DRAYTON Manor and Thomas Land is magical for youngsters and adults alike at the best of times but none more so than at Christmastime.
As well as the variety of rides and other attractions, there is the zoo, the Dino Trail dinosaur park, crazy golf and the 4D cinema and, for this season, the ice skating rink.
In Thomas Land, there is the everything from the gentle – Winston’s Whstlestop Tour, Sodor Classic Cars and the Blue Mountain Engines to Harold’s Heli Tours – to Diesel’s Locomotive Mayhem and Crazy Bertie Bus and – for the more daring of youngsters – Toby’s Tram Express and The Troublesome Trucks Coaster.
Talking of thrill-seeking rides, the Ben 10 is still open in the main park and will satisfy the most daring of riders.
But when you take your family to the venue during the Yuletide season, magic is the key and it does not come more magical than the 4D experience on the Polar Express, the Santa procession and fireworks display at the end of the day and – of course – the visit to Father Christmas.
That happens in the beautiful castle setting – you are greeted by the friendly elves who take you through to Santa who talks to your youngsters about Christmas and what they want.
They also get a goodie bag, including a mini soft elf which can be put on the Christmas tree or even used as the popular ‘Elf on the Shelf’ which so many parents use these days as a watchful eye to remind youngsters that Santa is watching.
For us – with children aged four and nine – another fantastic part of the day was them getting to make Christmas presents for the animals. They made food parcels for the meerkats.
After designing their egg boxes and having the food put in – bits of salad and mealworms – they also got to wrap them and were then given the time they could go and see the meerkats work their way into them.
That is exactly what to see and our daughters delighted in seeing the meerkats get their food from the boxes they had created.
Another great part of the day turned out to be the ice skating. They had never been before and were not really expecting to go.
And, while there are better ice rinks out there, it was the perfect way to introduce them to the activity.
We would probably be a bit apprehensive about taking them on a larger rink because of the users being more used to ice-skating and whizzing around while they were trying to find their feet.
This was perfect for that – it was not overcrowded like some you can go to and, being small, they were never too far from the side so they could grip on when they needed.
This was such an enjoyable experience, they were talking about it all the way home.
Overall, whether you like rides, the 4D cinema, the ice skating, seeing the animals in the zoo or dinosaurs, Drayton Manor and Thomas Land is well worth a visit this festive season.
They call this ‘Drayton’s Magical Christmas’ and it was.
For more on Thomas Land this winter, including times, events and prices, visit www.draytonmanor.co.uk/thomas-land The event runs until December 31.