Thinking of going to Thomas land at Drayton Manor and want to know what the rides are like? Or what the COVID situation is? I got you!
I am an incredibly anxious person, which is totally at odds with the fact that I’m a huge adrenaline junkie who LOVES theme parks, and also someone super spontaneous. Which is how I found myself on a Friday night, when things are still a little pandemic/Covid restricted, at almost 32 weeks pregnant, apropos of nothing, booking Thomas land at Drayton Manor for the very next day. It wasn’t until my sister-in-law mentioned the weather that we even thought to check. It didn’t look good. In fact, it looked like 100% chance of rain for the whole day. Awesome.
Still, we’re never ones to let a little rain stop us and both Ruben and Steven (who is a secret train nerd) were so excited, we decided to just make the most of it and pack for torrential storms, with raincoats and smiles.
Before I go any further, I need to say, the rain was nothing like predicted. It was a light drizzle at best, and most of the time it was no more than a mist. It wasn’t at all cold, and the only thing it really affected was that there was hardly anyone in the park! We didn’t wait for a single ride the whole time, but we were not uncomfortable at all. I feel like maybe going to theme parks in light rain is the way to go!
How much does Thomas Land cost?
If you go during the week, in term time, an adult and toddler can go for just £25 which I think is a great deal! However, we needed to go on a Saturday so we paid £29.50 for Steven (a standard 12-19 years ticket), OAPS and expectant mothers can get concessions for £25.50 which I thought was good thinking as I’d never really seen many places offer a discount for preggos, and Ruben’s ticket was £9.50 for a 2-3 year old ticket, which, considering he got the most out of it, I thought was good value. So it wasn’t a cheap day, but worth it, and you can pay with Tesco vouchers AND we went through Topcashback too (aff link)
Packing for a Rainy Day at Thomas Land
My husband is the ultimate overpacked, so I left him in charge of sorting that side of things, with just some lists and light supervision from me. We had a whole cooler bag of snacks (Steven takes food very seriously) which was really great, although there are plenty of places to eat in the park. Ruben had wellies and a puddle suit, and we took the bigger, comfier pram which has a bigger under basket for storing various bits and bobs (mostly snacks tbh). We had changed of clothes too, for those usual toddler leakages, but also to get comfy if it really was too wet. We had the trusty LittleLife backpack and reigns situation (although they do sell a Thomas version in the park which is cool!), for when he wanted to stroll around but we wanted to make sure he didn’t get lost. Because it’s Steven, and he packs for every possibility, we also had Calpol, suncream, heartburn medication and an assortment of wires and chargers.
Parking at Thomas Land
Parking at Drayton Manor was easy enough. You can pay in advance, or grab a ticket on the way in.
Top tip: Don’t forget to pay for your parking. We were not the only people who went to drive out, without realising that we’d missed the pay stations and had to drive back up to the park to jump out and pay. Stress!
It was so quiet on the day we went that we rocked up at around 12 noon, and the main carpark was only on row D! So that’s an indication of how quiet it was.
What rides are in Thomas Land
As soon as you go into actual Thomas Land, it’s amazing how many characters you can see on the little rides! It took us a little while to find actual Thomas, but in the meantime there were plenty of things to go on.
One thing I really liked was that there was a little key that said whether expectant mothers were allowed on rides, or if it was ‘at your own risk’. There were a few basic driving rides that were absolutely fine, and I got to go on more than I thought I would, just being careful and watching what they did first. Steven isn’t a fan of spinning rides (my fave!) but he did them for our boy and Ruben bloody loved them!
- Jeremy Jet’s Flying Academy
This was our first ride of the day, and Steven and Ruben went on this one together. It’s a really simple ride (as they most are to be fair), where you are sat in an airplane that flies around in a circle, but each plane has a button to control the up and down motion. I liked that you could control the height – perfect if you’ve got a little adrenaline junkie!
- Flynn’s Fire Rescue
I went on this with Roo. We were the only people on it! You’re on a fire engine that raises up and down, and has actual water squirter hoses that you can use to fire at the pretend fires. Ruben wasn’t sure on this one, and it is hard to push the water button and move the hose – I imagine it would be even harder for small ones, but it’s a really unique ride and a lot of fun.
- Blue Mountain Engines
This is probably the most basic ride in Thomas land, so perfect for a first timer. It just goes round in a little circle.
