Drayton Manor Theme Park is located in Tamworth. Thomas Land is a huge draw to parents with smaller kids and is ideal for the under 5’s. This was our first visit to the Drayton Manor Theme Park and Drayton Manor Hotel. We were keen to see how it compared with the Merlin owned Chessington, Alton Towers and Legoland all of which we have visited before. It has been over 5 months since our last theme park fix when we headed to Disneyland Paris in December, you just can’t beat that piped in music!
Drayton Manor Zoo
After showing our tickets at the turnstiles and consulting the map, the first port of call was the zoo for tiger feeding at 10.30am. Zoos have never really done it for me in all honestly, probably because i’m just not an animal fan, but we headed over to see the enclosures anyway. A crowd had formed around the tiger enclosure and I had expected some kind of announcement or talk on tigers. This wasn’t the case though as basically the zoo keeper just chucked a load of steaks around the pen and let the lonely Sumatran tiger eat them. I felt a bit sad for the poor tiger at this point. He was amazing to look at, but guess that’s the nature of zoos and captive animals.
Moving on, we had covered most of the zoo in an hour or so. The girls enjoyed talking to a parrot who repeated ‘Hello’ back at you, the meerkats, the guinea pigs (which they could stroke with a handler) ostrich, kangaroos and tamarins. I was impressed with how well Drayton Park grounds were and it some great thought had gone into the trails, especially, the Tamarin Trail. The sun had peaked out from the clouds so coats were abandoned and factor 50 was applied. It finally felt like Summer was here.
Drayton Manor Rides
Our girls can be funny at times with rides and this morning Imogen just wasn’t feeling it. As we were loaded onto a cart on Drunken Barrels (essentially a German themed waltzer on a slant) Imogen froze and wanted to get off before it had started. I rode with Abigail who had fun and thought she was great doing something her big sister wouldn’t!
Wild West Shootout was more successful. Armed with a laser gun, you travel through a cowboy and western themed set. Points totted up, Alan was the winner, and Imogen had a big smile on her face. She seemed to have forgotten her earlier fears.
Yogi Bear 4-D Adventure was a fun attraction too. It looked like a cinema but as the movie went on the chairs moved, and you had wind, rain and various smells in your face! The girls really enjoyed this ride even if they were unfamiliar with Yogi Bear himself. I’m not sure if Justin Timberlake still has his turn as voicing Boo Boo in this on his CV!
The Haunting was another one Imogen ducked out of with Alan and Abigail taking this on. I’m not a fan of attractions where things jump out at you, so was happy to hold the bags on this occasion. Alan hung around to see what it was all about and Abigail and him both enjoyed it. It wasn’t as scary as it felt it should have been.
Drayton Manor – Thomas Land
Thomas the Tank had sort of passed the girls by, but myself and Alan remember the version voiced by Ringo Star in the 80’s. I wasn’t sure what the girls would think of Thomas Land, but it was by far their favourite area. In fact ended up spending the majority of the day here.
The rides they enjoyed were:
- Winston’s Whistle Stop Tours.
- Harold’s Helicopter Tours.
- Rocking Bullstrode
- Flynn’s Fire Rescue
- Terence’s Driving School
- Toby’s Tram Express
I was really impressed with the theming, cleanliness and lack of queues at this part of the park. Maybe accidental good timing on our part that not all UK kids were on school holidays this week. A lot of the rides the girls went on themselves, and there was lots of seating for parents to chill. The Thomas music on repeat didn’t exactly make it feel that relaxing though! Serenity spa it was not!
Bryan’s Works Museum
Over next to the Adventure playground was a cute little museum the Bryan’s Works Museum. The founder of Drayton Manor, George Bryan, is the son of slot-machine pioneer William Bryan who built his creations from a factory close by in the 1920’s. It was really interesting to see the old style penny slot machines and a galloping horse which was still in operation. Pennies could be swapped by the attendant, but the kids weren’t too keen at this point. An ice cream break was needed.
Jurassic Park it was not, but the Dino Trail, despite looking a bit lame was actually quite fun. The girls really enjoyed answering questions about each dinosaur and I was impressed they knew about herbivores, omnivores and carnivores.
Miniature Thomas Railway
Bizarrely we managed to lose Alan in this part of the park. We came out and he was still in there snapping away at the little details of this huge Thomas Hornby railway. My brother had a Hornby train set when he was a kid and it brought back memories of buying scatter for grass and packets of the mossy looking green stuff to landscape around the track. My Mam still has all the stuff in the loft… if she doesn’t get a grandson I could see Alan taking this up as a hobby in his retirement.
Heading Back to Newcastle
We enjoyed our short break at Drayton Manor theme park. Not sure we would return as we felt we had done it all in one day trip. There was plenty to do and certainly much more we could have done. At this moment in time the big thrill rides don’t appeal to us.