Tuesday 22 September 2015

Thomas Land UK at Drayton Manor Review July 2015

Thomas Land is our absolute favourite place to go as a family. We went this year on Sunday 19th July 2015, the second day of the school Summer Holidays and it was our sixth day there. 

First visit was August 2012 when Aaron was only 2 years of age. He loved it so much we went again that October (this time for 2 days staying overnight for Daddy's birthday at the onsite Drayton Manor Hotel). I didn't write a proper blog post about our October 2012 visit but did write this. We did however go again June 2013, specifically for Aaron's birthday, for 2 days, when I wrote a proper post with a Drayton Manor Hotel review but I never got round to Vlogging all of the footage I filmed - such a shame.

I would quite happily do so now, but it's all on my broken laptop. What was very special was the way June 2013, the second we walked through the Thomas Land entrance The Fat Controller started singing Happy Birthday from a balcony. There were several birthday kids in the audience, including Aaron - it was just magical - I captured it all on video - looking forward to fixing the laptop and getting access to it all once again.

Back to this Summer 2015 visit:
When we went this year, I couldn't believe how much Aaron remembered considering he is 5 years old now and he was only 3 years of age the last time he was there. We saw Winston's Whistle Stop Tour the second we arrived, and wrongly assumed it was part of the Thomas Land expansion that happened earlier this year, but a bit of research tells me it was new in July 2013 only a month after our last visit. Anyway, it was incredibly exciting for us to see a new ride and it was literally the first thing we went on as you can see in our Vlog of the day, here below. I was as excited to go on it as Aaron was.

We stayed in Birmingham as we were at Birmingham Sea Life the day before. I thought we'd be at Thomas Land for opening, being nearby, but it was raining really heavily that morning so we had a very leisurely breakfast. Thank God it was sunny and beautiful by the time we arrived at 11 a.m. and stayed like that all day, so we never did go into the indoor soft play area (on this visit) but I can HIGHLY recommend it if you are going for the first time. On all previous visits Aaron's adored it.
Soon after Winston's Whistle Stop Tour we headed over to the new Sodor Airport area which is part of this year's Thomas Land expansion. The highlight over there was Flynn's Fire Rescue which Daddy and Aaron thoroughly enjoyed. 

I got such a buzz watching them and captured it all on video in the above Vlog.

It's a very interactive ride where you move up and down with targets and a constant stream of water. They got a tiny bit wet but as it was a very warm day they dried off very quickly. It was lovely watching the perfect ride for Father and Son. Being pregnant I enjoyed the time to stand and video them and just chill. Being that we have visited Thomas Land so so many times, it was also fab to be on our second new ride of the day. Despite being July, I think a few schools had not broken up yet so none of the queues were too long. Also the rain first thing in the morning perhaps had annual card holders doing something more indoorsie.

He genuinely was a bit wet after Flynn's Fire Rescue - I've found the pic:
Thomas Land has its very own Knapford Station.

Although you see Thomas himself above, the engine can be Thomas, Percy or Rosie, depending on which one you happen to get. 

The train is a steam engine at the front with perfect carriages behind that the whole family can board. There is even a carriage dedicated to buggies. We headed there next to queue up for the train journey to farmer McColl's Farm. One tip I would give you: if you go in August when there are long queues, it is much easier to walk through the zoo and down to Spencer's Outdoor Adventure Play and get the train from down there. Each journey is treated as a single, so you embark and disembark from either end. The queues are always shorter at the far end. But it's fine either way, you walk one way and train it the other, unless you are prepared to queue twice of course. Aaron adores this train ride and it also features in our Vlog video above.

Once the Thomas Engine Tour train ride had carried us down that end of the theme park, the next stop just had to be Terences Driving School:
2 years ago Aaron really struggled as his foot could reach the pedal but it was too much of a stretch to hold that foot pedal down so he kept stopping and starting. This year he whizzed around, but in such a sensible way. His style was to 100% follow the arrows and not overtake anybody. There is a good length of video in my Vlog above showing this ride. It's thoroughly worth a visit - a must see for sure for your learner driver! You can see his utter joy in the pic above. 

