The most festive day ever at Drayton Manor Park!

Not so long ago, my colleague Rabia and I took my daughters Maggie (8) & Lois (5) on a trip to Drayton Manor to experience their ‘Magical Christmas’.  Being a big advocate of Christmas I was as excited as them to get in the festive spirit...

As we walked (were pulled!) into the park the setting was perfect; crisp weather, a lovely low hanging winter sun and the sight of the 30ft Christmas tree (more of which later) the scene was set.

First off, naturally, we headed to the Island of Sodor, which if you’re a parent will know is the home of Thomas the Tank Engine and his vehicular friends.  

Thomas Land™ is brilliant for children, the rides are perfectly pitched for the sprogs; mine are 5 and 8 (going on 15) and there was a good balance of tame for Lois/Rabia and danger (well mild peril!) for Maggie/ myself.

I would recommend first heading for Winston’s Whistle-Stop Tours – this monorail travels high above Thomas Land and gives you your bearings – it also gives you a good idea of all the rides within this park within a park.

Offspring enjoyed Jeremy Jets, Rocking Bulstrode, Toby’s Tram Express - hey they enjoyed all the rides!

A trip on Thomas’ Engine Tour was a highlight – you can hop on board Thomas, Rosie or Percy.

At various points throughout the day snow showers blasted out of Sodor and the Fat Controller and his pals entertained with live singing and dancing shows.  These were especially festive and got everyone in a holly jolly mood.

On the way out of Thomas Land™ we spotted the Fat Controller himself strolling through! I thought we might just pap him, but not being a shy girl Lois headed straight for him, the kids had plenty of questions for him about his clothes, his trains etc.  Poor chap!  But he was excellent, with witty retorts for my cheeky gals.

Now we had plenty of time to experience the main park before our 4.20 appointment with the big man - Father C.  Fortunately, for the kids, all the big rides, of which there are loads, were not activated, so myself and Rabia didn’t get tempted.  If you do like a big ride, I would recommend Cranky Crane or the Runaway Coaster!

The festivities are not contained to Thomas Land, there is also lots of Christmassy fun to be had outside… Lois was especially enamoured with the Ice rink ‘Slide & Glide’ so we headed there first – my attempt at a triple Lutz did not go to plan.

Next up the Polar Express 4D Experience - well, for Rabia and Maggie; Lois bailed at the last second so unfortunately I didn’t get to experience this 4D extravaganza – we decided to spend the 15 minutes run-time exploring the 15-acre zoo.  The zoo too had a festive element as it contained real-life, bona-fide, 100% genuine reindeer!  We got a de-brief from Maggie afterwards of the fun we had missed in the theatre.

The 30 ft. tree was another highlight and now the park was in darkness its light show set to music was a spectacle. The time went so quickly that it was now time to head to the Castle of Dreams and meet Father Christmas.  

No waiting around – with a time slot in place we went straight through – bonus!  A great toy, a huge chocolate coin and best of all a return ticket to the park for next year!  After leaving Father Christmas you enter the Castle of Dreams – a great interactive toy workshop – we spent some time in here just in time for…

The Firework Extravaganza! This too was brilliant (as the theme park owner in Jurassic Park says ‘no expense spared!) - it rounded off the perfect festive day. We would thoroughly recommend Drayton Manor’s Magical Christmas experience; I must say I haven’t felt as festive since and we’ll definitely be back in the New Year courtesy of Father Christmas.

Make sure where you remember which ice-cream bay you park your car in though – in the excitement of it all we didn’t!



Drayton's Magical Christmas runs until 31 December - Find out more and book your tickets here






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