Drayton Manor, Staffordshire
Date: April 11, 2014
We asked GentleParenting member Lorraine, and her 2, 3, 6 and 8 year olds, to review Drayton Manor Theme Park in Staffordshire, here are her thoughts:
Being a family with three train enthusiasts, we were delighted to have the opportunity to review Thomas Land at Drayton manor. Our first attempt to get to Drayton was cut short by baby number five threatening to arrive prematurely but Drayton manor kindly rearranged for the family to visit the next day, though I was unable to go as I had to stay put in hospital for a further 24 hours observation. Fortunately, everyone was very forthcoming with their feedback!
Thomas Land and Drayton manor are fairly easy to find, despite not having a postcode to plug into a sat nav. If you are driving though, you will need to pay for parking. This came as a bit of a surprise to us as we thought that parking for such an attraction would be included within the park entry price.
Drayton opens at 09:30 and rides start from 10:30. The family, consisting of Dad, Nan and Grandad, Poppy (2yrs old), Zac (3 yrs old), Toby (6 yrs old) and George (8 yrs old), arrived at around 10:00 and were able to get into the park fairly promptly without too much queuing. They divided into two groups as it was clear that the older two children were not so taken by Thomas land and were more interested in the larger thrill seeker rides that the rest of the park offered.
Thomas land was a big hit with Zac and Poppy. They enjoyed all the rides, although poppy was a bit worried by the crazy Bertie Bus ride. Zac’s favourite ride was Terence’s driving school, where the children get to drive tractors around a track by themselves. Poppy also enjoyed a visit to the zoo.
For rainy days, there is an indoor play area, though adults cannot go in to supervise their children, so this might not be such a hit with children who prefer the reassurance of their grown up nearby. I was surprised that the older two boys were able to go on the majority of the thrill rides – I wasn’t sure that they would meet the height restrictions. Fortunately, they both just exceeded the minimum requirements. This was lucky as, at 6 and 8 years old, they consider themselves “too old” for Thomas! Toby’s favourite ride was the “Freefall”. This ride lifted you high into the air, before dropping in a freefall. George’s preference was for “Stormforce 10”, a water ride, with the recommendation that you go on this last, or take a change of clothing as you end up completely soaked through! (There are also dryers that you can pay for and stand in, but these weren’t particularly effective).
The park advertises a minimum closing time of 17:00, but stays open later if the park is busy and the weather is fine. This is excellent as it means you have extra time to squeeze in all the rides you want on days when the park is busiest and queues longest. There are various refreshment outlets within the park, but there are also lots of spaces, benches etc to use if you’d prefer to take your own packed lunch. Toilet facilities were plentiful and were clean.
Drayton Park and Thomas Land were a huge hit with the whole family. Children who are a bit too old for Thomas, but don’t meet the height requirement for the main park might not find the day quite so enjoyable, but otherwise there is lots to do for everyone. A big thumbs up!
Entrance to Drayton Manor is £5 for children aged 2-3 years, £20 for 4-12 year olds, £25 for over 12 year olds & adults and free for children under two when booked online in advance.