Welcome to our Drayton Manor Review. We previously visited Christmas at Drayton Manor, at the end of last year. One of the gifts our boys received from Santa was a Golden Drayton Manor Ticket each. This ticket was for a free visit anytime during the 2017 season. We were notified that there was to be a school PD day on Friday 30th June and we decided that this would be a perfect opportunity to use the golden tickets. We also required two adult tickets which I purchased using Tesco Clubcard points.
Having enjoyed our stay at Christmas at the very reasonably priced Travelodge hotel in Tamworth, I booked a room for the Thursday and Friday night. This hotel is only a short walk from Tamworth town centre where there are numerous bars and restaurants. The hotel is also only two miles from Drayton Manor Theme Park, home of Europe’s only Thomas Land.
Shortly after the boys finished school on Thursday evening we travelled down to the hotel in Tamworth. On arrival, we checked into the hotel and walked into Tamworth town centre where we enjoyed an evening meal.
Drayton Manor Theme Park
On Friday morning, we had breakfast at Frankie and Benny’s across the road from the hotel before driving over to Drayton Manor. We entered the park shortly after it opened and the crowds were relatively light, apart from quite a lot of school trips. When we visited the theme park at Christmas the bigger rides were closed so on this visit we headed straight for Shockwave. This ride is only one of two stand-up roller coasters in Europe. Shockwave has been voted ‘Best stand-up roller coaster in the world’. With all of the school children in the park, it took around 20 minutes to get on the ride. This wasn’t too long to wait for one of the signature rides, but we felt it wouldn’t be fair on our children to wait in all of the queues whilst we did the bigger rides. Following Shockwave we decided to spend some time in Thomas Land. We could then go back and do some bigger rides later in the day when the schoolchildren left the park.
Drayton Manor is home to Europe’s only Thomas Land based on the books and tv series. Thomas Land is a multi-million-pound attraction set in 6,000 square metres of beautiful parkland. With very few younger children in the Park, Thomas Land was really quiet with hardly any queues. This allowed our children to ride all of the rides in Thomas Land at least once and on occasion they even got to stay on the ride for a second go. The theming in Thomas Land is fantastic, Drayton Manor has really done a good job of replicating the world of Thomas the Tank Engine. After spending quite a few enjoyable hours in Thomas Land it was time for lunch. We went to the Lakeside Teashop for lunch, where we ate jacket potatoes and the children had kids boxes.
Following lunch, we had a wander into the zoo to look at the tigers and the monkeys. Once our lunch had settled all four of us rode Accelerator (previously known as Ben 10 Ultimate Mission). The roller coaster itself is unchanged, but the queueing area has been completely rethemed in line with the renaming of the ride and the new theming was very good.
As we were now only a short walk from Apocalypse we decided it was a good time to ride it. Apocalypse was the first stand up drop tower ride in the world when it opened in the year 2000. At 54 metres tall, Apocalypse is still a firm favourite for all thrill seekers who visit Drayton Manor Park. On the day we visited we had the option of sitting down or standing up. A third option to stand with no floor beneath your feet was closed. As it was a rare opportunity, we choose to stand up and we didn’t have to wait long for our turn. In order to add to the excitement as the ride rises up the tower riders are tilted forward. It is a really good ride and quite a unique experience to be able to stand up.
Following Apocalypse, we rode the Big Wheel. The children found the Big Wheel a little scary because the car rocked quite a lot at the top in the wind whilst we waited for other riders to get on at the bottom. We all enjoyed The Wild West Shootout which has a number of interactive elements whenever you hit a target. The Drunken Barrels were also great fun, it is a cup and saucer style ride but the floor tilts which really adds to the excitement.
The time was now approaching 4.00pm and the park was scheduled to close at 5.00pm. We decided that we would watch the Yogi Bear 4-D movie and then ride G-Force, Maelstrom and the Pirate Ship. We were enjoying Yogi Bears 4-D Adventure when suddenly the movie stopped and the emergency lighting came on. The ride operator evacuated the ride and explained that unfortunately, the park was experiencing a power cut. With all the rides closed, like lots of other guests, we considered going back to our hotel.
