Is Drayton Manor Park The Best UK Family Theme Park? (REVIEW)

Drayton Manor Park is our favourite local family days out by far. There is no doubt in my mind that it is the best family theme park in the UK but I’m sure you’d like to know why wouldn’t you?  Read on and we will tell all about this popular visitor’s attraction in the Midlands.

If I get talking to someone who is looking for a family day out, I am the first to recommend Drayton Manor Park and Thomas Land above all the places we have visited over the years.  So I hope you are listening, as I’m going to share with you why we think it is an amazing place to take children and why it scooped the UK’s Best Attraction For Children Award for the 8th time!  That’s pretty good going isn’t it?

Why Is Drayton Manor The Best Family Theme Park

We were lucky enough to be invited back to Drayton Manor Theme Park and Thomas Land  this month, and of course we accepted because we knew we were in for a great time.  We never get bored of the place.  As you will know if you follow my blog regularly we were lucky enough to be chosen as blog ambassadors for Drayton Manor’s 65th Anniversary Year.  It was a huge honour to take on this role, and gave our children an immense amount of pleasure as we were the lucky holders of one of the 10 coveted season passes for 2015 with unlimited access to the park.

Thomas Land Drayton Manor

When we visited the Thomas Land on a beautiful spring day in February I was very mindful of the things that make Drayton Manor and Thomas Land a great place for families as our year as brand ambassadors was coming to an end. I’m going to try and sum up my thoughts for you, but please forgive me if I get a bit carried away!

Drayton Manor Is The Home To Europe’s Only Thomas Land 

The main reason we visit Drayton Manor Theme Park is to visit Thomas Land and more specifically the Thomas Land rides.  It is one of the most magical places for a small child to visit.  It really is as if you stepped onto the island of Sodor and joined Thomas The Tank Engine and all his Friends which has got to be the stuff little people’s dreams are made of.

Jeremy's Jets Ride

Thomas Land under went a £2.5 million expansion a few years ago, which means more rides and lots of happy children.  There is literally so much imagination in Thomas Land which is why we think it scoops so many awards.  The rides are all very different and help fuel a child’s active imagination and his or her love of Thomas The Tank Engine and Friends. Whether they love Cranky the Crane, Harold the Helicopter or our personal favourite, Jeremy The Jet I don’t think any of the Thomas Land rides disappoint.

Thomas Land Isn’t Just For Boys

Thomas The Tank Engine

My daughters can totally confirm that Drayton Manor & Thomas Land isn’t just for boys. It really is a family orientated theme park with something for everyone. The Thomas The Tank Engine ride is a huge favourite with all children but don’t forget Rosie, who you’ll also see carrying passengers at Knappford station.

Rosie Train

There’s Also Drayton Manor Zoo!

Yes, Drayton Manor Theme Park has a zoo too! They have over 100 species of animals including meerkats and tigers living at Drayton Manor Zoo for visitors to see.  Unfortunately the tigers were taking a nap when we visited, but we still got to see a lot of the other residents.

Our favourite are the Tamarin monkey’s and we have just found out they are getting a new home this year.  Drayton Manor Zoo will be opening the Tamarin Trail at Easter so do pop down if you want to get up close and personal with these adorable little creatures.

Cotton Top Tamarins, courtesy of Rob Price Photography

Drayton Manor Hotel Is Really Cool! 

Drayton Manor Hotel is right next to the entrance at Drayton Manor Theme Park and Thomas Land and one day we hope to be lucky enough to stay in it.  I know my daughters would love the Drayton Manor Thomas room.  The hotel has 15 Thomas the Tank Engine and Friend’s themed rooms that look equally as magical as the park itself.  I think I would be a little bit excited too if we got the chance to stay here.  Take a look, do you think your Thomas fan would love this Thomas the Tank Engine bed?  If you would like to know more about staying at the Drayton Manor Hotel, read this review from Travelling With Our Kids blog.

Thomas & Friends Hotel room 1

Drayton Manor Has The Best Fireworks Displays Ever!

We were lucky enough to be invited to the War Of The Worlds Fireworks Spectacular last year and it was amazing.  If you want to catch up with my review, you can read it here.  This event has also scooped the park another prize.  It was selected as the Best Event Of The Year by Access All Areas, which we think is very well deserved.  It was an awe inspiring evening and we would definitely go again.

Fireworks at Drayton Manor

Even Dad’s Love The Thomas Land Rides!

When we were invited to Drayton Manor, we were lucky enough to enjoy the park before it opened to the public.  The only ride my 4 year old daughter doesn’t enjoy is the rollercoaster, Troublesome Trucks, as it’s just a bit to fast for her at the moment.

Daddy actually loves this ride, and decided he needed to go on it while we had the park pretty much to ourselves.  The girls and I watched from the fence as Daddy rocketed along the rails with his hands in the air.  He got a little carried away to say the least!

