This week I have been on a little trip away with the boys. We travelled down to YHA National Forest yesterday and stayed over so we could have a more relaxed start to today.
I forewarned the boys about the likelihood of long queues that would be pretty much everywhere. Queues to get into the car park, then the theme park itself, then at each ride. So I was very pleasantly surprised to find no queue at all, anywhere, all day! Today was Drayton Manor’s first day of the season so it was very quiet indeed, and perfect for us.
I had told the boys that today was Yes Day. A day when I say yes to all reasonable requests if I’m able to do so. The first two questions were ‘can we have sweets every day’ and ‘can I play on my iPad all day’, but once we’d ironed out the finer details of the agreement, we were set.
Once we’d sailed through the park entrance our first stop was Thomas Land. Squidge is too small for most of the attractions at Drayton Manor but there were one or two rides we could all enjoy together, the first of which was the Thomas Tour. This small train ride takes you to another part of Thomas Land where children can visit Terence’s Driving School and The Discover Thomas exhibition.
I couldn’t honestly say that Squidge ‘enjoyed’ the train ride, but he didn’t cry… so I’ll take that as a positive.
Next for us was Dino Land. This part of the park is really dated and the awesome looking play area wasn’t even open. The boys were really disappointed about that because it does look like a lot of fun. The dinosaurs were still interesting though and we talked about the differences between herbivores, omnivores and carnivores. An easy little lesson to sneak into our day. The boys also noticed a sign which says ‘something mammoth’ was coming soon, so perhaps there is more work to be done in that area of the park in the near future.
We made a new little friend as we walked around Dino Land – a very friendly little Robin came so close and allowed us to take some quick photos before he went about his business. The boys were thrilled about this and still talked about the bird on the way home. Another highlight of the Dino Land area was the giant glockenspeil. Robot played out Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and was super proud of himself.
We visited The Thomas Exhibition and part of the zoo area while we were nearby, and we talked about flamingoes and why they turn pink.
The boys had a go at Terence’s Driving School (probably best for children or 4 or 5 years old) and we moved on.
We took the train back to the main part of Thomas Land (it was Percy this time) and the boys enjoyed some more rides. Cranky Crane Tower Drop was a hit, as was Rocking Bulstrode, but unfortunately Troublesome Trucks was closed which was a shame as it looked as though it could have been a good one. We also bumped into the Fat Contoller so I took the opportunity for a photo, not that Squidge really cared but he might by next year when he’s old enough to understand and enjoy the experience some more.
We all enjoyed Winston’s Whistlestop Tours before Squidge fell asleep and we seized the opportunity to try out some rides for bigger kids.
Drayton Manor is not a huge theme park but there is certainly something for everyone there. From thrillseeker rides to soft play for toddlers, everyone in the family can find something for them here. I’m not really a big fan of extreme thrill rides so Drayton Manor is perfect for me. There are a few big rides but there are also plenty that are suitable for the slightly more feint hearted!
For lunch, the boys had asked if we could have something from the cafe rather than taking a packed lunch. It was Yes Day so…
To be honest the food really wasn’t great. Fairly high prices as you would expect at a theme park, greasy burgers and quite small portions. However, the boys had asked for it so that’s what they had.
The boys spent the rest of the afternoon going on whichever rides took their fancy, not once having to queue. We did the new Ice Age 4D experience which was quite good. The boys loved getting sprayed with water throughout the show and the moving chairs were fun too.
Some of the rides were closed for maintenance and these were listed at the entrance before the gates, giving visitors the opportunity to come another day if they were too disappointed with the closures. We tried to access a few other rides throughout the day only to find them temporarily closed too which was a disappointment – especially the Troublesome Trucks and Splash Canyon. We did see Splash Canyon reopened later in the day but we were on our way out of the park by then.
Just before we decided to leave we took the circular train tour, Polperro Express Train, around part of the park and that was quite relaxing – even with a wriggly toddler!
Finally we had a turn on the traditional carousel, to finish off the day nicely.
Thank you so much to Drayton Manor for inviting us along to their park. The boys had a wonderful time and have already asked if we can go back another day.