LEGO Iron Man Hulkbuster Mosaic – Is it Kid Approved?! Review Timelapse

In this video we review LEGO Mosaic Iron Man Hulk buster and have a time lapse speed build of it. What do kids think of it? How does it get put together?

#legoironmanmech #legoironman #legocollection #legocollector #lego #legomarvel #legominifigures #31199 #legomarvelironman #marvel #marvelcomics #ironman #ironmanmech #marvellegends #actionfigure #actionfigureaddict #hulkbuster #legoafol #afol #lego2020 #legolife #legosuperheroes #legolove #legomosaic #mosaic #legoavengers #reveiw #timelapse #marvelmosaic #legoart

Pet Portrait Commission – Dog “Pawtrait” Time Lapse Demonstration – How to Paint Fur

In this video I’m going to give a quick time-lapse overview of how I created this pet portrait … or as I like to call them “Pawtraits”. I’ll also show how I paint animal fur.

If you’d like to commission a pet pawtrait of your best friend, drop me a line at matt@mattelder.com . A watercolor A3 (12×16 inches) one like this at time of recording would be around the £199.00 mark.

#puppyoftheday #puppygram #puppymodel #dogart #dogportrait #petportrait #petportraits #animaldrawing #pawtrait #pawtraits #dogportraits #petart #watercolordog #dogpainting #petpainting #animalartist #animalportrait #petartist #art_realism #mattelder

Transcript from the Show

G’day Everyone, Matt Elder here and in this video I’m going to give a quick time-lapse overview of how I created this pet portrait … or as I like to call them “Pawtraits”. If you’d like to commission a pet pawtrait of your best friend, drop me a line at matt@mattelder.com . A watercolor A3 (12×16 inches) one like this at time of recording would be around the £199.00 mark.

I start out with a drawing and then block in the background, it’s the quickest way to get the shape of the dog to read well. As this dog is largely oranges and warm colours, I’m going cool and complimentary in the background with blues and greens.

I randomly squirt masking fluid using an old toothbrush as this will help give some texture and love having a randon, incomplete feeling.

I start laying down some base colours and like to build the colours up in several layers. This helps to keep your dancing across the colours. For the shadow colours I like to push into the cool purples and keeps life, rather than going for dull blacks and the like.

I’ll spot in some of the darkest blacks in key features of the eyes, nose and lower jaw. It helps to set the darkest points of the image so when building up the other colours, I tonally know where my range can get to.

Continue to layer in colours to give variety. Then I start in on some individual fur hairs to really give the pet its individual characteristic the owner would recognize.

Then it is just a matter to continue drawing out these individual hair strands and adding in fine detail as you go along. Then working around the muzzle and more individual hair strands.

From here I really want to separate out the side of the head into shadow and get the form reading better, so adding in some darker colours.

I want to have the far side of the head more suggested, particularly around the eye with the long hairs, so never really touch this area of the painting. I remove the masking fluid from below the jaw and lightly knock back the white of the paper so the bottom jaw is more clearly defined. Noodle out a few more details and call it done.

Here we have the finalized image. If you’d like to commission a pet pawtrait of your best friend, drop an email to matt@mattelder.com . Also works great as a gift to your significant other or family member. Here are some other videos you might be interested in.

Most Saturday nights at 8pm UK time I have a “You Say I Draw “ livestream on Youtube. You come along in the chat and tell me what to draw, and I do some quick sketches. Be sure to pop by and say G’day.

If you enjoyed this video, hit that thumbs up. Until next time when we talk about all things lifestyle.

Sea Life London Aquarium UK Covid Reopening August 2020. Full Tour. Is It Worth it?! Is it Safe? Same Price?!

What is Sea Life London Aquarium UK like now it has reopened with covid 19 measures in place? Is it worth going, what has changed, what is the experience like etc.? We will cover this in the video and give our thoughts and firsthand experience as a family. We will do a full time lapse tour of Sea Life London Aquarium UK in about 10 minutes.

Further information on the Holiday Homes / Airbnb / Short Term Lets can be found at http://www.macatsim.com/

Both flats, Broadstairs and Margate are about 75-90 minutes east of London UK. Margate has a LEGO themed Holiday Lets / Airbnb Short Term Stay awith a LEGO Wall. Broadstairs has an iconic red London bus bunk bed (at time of recording).

Time codes to the Video:

0:00 Introduction – Sea Life London Aquarium

1:00 Public Transport to Sea Life London Aquarium

1:45 Walk Over Sharks

2:31 What is Social Distancing at Sea Life London Aquarium Like?

3:55 What is closed?

4:25 Sea Life London Aquarium Penguins

4:59 Jellyfish Area

5:35 Is Sea Life London Aquarium Worth it?

6:45 Summing Up

8:00 Relaxing Shots

Transcript from the Show

G’day Everyone, Matt Elder of Family Bricks here. What is Sea Life London Aquarium UK like now it has reopened with covid 19 measures in place? Is it worth going, what has changed, what is the experience like etc.? We will cover this in the video and give our thoughts and firsthand experience as a family. We will do a full time lapse tour of Sea Life London Aquarium UK in about 10 minutes.

This video is bought to you bay Macatsim Holiday Homes in Margate and Broadstairs. Great for a week’s holiday or a weekend escape, being just over an hour east of London, UK. Treat yourself to amazing sunsets, a LEGO wall or great food. Visit www.macatsim.com and mention this Youtube video, we’ll will look after you.

We spent the day at Sea Life London Aquarium UK August 23rd, 2020 – 6 weeks after it reopened. So it has had some time to bed in the new corona virus safety guidelines and we’ll give you a sense of if Sea Life London Aquarium is worth visiting, and what it is like now.

To get to Sea Life London Aquarium you’ll most likely have to take public transport of some form. We took the overground and underground/tube so now you have to have face mask and the trains and train stations are signposted everywhere about this. We caught a 9am train on a Sunday morning so relatively empty and these shots give you a sense of that.

Is Sea Life London Aquarium worth it?

Absolutely! It seems that with lockdown and pretty much no tourists, numbers are limited and it’s a super nice experience. For the most part you don’t have people climbing all over you, social distancing is generally adhered to and staff do try to ensure it happens. LEGOLAND and Chessington World of Adventures, which Merlin Entertainment also owns, are the complete opposite of this, you wouldn’t even know social distancing is a thing – click link around the video to see what LEGOLAND is like

Pretty much most of the attraction is there, including the interactive ability to touch some of the sea creatures. Again other Merlin Entertainment attractions have these closed. That is the thing with this, you have a parent organization but each attraction seems to have their own intrepreation and implementation of covid – click link around the video to see Chessington World of Adventures and how their hands on interactive touch is closed.

We are Merlin Premium Annual Pass holders (standard ones don’t give access usually during school holidays). We are definitely going to try to come back in the next month or so – who knows how good it will last like this so take advantage while you can. Kids always remember the penguins and probably their favourite part of the day.

If you’ve enjoyed and / or gotten something out of this video, then hit that thumbs up button and or consider subscribing. Would you go? If you’ve been, what did you think? Sound off in the comments below.

Thanks very much for watching. We are just going to let the video run with some other relaxing shots from Sea Life London Aquarium. At the moment with generally no tourists in London, visiting the castles and other attractions are fantastic days out (particularly if you get annual passes that let you into multiple attractions).

Like this one of Tower of London which houses the Crown Jewels. Normally during peak season you’d get 13,000 visitors a day, they are struggling to get 1,000 a day now, the place feels almost deserted.

Click the link around the video for more information.

We’ll put links to other London based attractions we’ve been to recently so you can consider going, or if you aren’t local, can watch the time lapse portion of the video and do a full tour of these attractions you might not otherwise see in less than 10 minutes.

That’s it from us here at Family Bricks, until next time when we talk about all things lifestyle.

Chessington World of Adventures Resort UK Covid Reopening August 2020. Is It Worth it?! Is it Safe?

