Deep Fried Crap Land: how Legoland became the UK’s unhealthiest visitor attraction

Name: Deep Fried Crap Land.

Age: Opened in 1996, albeit under a different name.

Appearance: Theme park.

I’ve never heard of it. That’s because, until very recently, it was called Legoland.

I’m sure they know their business, but that doesn’t sound like a terribly successful rebrand. The Lego Group didn’t pick the new name.

Who did? Rob Percival, the campaigns manager at the Soil Association.

What has it got to do with him? The food and farming charity sent “secret diner” parents to 22 of the UK’s leading visitor attractions to gauge the quality of the food and create a league table of healthy eating.

And Legoland didn’t fare well? It came joint bottom. “Some of the food being served is simply junk,” Percival said. “Legoland should be renamed Deep Fried Crap Land.”

Actually, the name is starting to grow on me, although it will probably appeal to a more niche clientele. A spokesman for the Attraction Formerly Known as Legoland said: “We are committed to providing healthy options for our guests and when we reopen for our 2019 season we will be enhancing our children’s meals with a vegetable or salad option in each restaurant.”

There you are. Criticism taken on board, problem solved. Unfortunately, the Soil Association found the problem extended far beyond the gates of Legoland. At Alton Towers, “refillable fizzy drinks continue to be offered throughout the site and unhealthy snacks are far easier to find than healthier ones”. A spokesperson for Alton Towers said: “We are pleased that the report recognises the progress we’ve made since 2016 to ensure that healthy options are available across the park.”

What is a parent meant to do? You could order adult food, which is often healthier than the kids’ meals.

Great. Any other advice? “We have heard from parents that the only healthy option when attending visitor attractions is to pack a lunch,” says the Soil Association’s Hattie Shepherd.

Isn’t eating crap food a traditional part of a costly and underwhelming day out? It doesn’t have to be. The menus at the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh include organic veg that has been grown in its onsite market garden.

Wait till I tell my kids that. They will go crazy. Or you could wait until the Soil Association opens its own theme park.

It’s a Soil World After All? I’m sure they will want to use that when the time comes.

Do say: “Don’t worry about lunch, kids. I’ve packed a big picnic basket full of sausage rolls, chocolate, crisps and biscuits!”

Don’t say: “Hello, is that Deep Fried Crap Land? Do you do deliveries?”

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