Drayton Manor Theme Park

We had a last minute trip to Drayton Manor Theme Park at the weekend – our friends are annual passholders so they invited us along for the day.

We are avid Merlin attraction fans (and annual passholders) and we have only visited Drayton Manor maybe once before and don’t remember it living up to our expections verses other parks we visited.

Here are our thoughts on our visit to Drayton Manor

Booking Our Tickets

The Drayton Manor website is really easy to navigate and booking our tickets was really simple. We did have a choice between booking online which would save us 30% off the on the day gate price, or we could have used our Clubcard rewards to buy our tickets on the day.

We decided to buy online as along with the early booker discount we could also get cashback via TopCashBack

You have a few different options for tickets

Annual Passes

These are between £75 – £109 per person and include:

  • Unlimited use on selected dates the park is open* without the need to pre-book.
  • Entrance throughout the year, including Magical Christmas (entry only) and February Half Term.
  • Exclusive 50% off Fireworks Spectacular ticket for each passholder.**
  • Free car parking.
  • x20 £20 friends & family tickets.***
  • Hotel offers throughout the season.
  • 10% off at onsite retail and catering outlets.
  • Be the first to know about presale exclusives.
  • Special competitions through the season.
  • Complimentary ticket to West Midlands Safari Park****

The Annual Pass will be valid for a full 12 months from the day you purchase your pass.

The cost for an Annual Pass is;

£109pp Adult Aged 4+
£75pp Toddler Aged 2-3
£95pp Concession Aged 60+, Disabled, Carer, Expectant Mother
£405 Family Pass (£101.25 each) 4 people, any age combination
Free Under 2’s 0-23 months

Drayton Manor Day tickets

You can book and download your tickets right away there is no need to print them off. Although if you prefer having them printed off you can of course do this!

Either way the barcode will be scanned on the gate to allow you access

The cost for day tickets is;

Adult

Aged 4+ | Pre-book to save up to 30%*

  • £27.50 – £36 Pre-booked (Cheaper the more in advance you book)
  • £42 On the gate

Under 4

Aged 2-3 and under 2’s

  • £11 Pre-booked/On the gate (aged 2-3)
  • Free Pre-booked/On the gate (under 2’s)

Concessions

Aged 60+, Disabled, Carer, Expectant Mother

  • £27 Pre-booked
  • £36 On the gate

You can use Clubcard vouchers against the cost of an on the gate day ticket only.

Rainy Day Guarantee

I really like the idea of this added extra. You can purchase a Rainy Day Guarantee for £2 per person.

This means if more than 30mm of rain falls during opening hours they will email you a code to book a return visit free of charge.

Parent and Toddler Ticket

During term time weekdays you can get an adult and toddler ticket (child must be under 4) for just £27.50

Parking at Drayton Manor

You won’t be short of a space there is loads of parking! We arrived early enough to be on the fields right next to the entrance but there is further parking a short walk away.

There are disabled bays also located near the main entrance.

All the parking has markers to tell you where you have parked so make sure you take note (or take a photo!) of the marker so you can find your car at the end of the day.

Drayton Manor Main Park

I like the way the park is quite compact, meaning less walking for little legs!

We went straight to accelorator as my friend said the queue for this one gets quite long later in the day.

There aren’t many ‘big’ rides here and actually the park isn’t too appealing for those over 1.2m who like faster riders.

It is however perfect for those who couldn’t do the 1.2m+ rides at the bigger parks as most of these were 0.9m or 1m with a parent.

Accelerator (Ride Photo available)

Minimum height 1.0m. Guests under 1.2m must be accompanied.

Holly loved accelerator her first proper roller coaster. It’s actually pretty quick and also goes backwards!

The queue wasn’t too bad but it was alot longer later in the day.

Shockwave (Ride Photo available)

Minimum height of 1.4m

With a top speed of 85km/h and a ride height of 120ft (37m) Shockwave is what I would consider the biggest coaster at Drayton Manor.

I was lucky enough to sneak on to it while the kids were distracted in the park. There was no queue so I virtually walked straight onto a front row seat!

