I may have mentioned it before but Sebastian is Thomas the Tank Engine mad so one of his birthday presents was tickets to go to Thomas Land at Drayton Manor.
We last went to Thomas Land when Sebby was just 3 months old and really enjoyed exploring Thomas Land, the zoo and Drayton Manor Park itself but they opened the new Thomas Land expansion earlier on this year and we were keen to see what they had done.
We set off nice and early to get to the park for opening at 10.30am and arrived at 10.15. Sebastian’s face was a picture when he saw the signs and from the moment we arrived in the park until we left he was waving to the trains shouting “Choo Choo”.
The park was lovely and quiet upon our arrival so we took advantage of the short queues and did as many rides a possible before it got busy. Sebastian gravitated towards the flying rides first as it is his other obsession and him and Isaac flew Daddy around on Harold’s Helicopter Tours and Eliza flew me.
From up on high you can see the new rides and as Sebastian was in charge we headed over to the expansion to Jeremy’s Jet Flying Academy. We got distracted on the way by a musical show that was just starting which saw Sir Topham Hat and two helpers singing and dancing on the balcony above Knapford Station. My one complaint on our last visit was the state of the toilets and baby changing facilities and I am pleased to say these have been addressed with brand new toilets. There is also a family room, baby change area and four cubicles with comfy chairs where you can breastfeed in comfort.
The Thomas Land expansion area really adds to the whole Thomas experience and looks just like everything does on the TV show. There is a large Sir Topham Hat fountain to admire and the rides are nicely spaced out so it doesn’t feel too crowded. My one little moan is that the queuing system for Jeremy’s Jet Flying Academy and Flynn’s Fire and Rescue are not big enough and the queues spilled out into open space and got a little muddled up as people didn’t realise it was the queue.
I was impressed that Sebastian could go on the majority of the rides available, as being little for his age means that very often he cannot join in. The only rides he could not go on were Captain’s Sea Adventure, Cranky Crane, Toby’s Tram Express, Troublesome Trucks Coaster and Diesel’s Locomotive Mayhem but there does need to be rides there to entertain the older ones and they have a good balance.
Despite being mid July we never queued for more than 20 minutes for a ride but most were under 10 minutes and some we walked straight on to. It did get substantially quieter over the lunchtime period and we ate our picnic lunch whilst queuing.
We spent over 4 ours in Thomas Land before heading out into the main park to explore, starting with the zoo. They have hundreds of animals to see including Tigers, Black Panthers as well as apes, meerkats, owls and reptiles.
At the opposite end of the zoo are the Dinosaurs and Spencer’s Activity Park. Isaac and Eliza had fun making scared faces with the dinosaurs and all the kids adored the freedom of running around the park.
Further on are some more animals to see, a large model railway of the Island of Sodor and the chance to drive Terence The Tractor.
At this end of the park you can catch either Thomas, Percy or Rosie at Tidmouth Hault who are busily taking passengers to and fro along their branch line to the other end of Thomas Land and Knapford Station. The station interiors and platforms are decorated with props of items seen in a small countryside railway station during the age of steam and there are lots to see on your journey back including animals and models.
By the time we got back to the main part of Thomas Land I was conscious that it was 4pm and we had not done any of the bigger rides for Kian so we said our goodbyes to the trains and headed over to the rollercoasters and log flume. Whilst they got their adrenalin fix we posed for some pictures on the Air Race seat. Sebby loved watching Daddy and Kian fly around doing loop de loops, I have to admit it made me queasy watching them.
They are extending Thomas Land further with exciting new rides opening in 2016, we will definitely be back soon.