Lego’s enduring popularity seems little short of miraculous in our fast-changing digital world. Even Covid-19 hasn’t dimmed its appeal – the company’s sales rose by 14% in the first half of 2020, presumably fuelled by parents desperately trying to tempt their children away from a screen. So Legoland Windsor appeals to kids and nostalgic parents alike, with a range of gentle and more thrilling rides themed around Lego ranges such as Ninjago and City, or Duplo for toddlers.
Staying in the southeast can be expensive, so booking a caravan park near Windsor is a great way to cut costs, and there are some excellent options within range of Legoland. We’ve chosen five fabulous family-friendly places to stay, all a half-hour drive or less from the theme park, and listed them in order of distance, from nearest to furthest.
WHAT ELSE CAN WE DO IN THE AREA?
Adrenaline junkies might want to combine a trip to Legoland Windsor with a day at nearby Thorpe Park – it’s worth checking out campsites near the latter in our listing XREF HERE???. Windsor Castle is another obvious must if you’re staying in the area, and foodies might want to book a Michelin-starred meal in Bray, home to Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck and Alain Roux’s Waterside Inn.
Some caravan parks near Legoland Windsor offer easy access to the beautiful Chiltern Hills, palatial Cliveden House – best known for its role in the Profumo scandal – and time-warp Thameside villages such as Cookham. There’s rowing at Henley and racing at Ascot, and you can hire a boat from Kris Cruisers or Hobbs of Henley if you want to spend a day messing about on the river. Or jump on a train to London from one of the many stations in the area.
Amerden Caravan Park, Taplow, Maidenhead SL6 0DZ
Open from April to October
The closest of our caravan parks to Legoland Windsor is right next to the Thames, with direct access to the Windsor-Maidenhead towpath: the pretty walk to Windsor takes you past Dorney Lake, scene of Team GB’s rowing triumphs at the 2012 Olympics. It’s a 20-minute drive to Legoland and about the same to Windsor Castle; heading north, you can be at Cliveden House or Cookham in 15 minutes.
This small, family-run park has grass pitches and several fruit trees on the site, a reminder that it used to be an orchard. Pets are welcome and facilities include electric hook-up, showers, toilets, a laundry and a playground. The M4 runs next to the site before crossing the Thames: pedestrians can use the bridge to visit Bray, for posh nosh at one of its Michelin-starred restaurants or top-notch pub grub at the Crown, owned by Heston Blumenthal. There are more pubs in Taplow, a five-minute drive away, and you can pick up any shopping in Maidenhead or Slough (it’s fit for humans now).
Top tip: the park was closed in 2020 because of M4 widening works, so check that it’s open for the 2021 season before you plan your visit
Scotlands House Campsite, Warfield, Berkshire RG42 6AJ
Open from April to October
Scotlands House is slightly further away from Legoland Windsor than Amerden, but it’s a 14-minute car journey to the park if local traffic allows. This is a simple site, with electric hook-up, but no showers, sinks or toilets: it’s surrounded by trees and the pitches are around the edge of the 2½-acre site, leaving plenty of green space for family fun and games. It backs onto a cricket pitch and playground, and you can walk to the village of Warfield for pubs, wood-fired pizza or a curry. Pick up supplies at the Tesco in Whitegrove or the huge Waitrose in Bracknell, both a five-minute drive away.
Although the site is secluded, there’s loads to keep active families happy within a 20-minute drive, including Go Ape rope courses in Swinley Forest, waterslides and a spa at Coral Reef Waterworld, and windsurfing, sailing and canoeing at Bray Lake Watersports. Windsor Great Park is a marvellous spot for a stroll, with deer parks and a chance of spotting a royal. Scotlands House is 10 minutes from Ascot racecourse and 20 minutes from Sunningdale and Wentworth, with plenty more courses within, er, driving range.
Prices: from £12 a night for two adults and children
Top tip: Merlin pass-holders will get plenty of value out of a stay at Scotlands House. You can visit Legoland, Thorpe Park, Chessington in the car, and Bracknell station offers direct trains to Waterloo for the company’s London attractions
Hurley Riverside Park, Hurley, Berkshire SL6 5NE
Open from March to October
Hurley Riverside Park lives up to its name, with a splendid setting right beside the Thames, a nature trail and plenty of space for dogs to roam and picnickers to relax. It’s a 26-minute drive to Legoland Windsor and half an hour to the Hambleden Valley, where keen hikers can pick up the Chiltern Way. The site offers free WiFi and has electric hook-ups, shower blocks, a laundry, a playground and a shop; you can hire a static caravan if you don’t own a tourer.
There’s a decent inn within walking distance, but Tom Kerridge fans should head to Marlow, where he owns three cracking pubs, including the two-Michelin-starred Hand & Flowers and the Butcher’s Tap, where you can enjoy a real ale before stocking up on prime sausages, bacon and steaks. Pretty Henley-on-Thames, 12 minutes away, is the best place for the rest of your shopping, and is worth a visit even when the rowing regatta’s not on.
Prices: from £17 a night for two
Top tip: you’ll want to get out on the water when you watch the pleasure boats plying the Thames near Hurley Riverside Park – and if you own a boat or canoe, you can do just that from one of the park’s two slipways.
Chertsey Camping and Caravanning Club Site, Chertsey, Surrey KT16 8JX
Open all year
This is the perfect park for anyone planning a theme-park double whammy – it’s 25 minutes from Legoland Windsor and only seven minutes from the steam-inducing rollercoasters at Thorpe Park. It’s handy for day trips to the capital, too, with fast trains departing from Weybridge station, three miles away.
The site is run by the Camping and Caravanning Club, with discounts for members, but all are welcome. It offers grass and hardstanding pitches with electric hook-up, some right next to the Thames, and has showers, toilets, a laundry, WiFi, a games room and a dog-walking area. There’s a pub just across Chertsey Bridge, and you can walk to Sainsbury’s or Aldi, but you’ll need to head further afield to enjoy Surrey at its leafiest: it’s a 20-minute drive to RHS Garden Wisley, one of the finest gardens in the country, and to the excellent pubs and restaurants in Ripley and Pyrford.
Prices: from £8.50pp a night for members
Top tip: don’t plan an all-nighter in the Big Smoke. There’s a risk of flooding from the river, so vehicles can’t be left unattended overnight
Swiss Farm Touring and Camping, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire RG9 2HY
Open from February to December
A half-hour drive from Legoland Windsor, and about the same from Windsor Castle, Swiss Farm has all the building blocks you need for a family short break: a heated outdoor pool, a fishing lake, playgrounds, a dog-walking area and easy access to the Chiltern Hills and to canoe or boat hire in Henley-on-Thames, just down the road. It offers holiday caravans and glamping cabins as well as pitches for tourers, with showers, toilets, a laundry, free WiFi and an on-site shop.
You can walk to Henley for pubs, shops and restaurants, or grab breakfast, lunch or dinner at the on-site Farm Kitchen: there’s a barbecue menu on Saturdays and they do a Sunday roast. If you need a city fix after all that fresh air, the dreaming spires of Oxford are less than 40 minutes away.
Prices: from £21 a night, minimum two-night stay
Top tip: make time for a stroll through the landscaped grounds and for a sunny afternoon of lazing on the smart pool loungers