Thomas Land, Drayton Manor: Tips and Guide (2021)

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Thomas Land, part of Drayton Manor Theme Park, is a fantastic family day out and our toddlers absolutely love spending a day in the company of Thomas and Friends! After our most recent visit in June 2021 we wanted to share our guide and tips for visiting Thomas Land and Drayton Manor with toddlers so you can plan for a fun family day out!

Thomas Land Drayton Manor
Train spotting in Thomas Land!

Thomas Land Drayton Manor

Dedicated entirely to Thomas and Friends, Thomas Land is part of Drayton Manor Theme Park in Staffordshire, England. From first roller coasters to crane drops and Diesel’s to Steam Engines, Thomas Land has over 25 rides and attractions which every Thomas Fan will love.

Thomas Land: The Rides

There are over 20 rides in Thomas Land and they are all a lot of fun! To help you plan your day I asked my adrenaline, Diesels and Cranky loving toddlers for their favorites!

Our Top 10 Rides at Thomas Land

  • Cranky’s Drop Tower: riders are lifted up to the top of Cranky the Crane and then dropped back down to the ground. Cranky’s Drop Tower has the tallest height restriction in Thomas Land with riders needing to measure 1.05m.

Height Restrictions: Minimum height of 1.05m

Thomas Land Drayton Manor
Cranky’s Drop Tower
  • Troublesome Trucks Runaway Rollercoaster: a short and fun roller coaster ride, Troublesome Trucks is a fab introduction to rollercoasters with adrenaline-inducing twists and turns. This is one of my 3-year-old’s favourite rides in Thomas Land!

Height Restrictions: Minimum height of 1.0m. Children under 1.2m must be accompanied by an adult.

  • James and the Red Balloon: hop aboard a red hot air balloon and take to the skies! The balloons roate and spin and, if you can convince your kids to stop spinning for long enough, have nice views of Thomas Land! The ride is inspired by the episode ‘James and the Red Balloon’ where Sodor visitors fly over the island in hot air balloon and James wishes he could fly.

Height Restrictions: Children under 1m must be accompanied by an adult.

Thomas Land Drayton Manor
Jame’s Red Balloon
  • Jeremy Jet’s Flying Academy: Jeremy Jet’s Flying academy is a rotating plane ride in open top jets. The best bit is that kids can control the up and down movement by pressing a button in the plane!

Height Restrictions: Children under 1.2m must be accompanied by an adult

  • Captain’s Sea Adventure: prepare to get wet on this rotating and spinning boat ride. Each ship is equipped with its own water cannon and the spray reaches other boats!

Height Restrictions: Minimum height of 0.9m, children under 1.2m must be accompanied by an adult

Thomas Land Drayton Manor
Captain’s Sea Adventure
  • Harold’s Helicopter Tours: riders board their very own Harold helicopter which rises up and rotates. Make sure to check out the views of Thomas Land as you ride!

Height Restrictions: Height Restrictions: Children under 1.2m must be accompanied by an adult.

Thomas Land Drayton Manor
Flying high in Harold’s Helicopter!
  • Flynn’s Fire Rescue: riders climb into a cage and use their fireman hose to extinguish the fires as they circle the building!

Height Restrictions:  Children under 0.9m must be accompanied by an adult.

Thomas Land Drayton Manor
Flynn’s Fire Rescue
  • Bertie Bus: a replica of Bertie bus, Bertie goes round and round in circles. It’s a nice adrenaline ride for younger riders and the views are good as Bertie raises up over the park.

Height Restrictions: Children under 1.05m must be accompanied by an adult

Thomas Land Drayton Manor
Bertie Bus in action!
  • Toby’s Tram Express: Toby’s steam train rises up with the carriage tilting and spinning through the air. Another of my 3 year old’s favourites, he loves the dizzy feeling as he disembarks!

Height Restrictions: Minimum height of 0.95m. Children between 0.95m and 1.05m must be accompanied by an adult.

Thomas Land Drayton Manor
Toby’s Tram Express
  • Winston’s Whistle-Stop Tours: hop aboard Winston, the Fat Controller’s track inspection car, for a ride along an elevated monorail. Winston often attracts long queues so you might want to plan this ride for a quiet time in the park.

Height Restrictions: Children under 1.05m must be accompanied by an adult.

