Drayton Manor Theme Park Guide: The Ultimate Visitor’s Guide

theme park theme park

Drayton Manor Theme Park stands as a jewel in the heart of Staffordshire, offering an array of thrills and entertainment for all ages. Its unique blend of adrenaline-pumping rides, interactive attractions, and a sprawling zoo sets it apart as a premier family destination. The park’s commitment to creating memorable experiences resonates throughout its beautifully landscaped grounds, making it an essential visit for thrill-seekers and families seeking quality time together.

The magnitude of Drayton Manor’s appeal lies not just in its rides but also in its historical significance and the care with which it has preserved the magic of childhood favourites like Thomas Land. It is a place where joy is palpable at every turn, and adventure awaits those who seek it, ensuring every visit is imbued with importance and delight.

Getting There

Reaching Drayton Manor is straightforward, with access possible within 30 minutes from major road networks, making it a hassle-free journey for a day of excitement.

By Car

For those driving, the park is well-signposted and easily accessible from the A4091, just a few miles from the M42. On-site parking is plentiful, and purchasing theme park tickets online in advance is advisable to streamline your entry upon arrival.

By Bus

Several bus services operate to Drayton Manor, with the 110 bus from Birmingham dropping visitors a mere 30 minutes’ walk from the park’s entrance. It’s a convenient option that also offers a glimpse of the beautiful Staffordshire countryside en route.

By Train Station & Taxi

Travelling by train? The nearest station is Tamworth, from which a short taxi ride will bring you to the park’s gates. Combining the train and taxi offers a stress-free alternative to driving and allows you to start your adventure from the moment you leave home.

History and Background

The story of Drayton Manor begins in 1949 when George Bryan and his wife Vera dreamt of creating a place where families could find joy and laughter. From its modest beginnings with a handful of rides and a small zoo, it has evolved into one of the UK’s most beloved theme parks.

Over the years, Drayton Manor has seen significant milestones, such as the introduction of Europe’s first stand-up roller coaster, The Shockwave, and the opening of Thomas Land in 2008, a themed area that has since enchanted millions of young hearts. These pivotal moments have helped cement the park’s reputation as a pioneer in family entertainment.

Drayton Manor’s resilience has been tested through challenges such as the devastating flood of 2019, but it has always emerged stronger, committed to providing top-tier amusement and education through its attractions and zoo. The park’s dedication to its visitors and the community exemplifies the spirit of continuous improvement and innovation that the Bryan family envisioned.

The park’s history is not just a tale of rides and attractions but also of the Bryan family’s legacy and their unwavering dedication to creating a space where families can make lasting memories. Drayton Manor’s story is one of triumph, family values, and the pursuit of happiness, making it a cherished landmark in the UK’s cultural landscape.

What to See and Do

Drayton Manor Theme Park brims with a plethora of attractions catering to thrill-seekers and families alike, ensuring every visitor finds their slice of fun.


Expect heart-racing adventures on rides like the Air Race, gentle splashes on the River Rapids, and the swinging thrill of the Bounty Pirate Ship.


The Accelerator is a popular roller coaster that whisks riders on a high-speed journey, filled with twists and turns designed to exhilarate both young and old. Its rapid acceleration and vibrant design make it a standout attraction at the park.

Flying Dutchman

Embark on a nautical adventure with the Flying Dutchman, where seafaring enthusiasts can set sail on a voyage that marries the gentleness of the waves with the thrill of the high seas, perfect for a family escapade.

Jolly Buccaneer

Join the Jolly Buccaneer for a swashbuckling spin around the high seas. This family-friendly ride offers a merry-go-round experience with a pirate twist, suitable for landlubbers of all ages.


No visit to Drayton Manor is complete without the timeless fun of Dodgems. Bump, dodge, and weave your way to laughter on this classic attraction that brings out the competitive spirit in everyone.

Stormforce 10

A signature experience among UK theme parks, Stormforce 10 delivers a thrilling escape with three dramatic drops that leave riders soaked and exhilarated. It’s a water ride that truly embodies the spirit of adventure at Drayton Manor.

The Shockwave

Experience the unique rush of Europe’s only stand-up coaster, The Shockwave. Feel the wind rush past as you stand through loops and twists, a testament to the innovative spirit that Drayton Manor continues to foster.

