Saturday, 6 September 2014

Our trip to Drayton Manor Park & Thomas Land

A few weeks ago an exciting invitation popped into my inbox. We were asked if we would like to go to a blogger event at Drayton Manor park, have a VIP screening of the new Thomas the Tank Engine film, "Tale of the Brave" and spend the rest of the day exploring the park.

I've had to sadly decline invitations that I've had in the past as they've all been in London but with this event being just over an hour from our hometown, I jumped at the chance. Unfortunately Nath couldn't come so my excitement was also tinged with a little apprehension as I'd never had a big day out with Ava by myself.

We were asked to arrive at the park for 10.00am although we arrived slightly earlier. The park was open but none of the rides opened until 10.30am which I have to admit was pretty frustrating, especially with an excited toddler in tow who was desperate to get onto the rides. Luckily I managed to distract her until it was time to head over to the 4d cinema for the VIP screening. I was impressed with what they'd put together, a little waiting room for the bloggers complete with popcorn and Thomas the Tank juice cartons for the little ones which I thought was a lovely touch. I also loved the fact that the room had been filled with Thomas the Tank toys to entertain the children while us mummies chatted away. Before the start of the film we had a special visit from the Fat Controller who then led us into the cinema.

The cinema was big and spacious but not ideal for a small wriggly toddler who did wriggle out of the big chairs a couple of times. Much to my embarrassment Ava lasted a whole 5 minutes into the film before she started shouting the place down (sorry to any fellow mummies!) I think a combination of no nap and having seen the rest of the park meant that there was no way she was going to sit still! However we were kindly given a very generous goody bag which contained a DVD copy of the film so a full review of that shall be coming soon.

We headed to the nearby zoo which Ava really enjoyed. She loved spotting the monkeys and the meerkats (however wasn't so keen on the reptile house). She loved that we sat opposite the monkey enclosure to eat our picnic. From there we walked to part of Thomas Land, it's split into two parts, the main park which is situated near the main entrance and contains all of the rides or the dino trail and large outdoor play area that's accessible via a short train ride from the main park or on foot.

The outdoor play area was huge and I'm pretty sure Ava would have stayed there all day if i'd have let her. I had to drag her away with the promise of returning later on. Much to Ava's excitment the little train that picked us up from the station was Thomas. It's such a great idea and leads you right into the heart of the park. Ava was able to go on practically all of the rides with me and I felt comfortable leaving my buggy in the buggy park. I thought it would be difficult managing Ava, the buggy and our bags by myself but it was surprisingly not stressful at all. There were plenty of places to park the buggy. They also have a café, sweet shop and the biggest Thomas the Tank Engine shop in the world in the little park.

We only ventured out of Thomas Land to go to the Zoo and onto the carousel (Ava loves them), I thought that we'd run out of things to do but we were at Drayton Manor for a total of 6 hours! Impressive. Once Ava had been on all of the rides she could go on we hopped back onto the little train and spent the last hour in the outdoor play area.

For me the day couldn't have gone any better, with most children being back in school and it being a a weekday there were minimal queues. Also with us being in the middle of potty training there were plenty of facilities around the park. We did use our Dry Like Me pads but I'm happy to report that apart from one little leak Ava stayed dry throughout the day!

I was thrilled with how well the day went, we had an amazing time. The park exceeded my expectations and we'll definitely be returning.

I put together a little video of our day out, enjoy!

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