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Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Mini Break

Summer time; a time for holidays and days out.  That's what we did lately with just two days of the weekend.  Combining education and entertainment; we visited two places that are poles apart.

Day One - Hampton Court Palace

A home of King Henry VIII, this was a most eye-opening day; brought to life with re-enactments as the day went on.

Taking a "day in the life" of the king, his Queen and the courtiers; each hour saw the story move on, as we learned a little more about life in the royal household.

The first part started in Base Court, the main courtyard of the palace, and we were then taken indoors; where we were introduced to the king himself.  Next, we met his wife (Kathryn Parr - wife number 6) and her mother; along with the Lord Chancellor and his physician.

An audio tour is included in the cost, as are velvety cloaks, so you can really get into the spirit of the day.

The weather was great, which meant looking at the magnificent gardens (and a ride on a horse-drawn carriage) was a lovely experience; and to look at the buildings; and realise they are almost 400 years old; the history just oozes out.

Day Two - Legoland Windsor

Talk about a contrast.  From the historical to the hysterical.

Legoland Windsor offers something for everyone; in terms of rides, entertainment and imagination.

First of all, the setting.  High on a hill, with uninterrupted views across Berkshire; with Windsor Castle in the foreground, and on the horizon the arch over Wembley Stadium, with the skyscrapers of the city in the distance too; it's a breathtaking start to the day.

The weather held; which was just as well; some of the rides are extremely 'wet' and we needed time to dry out.  They were a lot of fun.

The slapstick style stunt show was fun to watch; and the kids found it very entertaining; so do I, if truth be told.

Miniland is the main attraction; in terms of Lego - miniature models, built entirely of the little plastic bricks; bring well-known landmarks to life.  There was even a reconstruction of the Royal Wedding, at Buckingham Palace.

One area that tends to let theme parks down is their mealtime offering.  It's not easy catering to the masses; but there was one "all you can eat" pizza and pasta (and salad) buffet that was actually quite good; and it was fairly priced too.

Of course, they want you to stay as long as possible, and from next year you will even be able to sleep in your very own Legoland hotel, with lego bed and bathroom (no - I made that bit up!)  It's an attempt to  keep you in the park for longer, spending more money on their ever increasing range of merchandise - of which there is lots.  I couldn't resist the lego ice-cube tray!

Two very different, but very much fun days out.
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