Polperro Express

All aboard the Polperro Express, a charming train ride that gives passengers a scenic tour of the park. It’s a gentle journey that allows for a moment of calm, providing a relaxing contrast to the more exhilarating attractions and a chance to enjoy the beautiful park surroundings.

Indoor attractions

When it’s time to take a break from the rides, explore indoor attractions like the Drayton Manor Zoo, marvel at the Thomas Exhibition, or try your luck with the penny slot machines.

4D Cinema

Immersing visitors in a cinematic experience like no other, the 4D Cinema at Drayton Manor Theme Park combines thrilling visuals with physical sensations. Spectators can feel the wind, water, and even scents corresponding with the on-screen action, making for a truly multi-sensory adventure. This attraction is perfect for families seeking a break from the thrills of the park while still experiencing something extraordinary.

Drunken Barrels

For those who fancy a spinning ride with a twist, the Drunken Barrel is a must-try. This attraction offers a dizzying experience as visitors are spun around in giant barrel-themed pods. Laughter echoes as the barrels tilt and turn, providing a fun challenge for guests to try and keep their orientation. It’s a jovial ride that’s sure to leave everyone in high spirits.

Sheriff’s Showdown

Step into the Wild West with Sheriff’s Showdown, a laser-target interactive ride that has guests competing for the highest score. Armed with infrared guns, riders aim at various targets throughout this action-packed adventure, perfect for those with a competitive streak.

The Haunting

For a spine-tingling experience, The Haunting invites the brave to explore its mysterious and ghostly premises. This dark ride is filled with supernatural surprises at every turn, ensuring that visitors are always on edge as they encounter the unknown.


Drayton Manor offers a variety of shows and performances to entertain guests of all ages.

Other attractions

Explore the Drayton Manor Zoo, play at the penny slot machines or marvel at exhibitions.

Adventure Cove

Adventure Cove is a nautical-themed area bursting with excitement. It’s home to a range of attractions that promise to thrill those who dare to board, with rides that twist, turn, and splash, making it a favourite among those seeking an adrenaline rush.

Thomas Land

Families with young children will delight in Thomas Land, where the beloved trains come to life. Engine tours are a highlight, offering kids the chance to ride their favourite characters while exploring interactive exhibits at the Thomas exhibition.

15-Acre Zoo

Drayton Manor’s 15-acre zoo is a sanctuary for over 100 animals from around the world. Visitors can engage with a diverse range of species, from reptiles to mammals, in carefully designed habitats that promote animal welfare and education. The zoo is a peaceful retreat within the park’s lively atmosphere, where guests can learn about conservation and the natural world.

280 acres of woodland and countryside

The park extends beyond the rides into 280 acres of stunning Staffordshire woodland and countryside. This natural expanse offers walking trails, picturesque picnic spots, and the opportunity to unwind amidst the beauty of the British landscape. It’s an idyllic place for families to reconnect with nature and each other after the thrills of the theme park.

Tips for Making the Most of the Visit

Secure your tickets online in advance and arrive ready for an unforgettable day at Drayton Manor.

Plan Your Day

Before arriving at Drayton Manor, take the time to plan your day. Check the park map and schedule to prioritize attractions and shows. Consider the interests and energy levels of your group to ensure a balanced experience, mixing high-energy rides with calmer activities. Planning can help you make the most of your time, reduce stress, and ensure that you don’t miss out on any must-see attractions.

Remember to include meal times in your plan. The park offers various dining options, so decide whether you’ll bring a picnic or dine at one of the on-site eateries. This way, you can avoid peak mealtime rushes and ensure that everyone stays fueled for the day’s adventures.

Arrive Early

Maximize your day at Drayton Manor by arriving early. Being among the first in line means you’ll have a head start on popular rides, often with shorter waiting times. Early arrival also gives you the chance to familiarize yourself with the park layout and make any last-minute adjustments to your plan based on the day’s specific events and shows.

Additionally, arriving early allows you to secure better parking spots and experience the park’s opening atmosphere, which can be quite magical and sets the mood for an exciting day ahead. It’s a simple step that can significantly enhance your overall experience.

