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On a wooded hillside near Windsor, with the great castle as a magical backdrop, the world's second LEGOLAND came to Britain. The first is in Denmark, and the third in California. Over 25 million blocks went into the creation of buildings, scenes and characters here. And, 250,000 were used to create a huge dinosaur welcoming visitors just inside the park entrance.

Children between two to ten years of age are probably the most enthusiastic visitors to LEGOLAND Windsor. Rides and shows are geared to them, although the detail and humour seen in its five different areas are most appreciated by adults.

Replicating familiar scenes, Miniland is outstanding. Here a milk van delivers to thatched cottages on an English country lane. Brighton Pier is a masterpiece, with deckchairs and sun umbrellas and children playing on a pebble beach.

The Dutch landscape has traditional windmills. Amsterdam canals have sightseeing boats gliding along them. The tall houses are so perfectly detailed one has a pulley to haul furniture to its top floor. London's Tower Bridge opens to admit barges into the Pool of London. Sounds add to the realism as cows moo, birds screech, ins whistle. In all, Miniland has 800 model buildings, 700 miniature cars, trains, ships, docks and building equipment. Study them well. Many have characters you can miss at first glance, and usually they'll make you smile.

The cheekiness of LEGOLAND's creators causes a giggle everywhere we turn. In real trees LEGO birds squawk from LEGO nests. A felled tree is crawling with LEGO ants hauling licorice allsorts. Water spurts from unlikely places.

An area known as My Town has real-sized buildings, enhanced by LEGO inhabitants. Scattered around the park are seventeen live shows, the most popular being Brickadilly's Circus in which children from the audience are invited to participate. Puppet shows generate the same high level of enthusiasm. The Duplo Gardens attracts younger visitors anxious to ride its miniature helicopter.

I visited LEGOLAND during the school half-term week in October and found it comfortably busy. In mid-summer, especially in fine weather, it is likely to be packed to capacity so you will want to get here early.

GETTING THERE: LEGOLAND Windsor is open daily from the end of March to the end of September, plus weekends and during the October school break. Admission price covers all activities, shows and rides. Located 3km (2mi) from the centre of Windsor on Hwy B3022, it is well signposted. Train services from London are frequent to Windsor, from where a shuttle operates to the park. Heathrow Airport is 20 minutes away, which makes this a delightful day out before heading home.