Did you know that Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends are over 70 years old? Could you have guessed that a Thomas & Friends toy is sold somewhere in the world every two seconds? No we had no idea either! These are just a couple of facts we learnt last weekend during our visit to Thomas Land at Drayton Manor Theme Park. We certainly knew that Thomas is a very popular toy in our house but we had no idea how popular the little blue engine is worldwide.
Over the last few years my husband and I have become experts at carefully navigating our way around our front room floor without disturbing complex train tracks. Both of our boys are train mad and so we jumped at the opportunity to review the Staffordshire based attraction knowing they would enjoy the family fun at Thomas Land.
We visited Thomas Land three years ago for Charlie’s second birthday. It was a memorable day for he knew the name of every engine. Charlie introduced Harry who is nearly two to Thomas & Friends about six months ago by allowing him to play with his beloved engines and train tracks, since then our house has been train crazy again!
Thomas Land is a must visit attraction for families with little train fans. It reopened in April 2015 after a £2.5 million expansion which saw it increase in size by 40%. We were therefore keen to check out the newly added Sodor Airport and the three brand new rides – Captain’s Sea Adventure, Flynn’s Fire & Rescue and Toby’s Tram Express.
Charlie particularly enjoyed the Cranky Crane ride, Spencer’s Adventure Playground and Rocking Bulstrode, a boat ride. It was so cute to watch him interacting with Harry during our visit, he kept pointing out all the different engines in a high-pitched squeaky voice which must be the voice my husband and I use when we speak to Harry!
Harry at nearly two years old was in choo choo heaven! He had an incredible day running around excitedly pointing out all his favourite engines and characters. He can only say a few words but he has recently starting saying ‘Tho-mas’ and ‘Perceee’. All the other engines are just choo choo! The rides which cater particularly well for toddlers at Thomas Land are the Thomas and Percy short train ride, Winston’s Whistle Stop Tours which takes riders on a journey overlooking Thomas Land from above, Harold’s Helicopter Tour and the Blue Mountain Engine ride.
A few other select rides/areas were open over the February half term holidays including the Dino Trail; the 4D Yogi Bear cinema experience which was a thoroughly entertaining 15 minute feature (even Harry sat transfixed throughout the movie); a traditional carousel and Drayton Manor Zoo where my boys particularly loved the talking parrots and entertaining monkeys.
Having been very fortunate to visit many of the popular theme parks during my five years living in the USA, I am pretty hard to please as I have high expectations of visitor attractions. This was our second visit to Drayton Manor, with most of our time on both occasions spent in Thomas Land. During our two visits my husband and I have been very impressed. The attraction has a range of enjoyable rides which cater for toddlers through to older kids, the park is very well maintained and clean, the entrance tickets and food is reasonably priced (£15 entrance fee during the time we visited and kids lunch boxes were only £3.95) and most importantly we have only ever experienced small queues for rides.
Tip: During the Thomas & Friends Weekends (when only Thomas Land rides and the Zoo are open) admission prices are available in advance for a 50% reduction. See the website for more details.
Need to know
Website – draytonmanor.co.uk/thomas-land
Address – Drayton Manor Park, Near Tamworth, Staffordshire, B78 3TW
Accommodation – There is a onsite four star hotel at Drayton Manor. See our review of Drayton Manor Hotel for more information.
Disclosure – We were provided with complimentary entrance tickets and an overnight stay at Drayton Manor Hotel for the purpose of this review. All opinions are as always our own.
All photos copyright Travel Loving Family