Take Advantage of FastTrack

Consider purchasing FastTrack passes to bypass the regular queues for some of the most popular rides. This premium option can be a game-changer on busy days, saving you time and allowing you to experience more attractions. FastTrack can be especially valuable if you’re visiting for just one day and want to pack in as much fun as possible.

While FastTrack passes come at an additional cost, the investment can be worth it for the convenience and extra time it affords. Remember to check the availability and terms of use in advance, as there may be limitations on the number of rides or times you can use the service.

Pack Essentials

Preparing for a day at Drayton Manor means packing wisely. Visitors should bring sunscreen, rain gear, and comfortable footwear for exploring. A refillable water bottle keeps hydration in check, and snacks can stave off hunger between meal breaks. Don’t forget a camera or charged phone to capture memories amidst the fun.

For families, a change of clothes is crucial, especially for little ones keen on water rides. A small first aid kit with plasters and antiseptic wipes handles minor scrapes. Lastly, secure a backpack to store all essentials, ensuring hands remain free for thrill-seeking adventures.

Explore Themed Lands

Drayton Manor is a tapestry of themed lands, each offering unique attractions. Delve into Thomas Land, a paradise for younger guests with rides like Troublesome Trucks. Thrill-seekers gravitate towards The Shockwave, competing with the likes of Alton Towers and Thorpe Park for adrenaline rushes. Each land is an invitation to immerse in different worlds, from pirate adventures to prehistoric discoveries.

Guests should allocate time to traverse each area. Adventure Cove beckons with its maritime charm, while the 15-acre zoo offers encounters with exotic animals. Exploring these lands is not just about the rides; it’s about the atmosphere, the shows, and the chance to create lasting memories.

Stay for the Evening Events

As dusk settles, Drayton Manor transforms with evening events that captivate visitors. Staying late means enjoying the park in a different light—literally. Seasonal fireworks, light shows, and extended ride times add an extra layer of excitement to the Drayton Manor experience.

For those looking to make it a multi-day adventure, the Drayton Manor Hotel offers convenient, comfortable accommodations. With themed rooms and easy park access, guests can relish in the park’s evening offerings before retreating to a restful night’s sleep, ready to do it all over again the next day.

Practical Information

Visitors need practical details to plan their trip effectively.

Opening Hours

The park’s opening hours vary seasonally, typically starting at 10:00 am. Closing times can extend into the evening during peak summer months or special events. Checking the latest schedule online before visiting is highly recommended.

Entry Fees

Drayton Manor offers a range of ticket options, from daily passes to annual memberships. Prices vary, with discounts often available for online bookings. Family and group rates provide additional savings, making it more affordable for everyone to enjoy the park’s offerings.

Best Times to Visit

For smaller crowds and shorter queues, mid-week visits during term time are ideal. Peak times include weekends, bank holidays, and school holidays. Early spring and late autumn can offer a quieter experience, while special events throughout the year draw larger crowds but add unique entertainment.

Facilities available

The park caters to guests’ convenience with various facilities, including a toy shop, changing facilities, and designated areas for nursing mothers.


Ample parking is available for guests, with dedicated spaces for disabled visitors. Parking fees apply, but season pass holders may be eligible for free or discounted rates. It’s advisable to purchase theme park tickets in advance and plan to arrive early for the best parking spots.

Cash points

Several cash points are strategically placed throughout the park, ensuring visitors can easily access cash for purchases. It’s a good idea to carry some cash, as some stalls or smaller vendors may not accept card payments.


Well-maintained restrooms are positioned across the park for convenience. Facilities are regularly cleaned, ensuring a comfortable experience for all guests. Baby changing areas and accessible toilets cater to the needs of families and visitors with disabilities.

Wheelchair and Children’s Buggy Hire

Wheelchair and children’s buggy hire services are available to ensure all guests can navigate the park with ease. It’s wise to book these in advance, especially during peak seasons, to guarantee availability on arrival.

Safety and Etiquette

Adherence to park rules ensures a safe, enjoyable visit for everyone.

Follow Ride Restrictions

Each ride at Drayton Manor has specific restrictions for safety reasons. Height and age limits are enforced to protect guests, with information readily available at each attraction and in the guide to Drayton Manor. It’s crucial to respect these rules to prevent accidents or injuries.

