Thomas Land in Drayton Manor Park is an ideal family day out in the UK. Thomas Land is geared up for toddlers and pre-schoolers, dedicating a whole area of a theme park, to little ones. We recently took our 1 year old and 3 year old, and they both had the best day. We were there from when the gates opened to when they closed so I think that says it all!
We met Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends, and went on nearly all of the rides in Thomas Land (we even went on some of them twice!).
We combined our visit with a stay in a Thomas themed family suite in the onsite hotel, so I’ve split my review into the stay and the park, so hopefully this post will help you out.
In an effort to answer your questions, here’s everything you need to know…
Thomas Land, Drayton Manor
What is Thomas Land?
It’s a child-friendly area of a larger theme park. In Thomas Land you’ll find Thomas themed fairground rides, games (for an extra cost) and regular performances by Thomas’ friends, such as the Conductor.
Is Thomas Land in Drayton Manor Park?
Yes. It’s a dedicated, Thomas The Tank Engine themed area of the theme park.
What Age is Thomas Land for?
I think it’s best suited for 1.5 year olds to 6 year olds. The rides are pretty mellow and are over quite quickly so it’s ideal for little ones who are getting used to fairground rides.
There are a couple of more daring ones, such as the runaway train (aka Troublesome Trucks Runaway Coaster) or wobbly tram (aka Toby’s Tram Express), which are perhaps more suited to older ones. Nova tried the runaway train – his first sort of rollercoaster – and thankfully he loved it! He was definitely one of the younger ones. There were a couple of 7-8 year olds each time (we went on twice!) who were giggling with each other about how good it was.
Kit, our 1 year old, was able to go on quite a lot of the rides, provided she was accompanied by an adult. A few stipulated a minimum height of 90cm, which is where she missed out.
What Rides Are There?
All of the rides in Thomas Land have Thomas inspired names, so it’s hard to know what they are – the list below should help. There are about 20 rides, including a runaway train, spinning cars, various variations of a carousel, flying planes, monorail and more.
This is the full list of rides and a brief explanation:
Bertie Bus – a row of seats that goes up and down in a circular motion
Blue Mountain Engines – small carousel
Captain’s Sea Adventures – small carousel on water where you can shoot water guns
Cranky’s Drop Tower – row of seats that drops down (like those elevator style rides)
Diesels’ Locomotive Mayhem – like the teacups
Discover Thomas Exhibition – models of trains
Emily’s Adventure Play – soft play
Engine Tours – a ride on a Thomas & Friends train from one part of the park to another (often big queues)
Flynn’s Fire Rescue – small carousel where you shoot water guns
Harold’s Helicopter Tours – small carousel where the helicopters go up and down
James and the Red Balloon – small carousel where the balloons ‘fly’
Jeremy’s Jet Flying Academy – flying planes that go up and down and round
Lady’s Carousel – small carousel
Rocking Bulstrode – a small version of the classic pirate ship ride
Sodor Classic Cars – ‘drive’ a car on a fixed loop track
Spencer’s Outdoor Adventure Play – really good, themed playground
Terence’s Driving School – drove a digger
Toby’s Tram Express – for the more adventurous – rocking ride
Troublesome Trucks Runaway Coaster – runaway train
Winston’s Whistle-Stop Tours – like a monorail – good chance to see what the park offers (again, often big queues)
What Are the Queues Like?
The most we queued was about 10-15 minutes and that was for the runaway train and the flying planes in the morning. In the afternoon we only had to wait 5 minutes for those two rides.
Overall, I’d say 0-10 minutes was the average. We visited on a Monday, outside of the school holidays.
Is There Anything Else to Do?
There is 15 acres of open plan zoo, including over 100 animals, such as flamingos, tigers, lynx, kangaroo and more.
There is also a dinosaur trail that’s pretty good. It’s pushchair-friendly and forms a loop track past various dinosaurs.
