So Roo turned 4!! How on earth did that happen?! That little man has taken us on many ups and downs over his life and it’s crazy to think he’s now 4 years old and will soon be starting full time school.
As a Thomas the tank engine and train obsessed little boy, I just knew his birthday had to be spent at the home of Thomas. Thomas land at Drayton Manor, in Birmingham. I had high hopes for our trip and planned endlessly in advance in case of food related problems but I needn’t have worried. The whole trip went off without a hitch and everyone we encountered was incredibly helpful.
As we live so far away we decided the best idea would be to book a Premier inn close by so we could make the most of our time at the theme park without worrying about travelling on the day. We booked into the Sutton Coldfield Premier Inn with The White Horse, Flaming grill pub and restaurant attached.
After booking online I decided to phone the hotel to ask about the breakfast options available to suit Roo’s allergies. The gentleman I spoke to was able to give me advice and information which gave me complete peace of mind. Whilst they do offer a cows milk alternative, unfortunately it was still unsuitable as it was a Soya milk. However knowing this allowed me to pack some small cartons of KoKo Coconut Milk so we were well prepared.
I then went on to contact The White Horse separately to ask for the allergy information for their menus. This was so incredibly easy and a copy of the full allergen information was sent by email within 24 hours. This made the whole trip easier as I was able to plan Roo’s options in advance to avoid the dreaded wait whilst I scoured the file for suitable options with a hungry child in tow.
The hotel itself was brilliant. On arrival the staff were helpful and friendly and we were checked in within moments and on our way to the room. We had a family room with a double bed and single bed which was spacious, clean and bright. The en suite bathroom was modern, clean and spacious with a bath and shower. Although the hotel itself is on a busy road we heard none of that noise as our room was at the back of the hotel.
Ok, Lets get to the exciting bit. Thomas land itself. I have to say we were definitely not disappointed at all. The park itself was tidy and well looked after. There was not a pick of rubbish to be seen and the whole place looked to be clean and well maintained. We arrived for 10am for the gates opening and the rides started at 10:30. The 30 minute gap gave us the opportunity to have a good look around and take some photos before the crowds arrived and queues started for the rides. We were also able to get on to the first ride, James and the red balloon without any queue or hassle.
As the story of James and the red balloon is one of Roo’s favourites I knew we had to do this first. It was great! I personally, am not the type of person to go on theme park rides but I really enjoyed it. It was not too fast or high but there was plenty of thrill for a child. It was also the first “proper” ride Roo has ever been on. He loved every second of it and was sad when it ended and we had to move on. We then went on to Fiery Flynn, captains boats, Jeremy jet, blue mountain quarry and Winstons monorail.
After so many rides and with being such a hot day we decided it was definitely time for lunch. The Burger Kitchen is right next to Thomas land and where we chose to go. I had already contacted Drayton Manor in advance and an incredibly helpful lady emailed me with the specific meals at each outlet that would be suitable for Roo. With indoor and covered outdoor seating areas we had no trouble in finding somewhere to sit down and have a rest whilst eating. The menu was simple and concise, with enough options so there was something for everyone. The ordering process was incredible quick and easy and the lady taking our orders was happy to check the allergen information with the chef. We all know theme parks can be pricey places to eat but we were pleasantly surprised by the prices charged. 2 adults and one child ate and drank for less than £19. Roo was able to have a kids meal consisting of a beef burger in a gluten free bun with fries and a drink.
After lunch we decided we would get into the queue for the Thomas and Percy rides to the Zoo area of the theme park. Although the queue was large we were waiting no more than 10 minutes for our turn. The driver of the train was friendly and waved to all of the children as they waited.
Next to the zoo was also the Thomas and friends exhibition, Spencer’s play area and Terence’s tractor. We looked at the exhibition first and Roo had a go at driving Terence the tractor. By this time the temperatures were soaring and so we stopped off for ice lollies at the tea shop opposite the train station. Roo was starting to feel tired and grumpy with the heat and so we jumped back onto the train to the main Thomas land area.
At this point we decided to make a stop at the gift shop and then to head back to the hotel for a rest before dinner. I quickly scanned the prices, after hearing things had hugely inflated prices before letting Roo choose some items to spend his birthday money on. I was surprised and pleased to see 99% of items had a similar price tag to standard toy stores.
All in all we had such an amazing time and Roo has been asking every since when we are going back. The little bit of planning I done in advance made for a stress free, easy running trip and I will definitely make this trip again. I would recommend Drayton Manor and Thomas land to anyone with allergies as an easy place to eat and an amazing day out.
I hope you’ve all enjoyed our little trip review, even though it’s something a little different for us. Let us know if you did and we’ll be sure to review more places in the future.
Roo’s Mamas Boy cap and T shirt came from Jellyfish Kids.
You can find the website for Drayton Manor here – http://www.draytonmanor.co.uk/thomas-land
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