- Thomas Engine Tours
Obviously, this is the big one! Getting to go on actual Thomas! Throughout the day they alternate between Thomas, Rosie and Percy and this is just a really lovely ride to the other side of the park, where there’s an outdoor play area and the little Zoo. At the moment, because of COVID, you can’t just stay on for a return journey, but we managed to get straight back on after getting off, as there was no queue. We ended up riding Thomas 3 times! The engines turn on a little turntable thing at either end and that’s worth watching with your little ones,
This is a really common style ride which goes up in the air horizontally (there has to be a better way of explaining this, I’m so tired!) but of course themed as Bertie Bus! It has the thrill of going in the air, but it isn’t particularly high or fast. Ruben loved this one, and was able to see a lot of the park from the top which was fun.
Sodor Classic Cars
I’m not sure who enjoyed this more – my husband or the toddler! Ruben loves to pretend to drive, so this super relaxed ride was perfect. I loved that they have a wheel for each passenger so if you’re taking on more than one child, they’re not fighting over who gets to drive.
I was gutted I couldn’t go on this one! It’s like an old school pirate ship but smaller and themed to Bulstrode the barge. Poor Steven hates to spin, but Ruben really enjoyed this one. It gives the impression of a real thrill ride, without being too extreme.
Winston’s Whistle-Stop Tours
We managed to go on this one all together which was lovely. It’s a high-up tram ride under the guise of checking out all the tracks, but it gives you amazing views of the area. Not the best if you don’t like heights, but otherwise I bet this is a great one to start with to get your barings and see what there is on offer.
A train-themed carousel, this is another really relaxed, gentle ride that will suit the younger riders.
Diesel’s Locomotive Mayhem
I got to go on this one with Ruben and it’s similar to the teacups in that it spins in various ways while you swap ‘tracks’ and it looks as though other engines are going to potentially bash into you at different times.
The only rides that Ruben wasn’t big enough for were: Toby’s Tram Express and Troublesome Trucks Runaway Coaster.
Emily’s Adventure Play was closed due to the coronavirus restrictions (opens 21st June), as was the Thomas Exhibition, Terence’s Driving School and the 4D cinema. Even so, we managed to fit loads in.
There was one big gift shop open which had a lovely range of things, such as the classic Thomas character toys, tableware, clothing (plenty of choice available for all genders), magnets, pens etc, but it wasn’t cheap (of course!). There were some soft cuddly Thomas’ that I contemplated grabbing but when I saw they were £40 I decided not to!
In terms of souvenirs, we got the official driving licence when we got in. It was £10 but it has your child’s name and photo on it with Thomas and I wanted to make sure we had something nice to keep. You can pay an extra £10 for another 3 photos to use on the rides, however when we asked what rides had photos, there were not really enough in Thomas land to make it worth it for us. If there’s a few of you, and you’re also doing the bigger rides at Drayton Manor, it might work out better.
Drayton Manor Zoo
The Zoo was nice enough. Not worth going only for the zoo of course, but for a bit of a relaxed break between the rides, it was nice – various primates, birds, and a tiger.
The Dino Trail
Again, for something a bit different if you’re all Thomas’d out, the dino trial is nice enough. It’s not long at all, just a short circle to walk around, but each dino has some information about it to read, which if you’ve got a budding palaeontologist, will be a nice way to spend 10 minutes.
So is Thomas land worth it?
Absolutely. If you’ve got a Thomas fan in your life, it really is a lovely day out. Ruben loves to watch the show, but isn’t one of these kids who can name all the characters – I imagine they’d love it even more. The park was immaculate and really well kept, everything looking shiny and in good condition. At Ruben’s size (he was under 0.9m) he had to have an adult with him on the rides, which was fine because he’s only 2 and we wanted to go with him. Because of the weather, and potentially people waiting another 2 weeks for restrictions to lift, we didn’t wait in a queue at all. We just walked on every ride and got to take some photos that would probably be over-crowded with people on a sunnier day. Obviously it’s a shame that some things were closed, and as it was just the 3 of us, and one of us is SUPER pregnant, it meant we didn’t get to explore Drayton Manor as much as we would have if we were in a bigger group, but we got to do everything we had gone there for, and more!
I know we will go back again in a few years when Baby 2 is older, and I’m already looking forward to it!
Such a lovely day.