Due to it not being peak season only Thomas Land and the zoo were open to the public. We were slightly limited on time, it was only open 10.30 until 2.30 and this is the only negative we had. We simply ran out of time. There was so much to cram into those 4 hours and we felt slightly rushed.
We entered via The Grill Inn and had quite a walk to reach Thomas Land. Walking past closed Drayton Manor Theme Park rides, deserted shops and maintainence works on the pathway didn't give us the desired "magical feeling" we'd hoped for but this disappointment soon left when we reached the rides.
For our first ride we [Charles and I} sat in the carriage of a train [which annoying I can not remember] and went round and round a few times. It was basic but a lot of fun. We then went on the 'Crazy Bertie Bus' ride, which was actually quite high and fast for children. I expected a few tears from various children, Charles included, but they ALL loved it! Even I found myself smiling away whilst we were on.
We went for a walk after this and at this point Charles and my husband spotted Harolds Heli Tours and queued for around half an hour to get on. It was worth the wait and both had fun! Charles was very excited to have been able to fly a helicopter.
The boys then went on our favourite ride of the whole day. Again, I cannot remember the name of it but it was an extremely fun amd fast boat. Again we thought it would be a bit much for Charles but as he gripped on to us he couldn't help but laugh very loudly, smile and kept shouting that his tummy was going funny,
We then queued at Knapford Station to have a trip on either Thomas or Rosie. We thought we were going to circle the track and end up back where we started, so were pleasantly surprised when we were told we'd reached our stop and ended up at the zoo [which will be reviewed on another post].
If you wish you can get off and wait in the waiting area to board the train again and head back to the station or, as we did, you can get off and explore the zoo. Also here you will find a HUGE play area and the Dino Trail.
As it wasn't peak season there weren't many cafe's or restaurants open, but the one by this stop was. We stopped there for a drink. There was plenty of places to sit but I would recommend possibly taking drinks with you. We queued for a long time just for 3 drinks and heard a few other people complaining over slow staff. We lost around 20 minutes here which, when you only have 4 hours in the first place, isn't ideal.
Near the zoo there is also the Thomas and Friends Exhibition which is worth looking at. Charles loved walking around the outside following the train as at rode around the track.
We walked through the zoo and eventually ended up back in Thomas Land. We again went for a ride on Berties Bus and the boat. This time we also went to Jeremys Flying Academy so Charles could fly a plane. This was another fantastic ride.
Altogether we went on 4 rides [2 of them twice] went for a ride on Thomas, visited the zoo, walked around the Dino Trail and had time to visit the Thomas Land shop.
I wanted to visit the shop because I do like to buy the boys a little something from each place we visit. I was worried that the £7 spending money we had allocated Charles [he'd spent the other £8 the previous day at the Space Centre] wouldn't get us far. I expected the shop to take advantage of parents and overexcited children and be overpriced. This wasn't the case. I had a lot to choose from and found the prices very reasonable.
If you are very lucky then you may spot The Fat Controller and Thin Controller walking around the park. They may even stop and have a chat with you!
We had an amazing day. Suitable for all of the family and will definitely be making a return trip so we can test out the rides we didn't get time to go on and the play area.
I highly recommend Thomas Land and would say it was suitable for children of all ages. Even Harry, at 8 months old, really enjoyed himself.
Combined with a stay at Drayton Manor Hotel it would be the perfect family break.
A week and a half on and Charles still talks about it and asks to go again.
* We were given free tickets to Thomas Land for the purpose of this review.