What is Chessington World of Adventures Resort UK like now it has reopened with covid 19 measures in place? Is it worth going, what has changed, what is the experience like etc.? We will cover this in the video and give our thoughts and first hand experience as a family, after our visit on 16th August 2020. We will do a whole time-lapse walk through of the park and key attractions in about 10 minutes.

Time codes to the Video:
0:00 Introduction
0:44 Carpark & Entry – Bottlenecks and Stupidity
1:47 No Shows at All but LEGOLAND do shows – Merlin Entertainments Own Both
2:25 Kids Playgrounds – Some Closed, Some Open
3:20 Chessington World of Adventures Resort vs LEGOLAND Windsor UK
3:47 Sea Life 4:50 Smokehouse Restaurant Issues
5:30 Lion Enclosures
6:20 Gorilla Enclosure
7:10 Zufair
8:13 Is Chessington World of Adventures Worth Visiting? Chessington World of Queuing.
9:40 Summing up and closing

#chessington #family #fun #love #life #instagood #adventure #behappy #yoga #chessingtonzoo #picoftheday #instagrammers #loveit #singleparent #page #peace #followers #peaceouthaterz #like #themepark #namaste #chess #bigkid #blessed #cheer #christmasday #chesspiece #chessa #chessclub #chesslover

House of Dots World Tour, Is it Coming to You? Unboxing & Behind the Scenes Creating LEGO Furniture

The LEGO House of DOTs is going on a world tour. In this video we will cover what this means and go behind the scenes to have a look at how it starts to come together. Back in January 2020 we worked on the House of DOTs that was the promotional vehicle for the launch of the then new LEGO DOTs theme. Check out this video to a walk through of the House of DOTs I did back then so you can get a sense of what it was like

After it was finished being on display at the Coal Drops Yard in Kings Cross in the center of London. It went into storage and got damaged. Coronavirus then came along and everything changed. Subsequently LEGO has decided to rejig the House of DOTs from 8 shipping containers, into about 2 and make them readily transportable so can travel the world and have more people experience them.

Thus new pieces have to be created, damage ones addressed and a chance to take what was learnt the first time around, and improve upon the original designs. Only one tiny little restriction, as now in a covid world, all the work has to be done remotely.

So in this video, I’ll show the unboxing of the packages we have received from LEGO, the pieces, instructions and the like … So much LEGO!

Time codes to the Video:
0:00 Introduction
0:26 House of DOTS History
1:35 Package Delivery, Unboxing and Design 1
3:58 Unboxing and Design 2
7:10 Unboxing and Design 3
9:56 Summing Up and Closing

House of DOTs Full Tour

House of DOTS Behind the Scenes

Sketching the House of DOTs

UPDATE LEGOLAND Windsor UK Covid Reopening AUGUST 2020. Is It Worth it?! Is it Safe? The Same Price?!

What is LEGOLAND Windsor UK like with Covid-19 guidelines in place now that the theme park has recently reopened? Is it worth going? We look to answer these questions following another recent family visit in August 2020. To do so, we will look at what has changed, what is new, what is closed and what the queue times are like. This is an update to our video from almost a month back and the differences are fairly significant.

We will have a look at ticket prices pre and post covid, and surprisingly, there isn’t much difference. What about if you have an annual Merlin pass, what sort of value is there and should we be thinking of renewing them (or not)?

We’ve noticed Merlin Passes have become a little like frequent flyers – actually using and redeeming is becoming difficult / no slots available. But if you want to pay, no problem. Castles around London also having the same issue – very few slots for annual passes. Think annual passes might become the next scam / pointless to have *

Further information on the Holiday Homes / Airbnb / Short Term Lets can be found at http://www.macatsim.com/ Both flats, Broadstairs and Margate are about 75-90 minutes east of London UK. Margate has a LEGO themed Holiday Lets / Airbnb Short Term Stay awith a LEGO Wall. Broadstairs has an iconic red London bus bunk bed (at time of recording).

Time codes to the Video:
0:00 Introduction
0:51 Car Park and Entrance – Social Distancing Collapsed with People Everywhere?!
1:21 Laser Raiders – First Ride
1:50 Monster Party Haunted House
2:20 Queue Lengths at 11am
3:10 LEGOLAND Express Train
3:50 Duplo Water Park – don’t forget to pre-book
4:10 Sky Riders
5:15 4D Cinema Studios
6:00 Miniland and New Details
7:35 LEGO Stores Reopening
7:58 Refueling Drink Stations Issues
8:32 Kids Favourite things of the day
9:20 Car park … why can’t they sort this out, it’s a dead simple fix
9:40 Final Thoughts – LEGOLAND – Is the value there in visiting?
13:08 Summing up and closing

Transcript from the Show

G’day Everyone, Matt Elder of Family Bricks here and today out in LEGOLAND Windsor UK. Just thought we’d come out here and see what it is like now. We were here a couple of weeks ago and did a video on what it was like post covid with all the changes and things like that. Its been a couple of weeks now and there has been a couple more changes and a bit more relaxing, easing and opening of things. So we will go through and see what’s changed, what is different, what is the same. Maybe some other bits and pieces of what’s going on and see if it is still good value, it is worth coming out?

This video is bought to you bay Macatsim Holiday Homes in Margate and Broadstairs. Great for a week’s holiday or a weekend escape, being just over an hour east of London, UK. Treat yourself to amazing sunsets, a LEGO wall or great food. Visit www.macatsim.com and mention this YouTube video, we’ll will look after you.

Car Park and Entrance – Social Distancing Collapsed with People Everywhere?!

Feels like it is a lot more busy than when we came here a couple of weeks ago. So maybe everybody is getting back into it. Lots more people everywhere. Bag check, security screens, social distancing seems like it has collapsed.

We’re in LEGOLAND. Yeah LEGOLAND!!

Even more people everywhere.

Laser Raiders – First Ride

In early first to Laser Raiders and  if you are over 11, you need a mask and heavy on the hand sanitizer.

PlayStation games themselves are closed which makes sense. At least the other drop ride is open.

Daddy, do not make me watch this video, I will get motion sickness.

Monster Party Haunted House

And the Haunted House has reduced capacity. At least they put some new shades up though. In the Haunted House, you have socially distant spots to dance on. So in the Haunted House you don’t have the front two rows and spaces in between groups… and its nice and air conditioned.

It spins around a lot. And we had a dance party. Yeah, we had a dance party.

Queue Lengths at 11am

Now its just after 11am and some of the ride times getting crazy. 90minutes there, an hour for the Coast Guard, 90 minutes for Deep Sea Adventure. Place has been really busy!

Not too bad, Laser Raiders half an hour. Some of the smaller kiddie ones only 5 minutes. At least the shows are running.

Going back, an hour there, 45 minutes there, an hour there.

Shows are back on.

LEGOLAND Express Train

Going through and giving it a clean, giving it a good spray down. Do that about every 3rd or 4th train ride. So with the train, you have every second aisle isn’t used. So while we all got separate seats and things, the lines are all bunched together. Clever Coronavirus.

Huge queues to get into those refill drinks. There are queues here and queues over at the LEGO City area. Just lots of people in general

Duplo Water Park – don’t forget to pre-book

I love the water park. Now Duplo water park, you have to book in advance. What they don’t tell you is that you have to do it a day or two before you arrive, as they only open slots them and it fills up really quick.

Sky Riders

What can you see down there in Miniland? New York, Sydney Opera House, ISS thingya ma jiggy. The NASA Space Station, rocket bits.

So Sky Riders has been working and not much of a queue, which is good as really hot during the middle of the day now.

OK, so what can you see? Well, I can see almost the whole of Miniland, bit like a map spread out in front of us.

Don’t be afraid to go on this ride, by the way it is a slow rollercoaster, it goes quite slowly , enjoy the view, at first it goes a bit quickly like the start of a rollercoaster speed but then it kinda slows down. Its really fun.

4D Cinema Studios

OK , with reduced capacity, you couldn’t even get into the show, the queue wasn’t even very big. We came back towards the end of the day and we were able to get in then. In the 4D cinema and they are doing every other row, spacing people out.