Thomas Land Drayton Manor

Other rides at Thomas Land

These rides are still loved by my toddlers and we ride them after our favourites!

  • Sodor Classic Cars: a lovely slow paced rice aboard a classic car which navigates through a small farm set up.

Height Restrictions: Children under 1.1m must be accompanied by an adult

Thomas Land Drayton Manor
A jaunt on a Sodor Classic Car
  • Blue Mountain Engines: a cross between a carousel and a mini roller coaster, Blue Mountain engine riders can choose between a carriage or an engine for the ride round and round the track.

Height Restrictions: Children under 0.9m must be accompanied by an adult

Thomas Land Drayton Manor
Merrick watching over proceedings at the Blue Mountain Quarry
  • Lady’s Carousel: a Thomas and Friends themed carousel which is perfect for younger Thomas fans.

Height Restrictions: Children under 0.9m must be accompanied by an adult

  • Diesel’s Locomotive Engine: all the Diesel engines get together for this swirling ride aboard Bert, Mavis, Rusty, Salty or Dennis. The engines pick up pace as the ride progresses making it a fun and sometimes dizzying experience!

Height Restrictions: Children under 1.2m must be accompanied by an adult.

Thomas Land Drayton Manor
Diesel’s Locomotive Engine
  • Rocking Bulstrode: Thomas Land’s take on the classic pirate boat ride, riders board Bulstrode the barge for lots of spinning and swaying!

Height Restrictions: Children under 1.05m must be accompanied by an adult

Thomas Land Drayton Manor
Rocking Bulstrode
  • Terence’s Driving School: riders hop aboard their very own Terence The Tractor and steer him around a circular track. My 3 year old always makes a beeline for Terence but it was closed (due to reopen June 21st 2021) on our last visit so it dropped out of his Top 10!

Height Restrictions: Minimum height 0.95m, maximum height 1.3m. You also need to be fairly confident your little one can ride/steer the tractor on their own!

Other highlights at Thomas Land

  • Ride a Thomas & Friends engine: hop aboard one of the Thomas themed engines servicing Knapford Station (Thomas, Percy or Rosie all operate on the line!) and ride to Tidmouth Hault. There you will find the Drayton Manor Zoo, a fun Dino Trail, Spencer’s Outdoor Play Area, the Discover Thomas Exhibition and Mrs Kyndley’s Tea Rooms. On the way you pass by a fun replica station with passengers waiting on the platform!

Height Restrictions: Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

Thomas Land Drayton Manor
Waiting to board Thomas back to Knapford Station
  • Spencer’s Outdoor Play Area: a fantastic Spencer themed playground with slides, tunnels, bridges and climbing frames. It’s an awesome spot for burning off some steam or for some time out if the main part of Thomas Land is busy. We have a hard time getting our toddlers to leave the playground they have so much fun!
Thomas Land Drayton Manor
Spencer’s Play Area
  • Emily’s Adventure Play: an indoor play area, Emily’s Adventure Play is the perfect distraction on a wet day. There are slides, ball pits, climbing frames and even trains in this fantastic soft play area.

Height Restrictions: Maximum height of 1.3 metre. Children under 2 can play in the toddler play area and must be accompanied by an adult while older children can play unaccompanied in the main play area.

Thomas Land Drayton Manor tip: make sure to bring socks as they are required for entry to Emily’s Adventure Play area. Emily’s Adventure Play Area is currently closed due to current restrictions but is due for reopening on June 21 2021.

  • Discover Thomas & Friends Exhibition: Another Tidmouth Hault attraction which is great for rainy days, the indoor exhibition displays original models from the Thomas the Tank Engine TV show. Due to current restrictions, the Discover Thomas exhibition is currently closed but due to reopen on June 21st 2021.
  • Dino Trail: a short trail which passes by some giant dinosaur replicas over by Tidmouth Hault. It’s perfect for some toddler downtime in the park!
Thomas Land Drayton Manor
The Dino Trail at Drayton Manor
  • Drayton Manor Zoo: located over at Tidmouth Hault, Drayton Manor Zoo is a 15 acre open air zoo with over 100 species of animals from meerkats to tigers.
Thomas Land Drayton Manor
Flamingo watching at Drayton Manor

Outside Thomas Land: Drayton Manor for Toddlers

If you have time, you can check out some of the Drayton Manor rides outside Thomas Land. Family friendly rides include Buffalo Coaster, a junior roller coaster with a 1.05m minimum height requirement, the chair swing style Flying Dutchman and a vintage carousel.

