Posted by: christinelaennec | April 22, 2012

Miniworld at Legoland Windsor

Our children have (just about) given up begging us to take them to Disneyland – even Disneyland Paris – but we have been to Legoland Windsor a few times, and have really enjoyed ourselves.  The Dafter asked if, during our recent motoring tour of England, we could go again, and we did.  Because of time constraints and also her level of fatigue, we only had lunch and went to visit Miniworld, but just doing that was very satisfying.  It is really amazing what you can do with Lego:

Buzz Lightyear and the Dafter at Legoland Windsor. The Dafter is not in fact made out of Lego!

I appreciated the witty touches:  the desperate Lego person on the sign by the handicapped toilet:

Loo for disabled Lego people, Legoland Windsor. Note the expression!

There is something so appealing and a bit mad about enormous Lego constructions:

The Dafter with her Lego family, Legoland Windsor.

The site itself is very pretty.  The park extends down in a sloping valley from the entrance.  From the top, there’s a beautiful view.  Windsor Castle was clearly visible the day we went, and to the right of this photo we could also see the London landmarks.

View of Miniworld in the foreground, and Windsor Castle in the distance.

For my American readers – are you as surprised as I was that a Lego Mt. Rushmore dominates Miniworld?  I presume this isn’t intended as a political statement:

Mini Mount Rushmore as you walk down into Miniworld, Legoland Windsor.

Miniworld, while not representing every corner of the globe (I wonder whether they will begin work on some of the developing nations sometime?), presents landmarks of Europe on a small scale.  Here is part of the London section.  Seeing St. Paul’s cathedral and Big Ben made out of Lego is really quite something.  As a gardener, I was fascinated by the tiny “trees” and the use of alpines to provide flowers:

Miniworld: London. (Located within Legoland Windsor, if that makes sense!)

We were also very interested in the Scotland section.  Below is a Lego version of Blair Atholl castle.  What you can’t see in the still photo is that the Highland dancers were dancing up and down on their platform (to the music of the bagpipes), the Tug-of-War would make an occasional shift from one side to another, and a wee train would occasionally come past on the train track.  There was also, in one of the Highland glens, a helicopter rescuing a stranded climber.

Atholl Blair Castle in Miniworld.

Here is Sweden.  I’ve never been there in real life (alas) so I can’t make the comparison, but I thought it was quite funny that they had an Abba concert going in the wee open stage at the back:

Miniworld Sweden, with a tiny Abba concert going on. Legoland Windsor.

I thought these replicas of Belgian buildings were really breath-taking:

If it's Tuesday, this must be Belgium...

The wheelchair was invaluable for our visit.  The Dafter had wondered how people would treat her in a wheelchair.  “People keep smiling at me,” she said.  “They don’t usually.”  We reckoned it’s because when she’s walking around, people just see a teenager in a hoodie.  But in the wheelchair, she’s obviously harmless, or perhaps seen as an object of pity.  A sad comment on our society – but I don’t exempt myself from it.   The other day, she and I were out (yes!) and a man was walking towards us with his carer.  He looked very unkempt and was shouting and gesticulating a bit wildly.  The Dafter was frightened, so we crossed the street.  As we passed them, she said, “I thought he was drunk – but it’s just that there’s something wrong with him.  I feel so terrible that I judged someone just on appearances!”

Not judging on appearances is the work of a lifetime, I personally think.  I pointed out to her that even this frustrating illness of ME contains some hidden gifts for her and for all our family.



  1. What an amazing place, I’d love to visit! Good on the Dafter for learning such a valuable lesson so early in life. You’re very good at finding the positives of her situation and I think that’s wonderful.

  2. “Not judging on appearances is the work of a lifetime, I personally think.”
    I so agree, and what a valuable lesson it is!
    My teen has also commented on how differently she feels she is treated nowadays to when she was younger. Teens feel a little shunned sometimes I think. It is a shame because teens are most in need of a sense of belonging and acceptance. Plus most teenagers I know are interesting, funny, passionate, creative people, even if they do wear hoodies like my girl does 🙂

  3. Very perceptive of you about developing nations not being represented.
    Resist Disneyland! We went to the one in LA when we did a house exchange there, and our children asked to leave (they were age 6 and 9). It was a pretty soul-destroying experience (Disneyland that is – we were all delighted to leave). Since then they’ve both been to the Paris one as part of school trips to France, and liked the French version even less.

    Apart from The Dafter looking happy, I was struck by the very large paracetamol vending machine. Is there something about theme parks that brings on headaches?

