3 April 2010

Review: Legoland Discovery Centre, Manchester

We were lucky enough to be given review tickets for the hottest new family attraction in Manchester, the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre (LDC).

The LDC opened on 22nd March 2010 and judging by the queues it is staggeringly popular already. It's located in Barton Square at the Trafford Centre in Manchester.

We liked

The location. Ladies, it's at the North West shopping mecca that is the Trafford Centre!

The free parking.

Andy and I loved MINILAND where Northern landmarks had been recreated from LEGO. We could appreciate the skill involved. We wondered how much a professional LEGO builder was paid! The boys were fascinated by this area too, but were disappointed that they weren't allowed to touch any of the models.

The children loved the many areas where they could get their hands on some LEGO.

Here are Presley and Cash at the Earthquake Zone. The idea is you make a LEGO building and test it on the earthquake simulator.

We didn't like

The crowds and the queues. The LDC is a victim of its own success. We had trouble negotiating the main area with a double buggy. We couldn't even get to the DUPLO area. We also left the shop without buying the boys any new LEGO because the queue was too long.

The lack of signs. It wasn't made clear, for instance, that we could go straight into the main section. We queued for ages for the Kingdom Quest ride - that we had no intention of going on!

The map. I would have preferred a proper map, instead we were given a cartoon that was not representative of the LDC either in scale or layout.

There was little supervision of the activities. At the LEGO Racers Build and Test area wheels were in short supply.

Here is Presley holding on to a precious wheel!

I'm sure a lot of these issues are just teething problems that will be ironed out the longer the LDC is opened.


All the children we saw were clearly having a wonderful time. We overheard one little boy say to his mum that he was loving it.

Presley and Cash had a great time, even though a lot of the activities were for older children. We will go back, but only once the fuss has died down - if it ever does!

Facts and Figures

The LEGOLAND Discovery Centre,
Barton Square,
The Trafford Centre,
Manchester M17 8AS

Tickets are available on the door, but be prepared for queues:
Adults - £11.85
Children - £ 9.80
Age 2 and under - FREE

There are many other ticket options. You can book online and save 15%. This is recommended and the only way to guarantee entry, especially over the Easter holidays.



  1. We were in the Trafford Centre yesterday (the day you posted this in fact - I checked twitter on my phone and smiled when your tweet came up because we were about 100 yards from Legoland). We decided to give it a miss yesterday predicting the queues you mention but may try it another time. The prices sound more reasonable than their Windsor location (although we'd really like to go there!)

  2. Hiya, we don't live to far from thw Trafford so planning on giving this a go once the hype dies down and in term time so it will hopefully be less busy as I hate crowds of kids lol x

  3. Rosie, spooky! We're too far away from Windsor, so this was ideal for us! x

    Fiona, that's definitely the best idea - go in term time! x

  4. very useful review - thank you. I think we will wait until our little one is older, or they start doing free adult entrance!

  5. Pink Starfish, thank you. Good idea! x

  6. DomesticGoddess6 April 2010 at 22:17

    We visited today with our three children aged 8, 6 and 1. I am glad we pre-booked online as they were turning people away. We had a 'nice' couple of hours but it was in no way as exciting as the website and map lead us to believe. It cannot be compared to the Windsor Legoland in any way. My 6 year old had a great time but my 8 year old wasn't overly impressed, niether were we for the price we had paid.

    I would say it is great for 3-7 years olds. Nothing much for under 3's. Only 1 baby changing table, I ended up in the ladies changing our daughter standing up.

    The Fire Brigade area wasn't big enough for a tall 8year old and yet it was too big for our 1 year old and packed.

    The 4D show was fun but the 'Bob' theme was too young for older kids really.

    Well, try it for yourself but I wouldn't bother if you have kids over 8years. Dissapointing.

  7. Domestic Goddess, thanks for all the additional infomation. There were many sections we didn't visit as the boys are too young. Luckily we had changed them at the Trafford Centre before we went in to the LDC!

