As a belated treat for Luca's 4th birthday, we decided to take a little trip down to Drayton Manor in Staffordshire. Having heard nothing but good things about it we were really looking forward to it. As per usual, the Flynn family booked a room at the Premier Inn, this time Tamworth Central as it is only 3 miles from the park. It turns out it was a brilliant location as it was very easy to find and right next to a huge shopping park which contained a couple of supermarkets, quite a number of restaurants and lots of shops. We also booked quite well in advance and got a great room rate.
Breakfast, as is always our experience, was delicious at the attached Beefeater Ladybridge pub and I really like the special offer they do, for every adult dining, you get up to 2 children free for breakfast, a real money saver.
It was probably 6-7 minutes drive to Drayton Manor from our hotel, it was very simple, basically a straight road off the roundabout and it is signposted. There is no way you could miss it! I had pre-booked our tickets so we could go straight in. What I will mention here is that there is a £3 car parking charge which you have to pay on admission, I think this is a little bit naughty to be honest as you are a captive audience and already paying quite a bit of money to get it.
It was a lovely summer day and we had luckily seemed to pick a day when it was fairly quiet. Our first port of call was the main park as the kids spotted the carousel, we always have to go on a carousel when we see them. I think Eva has visions of galloping off through the countryside a la Mary Poppins!
We had a wander around the main part of the park for a while and took in a 4d show of Yogi Bear the Movie. It was brilliant, in fact we enjoyed it so much we went back into see it at the end of the day!
The main area of the park is massive. There are lots of rides of all kinds in here although they are mainly geared up to the older kids as they all have height restrictions. We got on a few however, a lovely steamboat ride, the Big Wheel and a brilliant Cable Car ride which took us right over the whole park and gave us a real birds eye view. There is also a zoo (although we didn't have time to visit) and a little dinosaur adventure which was fun.
We had delayed the inevitable for long enough now! It was time to visit the Number One Engine. Thomasland is immediately after the entrance gates on the left hand side and it is wonderful.
As expected, all the rides are fine for toddlers, although they do have to meet a minimum height restriction (I think it was 1.0 metres). I wouldn't really recommend taking a trip unless your kids are at least aged 3 I would say, that way no disappointed faces plus they will get the most out of it from that age. The whole park is very flat and extremely buggy friendly and despite it being big, it is very easy to walk around and find your way.
Thomasland has been brilliantly done with a lot of thought gone into the rides. It reminded me very much of Peppa Pig World, a variation on a theme I suppose. A nice size, loads of rides and lots and lots of photo opportunities!
We covered the majority of the rides, one of our favourites of course was Flynn's Fire and Rescue
There are rides dedicated to many well known characters and if you are lucky, like us, you will get a trip on the main man himself!
We also found that food prices were fairly reasonable too, there are family meal deals at a lot of the restaurants. We paid about £22 for a family meal from the Burger Kitchen, including drinks and it was really tasty. There is also a large family restaurant at the entrance to the park if you fancy trying that. We had a really wonderful day at Drayton Manor, staff were very friendly, the whole park was absolutely spotless and there was more than enough to occupy us. We were there from opening until they were literally kicking people out! I would advise to buy your tickets in advance, not only are they guaranteed to be cheaper, you avoid any unnecessary queues. Also, the gift shops are good value too, I didn't notice any over inflated prices as you might expect and we managed to get a few little gifts for the kids without breaking the bank.
Thanks Thomas and friends for a lovely day!