Wave Swinger

Minimum height to ride 1.0m. Guests under 1.2m must be accompanied by an adult on a double seat.

This one took a bit of coordination! Oscar was too small to ride and both Holly and Jess needed me to sit next to them.

Chloe waited with Jess while I took Holly and Bradley on and then Chloe and Jess came on. So I did 2 back to back rides on a ride which made me feel super sick, but they kids enjoyed it.

Flying Dutchman

Guests under 1.0m must be accompanied by an adult

Oscar was so excited he could do on this one and was shouting WOW WINDY all the way round.

It does go quite high and its a bit of a bumpy landing too which he loved.

Air Race

Minimum height of 1.2m

We didn’t go on this as none of them are tall enough but Bradley went on the week before with his uncle and loved it!

Jolly Buccaneer

Minimum height of 1.0m – Guests under 1.2m must be accompanied by an adult

Another one of my not favourite types of ride and I also got to goo n this one twice, back to back as Holly and Jess needed someone with them but it is only 2 per car.

Photo Opportunities

The lion mascot was wandering round the park (mainly near the entrance) ready for photos with the visitors, we were disappointed we didn’t spot the team who make all the tiktoks as we would have loved to have snuck into one!

In Thomas Land you’ll find the Thomas characters dotted about and also the Fat Controller and some of his team (who will sing Happy Birthday to you!)

Tidal Towers Playground

Suitable for children 6+ 

Although this said suitable for ages 6+ Oscar (2), Holly (4) and Jess (4) were fine playing in there. It is unsupervised and there is seating available right next to it for picnics.

Vikings Area – Now Open!

Drayton Manor are also working on a new section in the park (which is now open) – Vikings Land!

We are massive Vikings fans and can’t wait to see what this will bring to the overall experience of Drayton Manor.

It’s my Birthday!

If you are lucky enough to visit Drayton Manor on your birthday pop in to guest services on your way in.

You’ll be given a sticker to wear to show it’s your Birthday and staff will sing Happy Birthday to you and you might even bag some free pin badges.

Thomas Land

We spent most of our day in here, there are alot more attractions than when we last visited and Holly was big enough for all of them. We still struggled a little for the things Oscar could go on unfortunately even though he is over 0.9m

There is a handy height chart board to the left when you enter Thomas Land which gives you all the restrictions – Take a photo of this for quick refrence while you are looking at what to go on!

Each ride also has all the requirements and a height stick at the queue entrance, but we tried to just avoid the ones we knew he couldn’t go on.

Jeremy Jets Fying Academy

Guests under 1.2 must be accompanied.

Luckily I was allowed to take both of them on this together as neither were tall enough to go on without me. Holly claimed the front seat and Oscar wanted to sit with me in the back. Each plane can hold up to 4 people.

Cranky’s Drop Tower

Minimum height of 1.05m

It took a bit of convincing to get Holly on this one, but once she was on she loved it and wanted to go again!

It is a mini drop tower and it bounces up and down rather than just a single up and drop.

Troublesome Trucks Runaway Rollercoaster (Ride Photo available)

Minimum height of 1m – Guests under 1.2m must be accompanied

Oscar was too small for this one so Chloe went on alone first and then we parent swapped so she could watch Oscar while I took Holly on.

I bet Holly if she could do the whole ride with her arms up then she could have an Ice Cream and here is the photo proof of her doing it – Ice cream prize down below!

Toby’s Tram Express

Min 0.95m – Guests 0.95m to 1.05m must be accompanied

Another one Oscar couldn’t ride, but silly me didn’t notice it was 0.95 not 0.9 and he was just too short and they wouldn’t let him on. Full on trantrum followed while everyone else got to ride. Note to self : read signage better!

All the others could ride without me thankfully!

Blue Mountain Engines

Guests under 0.9m need to be accompanied

I got away with not having to go on this one at all as the train only holds 4 people and as they are all over 0.9m they didn’t need an adult so I sent them all on together.