  4. What a fun place! It is so amazing how exact the replica’s are. Even the trees are in scale. Your daughter looks like she is having a wonderful time. It’s so good to see her out and about and smiling!

    I love ‘Belgium’ the best! I watched a documentary on Lego Land not too long ago, and what struck me as funny, was how the same pieces always turned up missing. One of them was a ‘left ear’. The theory was that it ‘stuck out’ and was easy to grab by toddlers in carriages!

    It’s sad that your daughter is finding out so young about people’s preconceived judgements. But a good lesson to learn at any age. Thank you for reminding us. xx

  5. When I was a high school teacher, I tried to make a habit to smile and greet teenagers. This was hard for me because some of them looked reclusive and that brought out my shyness. I was stunned the day I inadvertently walked past my most reclusive student without saying hello. He greeted me! It was a real lesson. What we think we’re seeing isn’t necessarily the whole story.

    I went to a Saint Patrick’s parade and stood with a friend whose six-year-old son is in a wheel chair. She turned to me and said, “Watch – he always gets more candy than all the other kids.” In an often cold world, I’m glad so many reach out with a smile or a piece of candy to people who are suffering.

  6. I wanna go! Many years ago they build a Statue of Liberty in the centerhouse at the 1962 World’s Fair site in Seattle. It was all white legos and lit with a yellow light. It was awesome! I’d love to see the entire Seattle skyline done. Looks like a fun day. Glad the dafter is able to get out a bit.

  7. Thank you to everyone for your comments! Glad you enjoyed Miniworld

    Lorna – thanks for your very kind words. The one thing Legoland lacks (I think) is a tea room. We should send you there on a mission!

    Suzy and Kelly – it does seem to be true that teenagers are really feared these days. “Shunned” is a good word. I don’t think the riots of last summer did anything to help that in Britain, and the Trayvon Martin case shows that the same problem exists in the States. Suzy, I often think our two girls might get on well! And Kelly, how interesting that the one day you didn’t say hello, you were greeted. It goes to show how small things can have a big effect.

    Linda – thank you for confirming our resistance to Disneyland. I’d always assumed that our children would enjoy it, but was pretty clear in my mind that I wouldn’t be able to take it. Yes, I thought the paracetemol vending machine was pretty funny too. I’ve never seen one anywhere else! I have been to one other “theme park” besides Legoland, and that was Dollywood in Tennessee – absolutely loved it and am saving up to go back. I loved all the wildflowers, the live music, the artisanal crafts, and I love Dolly Parton so there you go. Takes all types to make the world go around!

    Paula – how interesting about the Lego Statue of Liberty! I never knew about that, though I believe the Space Needle was made for the World’s Fair? Yes, the Seattle skyline would be really good. Like the opening of ‘Frasier’ but in Lego! Thanks for your kind words, it was fun.

  8. I am amazed! I have to admit, whenever anyone mentioned Legoland in a conversation, I was underwhelmed. How good could it be, really? Well, now I see! The girls and I are tentatively planning a trip to the UK in the next couple of years — it will take some saving up — and Legoland Windsor is most definitely on our list!

    You are spot on about teens, as is Suzy (above). It’s often difficult: teens themselves are awkward-feeling, which comes across as stand-offishness and/or prickliness. But if one takes a chance and reaches out (like the youth group at church), one catches their zest and even idealism that the world is wonderful. I think adults lose that sense, as we discover the awfulness that exists. We grow cynical, and we have a hard time seeing the beauty that’s there, too.

    • Hi Ellen,

      Yes, I think the teenage years are difficult from a number of angles. What is happening to our brains between 11 and 20 is pretty scary! Also, I think being a teenager nowadays is more challenging even than it was 10 years ago, because of the internet and the barrage of news. Children and teenagers are aware of a lot of awfulness that exists, though they may not have experienced it firsthand. I remember last summer we were eating breakfast at a hotel and the news broke about the massacre of teens in Norway. I said to the Dafter, “Don’t look; don’t listen,” but there was absolutely no escaping it with enormous screens on all sides of the room and sound blaring….

      Your trip to the UK sounds very exciting! One piece of advice I would give you is that if you can avoid the school summer holidays in Britain things will be less expensive and less crowded. In England, the hols are mid-July to end of August; in Scotland, beginning of July to mid-August. If you do go to Legoland, another good thing about it is that you can bring your own picnic and eat it on the grounds. Have fun planning!

  9. cool

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