This weekend we were invited back to Drayton Manor Park in Staffordshire to begin our Christmas festivities with their Magical Christmas event. Open on selected dates until the end of December, there is so much to see and experience with the park decorated with Christmas trees, festive music playing all around and snow showers in Thomas Land. We have been to Drayton Manor Park for their Christmas event in previous years (2017 / 2016) and really enjoyed it so we couldn’t wait to take our newest member of the family to enjoy it too.
As part of Drayton’s Magical Christmas, only Thomas Land, selected family rides and the zoo are open but there’s live shows on throughout the day, the opportunity to meet Father Christmas in the Castle of Dreams and a fireworks display to end the fun filled day out.
Our five year old Olly was excited to get in to Thomas Land to have a go on some of his favourite rides and in all honesty, I couldn’t wait to see all the Christmas decorations. I really love the effort that is put in to them with a huge sparkly Christmas tree in the centre of the park and other smaller trees, festive garlands, wreaths, bows and baubles dotted around.
Our first port of call was to Thomas Land so Olly could enjoy the rides. I love that all the rides within Thomas Land are perfect for toddlers and preschoolers. They’re fast enough for him to get really excited about them but not too high or frightening for him. The queues weren’t long at all and within five to ten minutes the boy were on the rides enjoying themselves.
As Freddie is only little we obviously didn’t take him on many of the rides except the new ride James’ Red Balloon ride which Olly hadn’t been on before. All the boys sat in the hot air balloon basket and the ride circled around and around. Freddie loved it, his little face was beaming although towards the end of the ride I think he was happy to get off.
We had tickets to visit Father Christmas in the Castle of Dreams in the afternoon and Olly was looking forward to meeting him and telling him about all the plans he had for Christmas. The elves were working hard meeting and greeting and it was lovely to see them engaging with the children asking lots of questions and getting them ready to meet Father Christmas.
Once inside the Castle of Dreams, the door opened and the boys were ushered inside to meet the main man. He was such a lovely man asking Olly lots of questions and made time for Freddie too. The meet and greet didn’t feel rushed and it was a really nice experience. The boys were given a little goody bag to take away which included a couple of small gifts (a Drayton Manor Christmas bauble and a chocolate bar) which Olly was really pleased with. There’s also the chance to have your photograph taken with Father Christmas which is available for purchase after your meet and greet.
After our visit we spent some time looking around the zoo, spotting the beautiful Sumatran Tiger and enjoying the miniature railway. Olly loved playing on the park and it’s a lovely place to spend a day with the family.
We headed back to Thomas Land just in time to see the show above Knapford Station where Sir Topham Hatt came out onto the balcony telling a Christmas story with his friends. As part of the story it begins to snow and suddenly there was snowfall in Thomas Land which was brilliant. Everyone loved it (thankfully the snowfall happens regularly throughout the day in Thomas Land) and it just finished the day for us.
Unfortunately we couldn’t stay for the imagination parade at 4:30pm and the fireworks display at 5pm but we all had a wonderful day at Drayton Manor and now feel all festive and ready for the next few weeks of Christmas build up.
Ticket prices vary but you save more by buying ticket in advance online. To bag your tickets head over to www.draytonmanor.co.uk
Disclosure: We were invited to Drayton Manor Park to enjoy their magical Christmas event in exchange for coverage. All words and images are my own.