We are Regular Legoland Discovery visitors, in fact I’ve lost count of how many times we have been in the last four years. All three of our boys LOVE Lego, especially our eldest. Living in Cheshire East we usually go to the LDC in Manchester but recently we have made two trips to the LDC in Birmingham. There are a few differences between the two locations which I thought it would be useful to outline below for those wondering which one to visit.
Size & attractions
LDC Birmingham is smaller than LDC Manchester, but this isn’t necessarily a negative thing. Following a similar layout both contain the same key features:
- Knights ride
- Merlin’s Apprentice ride
- Soft play
- 4D cinema
- Workshop space
- Car build and race station
- Lego stations
- Duplo station and play area
However, LDC Birmingham does not have the Lego City car ride, the Lego animation and space area or the interactive ‘Lego factory’ experience which you usually go through on the way in. This means no free Duplo brick.
The main difference which has given LDC Birmingham the edge over LDC Manchester for us is, the soft play. LDC Manchester updated their soft play around 18-24 months ago to a Ninjago themed one. It’s great for older children but our twins (age four and a half) have found it frightening the last three times we’ve visited. The play area is dark and feels small, they always seem to be overwhelmed by it and frightened of the dark, especially with the older children running around.
The soft play at LDC Birmingham however has a Lego City theme. There is a building site area, police station area with jail and fire area. It is light and easy to see the children playing inside. It seems like a bigger soft play too and there seems to be more to it which all of our boys have loved.
LDC Birmingham has a really large Lego friends area, something LDC Manchester doesn’t have. This has been packed every time we have been and our boys all enjoyed playing with the Lego Friends bricks.
The Miniland at LDC Birmingham is a lot bigger than LDC Manchester, especially since Manchester took half out to introduce the new Lego animation and space area. It really is a fantastic Miniland where you can spend ages spotting new little details. Although I recognise more landmarks from the LDC Manchester one, I do prefer Birmingham’s.
LDC Birmingham – LDC Manchester
The shop at LDC Birmingham is smaller but there is still plenty packed in. The fact its smaller might be a blessing if you’re hoping to run through quickly with the kids. We tend to get the boys to save up though and spend quite a while in the shop afterwards choosing a new set. We’ve not come away empty handed but a slightly bigger shop would be fab, we are just a bit Lego mad though.
The boring bits
The café at both sites isn’t great. No hot food options and often a low stock of sandwiches. There is definitely more seating at LDC Manchester and the large windows let in welcome light to the attraction. LDC Birmingham has no natural light and both times I have visited there hasn’t seemed to be enough staff to clean up the café seating area once people leave. We opted to visit in the afternoon this time and went to Zizzi for lunch beforehand.
The great thing about LDC Manchester is the free parking thanks to its location at the Trafford centre. Parking at LDC Birmingham is expensive, we paid £12 for 6 hours. It is convenient though as the attraction is right outside the car park. The car park system is also a little confusing, there is no ticket issued and I can’t work out if you are meant to pay on arrival or when you leave. You enter your registration into the pay machines or Park Jockey app, I am obviously just out of touch though as I found it all a muddle.
Both LDC’s are in great location, you can combine a trip to either with a visit to Sea World or a few hours in the shops. I love that a trip to LDC Manchester always means I get to visit Homesense ha ha as it’s right next door. LDC Birmingham is right across the canal from Brindley place which means easy access to restaurants. You can walk across the indoor bridge at Trafford Centre to the main food court but I did like the lack of crowds and how close the restaurants are at LDC Birmingham.
LDC Manchester – LDC Birmingham
Taking all of that into account I have to say that we actually now prefer LDC Birmingham and that’s after countless trips to LDC Manchester. Both are fantastic days out and if we were closer to one opposed to pretty much in the middle of the two, I wouldn’t mind which one we visited. However given the choice we will be choosing LDC Birmingham going forward especially for the ease of access to restaurants and the lighter soft play area.