Days out with the kids: Drayton Manor

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We’ve been looking into visiting Drayton Manor for about a year now, but somehow we have struggled to get around to going mainly because of the distance from our home.  However, this Summer holiday we had decided to have a Staycation and Drayton Manor, and most particularly Thomas Land, was at the top of Little Sir’s list of must go places.  So off we went. Luckily the weather was due to be warm but not too hot, so a perfect day for standing around and going on rides.  The journey was about an hour and a half so we decided we would get there pretty much as it opened and try and stay until the park closed, which according to their website was 5pm, but once we arrived we found out that it wouldn’t close until 7pm which definitely took off the pressure.  The journey was pretty good until we were about a mile away when we sat in traffic to get into the park, but once parked we were through the ticket gate quickly which made a nice change for a theme park! Our initial plan was to head for Thomas Land and then work our way around the park.  We looked at the map and quickly realised that the children were too small for the Thrill Rides (much to my delight and relief) but there were a number of Family Rides which they could go on, so we had quite a lot to get done.  However, we hadn’t really counted on everyone with small children heading for Thomas Land first!  We managed one ride, which had a queue line of 30 minutes, and decided that we would head to the far end of the park first and work our way back later in the day.  This was a great decision! So we headed for the water rides first, and after nearly joining the queue for StormForce 10 (definitely NOT a child friendly ride) we went on Splash Canyon which was quite a gentle ride.  The queue was pretty long and it wasn’t until we got to the front that we realised the staff weren’t filling each boat, so some boats which could seat 6 only had 2 in them!  This was a theme as we went around the park which did make queuing that much longer!  After managing several rides in a few hours including the Cable Cars (Little Sir’s favourite ride!) and the 4D show, we thought we would give The Haunting a try.  We’ve been on several Haunted House rides in the past and normally enjoy them as a family.  Not this one!  It was billed as a Family Ride, but it was absolutely terrifying!  After the first 2 minutes of being in the house, Little Sir was visibly shaking and sobbing, so I got him out as quickly as I could.  Paul and Little Miss made it to the end, but it definitely wasn’t a child friendly ride! Eventually we headed back to Thomas Land, and our previous decision to leave it to last was a great one.  We managed to get on and off nearly every ride in the space of 2 hours, and Little Sir loved them all, but particularly Flynn’s Fire Rescue! All in all it was a fab day out.  These would be our top tips:
  1. Head for Thomas Land at the end of the day.  It’s much quieter and much easier to get on and off of all the rides!
  2. Definitely don’t visit The Haunting with small children – it took us 45 minutes in a queue and we had a terrified small boy with us afterwards!
  3. The food is very so/so!  The staff in the restaurants were at best bored, at worst were giving people the wrong food.  I would definitely take a picnic if we went again as there are plenty of places to sit.
  4. If you have time, do go and have a look around the Zoo and the Dinosaur zoo.  It’s very small but gives a welcome break from the busyness of the main park.
  5. The park can be expensive but we managed to book online 7 days before we went which made it significantly cheaper so definitely worth a look.
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