We just did the 4D dimension cinema with the Ninjago show. It didn’t have a lot of the effects of the 4th dimension so it did feel a little flat compared with normal. It was ok but it really does make a difference and you do loose a fair but out of it.

LEGO reef and Minifigures & More, The Ultimate Brick Store are still closed.

This is typical of a spray that gets done on most of the rides and I’m guessing it takes place every half hour or so, so it isn’t after each ride.

Miniland and New Details

Down here in Miniland and have a quick look around and see what details we can see and if anything has really changed. Lets go and have a look.

So we have the NHS thank you rainbow right next to the marching soldiers right in London area of Miniland.

Here we have a nice little detail of Major Tom being knighted by the Queen who the money raise for charity with the Zimmer frame in his back garden right outside the Windsor Castle.

And here we have the Tower of London and Tower Bridge which we were at yesterday so interesting now to see it in LEGO form and made some videos about that so you can click around to find out full walk through Tours in about 10 minutes.

And here is Leeds Castle in Miniland form, also great to see and we’ve done a full walkthrough of the grounds. Check out the video around.

Down here in Miniland and there use to be a Ninjago stage there. So that looks like it is completely gone and they have actually put down some AstroTurf and some picnic tables there. That would tend to suggest that it is not going to be coming back.

Daddy is a monster who wants to capture us. He’s an alien. Daddy, can you be an alien? Raaagh!

So it is 5:10pm in the afternoon and numbers are begin to thin out quite significantly but that could be because its 34 degrees Celsius and still hot and everybody’s just tired and over it and just want to get home. Its been a really, really warm day.

LEGO Stores Reopening

Seems like most of the LEGO stores have reopened. The Duplo one is open, Big and Little LEGO shops up the top, the ones over in Heartlake city, pretty much all the ones we’ve seen have been open, so more places to go and spend money.

The Duplo Valley Theater is now open and doing shows of  Little Red Riding Hood. Whereas last time we were here it was completely closed until further notice. So that’s good to see that.

Refueling Drink Stations Issues

So these refueling stations are a great idea in principle but all over the park they have been breaking down all day. So you get times when there is only 1 in operation and massive queues to get a drink so does make you wonder what the value is of it.

Boats operating pretty much as normal so always a nice thing to be out on the water when it is a stinking hot day.

While its great that there is hand sanitizer all over the park, we found there have been some in some places where it has run out and doesn’t look like it gets restocked throughout the course of the day, so probably something that needs a bit of attention.

Kids Favourite things of the day

What was the best thing you liked today? Haunted House. What was good about that? Because we went up and down.

What did you like best? Seeing Dracula. The character yeah?! Any reason why? Because he is a vampire.

I liked the rides. I liked the Ninjago ride cause the park was about to close and it was funny because I was like “oh no, we are going to be stuck on the ride”, but then we weren’t.

We got the second highest score of the day on the Ninjago ride of 369,000 points, which was only 3,000 off the top score…maybe we have been here a few too many times.

The queue at the end of the day at the LEGO shop to get out, allow some time.

Car park … why can’t they sort this out, it’s a dead simple fix

And they still don’t have the exiting from the car park sorted out. They funnel everyone into one single lane to go through an open barrier. Just open one or two of the other barriers, it isn’t rocket science! It means it would take a 10th of the time to get out of this carpark. Why are they so determined to make people miserable and frustrated to get out of a carpark when it is something so easy to fix?

Final Thoughts – LEGOLAND – Is the value there in visiting?

So we have been here today and what are our final thoughts on what LEGOLAND, whether it is worthwhile coming and all that sort of stuff? Certainly since last time we were here, much, much more of the park has reopened. Most things have reopened in some description.

Big challenge with it thought is that it felt that numbers where way up, its only a perception thing but feels like the numbers are 80% to 90% what they would normally be at peak season so if they are restricting the numbers, not seeing it in a great deal.

So you have full numbers, full price , a lot of the rides are closed in terms of every other row you’ve got something. So rides are running at effectively half capacity. Queue times after the first hour of the day get ridiculously long. So if you are going to come, make sure you are here at 10am when gates open, and come straight in and pick off the big rides . Even then that’s challenging  as we wanted to do the Ninjago ride and we came down and it was just closed – wasn’t open yet.

Saw the Viking Splash on the way down, ridiculous queues and wasn’t even open yet. And with queue times on some of the rides blowing out to 90 minutes or over an hour with half capacity and all the rest of it, it really does make you wonder in terms if you really do need the Ride and Reserve, or the Q-bot, see a video around here for how it works and what it was last time. Which is going to become ridiculously expensive as well.

Compared with last time, the social distancing aspect seems to be really, really token, a lot of people really don’t pay attention to it what so ever. And then there is just stupidity and nonsense with it. Like when you are waiting for the train, you are there, we were there in the queue for 45 minutes and the way it snakes back onto itself you are basically standing next to each other anyhow. But then when you go to get on the train, which only lasts for 10 minutes, they then have every other aisle not vacant , so you can’t get into it. But it just seems like there is inconsistencies like that all over the place.

So you will pretty much get the LEGOLAND experience as you would normally, you’re just going to be paying for it, you are still going to have ridiculous queue times and on a day like today where it is really, really hot, kids get irritable in the lines and sun and all that.

So I think now you’ve got to treat it as if it is a peak summer day , that you are going to be paying full prices for, but then you have Covid restrictions in on top of that. So it may make you wonder if it is value there.

If you love LEGOLAND and you can understand that and you are happy deal with that or to put up with that, or the long queues and things like that, then by all means come along.

There is just little things they don’t tell you and you find out the hard way. Like getting into the Duplo Valley for the swim and things like that and you’ve got to book a day or two in advance. And unlike other theme parks when you’ve booked in advance, a couple of days before you go they usually send out an email going like “Hey here are all the different things you can do and make sure you do this  and book this” and all that sort of stuff.

They are not doing that here which is really frustrating cause on a day when its like 34 , 35 degrees Celsius, and you have no chance of getting into that swimming area when you just want to cool down and things , not happy about that.

A lot of the shows have opened up now so they are in the background and you can do and see some of those things.

So yeah I’d just be considering it as LEGOLAND as normal, just slightly off peak times but everything else is still going to be long queues and expensive and get here early and try to do a few things, and then take the rest of the day easy and wonder around and do things that you’d normally like to do and see.

And if you really want to jump queues and things like that, you are probably going to have to deal with the Reserve and Ride or what they use to call Q-bot.

Summing up and closing

So that’s it from us here at Family Bricks in LEGOLAND Windsor UK today. Had a good day overall, kids have really enjoyed themselves. Be sure to hit that thumbs up button if you’ve gotten value out of this or gotten some entertainment or learned something. And if it has helped you to make a decision to come or not to come, we’d love to know about it, or any comments you have, put them down in the comments below.

Alternatively for some other days out in London really recommend some of the castles cause they are completely deserted at the moment so you can get in and see all sorts of things really easily. There will be links around the videos for that.

We’ve done Hampton Court Palace – totally recommend

Leeds Castle – also recommend

Hever Castle – probably a little down the list and

Tower of London right in the city as well.

That’s all from us here at Family Bricks until next time when we talk all things LEGO and Lifestyle.

Hampton Court Palace Castle And Magic Garden UK Covid Reopening August 2020. Full Tour. Is It Worth it?! Is it Safe? Same Price?!

What is Hampton Court Palace Castle grounds & gardens UK like now it has reopened with Covid 19 measures in place? Is it worth going, what has changed, what is the experience like etc.? We will cover this in the video and give our thoughts and firsthand experience as a family. We will do a full tour of Hampton Court Palace Castle grounds and gardens in about 10 minutes.

We look at ticket prices pre and post covid, and surprisingly, there isn’t much difference (but they were always reasonable value to begin with).

Further information on the Holiday Homes / Airbnb / Short Term Lets can be found at http://www.macatsim.com/

Both flats, Broadstairs and Margate are about 75-90 minutes east of London UK. Margate has a LEGO themed Holiday Lets / Airbnb Short Term Stay awith a LEGO Wall. Broadstairs has an iconic red London bus bunk bed (at time of recording).

