My maternity leave fell at a good time since my parents both retired this year which means we get to enjoy family days out again – something that has been hard to come by throughout the majority of my adulthood. My sister also comes back from Dubai for a couple of months during the summer, so we’ve been taking full advantage of the time we get to spend together – both as sisters, mums and aunties.
Last week we decided to take a trip to Thomas Land at Drayton Manor theme park in Staffordshire. We visited last year before I had Taylor and when my nephew was almost two – he had a great day then but he was still a little too short to meet the height restrictions on some of the rides and probably a little too young to fully appreciate the experience. One year on and we decided to visit again – this time with Taylor and our parents in tow.
Thomas Land has recently been expanded following a £2.5m investment to accommodate some new rides, as well as a new café and a handful of old-school fairground games. If it wasn’t before, it is definitely now a standalone attraction and there’s more than enough to keep you busy for the day.
From the moment we entered my nephew was in his absolute element and you could tell that he really did think that Thomas, Percy, James and Rosie were the real characters he watches on the television – so cute! He’s also hugely into fire engines (what little boy isn’t?) so loved the new ‘Flynns fire and rescue’ ride, which is complete with hoses for the kids to spray various targets throughout the duration.
For lunch we decided to venture into the main theme park for a burger before we headed back to queue at Knapford Station to take one of the engine tours (either Thomas, Percy or Rosie) to farmer McColls farm. Buggies have to be collapsed before getting on the train but there are a couple of carriages where you can store them for the ride. The ride is a lovely novelty and it’s a good opportunity to see more of the park.
At the other end there’s a large outdoor adventure play area – where I think we would’ve spent the entire afternoon if it was up to my nephew – and a farm which the kids also loved. We also visited the Dino Trail which takes you on an educational tour of dinosaurs (no shit) with life-sized models of our prehistoric friends and the odd rumble and groan – all great entertainment for little ones. Even us sisters managed to get a sneaky ride on the Shockwave roller coaster for old times’ sake, and were each treated to a Twister ice-cream by the grandparents!
If I were to have one minor complaint it was that the queues were pretty long and the staff seemed to be taking their time getting people on and off the rides – there were also some cars that were left half full which was a little annoying when it was so busy. But we probably didn’t have to wait any longer than 25 minutes for any of the rides, so it wasn’t too much of a problem.
Also, if you’re planning a visit make sure you book online seven days in advance as it costs £20 (for adults), as opposed to £38 if you pay on the day.
All in all, this is a brilliant day out and a must for anyone with little ones in need of entertainment – especially Thomas fans!!