Where to stay near to Drayton Manor

We always try and stay close to Drayton Manor so our toddlers can enjoy the park without a long drive to get there. Our Drayton Manor favorites are:

  • Drayton Manor Hotel: the on site Drayton Manor hotel is as close as it gets to Thomas Land. There are plenty of family friendly options and even some Thomas themed rooms to treat your Thomas fan to something special! – check prices here!
  • Holiday Inn Express Lichfield: a fantastic budget option 15 minutes drive from Drayton Manor. We’ve stayed here previously and the hotel was clean, convenient and included breakfast – check prices here!
  • New Hall Hotel & Spa: a luxury option, the New Hall Hotel & Spa is a historic country house set in beautiful grounds and boasts a spa and swimming pool. We always opt for New Hall when we want a treat! – check prices now!

Tips for Visiting Thomas Land, Drayton Manor

These are our top tips for Thomas Land fun:

1 | Best Day to Visit Thomas Land

Weekdays in term time are typically the quietest days in the park but, with no school commitments for younger visitors, even these can be busy in Thomas Land!

Not only will you be able to benefit from the shorter queue times you can also take advantage of the Adult and Toddler tickets – available on weekdays during term time, tickets, they are priced at £25 for one adult and one toddler under 4. Compared to the regular ticket prices, the adult and toddler package is an awesome deal!

Thomas Land Drayton Manor tips: Outside of the weekday term times, advance purchase tickets are £29.50 for an adult and £9.50 for 2 and 3-year-olds so the adult and toddler tickets are a fantastic deal.

Thomas Land Drayton Manor
We enjoyed a relatively quiet Monday afternoon in Thomas Land

Wet days also tend to attract lower crowds but, having been had lots of rain during our last visit to Thomas Land, I prefer the sunshine!

Thomas Land Drayton Manor tip: we last visited on a dull and wet Monday during term time and, while the park as a whole was relatively quiet, Thomas Land was a little busier. We didn’t have to queue more than a few minutes for any ride and were able to pick and choose what we wanted to ride.

Thomas Land Drayton Manor
Exploring the Dino Trail on a rainy day!

2 | Go with the flow

Thomas Land is quite compact so you can easily hop between rides depending on what takes your little ones fancy. The only area that requires some effort to reach is over at Tidmouth Hault where the Dino Trail, Drayton Manor Zoo, Mrs Kyndley’s Tea Rooms, the Thomas Exhibiton and the Spencer Play area are located.

Thomas Land Drayton Manor
On board the Thomas train!

You can catch the train from Knapford Station in the main part of the park and ride over to Tidmouth Hault. It’s fun to ride the Thomas themed trains and there are some nice things to spot as you travel over. The trains leave quite frequently but it can require a little queuing.

Thomas Land Drayton Manor
Passing by Dryaw Station

3 | Be Aware of the height restrictions

There are a couple of rides with height restrictions which you might want to avoid/prepare your little one for not riding in advance.

Cranky’s Tower Drop, with a 1.05 metre minimum, was a heart breaker until recently for our 3 year old, so we quickly moved on to another ride and admired Cranky from across the park!

The rides with current height restrictions are:

  • Troublesome Trucks Runaway Roller coaster: 1.00 metre minimum
  • Cranky’s Tower Drop: 1.05 metre minimum
  • Terence Driving School: 0.95 metre minimum/ 1.3 metre maximum
  • Captain’s Sea Adventure: 0.9 metre minimum
  • Toby’s Tram Express: 0.95 metre minimum
  • Emily’s Adventure Play: 1.3 metre maximum
Thomas Land Drayton Manor
Height Restrictions in Thomas Land

4 | Strollers

The park is stroller friendly and there is plenty of room for stroller parking around the rides.

Wheelchairs and strollers are available to rent from the hire station at the main entrance on a first-come, first-serve basis. There is a hire charge of £10 together with a £10 deposit per item.

Thomas Land Drayton Manor tip: We don’t use a stroller often but we find it really useful at Drayton Manor. It’s great for nap time, carrying snacks and drinks and changes of clothes, and for the walk back to the car park when little legs are inevitably worn out!