Time codes to the Video:

0:00 Introduction
0:36 Shortcut to Magic Garden Kids Playground & Tips
1:50 Palace Grounds, Café
2:13 Main Entrance and West Gatte
2:35 Henry VIII’s Apartments
3:00 Georgian Story
3:37 Fountain Court
3:53 William III’s Apartments
4:10 Clock Court
4:35 Base Court
4:52 Henry VIII’s Kitchens
5:15 Hampton Court Palace Weddings
5:35 East Front and Gardens
6:55 Privy Garden
7:30 Pond Gardens
8:22 Wilderness Garden
9:00 Hampton Court Palace. Is it worth it?

Transcript from the Show

G’day Everyone, Matt Elder of Family Bricks here. What is Hampton Court Palace Castle UK like now it has reopened with covid 19 measures in place? Is it worth going, what has changed, what is the experience like etc.? We will cover this in the video and give our thoughts and firsthand experience as a family. We will do a full tour of Hampton Court Palace Castle grounds and gardens in about 10 minutes.

This video is bought to you bay Macatsim Holiday Homes in Margate and Broadstairs. Great for a week’s holiday or a weekend escape, being just over an hour east of London, UK. Treat yourself to amazing sunsets, a LEGO wall or great food. Visit www.macatsim.com and mention this Youtube video, we’ll will look after you.

We spent the day at Hampton Court Palace Castle UK August 3rd, 2020 – 4 weeks after it reopened. So it has had some time to bed in the new corona virus safety guidelines and we’ll give you a sense of if Hampton Court Palace Castle is worth visiting. On the screen you can see the names of different attractions pop up as we go past them.

The Magic Garden Kids Playground

We arrived at 10am when the kids playground, called the Magic Garden opened. From the carpark if you hang a left, you can get in the side entrance so you don’t have to go all the way through the Palace grounds to get to it.

First thing in the morning, other people have had the same idea so they give you wrist bands and a 90 minute time slot. After our session was done, we came back later in the day and could get straight in. It wasn’t super busy and might be the best kept secret.

The playground itself is really well done and naturally the kids love it and happily spent hours here. It does have a water springing up from down low so worthwhile bringing a towel and change of clothes for the kids if the day is warm. Compared to peak season last year, this has a fraction the number of people, really pleasant and easy to get tables and chairs.

The vast majority of it was open although the shop was closed, and the drinking water fountains turned off. So you are going to need to bring your own food and drink if you get hungry.

So after our 90 minutes we ended up leaving. With hindsight we probably could have stayed if we wanted as no one was chasing you out. Notice in general throughout the video how few people there are wondering around. The Palace and grounds are considerable but again, compared with last years peak season, nowhere near the numbers of people walking around.

As with most places at the moment, you have to pre book tickets and we didn’t have any problems with that. We’d previously gotten an annual pass that also includes the Tower of London, Kensington Palace, Hillsbourgh Castle and Gardens. So if you go two attractions, it is cheaper than paying individually and really good value.

Main Entrance and West Gate

Here is the main pathway leading up to the West Gate Entrance. The main entrance, slightly to the left, is closed as in general they have a one way loop throughout Hampton Court Palace Castle and grounds. With your pre booked tickets, it was straight through, Leeds Castle could take some pointers from this.

There is hardly anyone here, it’s a nice day during summer school holidays, its really surprising!

Henry VIII’s Apartments

So we head on into Henry VIII’s apartments. Hampton Court Palace Castle is huge and sprawling. In a sec we’ll go into the Royal Chapel, which still functions, so there is no filming for it or King Henry VIII’s crown, that is also here on display.

These rooms all look out onto Fountain court, named so for obvious reasons. Later in the video we’ll be in the courtyard. We are now in the Georgian Story part of the Palace which dates from 1714 to 1737. This is the Public Dining room. So all this area relates to Geroge II and Quuen Caroline when they lived here 300 years ago.

This overlooks the Great Fountain Garden… any ideas as to why it was named that?!

Next into the State Bed and the Queens Gallery. Architect William Kent was employed to design new furnishings and decor including the Queen’s Staircase, in 1733.

And here is Fountain Court from the lower level. The architectural detailing is really quite impressive. The Fountain Court was designed by Sir Christopher Wren, the same guy who did St Paul’s Cathedral in the heart of London.

William III’s Apartments

From here we head on over to the area called William III’s apartments. We take the Queen’s Staircase up to the first floor and head into the Communication Gallery. These were for the time period of 1689 to 1702.

And down the King’s Staircase which obviously has to be grandeur than the Queen’s version, with every surface imaginable painted.

Clock Court

From here out to the Clock Court. On the upper left is the Clock, which as I numpty I made sure I filmed so you couldn’t see it properly. This astronomical clock was installed in 1540 and designed by Nicholas Crazter. This is a pre-Copernican and Pre-Galilean Astronomical clock that is still functioning today.

Next we head on back to the Base Court which is where you come in when you first come through the West Gate.

Base Court

Base Court contains elements of Wolsey’s original palace and Henry VIII’s embellishments, alongside further Baroque additions by Christopher Wren and later alterations. Base Court contained 44 lodgings reserved for guests, while the second court, Clock Court today contained the very best rooms.

Next we head on through the gift shop into Henry VIII’s Kitchens, it is really awkward now to find. Usually you’d enter these from the Main Entrance but with that closed, they are very easy to miss.

Back into the centre of Clock Court where you can see The Colonnade, those white columns. And continuing numptiness I manage to go under the astronomical clock we spoke about a little earlier.

Hampton Court Palace Weddings

As you’d expect, Hampton Court Place does weddings. This can be done in the Garden Room and takes about 180 guests. There is also the Little Banqueting House which is smaller and takes up to 50 guests. Naturally Hampton Court Palace allow the use of various staircases and grounds for backdrop to wedding photos etc.

Now we are heading through the Fountain Court to the East Front and Gardens. We’ll head up one of the tracks towards the North Canal, pass down to The Long Water, along the South Canal, back to the East Front entrance.

There are numerous birds near the North Canal and on the other side, you can see all the fences to the palace.

This looks up what is called The Long Water. Spinning around we see The Great Fountain.

Where is Hampton Court Palace Located?

Hampton Court Palace is located 12 miles south west of central London and upstream of central London on the Thames River.

When was Hampton Court Palace Built?

Building work started in 1515 for Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, a favourite of Henry VIII. In 1529 the Cardinal fell out of favour from the king so gave the Palace to Henry VIII to check his disgrace. Henry VIII enlarged Hampton Court Palace to be able to accommodate his sizeable retuinue of courtiers.

Who Currently owns Hampton Court Palace?

The Palace is currently owned by Queen Elizabeth II and the Crown.

King William III has a massive building and expansion program so the Palace could rival that of the Palace of Versailles. Work finished in 1694 with 2 main building styles showing – that of Tudor and Baroque.

The Privy Garden

We now head into the privy, or private, garden. This has existed on the south side of Hampton Court Palace since the reign of Henry VIII. Further down are elaborate fence and gate decoration that lead straight onto the river Thames. One can imagine that back in the day, it was used for travelling to and from central London.

The Privy Garden today is a restoration of William III’s baroque Privy Garden of 1702. The gardeners have restored the grounds using the original plant varieties and the hornbeam bower and statues were all part of the King’s original design.

This is now the pond gardens where originally fish ponds made for Henry VIII. In the 1690s, Mary II transformed the Tudor pond yards into sunken gardens to display her rare and exotic plant collection.

In the early 20th century, gardeners created the Dutch-style garden that we see today with its tiered paths, topiary hedges, statues and bedding.

The Privy Garden at Hampton Court is one of the most accurately reconstructed gardens because so much was recorded about the original in 1702.

William III died before the garden was completely finished, which meant all the gardeners and workmen were frightened of not being paid. They therefore submitted the fullest possible accounts of their work.