Flynn’s Fire Rescue

Guests under 0.9m need to be accompanied

Holly went on with Bradley first and I took Oscar on later on in the day as I didn’t want to walk round soaking wet!

I knew he would love it and he did, although he found it quite difficult to press for the water to come out.

Sodors Classic Cars (Ride Photo available)

Guests under 1.1m must be accompanied by an adult

This was another ride we could all go on including Jacob – however we didn’t realise there was a camera and not one of us was looking at it!

Diesels Locomotive Mayhem

Guests under 1.2m must be accompanied by an adult

I sat this one out because things that spin in small circles (give me a proper rollercoaster any day of the week!) and Amanda was allowed to take Holly, Jess and Oscar in the one car together.

Harolds Helicoptor Tours

Guests under 1.05m must be accompanied by an adult

I couldn’t escape this one as we needed 2 cars so I took Holly and Oscar and Amanda took Bradley, Jess and Jacob.

The helicoptors actually go quite high! Oscar loved it, you can see quite a lot of the park from the highest point

Rocking Bulstrode

Guests under 1.05m must be accompanied by an adult

This was quite wild considering the low restriction on it! Holly was holding on tight and Oscar thought it was great!

Drayton Manor Zoo

I have been to Drayton Manor maybe 2 or 3 times in my adult life and I never knew it had a zoo. I don’t know whether I just didn’t pay attention to that information or I just wasn’t interested so chose not to retain it! However either way, there is in fact a 15 acre zoo at Drayton Manor!

First you’ll get to see the meercats before heading into the reptile area. It is very hot in here, even more so when it is full of people!

Oscar was fascinated by all the tanks full of lizards, snakes and frogs. Although he was adamant that it was just snakes in every single one!

Further round there were lots more tamarins and this beautiful Northern Lynx which posed perfectly for us!

Drayton Manor Dino Trail

I love dinosaurs, if you know me at all you will know I am obsessed! So I was pretty excited to be able to spend some time talking about Dinosaurs to the kids.

Oscar has for sure inherited my Dinosaur obsession and we had lots of WOW BIG! and squealing with excitement, he especially liked the 2 Pachycephalosaurus butting heads on the way out.

Spencers Outdoor Adventure Play

You’ll find this between the Dinosaur trail and the train station. There is loads of space for them all to run off some steam. You’ll also find seating and a smoking area off to the side.

There are toilets located right by this next door to the cafe opposite the train station entrance.

Train between Thomas Land and the Zoo

You can jump on the train between Thomas Land and the Zoo (it stops by the cafe at the far end of the zoo) It’s only a few minute train ride but the kids loved it.

You don’t even need to fold up your strollers as they have a couple of sections to park them in.

We typically ended up on the train and it stopped half way because of a fault so we got some extra time to take some pictures.

Baby Change Facilities

I was really excited when I took Oscar to get changed and noticed the family room has a split toilet search with a toddler seat built in! This is so helpful when you have small children with you.

The changing areas are all really roomy too, much better than just a small pull down after thought changing station stuck on a wall.

It was really helpful that within the baby change this toilet also has room for a pushchair so you don’t have to leave it / your child outside while you use the bathroom.

Drayton Manor Food Options

We actually decided to bring along our own picnics so that we didn’t have to stop and think about food too much they could just eat. constantly. all day. as kids do!

I did treat myself to a slice of Angel Cake from the Sodor Airport Coffee Shop – It was sooooo sickly sweet I couldn’t eat it and even Oscar pulled a face but it was still nice.

And we did head over to the dessert stand once all the rides closed at 5pm. Over at Fun Foods they have a selection including bubble waffles, ice cream, doughnuts and lots of other treats!

I was pleasantly surprised by the cost – We had 5 doughnuts, 2 whippy ice creams with flakes in tubs and a Calippo and it was around £11, which I even checked he had added everything to our order as it sounded too cheap! The kids loved the ice cream and the doughnuts were really good.

Annual Passholders get 10% off of food and drink too so don’t forget to show your pass if you have one.

