Santa's Magical Workshop at Drayton Manor home of Thomas Land
On a perfect, crisp, blue November Sunday, we travelled to Staffordshire to Drayton Manor for an audience with Father Christmas at Santa's Magical Workshop.
Drayton Manor's larger rides were closed for annual winter maintenance but this did nothing to deter Toby and Pippa's enthusiasm for the trip. Toby and Jon rode the park's new Ben 10 rollercoaster not once but seven times, while little sister Pippa was as happy as could be in Thomas Land, a pre-school friendly playground of rides and soft play. As parents, we marvelled at the lack of queues an out of season visit allowed and the luxury of riding and re-riding together with relaxed staff who were happy to indulge their young visitors' requests for more turns. There are 23 different attractions at Thomas Land which would more than filled our outing.
Drayton Manor have mixed and matched their Santa experience with their pre-school theme park, Thomas Land, offering an effective two for one experience. Through adult eyes the Santa experience was not overwhelming but the small tableau of snowmen and penguins, pleasant and friendly staff dressed as Jack Frost, the snow princess and Santa's elves drew Toby and Pippa into their magic before they sat in the sleigh for a quick chat with the man himself. After this each child was given an age appropriate gift: for Toby (aged seven) a Ben 10 cup and for Pippa (aged three) a very glittery looking unicorn and mini hair brush.
The children were delighted by the experience and ready to go back to explore more rides at Thomas Land before warming up in Emily's soft play barn. The family groups we saw while we there mainly consisted of pre-school age children, which was ideal. Toby was more interested in the Ben 10 ride but also enjoyed sharing Thomas Land with his little sis and reminding her of his three year-old memories of an early review trip.
I would normally bring a packed lunch for a day trip but as we ate this on the journey there we headed to an undercover heated marquee structure for jacket potatoes and bacon butties which tasted delicious. This was followed by more rides, a song from the Fat Controller and "snow" and an out of season ice cream before we left for home.
For the Thomas fan in your life this is a fabulous Santa experience.
PWT rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Drayton's Magical Christmas is open until 2 January, 2012 excluding 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 24, 25 and 16 December 2011.
Tickets (£28 per adult or £13.50 per child) can be purchased online where there is a 2 for 1 offer or by calling 0844 472 1960
Drayton Manor Park is near Tamworth, Staffordshire on the A4091, just off the A38 / A446, J9 M42 & Exit T2 M6 Toll. Car Parking is £2 per car.