For families with small children, the family coaster offers a gentler experience. Meanwhile, thrill rides like The Shockwave are designed for those seeking a more intense adventure. Always check the restrictions before queuing to avoid disappointment.

Secure Belongings

With the excitement of the park, it’s easy to misplace personal items. Lockers are available for securing valuables, and it’s sensible to use them, especially when riding coasters or water attractions. Keeping belongings zipped up and close to the body helps prevent loss or theft.

Staff are always on hand to assist with any issues regarding belongings. Guests are reminded to check their seats and storage areas before leaving a ride to ensure nothing is left behind. A little vigilance goes a long way in keeping possessions safe.

Stay Hydrated

When exploring Drayton Manor Theme Park, it’s essential to keep hydration in mind. With all the excitement and activity, it’s easy to forget to drink water, but staying hydrated is key to maintaining energy levels and overall health during your visit. Water fountains are available throughout the park, and visitors can also purchase bottled water at various kiosks and restaurants.

For those staying at the Drayton Manor Hotel, remember to fill up your water bottles before heading out. The hotel can provide guests with additional water supplies, ensuring that you can start your day of adventure fully hydrated. In the warmer months, this becomes even more critical to prevent heat exhaustion and keep the fun going from start to finish.

Be Patient and Courteous

Patience and courtesy are virtues that go a long way in enhancing the experience for everyone at Drayton Manor. It’s important to remember that the park can get quite busy, especially during peak times. Waiting in line is part of the theme park experience, so it’s best to remain calm and treat fellow visitors and staff with kindness and respect.

While in queues for rides or attractions, engage in friendly conversation with your group or use the time to plan the rest of your day. Keep in mind that the park staff are there to help and ensure your safety, so following their instructions and showing appreciation for their efforts contributes to a positive atmosphere for all.

Follow Dress Code

Drayton Manor has a dress code in place to ensure the safety and comfort of all guests. Appropriate clothing such as tops, bottoms, and shoes must be worn at all times. When planning your visit, it’s best to opt for practical and comfortable attire that is suitable for the day’s weather conditions and the activities you plan to engage in.

For those intending to experience water rides like Stormforce 10, consider quick-drying clothes or packing a change of outfit. Always wear closed-toe shoes, especially when riding thrill rides, to avoid any injuries. Adhering to the dress code not only ensures your safety but also shows respect for the park’s operational guidelines.

Queue Responsibly

Responsible queuing is crucial for an orderly and enjoyable visit. This means staying in line, respecting personal space, and being patient as you wait for your turn. Avoid queue-jumping or saving spots, as this can cause frustration among other guests. Remember, rides like the family coaster Troublesome Trucks are worth the wait, and following the guide to Drayton Manor’s queue etiquette makes for a pleasant experience for everyone.


Drayton Manor offers a variety of dining options that cater to all tastes, ensuring that guests can enjoy a range of local specialities and international cuisines. The Burger Kitchen, for example, is a popular choice among visitors, serving up classic burgers with a local twist. Made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients, these burgers are a must-try.

For those looking for a traditional British experience, the park offers classic fish and chips, pies, and other hearty meals. Vegetarian and healthier options are also widely available, ensuring that every visitor finds something to their liking. Additionally, several snack kiosks are scattered throughout the park, perfect for grabbing a quick bite in between rides.

Visitors with a sweet tooth won’t be disappointed either, with a selection of treats like ice cream and candy floss on offer. The park’s restaurants and food stands proudly showcase the best of local Staffordshire fare, providing an authentic taste of the region while catering to the needs of an international clientele.


After a day full of thrills, guests have a variety of accommodation options to choose from, ensuring a comfortable stay within proximity to the park.

Drayton Manor Hotel

Located behind the carousel, the Drayton Manor Hotel offers convenient and comfortable lodging for visitors. This 4-star hotel provides a variety of rooms and suites to suit different needs, many of which offer stunning views of the park. Guests of the hotel also receive a hand stamp upon entry, allowing them easy re-entry to the park throughout their stay.

Premier Inn Tamworth Central Hotel

The Premier Inn Tamworth Central Hotel is another excellent choice for visitors seeking accommodation close to Drayton Manor. Known for its comfortable rooms and friendly service, this hotel ensures a good night’s sleep after a day of excitement. With its central location, guests can also easily explore the attractions of Tamworth.