If you do want to eat at the park though you won’t be short of places to eat

I also really liked this drinks offer and that you are also incentivised to keep the cup for your next visit.

Buy your cup for £7.50 and you can have free hot drink refills all day (excluding deluxe hot chocolate) and if you bring it back on your next visit you can reactivate it for £6.75 for the day.

I do love branded cups so if Gaz comes with us I will definitely get him one for aall the coffee he would drink!

The restaurants include

Mrs Kyndleys Tearoom

  • Sandwiches & Baguettes
  • Cakes & Desserts
  • Pizza Slices & Hot Dogs
  • Pies & Pasties
  • Hot & Cold Drinks

Naughty but N-Ice

  • Cakes & Desserts
  • Caramel & Oreo Frappes
  • Pancakes & Waffles
  • Hot & Cold Drinks

Chicken Diner – Located between Shockwave and Towers

  • Chicken Fillet Bites
  • Hot & Spicy Chicken Burger
  • Falafel Burger
  • Chicken Fillet Salad
  • Fries, Sides & Drinks

Sodor Airport Coffee Shop

  • Sandwiches & Baguettes
  • Cakes & Desserts
  • Hot Snacks
  • Breakfast until 11.30am
  • Hot & Cold Drinks

Safari Pizza & Pasta – Located at the Zoo entrance

  • Freshly made Pizzas
  • Tasty Pastas
  • Hot & Cold Sides
  • Hot & Cold Drinks

Lunch (no reservation required) 12.00pm until 5:00pm
Dinner (prebooked tables only) 5.00pm until 8.00pm

Full menu can be viewed here

Drayton’s Fish & Chips – Located next to the lake between Accelerator and the new Vikings area – this had quite a bit of bench seating over looking the lake which was nice

  • Battered Fish
  • Battered Fish Goujons
  • Jumbo Sausage
  • Jumbo Battered Sausage
  • Cone of Chips
  • Regular Chips
  • Mushy Peas, Curry Sauce & Gravy
  • Cold Drinks

The Burger Kitchen – Loctated next to the Jolly Buccaneer and Dodgems

  • Cheese Burgers
  • Hot & Spicy Burgers
  • Bacon & Cheese Burgers
  • Falafal Burgers and Fries
  • Sides & Drinks

Parklands Bra and Restaurant

Parkland is a proper sit down restaurant and reservations are required for breakfast and dinner – It is optional for lunch but it is recommended as it can get quite busy.

It’s opening times are;

Breakfast : 6.30am until 10.00am Monday – Friday, 7.00am until 10.30am Saturday & Sunday

Lunch : 12.00pm until 5:00pm

Dinner : 5.00pm until 9.30pm

You can find the full menu here

Ride Photos

All the rides where we could get ride photos I have marked above with (Ride Photo Available). To purchase these they are available individually, any 4 printed for £20 or you can buy a digital photopass and get all your groups photos for £20.

Unlike the Merlin photo pass this isn’t tied to 1 person, you just pay once for your whole group!

We thought this was a bargain as we got around 20 photos in total across the day.

Parent Swap

If like us, you have too many little ones to take on all at once you can do parent swap. Depending on the ride and who can / can’t go on, you can either let one parent go on with their child(ren) while you wait at the exit to ‘swap’ over the ones who can’t go on so you can go on with yours or as I did with Chloe, I sent chloe on herself while I waited with Holly and Oscar and then she waited with Oscar while I took Holly on.

There is no card or anything for this so just let the staff know you will need to do a parent swap and they will let you on when the first rider(s) have been on.

Drayton Manor Summary

We had a great day out at Drayton Manor , so much more to do than we remember! Oscar was even big enough for the majority of it which made it alot easier.

Definitely worth booking in advance online if you can, or use up those clubcard vouchers on the gate (remember 50p in vouchers = £1.50 off your ticket) or if you think you’ll be back at least 4 times in a year then the annual pass is worth purchasing.

If you’ve been to Drayton Manor let us know what you thought in the comments! And as always please feel free to share this with anyone who may find it useful.

ChrissyJ xxx

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