Ay wanted to visit an aquarium. We have been to the National SEA LIFE Centre Birmingham before (read review HERE) , but as we had not yet been to the Legoland Discovery centre in Birmingham, I decided to have a go at visiting both attractions in one day (both being within walking distance from each other). That’s how we landed at the Legoland. Was it a good decision? well, read till the end.
The Legoland Discovery Centre Birmingham is an indoor attraction, so the British weather will not affect your visit. Don’t go expecting the Legoland Windsor (review and tips HERE), the discovery centre is as different as it gets and much smaller. Basically, everything is arranged in sections in one large hall on one floor.
Remember when I said, don’t expect Legoland Windsor; thats because there are only two rides in the discovery centre. Kingdom Quest is a family laser shooting ride. You sit in a cart as a family of four/five, shooting at targets, trolls and skeletons with a laser gun with scores showing in front of you, which kept things competitive and a lot of fun. Merlin’s Apprentice Ride is the second one where you have to pedal to make your cart fly higher as it moves around in a circle like a fairground ride. Ay loved it but it was a work out for me.
Again, dont expect the mainland at Legoland Windsor, this one is much smaller and essentially a replica of Birmingham and Warwick. I am not very familiar with Birmingham so could not appreciate all the buildings but the attention to detail is amazing in what I could recognise. There was also an interactive football match between local rivals Birmingham City and Aston Villa, which was quite cool and kept Ay and daddy occupied for a bit. Also, the lights in the hall dim out after a while, and lights glow up on the buildings with sound effects, mimicking day-night cycle, which was awesome.
The 4D LEGO® Cinema experience is included with general admission and was one of the coolest feature in the discovery centre. The movies last approx 20-30 minutes (so perfect for little ones) and are highly engaging. Be prepared for the characters to pop out, as if throwing stuff at you or splash water particles on you. There are strobe/ flash lights and it can get noisy, so please be warned if you suffer from any conditions that may be triggered by it. They show different films throughout the day, at one hour interval, so you could watch a few movies if you stayed for longer.
Right in the centre of the main arena is a baby mat with some play equipment. There is also a small cafe with seating, which sells drinks and (NOT unexpectedly) overpriced basic meal deals. Both are perfectly placed for you to sit down and keep an eye on your children as they play around the huge hall.
There is Lego city themed soft play and several tables around the zone with tons of lego bricks to build. There were tubs of Lego Technic bits with basic instructions to make different sorts of cars. Children created their own cars and then raced them down either the interactive 5-way track or the other two vertical ramps. Ay spent most of his time here, racing his creations with us and also with other children, refining his model depending on how it did. It was a lot of fun. Then, there is the city builder zone where you can build whatever you like on the pad, then press a button to stimulate an earthquake and notch the intensity up to see if your building is stable or will fall down. After a few goes, Ay actually purposely started making buildings which will fall, making him laugh.
Then, there is also the Lego friend’s area, which would be a dream for fans, with Heartlake city models, real life characters, beauty cart and buckets full of Lego to make your own creations.
Though, Legoland discovery centre is meant to be an an attraction for children of all ages, I felt it was over-rated (though this may be an unpopular opinion). Ay, who is five years old, loved it but I think the small play area does not have much to offer for older age groups and not worth the full ticket price for them.
General entry ticket starts from £18.50 on weekdays or 20.50£ on weekends (if you book ahead online), which is pricey for what’s on offer. If you visit during the week in term time, you can buy an adult and preschooler (5 and under) ticket for just £12, which is what we did and is an amazing offer. You can upgrade to visit Sea Life aquarium (review HERE), which is just a short walk away, for £10 pp, which is what we did. They are both doable in one day and makes a good day out for much better value for money. If you buy the combo ticket online, then it is more expensive, so I suggest doing it on the day at the venue. You can also redeem your Tesco Clubcard vouchers or keep an eye out for the promotional 2 for 1 offers on cereal boxes. Groupon also does a deal once in a while, so another website worth looking out for.
A lot of what you do in the discovery centre is play with lego. A cynic like me will argue if I really want to spend all that money just for my child to play with lego (and not even keep the creations). I wished there was more to the place than there is but thats just me! My lego- crazy kid had a happy day. We loved the Kingdom quest ride, the 4D cinema and racing tracks in the Lego building arena.
I absolutely detest the exit through the gift shop though, which has aisles full of the latest Lego sets. Better prepare your kids (and yourselves) beforehand
🗺 Address: LEGOLAND Discovery Centre, Arena, King Edwards Rd, Birmingham B1 2AA, United Kingdom
🎟 Charges apply. Please see website for more uptodate prices and read our value for money paragraph above
🚘 The centre does not have its own car park, however car parking facilities are located within a minutes walk of the centre at Arena Birmingham South B16 8ET and Q park Brindleyplace B1 2JF (standard daily fees are £5 for up to two hours; £7-8 for up to three hours; £9-11 for up to four hours). We parked on the near by Edward road where there are some spaces and paid 4.7£ for four hours (via RingGo) which is cheaper than the above car parks, so it is worth driving around.
Also, the area falls into the low emission zone in central Birmingham, where separate charges operate for certain cars and has to be paid online. Please check HERE to avoid penalty and unexpected charges
🚻 Toilets on site
🍕There is a small cafe which sells drinks and (NOT unexpectedly) overpriced basic meal deals.
🧺 Not enough space for Picnic in the aquarium but you could do it outside near the canals if you wished
🦽 Wheelchair accessible
🐕 Dogs not allowed