Nova loved the 4D Ice Age screening. It’s one of those interactive cinema screenings where you wear special glasses and get sprayed with water or blasted with air to make you feel like you’re part of it.
Of course, there’s also the other rides in the theme park outside of Thomas Land. Apart from the traditional carousel and train ride, all of the others were too big/exciting for our little ones.
All of the above are inside Drayton Manor Park and included in your ticket. They’re walkable from Thomas Land – around a five minute walk.
You’ll also find a collection of penny slot machines to play on at Bryan’s Work Museum, crazy golf at the onsite hotel, and high ropes adventures.
What if it’s Raining?
You can hide out in the soft play. The 4D Ice Age screening is also inside, but only lasts 15 minutes or so. Other than that you’re going to have to don a rain jacket and embrace the English weather!
Is it Just for Thomas the Tank Engine Fans?
My two don’t watch the programme and aren’t mega fans, yet they loved Thomas Land. The novelty of rides and characters was more than enough for them. I imagine if you’re child is into Thomas they are going to be over the moon with a visit! Thomas’ face is plastered everywhere, so they’ll definitely get their Thomas fix!
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How Much Are Thomas Land Tickets?
Child aged 4-11: £24
Child aged 2-3: £8
Under 2: Free
The above is based on buying the tickets in advance either online or over the phone. If you buy them on the day they’re more expensive.
As Thomas Land is one part of a wider theme park you need to buy a ticket for Drayton Manor Park. This then gives you access to everything; Thomas Land, the zoo, the dinosaur trail, 4D Ice Age screening, the rides for older kids – basically everything inside Drayton Manor Park.
Is it Worth the Price Tag?
Yes and no. We didn’t pay for our tickets – Jay won them at work as a prize for exceeding his sales target. We were shocked when we saw the price list at the entry gate. If we had paid it would have cost us over £80, which just seems so steep. That said, we were there all day, both of our little ones had the time of their lives, and thanks to the great playground, dinosaur trail and animals it was much more than just a theme park.
I guess the adult ticket is the stinger, especially considering we didn’t go on any of the big ‘adult’ rides!
Thankfully there are often 241 deals about (see below) or chances to exchange Clubcard vouchers so I think provided you utilise those, or at the very least buy your tickets in advance, it’s a fun, full family day out and worth the price tag.
Thomas Land and Drayton Manor Discounts
Drayton Manor Park offer discounted tickets for expectant mothers, carers, disabled people and seniors. It also offers bundle tickets. All the details can be found here.
It also offers discounts to employees of certain health care sectors and trusts, as well as police and fire forces across the UK.
You can save up to 28% by buying your tickets in advance here here.
It’s worth checking here too to see if there are any voucher deals, like 241s, running.
Extra Costs to Think About
Food and Drink
If you don’t bring your own, you’ll need to buy food and drink. There are loads of options on offer from the typical burgers and chips, to pies and mash. We went for the latter and it was nicer than I expected. You can find gluten free and dairy free items listed on their website.
Kids packs start from £4.45 and there are family meal deals from £22. There are lots of outdoor seating areas and you can sit inside at places like Sodor Coffee Shop.
If you’re not staying in the hotel, you’ll need to pay for parking, which is £5.
A few of the rides take your photo and you can then pay to buy it on a keyring, frame etc.
You can hire a buggy for £10 for the day. You’ll need to also put a deposit down.
You can stow your things away in a locker. Prices start from £2.
Zoo Keeper for the Day
You can pay £120 to join in with the zoo keeping activities. However, this isn’t suitable for kids and is limited to over 18s.
When does Thomas Land open?
Gates usually open from 10am. Rides and attractions open from 10.30am and close at 5pm. Timings can vary though so check this page for up to date timings.
The main season is between March and October.
During our visit people were queuing at the gates from 9am and then went straight to the rides to queue.
Do you Need a Buggy?
Our 3 year old was fine walking about. Our 1 year old naps in the afternoon, so the buggy was useful for that. We left our buggy by the rides as and when we went on and never had any issues. All of the park (not just Thomas Land) was buggy-friendly.
