchtime onwards. The upshot of this was that the park was much less busy as the afternoon wore on. So for very young children I would stick to visits on less sunny days, but if your family can cope with the heat then they'll be fine.
There will always be queues for the most popular rides, though you can avoid this by using the Q-Bot virtual queueing system. If your child has a disability that means that they have difficulty with queues, you may be eligible for a special pass, find out more from here.
The advantage of going on a hot day is that you can enjoy the wet rides, knowing that you'll dry off straight away. And I picked up a tip from the Unofficial Guide to Legoland website, which recommended bringing swimsuits for the Waterworks area. This is a play park with fountains squirting up from the ground – we enjoyed a good half hour run round here.
At the end of our visit, we encountered the final added extra – the shop has been expanded, and is now the largest Lego shop in the world. With so much to choose from it inevitably gets busy as everyone wants a souvenir of their day out. But if you aim to nip in at a quieter time, the shop will hold your purchases until you're ready to go.