The Old Fogies go to Lalandia in Billund, Denmark

As is traditional in our family, the grandparents always take the grandchildren on holiday during the long summer vacation.  This year Mr Curmudgeon asked our granddaughters what type of holiday they wanted to do.  The eldest quickly piped up that she would like to go to a water park with big slides and waves.  ‘OK said Mr Curmudgeon I will see what we can find’.

Having browsed the internet, Mr Curmudgeon looked a bit concerned, we could go to Billund in Denmark he said, there is a place called Lalandia that has a large indoor water park and something called Monky Tonky Land as well as a ski slope and ice rink and it is right next door to Billund Legoland, what do you think he asked me.

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I said what is the cost, you know Scandinavia is very expensive.  Not too much Mr Curmudgeon said, we have to fly from Heathrow (Oh I sighed) but we can stay at Lalandia which is only 3 kilometres away from the airport.  OK I said, let’s do it, go on book.

The next time we saw the granddaughters we told them about Lalandia and showed them the internet page, they said it looked just what they were looking for, score 1 to Mr Curmudgeon.

The day eventually arrived that we would take the grandchildren to Lalandia in Denmark for our traditional summer break with them.

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Flying from Heathrow why is it so difficult ? The Piccadilly line is painfully slow, and Heathrow is some 20 stops from Green Park, but hey ho we are off. Our flight time was 4.00 pm a bit late for us, but never mind the grandchildren are very excited.  Arriving at Heathrow, there is a 24-minute delay on our flight, I looked at Mr Curmudgeon and raised my eyebrows, yet another nail in the coffin of easy travel.

Anyway, eventually we get on the plane and get ready for departure, we are travelling British Airways, and I was shocked and surprised that suddenly they are charging from coffee, drinks etc.  This is very bad, as British Airways was always our first choice, even though it is a bit more expensive you usually do get a coffee and biscuit.  The pilot appeared to make up a bit of time as we arrive at Billund airport just after 7.00 pm Danish time.  We find a taxi and we then drive for a few minutes to Lalandia holiday site. 

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Lalandia is an indoor complex with a number of different attractions and with an artificial bright blue sky above, everyday is a nice day ! Although the service centre is not open, we go to the sports bar and they ring through to alert the service desk staff to our arrival. 

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We then book in and are given our wrist bands for the park.  Our ‘chalet’ is number 215, so with suitcases and girls in tow, Mr Curmudgeon and I get on the small transport train, it is a bit of a tight squeeze and off we go to our chalet.

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At the trains last stop, we disembark and look to try to find our chalet, my first thought when I saw the accommodation was WOW, these look fabulous all wood of course but large and spacious. 

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Our youngest Grandchild when entering our particular chalet, uttered the word ‘Awesome’ and it was, two bedrooms, a large living space, which included, the kitchen area, seating area, dining area, as well a patio area, not forgetting the bathroom.  The chalet is not only spacious it is well designed and has everything you need, except as our eldest grandchild said, salt and pepper, this lost it a point in her eyes and she only gave the chalet a 9!

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One of the drawbacks, is that you have to make up the beds yourself, you can hire linen from the centre or bring your own, we had decided to bring our own, so the first thing we needed to do, bearing in mind that it was now nearly 9.00 pm was to make the beds up. 

It had been a long day, and after a drink and a small snack we all decided to retire for the night, so we would be ready for the big day at the Aquadome tomorrow. 

The morning arrived and after a going to the supermarket and getting some cereal for the children and milk for Mr Curmudgeon and my coffee, we sit down and have some breakfast.  Then donning our swimsuits under our clothing we catch the 9.30 am train from the terminus for the 10 minute very slow ride to the centre.

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Along the way the children play on the various small parks around the site, there is truly a lot to do around the Lalandia chalet sites, with lots of space for running and playing.

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Arriving at Lalandia main entrance, we all get off the train and then go into the centre.  The Aquadome is on the right at the top, we are a bit early so we look around Polar world, which is interesting, but at this time it is not really fully open, we will need to come back and look again.

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The wristbands that everyone wears are very good, they allow entrance (electronically) to all the areas and also will lock and unlock your chalet door, WOW the grandchildren feel that this is really High Tech.