William III and Mary II created the Great Fountain Garden on the East Front. It contained 13 fountains and planted two radiating avenues of Yew trees in the fashionable form of a goose foot.

Wilderness Area

Heading into the wilderness area, originally it was a Tudor orchard filled with pear, apple and cherry trees. In the 1950s many of the elm trees succumbed to Dutch elm disease and were removed.

Carpark Extortion

Now heading out to the carpark which is charged at £1.60 an hour. Really do hate these rip off car parks. Creates a bottle neck for people leaving. Just include it in the price of admission and make everyone’s life simple. Never understand why attractions want peoples last memory to be a frustrating parking meter experience. The parking meter wouldn’t print the receipt so if ever get a ticket in the future, going to be a nightmare to deal with.

So is Hampton Court Palace still worth a day out?

Absolutely! Think at this point in time it could be the best kept secret. Most of it is open although the small art gallery with some serious old masters is closed – they really need to sort that out as it is such a shame. The maze is also closed. Obviously I’m not a fan of the carpark stupidity when it comes to the extortionate hourly rate. Very few people were wearing face masks.

We went on a day where they had 50% off eating out in August but the café staff had little clue how to implement this, so hopefully this gets better.

Not Sustainable

I was talking with staff and they have said ever since it has reopened it has been like this with low visitor numbers, weekends are the same with low numbers, and you could tell they were concerned. Like many places, take advantage while you can. This isn’t sustainable. Either attractions like this are going to have to seriously close, or prices are going to have to increase dramatically as the running costs either way are huge.

Signing Off

Would you go? If you’ve been, what did you think? Sound off in the comments below.

What are other castles like post lockdown, how do they compare? Recently we’ve done similar videos on Leeds Castle, Hever Castle and LEGOLAND Windsor UK as to what they are like post lockdown. Or check out our sponsors accommodation on the Kent Coast, just a bit over an hour East of London for a great weekend getaway or holiday.

That’s it from us here at Family Bricks, hit that thumbs up if you found something useful in this video and thanks for watching. Until next time when we talk about all things lifestyle.

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Leeds Castle UK Covid Reopening August 2020. Full Tour. Is It Worth it?! Is it Safe? Same Price?!

What is Leeds Castle grounds & gardens UK like now it has reopened with Covid 19 measures in place? Is it worth going, what has changed, what is the experience like etc.? We will cover this in the video and give our thoughts and firsthand experience as a family. We will do a full tour of Leeds Castle grounds and gardens in about 10 minutes.

We look at ticket prices pre and post covid, and surprisingly, there isn’t much difference (but they were always reasonable value to begin with).

Further information on the Holiday Homes / Airbnb / Short Term Lets can be found at http://www.macatsim.com/

Both flats, Broadstairs and Margate are about 75-90 minutes east of London UK. Margate has a LEGO themed Holiday Lets / Airbnb Short Term Stay awith a LEGO Wall. Broadstairs has an iconic red London bus bunk bed (at time of recording).

Time codes to the Video:
0:00 Introduction
0:36 Pre Booked Tickets & Queueing – So Stupid
1:25 Favourite Castle?! One Way System Loop
1:45 Leeds Castle History
2:42 Leeds Castle Main Entrance Pathway
3:10 What is Open at Leeds Castle?
3:17 What is Closed at Leeds Castle?
3:32 The Knights Stronghold Adventure Playground
4:35 Birds of Prey Centre & Garden Maze & Grotto
5:45 Walking Loop back to Leeds Castle
6:20 Picturesque Views of Leeds Castle
7:40 The Barbican & Fortified Mill & Punting
9:12 Leeds Castle UK – Is it Worth it?
9:44 Sedway Tours
10:45 Summing up and concluding

Transcript from the Show

G’day Everyone, Matt Elder of Family Bricks here. What is Leeds Castle UK like now it has reopened with covid 19 measures in place? Is it worth going, what has changed, what is the experience like etc.? We will cover this in the video and give our thoughts and firsthand experience as a family. We will do a full tour of Leeds Castle grounds and gardens in about 10 minutes.

This video is bought to you bay Macatsim Holiday Homes in Margate and Broadstairs. Great for a week’s holiday or a weekend escape, being just over an hour east of London, UK. Treat yourself to amazing sunsets, a LEGO wall or great food. Visit www.macatsim.com and mention this Youtube video, we’ll will look after you.

Introduction

We spent the day at Leeds Castle UK August 2nd, 2020 – 4 weeks after it reopened. So it has had some time to bed in the new corona virus safety guidelines and we’ll give you a sense of if Leeds Castle is worth visiting. On the screen you can see the names of different attractions pop up as we go past them.

Pre Booked Tickets & Queueing – So Stupid

You have to have pre-booked tickets and show them to the carpark wardens to even get into the carpark.  

Then you have to join the socially distanced queue and pre-covid peak times it was never like this. This was about a 15 minute queue. You had your ticket scanned, then had to give them another reference number and annual number, and collect wrist bands. Its all a nonsense. This isn’t due to Corona, this is due to stupidity.

You’ve booked online, paid and have tickets with barcodes on your phone. Why does it have to be so complicated?

Favourite Castle?! One Way System Loop

That said, Leeds Castle is probably one of our favourite castles to visit and we have been here many times, even stayed overnight.

The Leeds Castle grounds in general have a one way loop, particularly at the entrance / exit. Some sections are closed off and the train tractor that normally runs isn’t running. So as you’ll see here as we go along, it can be a fair bit of walking, so those with mobility issues might struggle.

Leeds Castle History

Leeds castle is over 900 years old so has had many functions, owners and remodelling over the years. Its current appearance dates from 1823 in the Tudor style. Henry VIII transformed the castle in 1519 for his first wife  Catherine of Aragon. It has had many owners in the meantime.

The last owner was Lady Baillie as at the time of her death, Estate Duty was running at an eye watering 85%. So the castle went into the Leeds Castle Foundation but very quickly became apparent the cost of running the estate were significant. Thus in 1975 the gardens were open to the public and in 1976, the castle was open to the public.

The grounds are fantastic so can you take dogs to Leeds Castle? The only dogs that are permitted are assistance dogs for visually and hearing impaired.

Where is Leeds Castle located? Leeds Castle is 40miles souths east from the center of London.

Leeds Castle Main Entrance Pathway

Now we’ve had a healthy walk across the grounds and gotten our step count up for the day, were are coming up to the main path leading into the castle itself.

Later in the video we’ll come back and check out the castle from several sides, the moat, the Barbican and Fortified Mill. Having little kids, the only thing they care about is the playground… a playground is never too far to walk to for little kids. The adventure playground is on the side furthest from the main entrance, so off we continue.

You do kinda get to walk through Culpeper Garden so it would be borderline as to whether it is open or not.

What is currently open at Leeds Castle?

At time of filming, The Adventure Playgrounds, Bird of Prey Centre, Adventure Golf and Gardens were all open.

What is currently closed at Leeds Castle?

The Castle, Maze, Falconry Arena/Displays, Punting, Dog Collar Museum, Gatehouse Exhibition, Black Swan Ferry and Castle Train are all closed at the moment. Some are meant to be reopening in the coming weeks and months. Check Leeds castle website for the latest.

So there is a lot more closed than open.

The Knights Stronghold Adventure Playground

Into the Knights Stronghold that was refurbished a couple of years back and it done really well. The front elevation is done as a mock Leeds Castle, so that is a nice touch. This is for kids up to 14 years old and there is another area for kids under 6, equally as well done.

Right next to the playground is Adventure Golf which too is also only a year or so old. Shown here there isn’t many people here but come back in a couple of hours, there were groups on every hole. Back to the playground walk through.

The playground has 3 levels, multiple entrances and easily accessible by an adult. On a really warm day like today, the elevated sections had a really nice breeze passing through it and helped to keep things cool.

There is a secondary area to the rear of the playground that has a flying fox. The kids naturally loved this and had a couple of goes on it. Go number 1 and go number 2. So out of the rabbit warren of a castle playground and onto the next attraction for the kids.