Troublesome Trucks

Princess Was Big Enough To Ride On Toby! 

When we first visited the new Thomas Land expansion Princess was too small to go on the new Toby The Tram ride.  She was so disappointed and we had to drag her away with tears in her eyes as she fell just short of the measuring stick.

On this visit she was delighted when she realised she was tall enough and couldn’t wait to get on with Mummy.  I can see this being one of her favourite rides from now on.

Toby Ride Thomas Land

Drayton Manor Makes Families Happy

My daughters enjoy every visit to Drayton Manor and Thomas Land.  As you might know if you have been keeping up with Zena’s Suitcase, they also have an older brother.  Teen has been with us to Drayton Manor and Thomas Land too as there really is something for all the family here.

When the main season starts and the full park is open, we hope he will join us again.  The full park may not be open this time of year, but families with small children can still have a great day out.

Kid on carosuel

We were invited to Drayon Manor Theme Park as guests in exchange for this review.  This is our entry for the brand ambassador role for 2016.  

If you have been to Drayon Manor Theme Park and Thomas Land we would love to hear what makes it a great day out for you or why you would love to go to the best family theme park?

Zena's Suitcase

Zena Goldman is a UK based travel, family & lifestyle blogger who left her 9-5 job behind in the not-for-profit sector to follow her creative dreams and enjoy a more flexible family life. She began writing Zena’s Suitcase in 2011 and shares the holidays and adventures she goes on with (and without) her 2 young daughters. She wishes her son would join them more often but he’s carving out his own dreams now and enjoying university life.

Since beginning Zena’s Suitcase she has worked with a number of brands and also has a regular monthly feature in the ASDA Good Living Magazine feature, ‘Ask The Expert’ where she shares helpful parenting tips. In 2018 she was also a finalist in the prestigious BIBs Awards for Social Media.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

44 Comments

  1. Stacey Spruels
    February 27, 2016 / 10:10 pm

    We went a couple of years ago and loved it, was brilliant all close together and no walking for miles. Must go again soon. Great post

    Stacey xxx UnicornFairy.net

  2. February 27, 2016 / 10:54 pm

    Great post Zena! My family and I are also massive fans of Drayton Manor, it truly has something to offer for all ages and interests. Good luck with your quest to be brand ambassadors again. You deserve it, you are all very clearly passionate about the theme park.

  3. February 28, 2016 / 11:47 am

    We’ve not taken Toby there yet but would love to, although we’ll possibly wait until next year when baby girl is old enough to enjoy some parts too. It looks like you had a great time!xx

  4. February 28, 2016 / 2:40 pm

    It was so lovely to see you all yesterday. We love Drayton Manor too as it has the Zoo and the bigger roller coasters for the teens. I would love to treat Sebby to a stay in the hotel!!
    Kara recently posted…Project 366 2016 – Week EightMy Profile

  5. Leah Miller
    February 28, 2016 / 6:19 pm

    What a wonderfully smiley photo at the end! We have never been lucky enough to visit Drayton Manor, it is quite a distance from us and we have Paultons right next door so that seems to be our go to. However Drayton Manor does seem to have a lot more for the little ones to do. I think we may need to make a trip of it this year! x

  6. February 28, 2016 / 7:19 pm

    We’ve never been to drayton manor but it definitely looks like a decent place to visit and Thomas is one of the favourites of the little monster!

  7. February 28, 2016 / 8:04 pm

    We have never been although its on our list as something we would love to do, but I am waiting until I can go on the rides too once baby 2 has made an appearance. Those rooms look spectacular Monkey would love to stay in one! Good luck x
    Mudpie Fridays recently posted…Project 52 – Week 8My Profile

  8. February 28, 2016 / 9:11 pm

    I have never been but I love theme parks so I would be up for going. Where exactly is Drayton?

  9. Kizzy
    February 29, 2016 / 5:41 am

    It is so close to us but we haven’t been for quite a while. May have to visit again this year as the children are now a bit older and like the rides outside Thomas land

  10. February 29, 2016 / 6:57 am

    I’ve never been to a theme park before, but I think this is something my kids would absolutely love. We should visit some day!
    Elizabeth recently posted…Cadbury Creme Egg Ice Cream CakeMy Profile

  11. February 29, 2016 / 7:48 am

    I have never been to Drayton manor before but it looks amazing ! That hotel looks so much fun for little ones and I know my little two would adore Thomas land. I am going to have to take my children this year or next as I know all three would have the best time xx
    Lindsay At Newcastle Family Life recently posted…Things I Loved In FebruaryMy Profile

  12. February 29, 2016 / 3:15 pm

    We went on the weekend for the first time too and it was an amazing day, we really enjoyed it. Love your final photo, such a happy smiley photo!