Drayton Manor Zoo
Rather than leave the park we had a walk through the zoo which was unaffected by the Power Cut. At the far end of the zoo is Spencer’s Activity Park which is a large playground, where the boys had a good run around. Also located in this section of Drayton Manor Park is Farmer McColls Farm and a large indoor Thomas exhibition.
Farmer McColls Farm
There was no one apart from us at Farmer McColls Farm and the boys had an extended drive on the tractors at Terence’s Driving School. Following this, we visited the Discover Thomas and Friends Exhibition. The exhibition consists of the original model railway set from the TV series. Rather than walking back to the main section of the theme park, guests can take a ride on Thomas or Percy back to Knapford Station.
Extended Opening Hours
Once back in the main section of the park, the power was back on and there were very few people left in the park. Unfortunately, G-Force and Shockwave never reopened following the power cut earlier in the day but they did extend the park opening hours from 5.00pm to 5.30pm. My wife and I took turns to ride Maelstrom whilst the children enjoyed more time in Thomas Land. We also took a ride on the Polperro Express Train. Before leaving the park we all rode The Bounty Viking Ship and the Jolly Buccaneer.
Drayton Manor – Attraction Maintenance
Drayton Manor is currently refurbishing a number of attractions to help enhance the guest experience and enjoyment of the theme park. We found this a little disappointing, but in fairness to Drayton Manor, they do clearly advise of this on their website so we knew this prior to our trip. Unfortunately, we didn’t know this when we booked our trip earlier in the year. Stormforce 10 and the Buffalo Coaster were two rides that we were looking forward to going on. Here is a list of the rides that were not in operation when we visited:
* Buffalo Coaster
* Splash Canyon
* Stormforce 10
We could see that Pandemonium looked like it was ready to be reopened shortly. The Buffalo Coaster was being repainted and should also be reopened again soon. Hopefully, the maintenance will be completed soon and all the attractions opened ready for the main summer season.
Drayton Manor Review Summary
Apart from our hotel accommodation in Tamworth and the meals we ate whilst we were away, our trip to Drayton Manor was great value for money. The Travelodge in Tamworth was only £35 a night, the children had free entry tickets to Drayton Manor and we used Tesco vouchers to purchase our admission tickets. Despite a few of the rides being closed we really could have no complaints, the park was clean and tidy and the staff very friendly. Lunch was reasonably priced and relatively healthy too (jacket potatoes). Crowds were low and the queue times short (particularly for the children’s rides in Thomas Land). Drayton Manor has some excellent unique attractions like Apocalypse drop tower where you can stand-up. You also stand up on the Shockwave roller coaster. G-Force rollercoaster starts by slowly pulling you up the first loop until you are suspended upside down. Gravity then takes over and you roll down the other side of the loop and travel the course of the ride. We had a brilliant family day out and will definitely be returning to Drayton Manor.
We visited Drayton Manor on Friday 30th June 2017
Travelling to Drayton Manor
Drayton Manor is located in Drayton Bassett, a 10-minute drive from the town of Tamworth. There are a number of ways you can get to the attraction and there is also lots of accommodation available in the nearby town of Tamworth. If you want to do other activities in the area then the city of Birmingham is only 30 minutes away.
Travelling by Train
The nearest train station is Tamworth (approximately 3 miles away). Visit Train Genius website for details.
Travelling by Coach
If you would like to travel by coach we recommend that you try National Holidays website, who offer some great package deals to Drayton Manor.
Staying at Drayton Manor
Drayton Manor has an on-site hotel, which offers stay and play packages. They also have their own Camping and Caravan site which is operated by the Camping and Caravanning Club. The Travelodge in Tamworth is only a 10 minute drive away. The