A general picnic area and ice cream shop. We head on past the Adventure Golf we saw from the Castle Playground area. Up to the gate the leads onto the accommodation and glamping area.  

Birds of Prey Centre & Garden Maze & Grotto

This is all new, you have a Birds of Prey Centre. You’ve got your birds and your owls, all either in cages or sitting on the ground stumps there. Definitely worthwhile checking out. A number of birds here just hanging out, chillaxing … a couple more over here.

Just a quick time-lapse walk through of the Birds of Prey Centre.

So right next to the Birds of Prey Centre, you’ve got the garden maze, which is currently closed but you can sort of see normally, entrance over here, try to figure out how to get in, so you come up to the top there, and you actually drop down, go out and the exit is out the other side. Ashame its not open … good way to loose the kids.

From here go past the maze on the other side. They actually had fruit trees here like apple trees. Don’t recall these being here previously.

So this is it here the Maze and Grotto entrance. Normally when it is open you just go in and start your maze. And then you actually end up coming out. Once you go through and find the center bit, you go down it, under the ground and come out over here.

Walking Loop back to Leeds Castle

So now we’ve are going to start the loop back towards the Leeds Castle, which is on the upper area. So you’ll see that no one is walking towards the camera. It does feel a little more constricted than normal not being able to choose your own path.

About to head into the Culpeper garden which you can usually walk through. While there are 3 different routes, they feel more like passage ways than a chance to take your time and have a look around the garden.

Out into the Stable Courtyard which also has accommodation. The boys managed to find a white albino like peacock. We’ll head out of the Stable Courtyard and find some really picturesque views of Leeds Castle.

Picturesque Views of Leeds Castle

There is a moat going all the way around the castle and on a bright sunny day like today, create great water reflections.

And here you have Leeds Castle. You’ve got the main part of it there, and the maidens Tower there, and another section over here, which has a drawbridge back in the day, and the main military fort garason there. Beautiful day for it here.

And over the back there, you’ve got a 9 hole golf course, which then wraps around up here.

So we’ll take a walk back around to the front entrance of Leeds Castle itself. Coming up on the left are the birds that people feed, which come out of the lake on the other side of the path.

Its always amazing to look at these buildings that have stood for hundreds of year.

So the main part of the castle at the moment is obviously closed. Hopefully in a couple of weeks we will be staying in there and do a video on that.

The Barbican & Fortified Mill & Punting

We come over the other side here and the same sort of thing, the Barbican and the Fortified Mill out the front too., but that is also closed.

And usually in summer in the moat, you’d have punting where somebody would be taking you around in a little tiny boat just around the moating telling you the history, which is always great. Glorious day for it.

Now we are going to head around the side of the moat and have a look at Leeds Castle from a different angle.

Coming up on the left will be the Pavilion Lawn. It’s a great open space and last year they had a stage setup and we watched a performance of Alice in Wonderland. You’d bring your own chairs and picnic and that was great. But not this year.

Up this little embankment and what do we see?!

So here you have the other side of Leeds Castle. So that second part there. The main fortifications back in the day you had a draw bridge there. So the main manor, Maidens Tower, and then the main entrance so youd have the soldiers and that would be there, got the moat here, there other bits there.

So you know they could have access there and if they got overrun , the could then go back into the castle. But also too, that there, that funnels everyone into one killing zone, for back in the day.

Look at that, that really is quite something. Had a friend get married here a number of years ago and a wonderful space for it – even did a watercolor painting with a vintage car in front of the Leeds C astle.

So Leeds Castle, is it worth it?

At the moment if you buy a ticket, it normally gives you an annual pass. At the moment that has been extended to 15 months. So easy to come now, and again next spring and summer and really get value. Unlike some other castles, there isn’t an additional surcharge to get access to the castle. Family annual passes are reasonably priced at £80.

It bills itself as the loveliest castle and given some of the shots you’ve just seen, it’s a fair claim to make. We happily come at least once a year and is about 40 minute drive from where we live.

At the moment, numbers are really restricted. On a nice sunny day like today, that is quite welcome, and it didn’t feel like people were on top of you and still plenty of space to be socially distanced and enjoy. How long that is sustainable is a completely different question as ticket prices seemed comparable to last year but a fraction a number the people at the attraction.

Quite a number of the food shops felt closed or restricted so might be worth a thought to bring a picnic lunch like we did. There is a Tesco Superstore about 4 miles away that I think is a 24 hour one so can always grab some pre-prepared sandwiches on the way.

As with many UK attractions, get in early as crowds build throughout the day, but numbers are way down when compared with previous years.

There really weren’t a great number of people wearing faces masks. Certainly they were in the shops that were open. We did a visit to Hever Castle a week prior, (click around the video for that), and felt more people there were wearing face masks at Hever Castle, but that still wasn’t a huge number of people.

Summing up and Concluding

So is Leeds Castle still worth a day out? I’d have to say so, I would really like to see more of it open and hopefully it will be in the coming weeks and months.

What do you think? Would you go? If you’ve been, what did you think? Sound off in the comments below.

Maybe you fancy a stay at Leeds Castle accommodation, check out our video here. If you’d like to check out Hever Castle grounds in under 5 minutes for a comparison, check out this video.

Alternatively here are some other videos you might be interested in. That’s it from us here at Family Bricks, hit that thumbs up if you found something useful in this video and thanks for watching. Until next time when we talk about all things lifestyle.

#uk #kent #leedslife #leedspride #leedsphotographer #leedsarchitecture #leedsdock #aroundleeds #leedseyeview #leedsfestival #leedsfood #wheninleeds #leedscitycentre #leedscity #leedsinsummer #beautifulleeds #leedsleedsleeds #leedsart #leedsarena #leeds #visitleeds #leedsstreet #leedsthroughalens #leedstrinity #leedsviews #castle #independentleeds #iloveleeds #lookupleeds #ig

Hever Castle Full Tour UK Covid Reopening July 2020. Is It Worth it?! Is it Safe?

What is Hever Castle grounds & gardens UK like now it has reopened with Covid 19 measures in place? Is it worth going, what has changed, what is the experience like etc.? We will cover this in the video and give our thoughts and firsthand experience as a family. We will do a full tour of Hever Castle grounds and gardens in under 5 minutes.

We look at ticket prices pre and post covid, and surprisingly, there isn’t much difference.

Time codes to the Video:
0:00 Introduction
1:20 Hever Castle Itself & Forecourt
1:55 Adventure Playground & Tower Maze
2:33 Tudor Gardens 2:52 Water Maze
3:17 General Garden and Lawn Areas
4:08 Hever Castle vs Leeds Castle
4:35 Hever Castle. Is It Worth It?!
5:04 Summing Up & Closing

Transcript from the Show

G’day Everyone, Matt Elder of Family Bricks here. What is Hever Castle UK like now it has reopened with covid 19 measures in place? Is it worth going, what has changed, what is the experience like etc.? We will cover this in the video and give our thoughts and firsthand experience as a family. We will do a full tour of Hever Castle grounds and gardens in under 5 minutes.

This video is bought to you bay Macatsim Holiday Homes in Margate and Broadstairs. Great for a week’s holiday or a weekend escape, being just over an hour east of London, UK. Treat yourself to amazing sunsets, a LEGO wall or great food. Visit www.macatsim.com and mention this Youtube video, we’ll will look after you.

We spent the day at Hever Castle UK July 26th, 2020 – 3 weeks after it reopened. So it has had some time to bed in the new corona virus safety guidelines and we’ll give you a sense of if Hever Castle is worth visiting. On the screen you can see the names of different attractions pop up as we go past them.

Is Hever Castle National Trust or English Heritage?

Hever Castle and Gardens is privately owned and are not a member of the National Trust or English Heritage.

So who owns Hever Castle?

Hever castle was purchased by Broadland Properties Limited in 1983, which is run by the Guthrie family, so it is privately owned.