  13. February 29, 2016 / 7:45 pm

    This looks like a great day out for pre schoolsers and little people, I would have loved to bring mine for the day but they are a little big for those rides being 16 12 and 6!
    Emma recently posted…ForgivenessMy Profile

  14. February 29, 2016 / 8:07 pm

    We visited for the first time last summer – as you know, because we met up with you! We had the best day there – it is awesome! We hope to visit again soon. Great post – good luck. Kaz x
    Ickle Pickle recently posted…A Special FREE Mother’s Day GiftMy Profile

  15. Yvonne
    February 29, 2016 / 9:11 pm

    My boys love Thomas and we have been thinking about going for ages. Thanks for the informative post. I didn’t know it had a zoo and those bedrooms look fab! Thanks x

  16. February 29, 2016 / 9:12 pm

    I’ve never been to Drayton Manor, but it looks amazing for kids. It’s great that there is a zoo there! x

  17. February 29, 2016 / 9:26 pm

    Looks like you all had a great time, I have never been to Drayton Manor x

  18. Renna
    February 29, 2016 / 9:26 pm

    Looks fab. I always wanted to go, but it’s a long drive for us. I wish I went when the kids were younger.

  19. The Aspiring Yummy Mummy
    February 29, 2016 / 9:39 pm

    I love Drayton Manor and spent lots of my summer holidays there as it’s close to me. Haven’t taken my little boy yet (he’s one in a few days) but I can’t wait to take him to Thomas Land!

  20. Tori Gabriel
    February 29, 2016 / 10:04 pm

    I will hopefully be driving soon and Thomas Land is very high on my list of places to visit. My two year old daughter loves Thomas.

  21. March 1, 2016 / 12:25 am

    I live just up the road from Drayton Manor and I have to admit I loved going in my mobile days. I do miss being able to go and enjoy all the rides. Though they seem to perhaps focus more on younger children now. Than the thrill seeker who loved Apocalypse.
    Sarah Bailey recently posted…Blossoming Gifts for Mother’s Day: ReviewMy Profile

  22. Liz Mays
    March 1, 2016 / 12:47 am

    How fun! I love that the whole family can enjoy a trip to Drayton Manor.

  23. March 1, 2016 / 2:05 am

    I haven’t been here before so it was lovely to get an insight into what its like from your blog. That hotel room looks amazing for kids! xxx

  24. March 1, 2016 / 9:49 am

    Aaah I can’t WAIT to take the twins again!! They first went when they were babes in arms (!) as we took our American friends and their little boy. Our boys are OBSESSED with Thomas now, so this is the perfect place for them!!! Can’t wait to go 🙂

  25. March 1, 2016 / 10:17 am

    One of our friends has taken their son to Drayton Manor a few months ago – but I didn’t get to see any pictures. The hotel looks amazing! I’d love to visit with our 4 year old – I bet he’d love it. He loves it when the fair comes to our local town and that has only a few rides with it! x
    Steph recently posted…Pregnancy Update – 38 WeeksMy Profile

  26. March 1, 2016 / 11:01 am

    We like the range of rides at Drayton Manor – something for everyone – and the zoo is a firm favourite.

  27. March 1, 2016 / 11:49 am

    Looks like a great day out. Really changed as a venue over the years. I remember when it was just the zoo

  28. Harriet
    March 1, 2016 / 12:10 pm

    My little one is really into trains right now so he would love this by the looks of things!

  29. March 2, 2016 / 11:16 am

    This looks absolutely amazing! I haven’t been here for quite awhile, since my children were small, but remember it very fondly!

  30. March 2, 2016 / 11:50 am

    Gosh they have a lot of attractions there. I’ve been looking for somewhere different to take my daughter Darcy. Looks like Drayton Manor may be the place.

  31. Idaintyit
    March 2, 2016 / 1:22 pm

    I get the feeling you like Drayton manor lol It does look like a really great place, |I need to take my son

  32. Leanne
    March 2, 2016 / 1:41 pm

    I would have loved Thomas land when I was younger. I was obsessed!

  33. March 2, 2016 / 11:38 pm

    Looks like I missed out on a lot of fun when I was a child!! I always wanted to go here but never got the opportunity to 🙁 Maybe when I have kids of my own…

  34. Cassandra
    March 7, 2016 / 12:23 pm

    My little cousins would love to visit a place like this!

  35. Agata
    March 10, 2016 / 3:53 pm

    I like the fact that it has a zoo too.. so much things to do and everyone will find something they love and enjoy.

  36. March 29, 2016 / 3:11 pm

    We’ve not been here yet! Really want to give it a try looks great, some fantastic pictures 🙂

More About This UK Travel Blog

Whether you are looking for travel tips to make the most of your next cruise holiday or you need UK travel ideas we’ve got you covered on Zena’s Suitcase UK travel blog.  We started sharing our holiday and travel reviews in 2013, so if you can’t find the travel, family or lifestyle blog above you are after make sure you head over to the search bar to find what you need.  Think of us as one of the best travel blogs brimming with ideas to get you out and about with and without the kids.