  8. Went yesterday and wish I had read the blog entries about 'walk in' tickets. I didn't try booking online (which I too late found out would have told me they were fully booked) as I had 'get one in free' tickets which can't be used on line. Travelled from York and got there to be told 'sorry, we are full!'. We did get a bit of inside information to come back at 4pm when most prebooked ticket holders have arrived and gone, and luckily enough we got in! Would have hated telling my two boys if we hadn't! Once inside we had a great time - very competitive husband on the Kingdom of Quest ride! My youngest who is six loved it so much he wants a birthday party there - any advice on the value of it gratefully received! With four friends, goody bag and master builder session - to cost around £140.

  9. Marcelle, I'm so glad you got in eventually and that your kids (including one big kid) enjoyed it. The party sounds expensive though!

  10. I agree with domestic goddess. We went today, i have 7 & a 3 year old, we thought it was really overated having seen the pictures online. Once in the main room it reminded me of one of these kids play areas that are attached to pubs. One thing i did find annoying was my son was building cars in the racer section and he couldn't find enough wheels yet there were several'competative'dads hoarding pieces of lego to make cars themselves! Overall i would say that windsor is the better bet even though it alot further away for us(we live in leeds). That says it all really.

  11. Anonymous, thanks for commenting. That's shocking behaviour from the dads! There were hardly any wheels when we were there. I haven't been to Legoland Windsor, but I think it's a different type of place entirely.

  12. Slippery when wet28 April 2010 at 22:15

    Hi, would just like to add my comment on LDC, ok, it may be small & the map/website misleading but it is a great attraction. Can i just say regarding 'competative'dads,that EVERYONE who visits LDC is welcome to make the lego racers & enjoy the whole attraction - that is why you pay admission fee into it :) Also the lack of wheels is due to people stealing them, they get replaced on a regular basis, but still get stolen, so that's the reason for lack of wheels. I would recommend LDC to anyone from 3 & up who loves lego - book online for a 15% discount & to guarantee entry.

  13. Slippery When Wet, thank you for commenting. You make a good point about the dads being allowed to play with the LEGO too because they have paid to enter LDC, but it's not really fair for them to deny wheels to the children! :-)

  14. I have been to ldc manchester. Some of you may have noticed miniland is looking pretty weathered after 8 weeks of visitors.....following on from the 'CHILDREN BLAMED FOR STEALING LEGO' article in last weeks men newspaper ------- parents allow their children to destroy the magnificent models of the northwest - they steal fine lego mini figures, cars, parts of structures while parents turn a blind eye. One child was seen urinating on the display. parents of manchester you should be ashamed. the ldc offers great value for money, healthy foods, x2 films - bob the builder for younger children, and another film 'spellbreaker' for older ones. plans are afoot for a rollercoaster.ldc manchester is the 4th of its kind - a discovery centre. it has never been advertised as a theme park. As far as previous blogger - travelling from york without pre-booking - more fool them ! Its 2010 - there are phones, internet etc ! What modern day parent doesnt enquire before travelling 3 hours to a new attraction ! PLEASE !

  15. Anon, thank you so much for your comment. :-)

  16. Hi there! I went a few weeks ago with my 3yo and his buddy and we loved it! I recommend a sunny week day in term time - we didn't queue for anything. I blogged about our day here: http://www.cheshiremum.co.uk/2010/06/legoland-discovery-centre/

  17. Cheshire Mum, what a great review, so glad you enjoyed it :-)


  19. Visited the shop today and spoke to a lady at the front of the queue, she had been waiting over 2 hours. I heard the manager say to her that it would be another 15 minutes. God knows how long the people at the back of the queue still had to wait. Definately wouldn't go in the school holidays

  20. Anonymous, my goodness, still popular then! :-)

  21. I plan on going to the lcd soon and will be traveling from Scotland and im looking forward to it. But can i say that the rude person that commented on the woman from York did'nt read her commment properly, the woman had buy one get one free tickets that could not be booked in advance online.


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