Our favourite place to have lunch at Thomas Land is the tea rooms also down this end of the park and very near to Spencer's Outdoor Adventure Playground so that was our next stop. Being pregnant I was starving so Aaron had to be patient and sit with us even though he was itching to get to the playground. The playground was wonderful as I could sit on the grass and chill, watching him play. There is SO much equipment in there it kept him occupied for well over an hour. When you first visit Thomas Land you feel tempted to stick to the rides, but the indoor and outdoor play areas are really well worth a visit I promise.

Right next door to the adventure playground is a Dinsosaur Park, with Dinosaur statues in it. Wow, Daddy and Aaron enjoyed this so so so much. They read every plaque. It was educational on so many levels. Also enlightened me as to how much my husband, who I've been with since 1988 knows about Dinosaurs - who knew!?!??! I only knew that he likes Jurassic Park LOL!
Regular readers will know that I dropped my camera at the Year 6 disco that I helped at (I am on the PTA) meaning I did not have a camera all Summer until I bought one the other day. I was quite ashamed of the quality of the pics in my At-Bristol science centre review and my Birmingham Sea Life review, but these Thomas Land ones are ALSO taken on my phone, but the only reason I got away with it is because we were outdoors AND it was SUNNY. It seems lighting is everything with photography.
We then walked very slowly back to the theme park, through the zoo. Once back we had another ride on Winston's Whistle Stop Tour and a ride on Drayton Manor's big wheel, both of which you can see in the Vlog Video.

On the way out Aaron just had to have a slush puppy as he was so hot.

He's asked nearly every day since when we can go again. Thomas Land is open for the whole of October apart from two Mondays and two Tuesdays. They even have More Treat Than Trick at the end of October. Thomas Land is then closed for the whole of November but the great news is:

THEY OPEN IN DECEMBER FOR MAGICAL CHRISTMAS, which is actually from 27th November to 31st December. See website for days and times open. It's always cheaper to book online. We'll be going I have promised Aaron.

Disclosure: we were provided with complimentary entrance for our July 2015 visit but I have been put under no pressure to blog or vlog, neither have I been told what to say, so I retain full editorial control and all photos/words are my own.


  1. Oh this looks so so much fun Liska my little boy would love this so much. Being so far away we'd really have to save up for travel staying and the park itself it would be like a mini holiday in itself only trouble with Cornwall is that a lot of the really exciting things are so far away! I love how detailed your post is kinda makes me wish I was there now it looks fun for all the family! Glad you got plenty of rest too and that the weather was in your side after breakfast xx

    1. Oh what a wonderful comment thanks so so much. Yep when we went that August time 2012 we quickly worked out 1 day was not enough so that October we went for 2 and the following June again for 2. Although this time we went for 1 day it worked, as we'd stayed in Birmingham the night after Sea Life. The thing with Thomas Land is it is on the same grounds for Drayton Manor and entrance covers both so there is so so so much to do. It really is worth going for a mini-break, especially if as you say your little boy would love it so much. Aaron's loved Thomas for 5 years now, even playing games on the Thomas website tonight. He's also just got a Thomas toy box and Thomas bedlinen. Can't wait to see how old he gets before his train/Thomas obsession wears off if ever. Thanks for visiting and commenting. Really glad you liked the review and the detail - I spent quite some time on it. The Vlog too, is made up of 38 clips so a labour of love. L xxx

  2. I've never been but after reading through your review and looking at all the smiling photos of a very happy Aaron, I think I'll try to make it next month, and if not, during their Christmas opening, though not having the lovely warm weather you had will be a drawback!
    The dinosaur park looks amazing! I still have memories of being maybe the same age as Aaron and walking through a dinosaur park in Paris with my parents and younger brother - mostly because we sat down to snack on McDonalds cookies and they were the most buttery, delicious cookies I'd ever had!

    1. Those cookies sound AMAZING. Thanks for such a lovely comment Tinuke. If you go in October half term you may well get good weather as we are predicted an Indian Summer for October and judging by the weather this weekend I think it's already begun. We've now been August 2012 (1 day), then October 2012 (2 days), then June 2013 (2 days) and now July 2015 (1 day) and I'd say October ranks quite high as a time to go as there is hardly any queueing time but yet there is more buzz than say June for example, when it is quiet. It's not October that creates the buzz but rather the half term footfall. So glad you enjoyed the review so much xxx


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