Monday 6 April 2015

Drayton Manor Park & Thomas Land

When I was a little girl, I used to go on caravanning holidays with my family and one of the places we used to go was Drayton Manor Park. We used to have wristbands allowing us to come and go in the park whenever we wanted. 

Since having Callum, I've been itching to go back there and then I found out they had Thomas Land. Until now, the right opportunity never arose.

The other day Callum suddenly announced he wanted to go to Thomas Land. He must've heard about it from someone at school. An idea started to form. We were due to travel to Stuart's brother's place in South Yorkshire and Drayton Manor Park was about halfway between home and there. We could break up the journey with a trip to the theme park and a stay in a hotel. 

We looked into it further and if we travelled up on Thursday we could stay in the Drayton Manor hotel for B&B and tickets to the park with 20% discount. This worked out even better as Stuart had a meeting near Lemington Spa on the Thursday so I could pick him up en route. It all seemed to be slotting in to place so I booked it. Entrance into the park itself is also much cheaper than the likes of Paulton's Park (with Peppa Pig World) and nearby Alton Towers. 

I left work early, picked up the kids from nursery and hit the road. 

4 hours later with a quick stop to pick up Stuart from the services just outside Oxford, we arrived at the hotel. 

We had 2 overexcited kids and I was gasping for a glass of wine!

The hotel room was quite nice and comfortable but I the kids loved all the little Thomas related decorative touches in the hallways and reception area.

The next day the weather was drizzly but mild so we weren't too down beat and Callum and Stuart had their eye on the first ride as soon as we entered. The apocalypse! One of those free fall rides where it took you to the top of a tall pole them dropped you. Stuart and I were amazed that Callum could go on it, though had to take the sitting position instead of the standing position. Millie and I headed for the big wheel instead. 

Following our first ride, booed on with confidence after enjoying the apocalypse, Stuart and Callum went on the next thrill seeking ride. This one went upside down. People started to comment how little Callum was gong on such a scaring ride. Then the ride started and Callum looked to be enjoying it. Then it got higher and his face wante so sure. Then it went upside and you can tell he wasn't enjoying it bless him. Stuart said after that he was calling for his teddy. Bless him. He was fine once he got off the ride but wisely said he wouldn't go on again. He was a little less brave thereafter but still went on loads of rides. The park were a little less restrictive on the ride heights to many of the other thence parks we have been to, which meant there were more rides we could all enjoy as a family, even Millie could go on some of them. 

We did a few more of the rides in the main park then headed to Thomas Land. The queues, which had been 10 minutes or less up until now, were a little longer in this part of the park so we did a monorail style ride on Winston followed by a short train ride on Percy. Callum drove Terence the Tractor in his driving school, there was a quick play in the playground and a stroll through the zoo. Then it was time for lunch. 

There were lots of food places to choose from. Callum was keen for a hot dog so we got the kids each one and as it was Good Friday, Stuart and I went for Fish and Chips though probably not the best choice as very slow service and not all that.

After lunch, The rain started to pick up a bit more so Stuart and Callum thought it was a good time to hit the log flume in the main park which was an RNLI lifeboat. Having just had lunch in want so keen so opted to take photos while Millie slept. Already wet from the rain, they were now drenched and a short 3 minute busy in the drier did little to reduce their soggy state. 

Then Stuart and I took it in turns to go on the big rides that even Callum want allowed to go on. By now, the rain had really set in which had the upside that the park want very busy and queues were short so both of us got straight on the Shockwave (which was the best ride in the park) and G-Force.

After this we did the cable cart which was probably the only ride in the park which was there from when I went as a little girl and then a few more of the Thomas Land rides. 

By now it was about 4pm and Stuart was feeling very wet and cold so we started making our way out stopping on a couple more rides on the way, including another go on the Ben10 rise which, despite his initial reservations, turned out to be one of Callum's favourite rides (guys first favourite being the RNLI water flume). 

Despite the weather we all had a very enjoyable day with their being plenty of rides for us all to enjoy and helped by the weather by keeping the crowds away and the queues short meaning we could go on more rides than you usually get time to at theme parks. 

Some people may also have been waiting for the Thomas Land expansion to open on the 8th but having glanced over at the development we didn't feel we missed out on much.

Would definitely recommend it for those with both big and little kids.

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