I can’t quite believe I am going to say this but despite living under an hour away, I had never ever been to Drayton Manor. Luckily, the wonderful folk there invited us to the park and I really regret not going sooner as we all had such a wonderful day! This is my review as a first time visitor; enjoy!
As we arrived, we drove into the park we went past the hotel which looked gorgeous and had its own dedicated parking. As we followed the road to the main car park I was surprised by how much parking there was and even better – it is completely free. This seems unheard of nowadays where you are charged for absolutely everything on top of your entrance fees so my husband was most impressed.
We got our tickets and were welcomed in the first of very friendly staff we met throughout the day. Thomasland isn’t far from the entrance and it was brilliant knowing we weren’t going to have any tears as everyone was going to be able to go on everything.
We headed to Harold’s Helicopters first to see how the girls would get on being up in the sky; as you can see from my video at the bottom of the post we didn’t need to worry as they loved it.
As we attended a special blogging event, they opened the park an hour before it was open to the general public – talk about really feeling like VIPs! We capitalised and got on most of the rides before there were any queues meaning very happy children as we got our pick of them.
We were really lucky that we got to have a nose at the VIP rooms and they were so gorgeous with sofas and beanbags. Charlie loved that we went into the room that had Charlie in it and naturally had to have a photo!
You get a spectacular view of the park from the rooms too so it was lovely to be able to go inside. They are based at the Sodor Airport above the restaurant below.
After riding our hearts out, we decided we would hop on the train to the other side of the park and go over to the zoo. We waited for the train and took guesses who we would get and Charlie was happy as we got Thomas!
You can walk over to the other side of the park but as we hadn’t been before we wanted to try and experience as much as possible. Don’t be daunted by the queues for the train as it soon goes down as so many can get on it each journey.
At the other end, we hopped off and popped into Mrs Kyndley’s cafe for a quick refuel. Prices weren’t extortionate and perfect for filling us up. We had three huge warm homemade sausage rolls to share, plus a bottle of pepsi max and a hot chocolate with cream for £11 which we were amazed by as were expecting huge prices.
I loved the style of the café with all the different engines, we chose Percy to sit on and we all warmed and filled up before heading over to the Dinosaur Trail.
P2 the past few months has become obsessed with dinosaurs so she got very excited when she spotted a huge T-Rex. Charlie tried reading all their names out to us which ending up with lots of giggling as he tried to pronounce them – he got stegosaurus and T-Rex right though!
As we were walking round the trail, the girls spotted the slides on the playground so we spent the best part of an hour on there as they absolutely loved climbing and running around.
After we wrestled the girls out of the playground, we headed off to the zoo area which is just a short walk round from the playground.
I was expecting more of a farm like zoo – nope! It’s 15 acres with over 100 species so I was amazed when I saw they had chimpanzees, monkeys and even a tiger – who was sleeping but looks absolutely huge. There were so many different things to see and lots of information boards with questions which Charlie really enjoys doing, giving an extra depth to the visit.
We found some very noisy parrots who liked to say hello much to Charlie’s amusement and all three decided that they were their favourites as they gave us all a good giggle (and headache!!) They were such beautiful colours and the girls seemed fascinated by them.
The girls will be 3 in June and Charlie was 7 in December. The park is just perfect for them as the girls had all of Thomasland to explore, and being with his sisters Charlie is still excited by Thomasland but also tall enough to try the bigger ride (he’s an incredibly tall 7 year old!) He has said he would love to go back to try the bigger rides and my husband and I will be arguing over who gets to take him on as we are both thrill seekers ourselves. So that will be the plan for the summer, as the park wasn’t fully open when we visited.
Drayton Manor’s 2016 season runs from Saturday 12th March until Friday 28th October, with the Firework Spectacular weekend taking place on Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th October, which I have heard a lot of wonderful things about along with their Christmas event that my friend goes to religiously every year and raves about. There is so much to see and do – and without the main rides even being open! It was a really great family day out enjoyed by big and smalls!
Here’s a little video from our fun day
Disclosure – we were all given complimentary entry to the park and this is my entry to become a Drayton Manor ambassador. All views, opinions, photos and videos are my own.