Friday 12 June 2015

Drayton Manor Theme Park & Hotel

Last weekend, my 2 year old son's dreams came true.

After months of asking every time we got into the car to go to the shops if we were going to Thomasland, we decided to take the plunge and book a little trip there.

Thomasland is based at Drayton Manor theme park in Staffordshire which is a good 3 and a half drive away from us, so it seems a bit out of reach with a newborn in tow - but we were visiting my parents in Liverpool and as it's only a 1 hour 40 minute drive from there we decided to just go for it!

Noah stayed with my parents, and on the Friday myself, Jon & Tyne headed off to Thomasland!

We didn't tell Tyne where we were going, so when we pulled up at Drayton Manor and he saw the Thomasland signs with Thomas' face smiling down at him he was squealing with delight!

We had booked into the Drayton Manor Hotel in one of their Thomas Themed bedrooms on a Stay & Play package which included one days park entry and a character breakfast.

As the rain seemed to be holding off, we decided to use our park tickets then so Jon nipped into the hotel to collect the entry tickets which were waiting behind reception for us.

We headed into the park and straight for Thomasland.

Tyne was absolutely delighted to see all of his favourite characters dotted around everywhere!

There were lots of Thomas songs playing through the park, and I thought they'd done a really good job of making it look very "Sodor-like"!

The first thing Tyne saw when we walked in was Percy rolling toward us at Knapford Station - what I loved was that the engines had moving eyes so they looked just like the characters! I've always thought it was a flaw that the Thomas trains at the Days Out With Thomas events don't have this feature, so it was lovely to see and made it much more realistic!

We queued up for a ride on Percy first of all - as it was Friday the queues were quite short, and we got onto the very next trip.

The ride took us to another part of Thomasland where Tyne enjoyed looking at the model railway.

We then made our way back to the main part of the park, and Tyne spent quite a while saying Hello and cuddling the engines...they have the engines faces coming out of what looks like the sheds in the centre of the park and he absolutely loved this!

We then had a go on the rides - he loved Harold's Helicopter rides, Bertie the bus, and Rocking Bulstrode - I thought the Bulstrode ride seemed pretty fast for toddlers but he laughed all the way through and seemed to love it!

There were a few rides that he was too short for - Terence's Driving School, Toby's Tram Express, Troublesome Trucks Runaway Coaster and Cranky's Crane Lift - out of all of those the only one he wanted to go on was Cranky but, seeing what it did, I can totally understand why he's too little!!

He chose not to ride Sodor's Classic Cars (I guess they were a little boring compared to everything else!), Lady's Carousel, Jeremy Jet or Winston's Whistle Stop Tour Monorail (which I was gutted about as I so wanted to go on! But he was insistent that they were too high and I didn't want to force him!).

But he went on everything else in the park and really enjoyed all of them!

I do think that he actually enjoyed playing with the engines (In particular the "sleeping James"!) more than the actual rides though - he thought they were the real deal!

We had a go on some of the fairground games to try and win a stuffed toy but we suck at those games so of course we failed and came away £6 worse off! (£2 per game, pretty standard I guess but geez I remember when those things were 50p a go! How old do I sound right now...)

We also, of course, had to visit the Thomas Shop - we'd heard it was the biggest dedicated Thomas The Tank Engine shop in the world - I did contemplate just tipping the contents of my purse out into the shop keepers hand at the door and saving the formality of actually browsing but hey ho...we went in anyway.

Tyne was...well I would say like a kid in a candy shop but no, he was like Tyne in a Thomas shop!...delighted! Over excited! And in love with everything he laid eyes on.

After what felt like a year of browsing, he eventually decided he wanted Iron 'Arry and Iron Bert (identical bloody toy trains, but sold seperately..of course!! I'd like 5 minutes alone with whatever genius came up with that idea...) and a Talking we bought those, and I impulse bought some ridiculous things like Thomas Toothpaste and some crap to put on boiled eggs to make them Thomas you do!

After the shop visit all he wanted to do was play with his new trains, so he was actually asking to leave - so we headed out of the park and off to the hotel.

Check in was quick and efficient, and Tyne was delighted with the "people" figures in the reception area and the Thomas carousel

We were staying in a themed room so we were given a VIP gift bag for Tyne.

We headed to our bedroom, Tyne had no idea about the themed room so we were excited to see what he made of it - as soon as we came out of the lift there were two lifesize engine figures on the wall so of course Tyne was off squealing with glee again!

We eventually pulled him away and went to our bedroom, the room had a double bed and a decent sized bathroom with a large flat screen TV and tasteful decor in one part...and then on the other side had train track carpet, Thomas wallpaper and the coolest Thomas The Tank bunk bed ever with built in dvd players on the top and bottom.

Tyne's gift bag contained Thomas crayons, a Thomas toothbrush, a Thomas book, and a very cute teddy bear wearing a little Drayton Manor Park bathrobe - very fancy!

Our stay at the hotel was lovely - we went along to the childrens entertainment for a while (though that was probably the only let-down of our stay - it was basically a room with some balls and a colouring table, a movie playing and some music and bubbles on...the two members of staff in there were not at all engaged with the children and just stood in the corner talking between themselves for the entire session) - After this we had dinner in the hotel restaurant which was made very enjoyable by the presence of plenty of wooden train tables dotted about for the children to play with.

They could use their own trains or hire them from reception, which meant there was no fighting over "communal" toys - Tyne was kept well entertained with the trains which meant we were able to linger over dinner and really enjoy it! We stayed there until gone 10pm and Tyne was happily playing all that time, only having a break to eat his dinner and have his ice cream!

I really enjoyed my meal in the restaurant, I'm a pretty fussy eater so I don't usually find myself too impressed by hotel meals but this restaurant was to a pretty decent standard.

The next morning we had breakfast with the Fat Controller where each child got the chance to meet the man himself and was presented with a certificate.

After breakfast, we headed back to Thomasland - unfortunately the queues were much longer with it being a saturday and there did seem to be a different class of clientele around, I heard a bit too much swearing and saw too many people smoking in outdoor dining areas and by rides for my liking.
If the Saturday had been my only experience of the park my opinion would be very different, but it impressed me on the Friday.

All in all we had a fantastic time at Thomasland and have already decided to visit again at Christmas!

 How could we not want to recreate this priceless expression on his face?!

For more information on visiting the park, please go to

We also filmed a family video at Thomasland - it was intended purely for us to watch so it's not exactly vlog style, but if you want to see what it was like on the rides etc please feel free to have a look!

Family Fever

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