Here is the Hever Castle itself. The castles dates back to the 1300s and was the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, who was the second wife of Henry VIII. Much of what you see today is the result of William Waldorf Astor, who purchased the castle in 1903, extended it and refurbished it to its current state.

How far is Hever Castle from London?

Hever Castle is about 30 miles due south from the center of London. So it has been convenient located for its owners to carry about business close to London.

At the moment only 43 people can go into the castle at a time, after a 45-60 minute queue. So it is said once you are in, it feels like you have the place to yourself.

But our kids were only interested in making a B line to the playground. The playground is now done in half hour blocks. So you wait til your session, then go in. At the end, everyone is asked to leave the playground for the next group and presumably a quick wipe down / sanitization occurs.

The Tower Maze is really well done over 3 levels with plenty of spaces for the kids to explore and run about. It’s a solid construction with hiding spaces and secret tunnels, and overall, its  very impressive.

That was the end of our session and the queue for the next session to get in.

Back over to the castle.

What about Hever Castle Hotel?

You can stay in the castle in either Astor, Anne Boleyn or Edwardian Wing. Alternatively there is the Medley Court holiday cottage of the Astor wing.

The Tudor garden is beside the castle, along with the Yew Maze, but this wasn’t opened.

You really did notice that numbers to the castle gardens had been restricted as it is peak season, but not like previous years where there are people are everywhere.

Now just going to head around one side of the lake to the water maze. Today the queue was about 45 minutes and kids will need a change of clothes as they are almost guaranteed to get wet.

Now heading back past the archery on the right and the minimum age has been raised from 2.5 to 7 years old due to covid.

Now we’ll take a more general walk around some of the garden and lawn areas.

Is Hever Castle dog friendly?

Dogs are allowed on the 125 acres of grounds but not allowed inside cafes, restaurants, Castle or Adventure Playground (guide dogs accepted)

Hever Castle and Garden Weddings

Hever castle, like many other castles, does weddings and has 3 types. Inside the castle in a grand affair, or a country house style in the Astor Wing or lakeside location of the Italian Garden.

As with everywhere, when you go into shops and enclosed spaces, you have to wear masks. Otherwise the vast majority of people are wondering around without masks. There is obviously plenty of space to be away from people.

When is Hever Castle Open?

Hever castle is not open year round and usually runs from March to November

Hever Castle vs Leeds Castle

Leeds Castle is another castle in the area. Personally we prefer Leeds castle as think there is more to see and do, Leeds castle is more grand and interesting, grounds feel more extensive and the tickets are not as expensive.

You can also hire rowboats and go out onto the lake that we have done previously and is a  fun to do.

The other change is exiting and getting in, it has become a 1 way system out through the Italian Gardens, and in through the Rose Garden and Blue Corner.

So overall Hever Castle, is it worth it?

Always good to check out castles at least once and it is quite picturesque. Crowd numbers in general feel down due to covid restrictions. Queue times for most things seem long as usual, which for little kids, is on that threshold of not being practical. Our kids spent most of the time running around the grounds so maybe a playground would have been just as good, without the expensive price tag attached.

Worth a visit, after you’ve been to Leeds Castle.

Summing Up

So there you have it, a full Hever Castle grounds and garden tour in under 5 minutes with covid 19 restrictions in place. If you enjoyed this video and got something out of it, please hit the thumbs up button as really does help the channel out in producing these videos.

What do you think? Are you going for a visit or have been recently? Sound off in the comments below.

Here is a video about Leeds Castle you might be interested in, or a video about LEGOLAND Windsor UK and is it worth visiting with new covid measures in place. Alternatively here are some other videos you might be interested in. That’s it from us here at Family Bricks and thanks for watching. Until next time when we talk about all thing’s  lifestyle.

LEGOLAND Windsor UK Covid Reopening July 2020. Is It Worth it?! Is it Safe? Still the Same Price?!

What is LEGOLAND Windsor UK like with Covid-19 guidelines in place now that the theme park has recently reopened? Is it worth going? We look to answer these questions following our recent family visit in July 2020. To do so, we will look at what has changed, what is new, what is closed and what the queue times are like.

We will have a look at ticket prices pre and post covid, and surprisingly, there isn’t much difference. What about if you have an annual Merlin pass, what sort of value is there and should we be thinking of renewing them (or not)?

Time codes to the Video:
0:00 Introduction – LEGOLAND Windsor UK
0:36 What has Changed?
5:00 What is New?
5:45 What was Closed?
7:45 What are Queue Times Like?
8:40 Is it Worth it?!
9:05 Ticket Prices very Similar to Pre-Covid?!
10:25 Is the Value there in Visiting?
11:05 Thoughts on Annual Merlin Passes
11:55 What do you think? Would you go?!
12:10 Summing up and closing

Transcript from the Show

G’day Everyone, Matt Elder of Family Bricks here. What is LEGOLAND Windsor UK like now it has reopened with covid 19 measures in place? Is it worth going, what has changed, what is the experience like etc.? We will cover this in the video and give our thoughts and first hand experience as a family.

This video is bought to you bay Macatsim Holiday Homes in Margate and Broadstairs. Great for a week’s holiday or a weekend escape, being just over an hour east of London, UK. Treat yourself to amazing sunsets, a LEGO wall or great food. Visit www.macatsim.com and mention this Youtube video, we’ll will look after you.

We spent the day at LEGOLAND Windsor UK July 15th, 2020 – a week and a half after it reopened. So it has had some time to bed in the new corona virus safety guidelines. Technically some fee-paying schools have finished, other government schools had kids being homeschooled who may have ended up at LEGOLAND. It wasn’t quite yet full-blown school summer holidays but getting close.  

I think first up start running through what has changed.

So What has changed?

LEGOLAND park hours have been reduced with rides from 10am to 4pm, with the park closing at 5pm. This is down from 10am to 6pm for rides. So the day is 25% shorter.

In the car park when you first arrive, seems that everyone leaves a car space in between cars. No official signs nor car marshals but that just seemed to be the practice.

As you enter, there are now painted markings and stamps everywhere on the ground. You’ll have to join the socially distanced queue and some people have to cycle back as they just try to join a queue like normal without realizing it. There is always some muppet who will just be trying to deliberately queue jump as well .

On the way in, there are temperature checks. I hope this is only a temporary thing.

You also basically can’t buy tickets at the gate. They all have to be pre-purchased before hand. Not that it is a bad thing as I’ve shown before on our video “How to Save Money at LEGOLAND”, purchasing online the day before will be half the price (click video link here)

This covid-19 reopening of LEGOLAND Windsor UK has been branded as having park numbers significantly down. You do notice that the park isn’t crazy busy and numbers are down, but not to the point of being a ghost town – there are still a fair number of people about.

The park is now largely cashless and you need to be using cards everywhere … apart from boats in mini-land that are still coin operated.

There are space markings between people and arrows to keep left all over the place. People kinda keep to it and does feel like nice attempt, but more symbolic than anything else. You are at a theme park aimed at 2-12 year olds, anyone with kids will know you try your best but they are young kids.

Unsurprisingly, there is hand sanitizer everywhere and a lot of rides have it at the exit, which can slow the exiting process down.

Rides are getting sanitized every 30 minutes. This was always the thing that was going to be interesting in how they implement. I thought, for some reason, it would be done after each family unit used something (the logistics of which would have been a nightmare). Nope. Rides are generally given a spray every 30 minutes. Other staff members walk around with spray backpacks hitting fences and other common objects that get touched.

Qbot, which has been rebranded as “Reserve & Ride” isn’t open (the rebranding makes sense as what the heck was a Qbot anyhow?!). Having said that, we did see a number of people using the fasttrack system with barcode passes. So maybe they are still operating through the VIP system, or some sort of disabled system I don’t know.

The Duplo playground is signed to be 1 family per structure, that just didn’t happen. Kids are running everywhere and just having a good time. I don’t see how that could ever be realistically implemented and feels like it is there so they can say they had a sign up.

On the other hand, the pirates playground was pretty much the same as before. 1 or 2 of the slides may have been closed but nothing major.