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10.00 am and we use our wristbands to get into the Aquadome site, Mr Curmudgeon goes upstairs, and I take the girls downstairs.  Again the wristbands are used to lock your locker, we discard our clothing putting it in the locker and closing it with our wristband.

We then have to shower, they are very particular that you shower thoroughly I was sent back because I had not done my hair!  Oh dear, in trouble again.

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We go through to the actual water area, and all you can say is WOW, there are numerous pools, warm ones, cool ones and some in between, the  girls want to go to the centre slides, where there is just numerous water spouts tipping unexpectedly onto you, plus to biggish slides and a number of smaller ones.  The girls run up the stairs followed by Mr Curmudgeon and me at a more sedate pace, down we all go, I got a bit disconcerted as I slipped and went down on my back and landed at the end as Mr Curmudgeon said like a stranded whale, he does know how to compliment one doesn’t he!

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I take the little one to a set of slides in the corner, these are quite safe and I feel confident that little one will be okay here, so I can just sit at the bottom and watch.  Mr Curmudgeon takes the eldest grandchild on the bigger slides, these look quite frightening to me, but the grandchildren show no fear.  In the end even little one went on them whilst Mr Curmudgeon came off quite green the girls showed no such issues, and played constantly up and down these enormous slides.

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The bell sounded for the waves to start, so we all pile into the wave pool and enjoy 15 minutes bouncing up and down, even I enjoyed that, and the eldest grandchild was in her element.

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After about 2 hours we all had enough, so we went to change and met up outside the Aquadome, I then went to the supermarket, which is well stocked and reasonably priced, well you need to remember that Scandinavia is expensive compared to British prices, I picked up something for lunch and we went back to the chalet for a bit of down time.  The girls were running and jumping and still full of beans, maybe Mr Curmudgeon and I are a bit too old for this type of holiday but never mind only 3 big sleeps to go.

After lunch, we decide to walk back to the Lalandia site, this takes about 20 minutes, but the girls insisted that they try every play area on the way, they have a great time, running up and down the circular coloured hills, the sand and swings, the climbing frames, so it probably takes us about ½ an hour to finally reach the entrance.

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We are now going to the indoor play area that is called Monky Tonky Land, this is a large space filled with different play areas and is completely safe and secure we spongy flooring and netting to protect the children.  Again, access is via a barrier which your wristband gains you entry. 

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The girls immediately take off their footwear and run into the play area with no concerns, Mr Curmudgeon and I take to a table and chairs at the side, and start to relax a bit, knowing that the girls will be safe whilst enjoying themselves.

There is a great rule at Lalandia, that you can only take photos of your own children, so it is quite fun but very secure.  Denmark appears not to be such a nanny state as Britain, while there is staff about, they are not intrusive, and responsibility really is in the hands of the parent (or in our case grandparent) I feel this is a good thing.

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They play for a little while they appear to especially like the trampolines which are very good and allow children to bounce quite high.  The eldest especially liked these, but she also like the challenge of going around the whole complex in a timed way, Mr Curmudgeon is very good at this sort of activity encouraging and getting the best time possible. 

After a couple of hours, they are quite exhausted, and it is time for a drink of juice for them and a coffee for Mr Curmudgeon and me. 

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There are some activities that are not included in the price of a Lalandia ticket (is anyone surprised, Mr Curmudgeon and I certainly wasn’t).  One such activity is the bungy trampolines, of course they had such a great time in Monky Tonky Land, they wanted to experience the bigger trampolines.  OK I said but this is the only time, you will not go on again.

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After collecting more food from the supermarket, I must really do a bigger shop, we went round to Little Vegas which is a game machine area, they are allowed the small change we have from our shopping trips which they play with for approximately 20 minutes then it is time to go back to the chalet for dinner.

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We walk back to the chalet going into the goat enclosure.  These goats are very tame, and are the small variety the girls really enjoyed stroking the goats and watching there funny leaps and bounds over the ground. Lalandia is a great place for families and has the added bonus of Legoland being next door. It does have a few idiosyncratic rules and regulations like bringing your own bedding but we think that this is because most people travel to the resort by car. If you are flying into Lalandia, it may be easier if you arrive earlier than we did, The Service center closes around 6pm and it is a bit of fuss to get your wristband. Both Lalandia and Legoland tend to cater for the 3 to 12 age group, although there is plenty for younger and older children as well. 

