Today we met up with the southern branch of our extended family: cousins, second cousins, second cousins once removed (something like that connection anyway). There were 12 adults and 9 children and the children were aged between 6 months and 6 years old.
I had chatted to my second cousin by email about the idea of meeting up and I suggested Thomas Land as somewhere mid way between us in the North West, and them in Milton Keynes. We arranged the meet up a few months in advance and prayed for good weather.
In the run up to the day I wondered whether it would work? Would we actually be able to find time to speak to each other whilst keeping an eye on the kids, would we manage to go on the rides at the same time and keep together; it’s a big group to do that with. Would we find something to keep all the children entertained? Would we find enough to do to spend all day there?
The answer to all those questions was yes. Yes it worked, and in fact it worked so well that we’ve decided to make this meet up an annual event. We stayed together for most of the day and managed to ride on pretty much everything the kids wanted too. We had a fantastic day and we left (only because it was closing) with exhausted children, some of whom were sobbing as they really really really didn’t want to leave.
So what worked so well?
It’s size – Thomas Land is compact. Not small, just compact. There are lots of places to sit down and we could create a mini base in the middle of a few rides. This meant all the kids could all go on different rides if they wanted too. We could feed the baby, get coffees, grandparents could sit down, and we knew where to find each other. That worked perfectly.
Location to the car park – we could ( and did) take a substantial picnic and just wander back to the car to get it when we were ready to eat it. There are so many picnic tables in the larger park area of Drayton Manor, that taking food is clearly actively encouraged. There are even under cover areas if it is cold or raining, which let’s face it it often is in England. We ate in one of the cafes last time we visited at Christmas and you can see our review here.
The Extended Area – having only recently visited at Christmas the fact that it had been extended and the effect of that, was really obvious to us. The extension has made the whole of Thomas Land feel more spacious and less cramped. They’ve moved a few rides around, added three more rides and created a more welcoming space for the ‘base’ I mentioned above. They have also added more toilets and an excellent cafe which sold very very good frapuccinos. Important to get these things right!
The rides – the rides themselves were perfect for the age of the kids in our group. I definitely won’t manage to get all the names right but there is a great review of the extension and the rides already on the blog here. Here are a few photos of the kids on the rides and a video of roller coaster fun!
1 - Join our Reviews and Recommendations Facebook Group here which includes lots of ideas for things to do - you can post your own recommendations too.
2 - Buy our debut novel for boys and girls ages 7-11 The Little Museum (an exciting adventure set in France)
3 - Click here to leave Mini Travellers a Google Review.
4 - Share this post with your friends
5 - Follow Mini Travellers on the following platforms :
Thank you for your support as always.