Family Days Out in the West Midlands: Thomas Land at Drayton Manor, Staffordshire

The girls have been angling to go to Thomas Land at Drayton Manor for ages, so we were delighted to be invited to review recently.  It was a baking hot day but luckily during term time it wasn't too busy, and the rides and activities certainly didn't disappoint.  Although my poor old camera didn't cope as well with the humidity, so please excuse some hazy photos!

We had had intentions of exploring the rest of Drayton Manor too but, as it turned out there was so much to do in the Thomas area we spent the whole day there.  It's the same at Paulton's Park, I think we've only ventured beyond Peppa Pig World and the animals and birds twice!  Although, having looked at the map and descriptions, much of the rest of the park was aimed at teenagers and adults with some pretty fearsome rides.  We may venture further next time!

Thomas Land was much bigger than we expected, with 15 rides, a large outdoor play area, indoor soft play, train ride and more.  All three girls were very excited and keen to see what was there.  After a quick stop to buy a pink Thomas cap which she just had to have apparently, Tatiana made a beeline for Flynn's Fire Rescue where she could squirt a water hose onto a burning building.  She currently wants to be a firefighter when she grows up, so this as perfect - and with the water spraying back on her a great way to cool down too!

We all liked the look of the Captain's Sea Adventure ride, but it was closed that day unfortunately - next time!  But there was plenty more to do so, after a few moments being a doughnut, we headed off.

Thankfully, Lara just made it into Emily's Play Adventure indoor soft play, being tall for her age.  We would have had a huge autie meltdown to cope with otherwise!  It's a fair sized soft play, but might be tricky on a busy weekend or holiday day.  The girls were entertained for a while in there, but soon wanted to see what else there was to do.

We all really enjoyed the 'high up cars', aka Winston's Whistle-Stop Tours, and managed to go on a few times.  It was great for getting an overview of the rest of Thomas Land and plotting where to go next too, and where to have our picnic!

I really liked how there were diddy little carousels like the one above, as well as larger ones for bigger kids, and this was reflected in other rides around Thomas Land so there were things for really little ones, say 18 months to 2 years, right up to older kids of Lara's age (8).  Plenty for everyone to enjoy.

There is a train which goes from Thomas Land out to the animal areas, pulled by either Thomas himself or Rosie.  Guess who was delighted to get Rosie!

At the other end of the train was a great outdoor play area, train-themed of course, a dinosaur trail and cafĂ©.  The girls loved the giant dinos and the playground.

A short walk from here we saw ostriches preening and drinking which was very exciting.  When we went to the Natural History Museum earlier in the year, Tatiana was amazed at just how big they are and wanted to see a real one close up, so she was delighted.

Further on there were a few rather hot and bothered farm animals and Terence's Driving School which the girls, especially Lara, loved.  As there wasn't really anyone else around they were on there on their own for ages, joined occasionally by one or two other little people, but they must have enjoyed at least half an hour's racing around.

There is a small playground here too and a large building containing a vast Island of Sodor train set with Thomas and friends racing around.  There was much debate about who would win and following the trains around the track.

Finally, it was back to Tidmouth Hault to catch the train back - too hot to walk! - who would it be, Thomas or Rosie?!

A final cuddle with a stationery Rosie at the other end and it was time to go.

We all really enjoyed Thomas Land and would definitely go again - we might even explore some more of what Drayton Manor has to offer next time!

Drayton Manor is situated near Tamworth in Staffordshire, between the M42 and M6 Toll roads.  The park is open for much of the year, but do check online for exact days and times.  Tickets can be bought at the gate, but book online for the best prices.  There are plenty of places to eat around the park, but also plenty of benches, picnic tables and other areas if you bring your own food.

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