Old Fogies Travels are the adventures of two elderly Londoners (The Old Fogies) as they explore their home town and travel around the world looking out for the strange, unusual and absurd.

Our articles are published on our blog but also listed on the website of our friends at Visiting London Guide.com here.

The Old Fogies go to Legoland Windsor

It was Mr Curmudgeon’s fault ! Whilst enjoying a family Christmas and helping his two granddaughters with their Lego, he foolishly asked where they would like us to take them in 2017. ‘Legoland ‘ they both said in unison, my stare indicated my disapproval but Mr Curmudgeon whispered they will soon forget.

A few months later and after incessant nagging from the children, we found ourselves outside the entrance of Legoland with two very excited children.

Theme parks have never been our favourite destinations because they tend to be expensive, have long queues and children’s initial excitement often turns tears and disappointment. To be fair to Legoland, they have tried to prevent large queues from the entrance by allowing people into a beginning area in which the kids can have a look around before the main part of the park is opened.

The remarkable Miniland area which features over 40 million Lego bricks which are part of numerous buildings and objects from small scale towns and cities from around the world.  The Lego brick is one of the most amazing toy inventions since the Second World War and proves that any toy that allows the creativity of the child or adult to come through will probably be successful.

Amongst the hundreds of nervous parents and excited children, we waited in anticipation for the park to open. People who had visited before, clutched their maps with plans of which attractions to visit first. We decided to take a more leisurely approach and slowly wander around the park.

The park is split into 12 themed lands, incorporating various attractions for particular age groups. The Beginning, Imagination Centre, Duplo Valley, Miniland, Adventure Land, LEGO City, Pirate Shores, Heartlake City, Knight´s Kingdom, Land of the Vikings and Kingdom of the pharaohs.

Duplo Valley is generally aimed at the 3 – 6 age group with a series of water features including Fairy Tale Brook, Raft Racers, Splash Safari and Drench Towers. The weather was not conducive for this area, so we made our way to Lego City which has transport themes and allows the 6-13 age group to try Balloon School: Experience the ups and downs of a hot air balloon ride. Coastguard HQ: an interactive boat ride for children. Fire Academy: helping the ‘firefighters’ to power a LEGO fire engine and putting out a ‘burning’ building. And Lego City Driving School.

Other areas have their own attractions; popular areas include Land of the Vikings, Kingdom of the Pharaohs, Pirate Shores and Knights Kingdom with the major rides being The Dragon and the Dragon’s Apprentice. This area also has a very popular Adventure playground. Adventure Land is situated around a lake at the far end of the park, where the main attraction is Atlantis Submarine Voyage which features “submarine” vehicles used to travel through the tank of sharks and other marine creatures.

The park’s attractions are a mixture of Lego-themed rides, Lego models and interactive areas where children can build with Lego. Once again, Legoland cleverly incorporates building tables in the queues to keep children’s minds occupied.

Many of the attractions are geared to the 3 to 13 age group and allow adults to join children on the rides. Whilst there is an element of ‘fun’ to this, getting in and out of the rides can be a bit of a struggle for those with creaking bones and expanding waistlines.

In some ways, Legoland Windsor is a victim of its own success, In 2015, the park had 2.25 million visitors, making it the most visited theme park in the United Kingdom. This means it can get extremely busy in peak times especially weekends and school holidays. Queues can be quite long for some rides, although most of the rides are quite short in duration. By the late afternoon, tiredness begins to come into play with some parents and children with a few tears and tantrums.

Legoland suffers from the negatives of most theme parks; expensive admission, queues, limited food and drink options. However because it caters for younger age groups and Legoland does think about entertaining visitors in a number of ways, Legoland Winsdor is one of the better attractions of its kind.

Making our way out of the park, our tired but happy granddaughters ran ahead. I smiled to Mr Curmudgeon and said ‘ It has been a quite enjoyable day, but if you ever promise the girls again to take them to a theme park, you will be in the doghouse’.

‘Woof’ he replied as he nearly fell over a Lego character.

Legoland Windsor generally opens from March to November, but there are closures on some days.

Old Fogies Travels are the adventures of two elderly Londoners (The Old Fogies) as they explore their home town and travel around the world looking out for the strange, unusual and absurd.

Our articles are published on our blog but also listed on the website of our friends at Visiting London Guide.com here.