Long before the day I became a Mummy, I have been a self confessed thrill seeker from an early age. I don’t think I had much choice in this really as my Dad has always loved theme parks. I know my parents were visiting such attractions with me in tow from around the age of 2 years old.
I recently received tickets for a day out at Drayton Manor, which happens to be right on our doorstep being just an hour’s drive away. I have not been to Drayton Manor for a few years now and I knew that they have had new rides installed and there had been some substantial changes to check out.
Of course having a 1 year old now changes everything that we as a family look for, when choosing somewhere that can cater for all of us for the day. After having a look at the Drayton Manor website I was pleased to see that there would be plenty for us to do with Leo, which is ultimately the factor that makes or breaks our decision to visit a destination.
My little brood arrived at Drayton Manor, just outside of Tamworth in timely fashion. We arrived at just after half past 10 which is the time that all of the rides are set to open, and I was pleased to see that we had picked the right day to visit. The sun was shining high in the sky and despite it being a little chilly at times, we had made a great decision to visit at the back end of the season. There were plenty of people walking around, but it was by no means busy, which meant no daunting queues!
Walking into the park you can see some of the bigger rides peaking up into the sky line, the Apocalypse for one, and although I have braved this ride in the past. I made a firm decision there and then that I would not be doing it on this visit! We soon came across Thomas Land which opened back in 2008 to everyone’s favourite Blue train. Walking in under the archway I was faced with the train controllers, I thought this was a lovely touch for the older children who were chatting away with them, and really excited to see them.
Leo is too young to know who Thomas is and he is yet to see the television programme but despite these minor details he enjoyed it none the less. There is so much going on, especially from a toddler’s perspective and I thought that the best way that Leo could experience this moment was to be un-leashed in Thomas Land.
I took Leo out of his stroller and stood him on the floor, he looked a little un-sure as Cranky the Crane Drop Tower came bumping back down to our level. He ran and gave my leg a big reassuring cuddle. I know Leo though, and I knew that it wouldn't be long before he had adjusted to his new surroundings and was feeling his brave self again. Proving me right within the next minute, I was soon following him around and trying to keep him in check. He really did not know where to look next, which meant he was running here, there and everywhere.
We stood and watched Thomas come toward us on the tracks, and Leo intently watched as Thomas’s eyes moved. He really was transfixed. There is so much to see and do in Thomas Land alone that it was worthwhile taking Leo along.
Leo is just coming up 15 months old and I was so pleased to see just how much was available for him to do in Thomas Land. Leo went on a total of four rides, and he loved each and every one of his experiences. He loved Jeremy Jet the most and steered the plane like a little champ, but he was not content in letting Daddy hit the ‘up, down’ button for long and soon had to have his way doing this too!
After we had exhausted Leo in Thomas Land we decided to go and have a wander around the rest of the park and do some more appropriate thrill seeker rides for Luke and I. Luke was eyeing up G-Force, so while he was whizzing around upside down, I sat with Leo and took in the sight of daddy hanging just above us, and then Luke reciprocated so I could have a go at the fast pace of G-Force.
We each took it in turns on the bigger rides that we wanted to have a go on, Luke even gave the Apocalypse a go!
It was great to see that there was a variety of food options available, but on this occasion we wanted to sit down for a proper lunch, so we took a short walk up the hill and found the on-site steak house. We sat down to a lovely lunch before making our way back into the park to visit the zoo. In all the times I have visited Drayton Manor this is the first time I have spent time in the zoo, and I know this is because I now have Leo to consider.
I took Leo out of the stroller so that he could see everything, he stood by the monkey’s for a short while but it was clear after only a short while of being in there that Leo’s heart lay with the Meerkat’s. The Meerkat’s were so playful and really playing to their audience, which I think is why Leo was so captivated. They were play fighting among each other and digging up the dirt before standing and staring right at the glass, right at Leo. The enclosure is perfect for a little toddler to stand independently and have the perfect view inside; it is at the perfect level.
I found the zoo housed a substantial amount of animals and reptiles, and was a great touch for the kid’s. It is by no means the biggest zoo in the world but as an addition to an already fun packed day out, it makes a nice alternative to staying on the rides all day. There is a lovely reptile house that features snakes to lizards.
There really is something for everyone.
There really is something for everyone.
A real positive point to the day was that the whole experience was enjoyable. I found that it was easy to navigate the park thanks to all of the readily available signage and of course the map that you are presented with when you collect your tickets. The whole day was targeted to a family day out, and despite Leo being so young there was still plenty for him to get on with and enjoy.
We picked such a perfect day to take a trip to Drayton Manor, with it being the back end of Summer most people had already visited in the height of the season. We certainly took a chance on the weather but it paid off, giving us a very enjoyable day out. We took advantage of the fact that there were no queues, and when I ventured onto Shockwave it was only myself and another man taking the ride, so we both got front row seats!
In comparison to other theme parks it is substantially smaller, but I have to say I preferred this. It was a real bonus that the car park was very close the entrance, without the hassle of travelling into the park from the car park with Leo's stroller and all the bit's and bobs that come with him.
Drayton Manor certainly offers you value for money at £20.00 for an adult ticket and £12.00 for children over the age of Four.
We had a great day out and I look forward to taking Leo back in the near future when he is that little bit bigger, and can really get excited about Thomas Land.
Disclaimer: I was issued tickets to visit Drayton Manor, however all views and opinions are completely honest and my own.