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Tips for Thomas Land
- If you’re arriving for when the gates open I’d recommend heading straight to Troublesome Trucks Runaway Coaster, Winston’s Whistle-Stop Tours or Engine Tours first as they seem to attract the bigger queues. I know a few people recommend doing the Dino trail or zoo first as the rides are quieter in the afternoon, but it’s pretty hard to tear excited little ones away from the rides!
- And on that note, make sure you visit Thomas Land in the afternoon. Like Kit, many seem to nap around this time, so you’ll find less queues. On some rides we were allowed to stay on and ride again because there was no one waiting.
- Travel light. Unless you’re going to utilise the lockers it’s a tight squeeze to get on some of the rides – they are geared up for kid’s after all!
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Staying at Thomas Land Hotel
There’s an onsite hotel – just a few minutes walk from the gate – and there is also a campsite. We stayed in the hotel in one of the Thomas & Friends themed family rooms.
What’s the Thomas Hotel Like?
The hotel lobby is filled with nods to Thomas and there are a selection of Thomas themed bedrooms. We stayed up on the third or fourth floor (can’t remember which) in a Thomas themed family suite. The room had a double bed and a Thomas themed bunkbed complete with built-in TVs (you can borrow DVDs from reception). The carpet was covered in a train track and the wall near the bunkbed was covered in a Thomas scene. Our two LOVED it!
There’s an onsite restaurant offering a buffet breakfast (included in your stay) and dinner (at an additional cost).
We saw a few business people, but the majority of guests were families with young children. There’s a nice playground at the rear of the hotel that gets well used.
What’s the Food Like?
Average. The dinner was pricey, but nothing special. It also took an absolute age to get our main meals, despite being the second family to be seated and ordered. We must have waited an hour and when it did arrive Jay had to send his steak back because it was so poor.
Breakfast is served via a buffet and again was average in my opinion.
What Are the Benefits of Staying?
- It’s an extra experience. My two were so excited to have a sleepover in Thomas Land.
- It breaks the journey up. It’s a long day to travel there, spend a full day in the park and then drive home.
- All children receive goody bag on arrival. My two received a Thomas cap, colours, games, a Thomas toothbrush and toothpaste and a few other bits. It was much better than I was expecting and Nova and Kit insisted on brushing their teeth three times in one hour, so bonus!
How Much Does it Cost?
A one-night stay for a family of four (two adults, two children) costs from £280. This price includes accommodation, the theme park tickets, parking and breakfast.
You can choose to pay a £1 deposit to secure your booking and pay the rest 14 days before arrival.
Is It Worth It?
Yes, absolutely. Our two loved the stay and were so excited. They loved the day, but the stay made it extra special.
Tips for Staying
I suppose it depends on where you’re travelling from, but I would recommend staying over the night of your visit to the park. That way you don’t have to travel home in rush hour (the gates shut at 5pm) and it’s a nice little finale to your visit. Plus, you know the little ones should sleep well as they’ll be worn out from the fun of the day! It also means that you’ve got a nearby base should you need a change of clothes or a little rest.
We did it the other way round, staying the night before. You can’t check in until 4pm and as our two are so young they didn’t fully understand why we couldn’t just go straight on the rides. We also got stuck in the commuter traffic on the way home.
Request a room away from the lift. When you exit the lift there are one or two rooms in this small area. There’s also a bit of a lobby with a Thomas wall, so there are often kids running about. Luckily ours slept through the noise, but if you have sensitive sleepers make sure you get a room that’s in one of the corridors.
Dine early. Perhaps we had a bad day, but our main meal took over an hour to arrive. There are TVs in the restaurant showing kid’s channels, but it’s still a long wait. Don’t risk it.
Thomas Land, Drayton Manor Address
Drayton Manor Dr, Mile Oak, Tamworth B78 3TW
I think that’s everything, but if you have a question or a tip please get in touch!