Holidays&Travel

Travel: Building excitement at Legoland this summer

Uncertainty over the ‘green list' and coronavirus concerns mean many of us who aren't staying in Ireland this summer are planning holiday trips to Britain. Legoland at Windsor might be high on your agenda if you have children and are visiting England during the school break. Neil Lancefield finds out what you can expect

Flight of the Sky Lion, the star attraction at Lego Mythica. Picture by PA Photo/Legoland

WE have just survived flying off a cliff edge and nearly drowned, when the four-headed monster Chimera looms large.

The beast inspired by Greek mythology throws a fireball in our direction, and it appears we're doomed.

Lego Mythica is a newly-opened section at Legoland Windsor, and makes it easy for my five-year-old nephew Liam and I to let our imaginations run wild.

Flight of the Sky Lion

Designed in collaboration with children aged 6-11, Lego Mythica is advertised as a parallel world where creatures built from Lego bricks come to life.

The star attraction is undoubtedly Flight of the Sky Lion, an immersive 4D theatre experience where he have our encounter with Chimera.

After strapping into the rollercoaster-style seating, we're spun around and presented with a vast green landscape beamed onto a huge canvas.

The combination of ferociously fast footage, cold water mists and blasts of myriad scents is synchronised with movements to our seats.

This makes us feel like we're hurtling up, down and sideways as the majestic Maximus takes us under his wing on a tour of the realm.

We're barely able to catch our breath as we fly through lush greenery, rough seas, an erupting volcano and a network of caves.

Maximus comes to the rescue just as Chimera is preparing to finish us off.

"That was fun but scary," Liam declares once the adventure is over. I heartily agree.

Dubbed the UK's first ever 'flying theatre ride', Flight of the Sky Lion' is part of the new Lego Mythica land at Legoland Windsor. Picture by PA Photo/Steve Parsons

Augmented Reality

The land features 13 models of fantastical animals, including one of Maximus built from more than 685,000 bricks and weighing nearly 6,000kg.

Using the resort's augmented reality system, I'm able to use an app on my mobile to transform him from lifeless bricks to a moving, roaring beast.

It is impossible to match the intensity of Flight of the Sky Lion with the screen of my phone, but the clever technology thrills Liam and makes us both want to find all the models.

The Fire and Ice Freefall ride at Lego Mythica. Picture by PA Photo/Legoland

What else does Lego Mythica offer?

My apprehension builds as we're raised 13 metres high by Fire and Ice Freefall.

Given its name, I know what's coming, but that doesn't avoid the brief moment of terror as we're sent crashing towards the ground, before being lifted up again at the last moment.

There's just enough time to breathe out - and regret having an early lunch - when the drop ride does its thing again, making me feel a touch queasy.

Hydra's Challenge is no less dramatic, involving a vessel being spun around a two-headed brute named Duo.

Liam is at the controls and decides to spin the wheel, making our pod move away from the centre, increasing its speed.

I hadn't realised that pesky onlookers were able to trigger water canons, and our positioning towards the edge of the ride makes us an easier target, so we end up pretty damp.

Ready for a change of pace, we enter Creature Creation, where huge buckets filled with Lego allow us to make animals from our own imaginations.

Our effort features a fraction of the complexity of what the professionals have produced, but we still put in on display in one of the four pre-built mythical landscapes.

Visitors to Legoland Windsor have to wear face coverings on rides. Picture by PA Photo/Andrew Matthews

Coronavirus measures

Several new safety rules and procedures have been introduced as a result of the pandemic.

I have my temperature checked by a friendly member of staff at the entrance, hand sanitisers are dotted around the park, and a requirement for visitors aged 11 and over to wear a face covering on rides and while indoors has a near-perfect compliance rate.

Spare rows are left between groups on rides, while plastic screens separate guests facing each other while queuing for Flight of the Sky Lion.

Arrows instructing visitors to walk on the left on footpaths are less effective, as people are eager to reach the next stop on their itinerary as quickly as possible.

But overall, I feel as safe as I could do considering I'm visiting a busy theme park.

Neil Lancefield and his nephew Liam searching for pirate treasure at Legoland Mythica. Picture by PA Photo/Legoland

Visiting a different part of the universe

Not being able to see friends and family, and visit new places, have been the things I've found the most challenging about the pandemic.

It is hard to keep a five-year-old's attention on a Zoom call.

Legoland is the perfect reminder of how much fun it is to leave home and do something different to the normal routine.

But our encounters with Chimera, Maximus and the other creatures make it feel like we've gone beyond a typical holiday activity, and caught a glimpse of a completely different corner of the universe.

Hydra's Challenge at Lego Mythica. Picture by PA Photo/Legoland Windsor

How to plan your trip

Pre-booking tickets for the park is essential. From £29 if booked seven days in advance. Visit legoland.co.uk.

Neil Lancefield and his nephew Liam meet a firefighter at Legoland Mythica. Picture by PA Photo/Neil Lancefield

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Holidays&Travel