Standing 25 metres high, the Giant’s Lightning slide is the tallest freefall slide tower in Scandinavia.
Riders take a leap of faith from the top platform in Billund’s Wow Park, soaring through a covered tunnel towards the ground before emerging into the open air only to be propelled round the slide’s bend some five seconds after the initial plunge.
Several visitors make the 112-step climb to the top, only to turn round and return to one of the Giant’s tamer slides after staring into the abyss. And the staff member monitoring the Lightning is not surprised – even she hasn’t yet plucked up the courage to take the plunge down the 60m track.
None of this fills me with confidence as I carry my mat to the top early on a Tuesday morning with my six-year-old daughter Evie looking on.
Just a few metres of the drop can be seen before you freefall to the slide’s curving finale while your adrenalin levels soar – it’s an exhilarating experience which makes me want to go back for more.
But if that’s not your thing, the same Giant tower – which opened in May 2023 – offers two (slightly) tamer alternatives.
The 40m-long Forest Racer offers riders the chance to take on their friends while the higher 33m-long Spiral slide sends you spinning to the ground.
Elsewhere in the park, Evie loves the challenge of making her way through the tree-top network of suspension bridges, climbing ropes and tree houses. We try racing a cart suspended across two wires, fly from bank to bank on the giant swings, and take on the twists and turns of the willow forest.
Along with its speedy zip wires, giant trampolines and bouncy balls on high-hanging cargo nets covering some 300 square metres, the acres of space, fresh air and natural beauty of the Wow Park are a world away from the vibrant colours and delighted shrieks of Legoland.
If that all sounds too much like hard work, a serene safari around Givskud Zoo – a 15-minute drive from the centre of Billund – offers the chance to get out of the town and see giraffes, rhinos and lions up close from the safety of your car or tour bus.
Getting out of our car half-way round, we jump across stepping stones outside the silverback gorilla’s enclosure before pausing for lunch near the adventure playground.
Rested and refuelled, we drive through the two metal gates separating the zoo’s five female lions from the rest of the park. As the second gate opens, we can see four lions lying in wait immediately opposite the entrance, as the fifth prowls nearby.
Expansive, all-in-one attractions are popular in Billund, with each one offering more than enough excitement, entertainment and adventure to justify at least a whole day’s trip.
Sitting next to Legoland is Lalandia, home to the 10,000 square metre Aquadome, Scandinavia’s largest waterpark.
It’s a vast expanse of slides, rivers and pools which elicit screams of delight from children and adults alike. Evie and I particularly enjoy the Twister – sat on an inflatable double ring, the covered slide ejects us into a large bowl as, feeling as if we were inside a children’s spinning top toy, we are transported round the sides, gradually slowing down more and more until we are sucked into the tunnel at the bottom and down the awaiting slope – backwards!
But ultimately, it’s the bricks which have made Billund so popular, with the thriving Legoland theme park – which developed from the factory down the road and opened in 1968 – offering the perfect mix of nostalgia, thrilling rides for all ages and some seriously impressive Lego sculptures.
Staying in the Legoland Castle Hotel, directly opposite the park entrance, our “wizard’s room” is ideal for families. Our daughter sleeps in bunk beds surrounded by magical potions, stars and wands – and clearly marked “Adults keep out”! – while we are on the other side of the bathroom, meaning we don’t have to creep around in the dark for the rest of the evening once she’s gone to bed.
The room also comes with a box of Lego bricks, along with a treasure hunt to find a Lego prize on the first night, and a competition to build the best dragon to adorn the fireplace in reception. Evie particularly enjoys the play room in the restaurant, where she builds a throne out of giant Duplo bricks.
Once in Legoland, we grab a wristband marked with our mobile numbers for Evie, and head to the rides, using the app, which shows directions to each ride and the current waiting times, to pick and choose where to go.
From the very tame Legondol Ferris wheel and Duplo planes through to the Dragon ride through the enchanted Royal Castle – which takes in the Wizard’s workshop on the way to a hair-raising rollercoaster finish – and the even more adventurous Flying Eagle and Polar X-plorer, we take advantage of the quieter morning to try as much as possible.
The new Ultimate Ferrari Build and Ride attraction, which opened in May, also gives us the chance to build a sports car to race against others on the test track, improving it after each run and striking just the right balance between design integrity and speed in a test of our creativity.
And ad hoc visits from Lego characters and princesses are a big bonus for our daughter, avoiding the need to queue for one of the more official meet-and-greet slots.
She loves it when her tummy “fizzes” on the Unikitty Disco Drop ride, designs her own rollercoaster at the Ice Pilots School, and braves Emmet’s flying adventure, a three-tiered sofa ride which smashes through the 3D Lego Movie universe.
And whenever the queues started to build, there is always a giant box of Lego to entertain us while we wait.
We spend nine hours in the park, clock up more than 16,000 steps each, and there are still rides which demand a return visit.
The following day, a short walk into the centre of Billund takes us to Lego House. Billed as “the world’s best play date”, its 25 million Lego bricks offer visitors the chance to let their imaginations and creativity run wild.
One of our highlights is the Mood Mixer in the yellow zone, where we each build a character on a Lego board, add an emotion and watch it come to life and interact with other designs and their moods on a giant screen.
We build Lego figures, racing cars and a play park, adding some of our creations to the already-impressive two million-brick waterfall which lights up the red zone.
We save all our creations on our digital wristband before leaving with six brick combo – one of the 915,103,765 unique ways you can combine six 2×4 Lego bricks – which is offered to each and every visitor, symbolising the endless possibilities of the simple brick.
How to plan your trip
A Wizard Room at the Legoland Castle Hotel, sleeping two adults and two children, costs from £290 per night, including breakfast. Visit legoland.dk
Flights from London Heathrow Airport to Copenhagen Airport with BA (britishairways.com) start from £60 per person one way.
Europcar (europcar.co,uk) offers four-day car hire from around £160.