Thomas Land Drayton Manor
Stroller Parking at Jeremy’s Flight School

5 | Meet the Fat Controller

Usually there are Thomas Land live shows where popular characters sing and dance on the balcony of Knapford Station – the Fat Controller is always a favourite with my kids and we’ve also seen Fungineer Freddieand Station Mistress Sally.

Thomas Land Drayton Manor tip: current guidelines mean that live shows have been suspended.

Thomas Land Drayton Manor
This was the only Fat Controller around on our latest visit!

6 | Snacks and drinks

You can bring your own or purchase from one of the food vendors on site.

If you bring your own food and drinks, there are picnic tables available in Thomas Land.

There is also a couple of food spots within Thomas Land itself and we find them reasonably priced and convenient although there weren’t many healthy options! The food choices in Thomas Land are:

  • Sodor Airport: located in the heart of Thomas Land, Sodor Airport is a Thomas & Friends themed stop for light refreshments.
Thomas Land Drayton Manor
  • Mrs Kyndley’s Tea Rooms: hop on one of the Thomas themed engines at Knapford Station and ride to Tidmouth Hault to find Mrs Kyndley’s Tea Rooms. Options include hot and cold snacks, sandwiches and salads. Don’t forget to visit the Dino Trail, the Thomas exhibition, Drayton Manor Zoo and Spencer’s outdoor activity park when you are over at Tidmouth Hault.
Thomas Land Drayton Manor

There are other food venues located throughout Drayton Manor.

Thomas Land Drayton Manor
Checking out the food stands in Drayton Manor

7 | Plan for the weather

The park is all outdoors so hats and sunscreen are essential on sunny days.

If a wet day is forecast then make sure to pack ponchos or rain suits, a rain cover for the stroller and plenty of changes of clothes. We pop the kids’ rainboots under the stroller so they can enjoy the puddles over at Tidmouth Hault where the Zoo and Dino Trail are located.

Thomas Land Drayton Manor
Enjoying the Dino Trail in our rain gear!

7 | How long to spend at Drayton Manor

A full morning or afternoon should cover most of Thomas Land.

Our two and three year old can make it from open to close so we find a one day visit allows plenty of time to experience Thomas Land and some of the toddler friendly rides in the wider park. A half day would allow for a covering a decent amount of Thomas Land if queues are short.

8 | Grab a pic with Thomas and Friends

There are some cute photo opportunities in Thomas Land so make sure to grab a pic!

Thomas Land Drayton Manor
All aboard James for a photo!

9 | Have fun!

Most of all, make sure to have fun and let your little ones guide your day and live their Thomas dream!

Thomas Land Drayton Manor
Thomas Land

Useful Info for visiting Thomas Land, Drayton Manor

  • Tickets: Ticket prices vary depending on age and if they are purchased in advance. Remember to check if you need to purchase in advance due to current restrictions in place at the time of your visit.
    • Adults/12+: £29.50 for adults/age 12+ if purchased in advance and £39.50 otherwise.
    • Children aged 4 to 11: £25.50 in advance and £29.50 otherwise.
    • Children age 2 to 3: £9.50
    • Infants under 2: free
    • Adult and Toddler: available on weekdays during term time, tickets are priced at £25 for one adult and one toddler under 4.
    • Concession tickets: concession tickets (age 60+, disabled, carer, expectant mother) are £25.50 in advance and £29.50 otherwise. Group rates are also available.
Thomas Land Drayton Manor
Drayton Manor
  • Opening hours: opening hours are dependent on day and time of year. During summer the typical hours at 10:30am to 5:pm through July and peak days with a 4:30pm close otherwise.
  • Babies: Thomas Land has its own bathrooms and baby changing centre. The baby facilities include changing mats and a private cubicle. Babies under 12 months cannot go on the rides.
  • Parking: parking at Drayton Manor costs £6 and is within walking distance of the entrance.
  • Current safety measures: at the time of our visit (Summer 2021) Drayton Manor had several measures in place. These included:
    • operating the park as cash only
    • selling tickets at a limited capacity
    • current UK outdoor gathering and dining limits apply for groups.
    • hand sanitizer available throughout the park
    • lots of signage outlining the rules in place
    • face masks required in all indoor areas and a few of the queues and rides
    • ride carriages are shared by one family/group

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