Character meet and greets are now done behind a velvet rope. This Frankenstein came out and kids queued up in front of the velvet rope for a happy snap. For those youngsters who like to get up close and personal for a hug, this isn’t happening.

Food can be different – Pizza and Pasta gone from buffet to set menu – to be fair, for about the same price felt was about the same amount of food (just no salad however). Place is sparse so don’t know how they will continue to make money. The place was refurb just before lockdown so has a fresh feel to it. Other food outlets, if they are open, generally have socially distanced queuing.

The Pirate Ship only had people seated every other seated row. It makes sense but means the ride takes 50% fewer people.

For the spider ride, everyone had to wear masks. It was one of the few rides that was compulsory.

In general throughout the park, it felt like only a quarter of people would be wearing masks. Pretty much all staff had masks with some having full face shields.

The carpark exit has finally seen some commonsense prevail. Previously it would bottle neck you into a single lane to make sure you paid the carparking fee – which was always infuriating and would take up to an hour just to get out of the car park and pay.

Here it was 2 lanes out with no car parking fee. I think that is wise as leaving and then having to pay for the carpark given all the restrictions and things not being open, probably wouldn’t go down too well and be a bit like a slap in the face. On the other hand, the car park would have made them a small fortune and now that golden goose is gone.

What is New?

Lets have a look at what we’ve noticed is new in the park.

The Duplo Dino Coaster is a younger kids aged rollercoaster. It is a gentle ride that basically goes around the track twice per ride. The general area has been refreshed, along with the Duplo playground next to it.

Some old and tired lego models near the pirates area has been swapped out for minifigure versions.

The exterior to Altantis submarine ride has also been refreshed. It may have been rebranded as Deep Sea Adventure…or might be confusing it with LEGOLAND Dubai.

In Miniland you can notice a number parts of models have been refreshed. Didn’t really see any new models that had been added. Maybe some train carriages and engines are new but they would be replaced aged ones.

What Was Closed?

Now we’ll take a look at what was closed as it felt like a significant chunk of the park. All of these felt like they were outright closed, not necessarily closed for the day which happens from time to time:

  • Monster Party Haunted House
  • Squid Surfers – admittedly this whole area is being revamped with an additional LEGO Movie like complex being built. But still, it is another ride / area that isn’t available.
  • Atlantis Submarine / Deep Sea Adventure
  • Laser Raiders
  • Playstation Game Center that is next to Laser Raiders
  • LEGO Reef Display
  • Minifigures & More – The Ultimate Brick Store
  • Heartlake City Shows that usually ran half a dozen times a day are now gone. So if you want to watch a show while having something to eat, its  not going to happen.
  • Miniland LEGO Ninjago stage and shows
  • Duplo Valley Theater stage
  • Model Making Center with LEGO models
  • Star Wars Display. This was actually removed at the beginning of the year due to a licensing issue with Disney. Believe they don’t want any Star Wars outside of Disney parks due to Galaxy’s edge. So believe Florida, California and Toyko LEGOLANDs all had there Star Wars Exhibits permanently taken away this year. It was a good display, and something else to look at, particularly if it was raining. Now just a closed space.
  • Most LEGO retail stores in the park are closed. Big LEGO store and Ninjago one seemed to be the only ones opened.
    • Big LEGO store was also annoying as they have retired sets on display as for sale but when ask, they are allegedly “out of stock”. If they are not for sale, just remove the things and don’t have them looking like they are for sale wasting everyone’s time.
  • Duplo water park is closed – to be fair generally only open on hot days but given the streams on the way down the hill are closed, I don’t see this reopening.
  • Hill top café was also closed.

So there are a number of attractions there that were previously in our Top 10 Things to do at LEGOLAND Windsor Video, which a year on from when they video was made, are now closed or gone. Links around the video for this Top 10 video https://youtu.be/ONozu1K2qcM

Queue Times

So on the whole, what were queue times like? For the first hour they were really good, which is pretty standard for LEGOLAND Windsor. Throughout the day, these times would climb. On most of the main rides, it felt like times were 30-45 minutes. It felt like queuing was bearable. And slightly faster than pre covid, but not massively different.

Reduced hours

Viking Splash in particular had reduced hours. It didn’t open til 12 and then closed at 4pm. So you only had a 4 hour window. We saw long queues and then 5 or 6 rafts go around completely empty – didn’t make any sense.

The LEGO City Firefighters was also frustrating. There would be lengthy queues but only 1 side open, thereby reducing ride capacity by 50%. When you have some many things closed and heavily restricted, this seemed like an easy win to have both sections open.

Is it worth it?

Given what has changed, whats new, what’s closed and the general experience, is the park worth it at the moment post lockdown? We’d have to say no. We have Merlin passes that run out in a few months, pre covid we were minded to renew them, post covid, if things continue like this, just minded to let them lapse as don’t see the value there. If there is a significant price reduction or some other great value add to the Merlin Pass, we may reconsider.

For casual visits, prices have dipped a little bit when compared with last year but with shorter hours, a significant portion of the park not open, shows not happening, in real terms, it is probably significantly more expensive. General hours are now 25% less time, prices only down around 12% for a heck of a lot less theme park.

While queue times are down as a straw pole experience today was, still looking 30-45 minute wait times for major rides when the day gets going, seemed to be average. Most we saw was a 55 minute wait time. Peak wait times pre covid seemed to be 60-90 minutes. So wait downs are down but still lengthy times to be in queues

How accurate queue times are post covid might be a little misleading. Rides were frequently “at capacity” and effectively closed so you couldn’t even queue – taking more rides out of circulation and depressing real wait times.

We previously did a video on “How to save money at LEGOLAND Windsor UK”. Most of that still applies if you are looking to save money (although VIP points may have changed slightly). Link around the video.

Q-bot / Reserve & Ride

At this stage the old Q-bot system, or what they are calling now the “Reserve & Ride” system hasn’t opened, but website indicates it will soon. So it might be worth checking out that Q-bot video where we give a full breakdown of how it worked, as it isn’t necessarily straight forward. However, if only half the park open / functioning properly, you’d have to question if there is any value in it.

We get that there is a dramatic reduction in crowds so would be putting pressure on ticket prices. If you look at the value, you aren’t paying a great deal less but getting a lot less for your money. The value just is not there.

If it is your first time going to the park or only been once or twice in the past, you could be very disappointed.

Covid 19 Anxiety and High Risk Groups

If you are in a high risk covid group or have anxiety around the whole situation, this probably isn’t going to be for you

The kids enjoyed themselves today but this may have been possibly more because they randomly meet friends from school, so got to go on rides with them and the queues didn’t feel as painful if they had their friends to chat with. Having the annual Merlin passes, we’d been a number of times before and been on everything so didn’t feel like we were missing out on anything.

We will probably go back maybe another time or two during summer while we run our passes down. If you’d only just bought Merlin passes, you couldn’t be forgiven for thinking they aren’t great value at the moment.

It becomes a catch-22 situation. They open the door with reduced crowd numbers so fewer rides are open but then charge around the same, because you need the revenue to cover the numbers of people who aren’t there. As a park operator you are in a good position to have momentum moving forward for whenever covid restrictions lift but having it open must be losing money, and an awkward experience as a guest.

LEGOLAND has always been one of the more expensive day out attractions in the UK, so it has always felt on the expensive side pre covid-19. Close half the park and attractions at similar pricing levels and longish wait times, that is a hard sell.

What do you think?

What do you think? Would you go? Have you been recently, was it value for you? What did you think of the day out? Will you be going any time again soon? Have we managed to sway you one way or the other?

If you’d like to take a virtual tour of the whole park in under 3 minutes, be sure to check out our “Do Not Go to LEGOLAND before seeing this video”. https://youtu.be/_k_ouEuvUxE

Or If you’d like to find out more about the Holiday House with a LEGO wall and theme, be sure to check out this video here.

Alternatively here are some other videos you might be interested in. That’s it from us here at Family Bricks, hit that thumbs up if you found something useful in this video. Until next time when we talk about all things LEGO and lifestyle.

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