Travelodge Tamworth Central

Travelodge Tamworth Central provides guests with affordable and comfortable lodging options. Just a short drive from Drayton Manor, it’s a convenient base for those looking to make the most of their theme park adventure. Its central location allows for easy access to nearby shops and restaurants as well.

Nearby Attractions

Apart from the theme park itself, Staffordshire and the surrounding area boast numerous attractions for those looking to extend their adventure beyond Drayton Manor.

Snowdonia Rock Climbing Course

If you’re seeking an adventure in the great outdoors, the Snowdonia Rock Climbing Course is an exhilarating experience not to be missed. Just a drive away, this attraction offers courses for climbers of all abilities, providing breathtaking views and the thrill of scaling natural rock faces. Certified instructors guide participants through the techniques and safety measures, ensuring a memorable and secure climbing adventure.

Whether you’re a seasoned climber or trying it for the first time, the Snowdonia Rock Climbing Course presents a fantastic opportunity to challenge yourself and enjoy the natural beauty of the region. With a range of routes and difficulties, every climber can find a path that suits their skill level and allows them to fully embrace the rugged landscape of Snowdonia.

Birmingham’s Public Art

A visit to Birmingham’s Public Art offers a cultural complement to the thrills of Drayton Manor. The city is adorned with a myriad of public artworks that range from classical sculptures to modern installations. These pieces reflect Birmingham’s rich history and vibrant contemporary art scene, making for an enlightening and visually appealing experience.

Guided Tour Of Street Art In Birmingham

For art enthusiasts, a Guided Tour of Street Art in Birmingham should not be missed. These tours offer a deep dive into the city’s dynamic street art scene, showcasing murals and graffiti from local and international artists. The tours are conducted by knowledgeable guides who provide insights into the artworks and the culture surrounding urban art.

Private Birmingham Canal Kayak Tour

For a unique perspective of Birmingham, consider a Private Birmingham Canal Kayak Tour. Paddling through the historic canals offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, allowing visitors to glide past industrial heritage sites, modern architecture, and lush greenery. The private nature of the tour ensures a personalized experience, tailored to the interests of the group.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the biggest ride in Drayton Manor?

The title of the biggest ride in Drayton Manor Park firmly belongs to The Shockwave. Towering over the park, this stand-up roller coaster is not only the largest in the park but also one of the few of its kind in Europe. Riders are in for an electrifying experience with loops and twists that defy gravity, all while standing up. The Shockwave’s impressive stature makes it a beacon for thrill-seekers, and it’s often the first ride spotted as visitors approach the park entrance.

Who lived at Drayton Manor?

Before becoming the beloved Drayton Manor Theme Park, the estate was home to the Peel family, notably Sir Robert Peel, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and the founder of the Metropolitan Police Service. The manor house, which once stood on the grounds, was a symbol of the family’s prominence in the 19th century. However, the original manor was demolished in the 1920s, paving the way for the transformation of the estate into the amusement park we know today.

Can adults go to Drayton Manor?

Drayton Manor Park is a destination designed for visitors of all ages, including adults who can enjoy a wide array of attractions beyond the colourful rides of Thomas Land. The park boasts adrenaline-pumping roller coasters and immersive 4D experiences that cater to a more mature audience. Adults visiting without young children will find the park’s variety of attractions, from high-speed rides to tranquil picnic areas, perfectly suited to their preferences.


Drayton Manor Theme Park offers a wealth of experiences for all ages, with attractions that cater to thrill-seekers and families alike. From the adrenaline-pumping Shockwave to the child-friendly delights of Thomas Land, there’s something to capture the imagination of every visitor. Remember, some experiences operate on a first-come, first-served basis, so it’s wise to book your tickets in advance and arrive early to make the most of your day. Also, don’t forget to capture the memories with ride photos available for purchase, creating lasting souvenirs of your adventures.

For those with children under 12, the park is not just about the rides; it’s an opportunity to create magical memories, whether that’s watching their faces light up in the 4D Cinema or enjoying a family meal at Safari Pizza and Pasta. With thoughtful planning and a spirit of adventure, a visit to Drayton Manor can be a truly unforgettable experience, combining the charm of Staffordshire’s countryside with the excitement of one of the UK’s favourite theme parks.

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