A Magical Christmas Day Out at Drayton Manor

Finding a Christmas day out can be a bit of a minefield, especially when you have a large range of ages to keep happy.

We were invited to Drayton Manor, home of Thomas Land, for a magical Christmas experience and we were not disappointed.

This was our first visit to Drayton Manor at Christmas and they had completely transformed Thomas Land into a winter wonderland, complete with snow on the roofs, christmas decorations and characters wandering around to meet and greet the children.


There was also guaranteed snowfall over the Island of Sodor which the kids were delighted with as we danced along with The Fat Controller and all his Fungineer friends during their show – even Abbey got dragged up to join in.


All the rides in Thomas Land were open and it was so quite we were literally walking onto each one without having to queue which meant the kids never got bored or cold.

Thomas Land

Thomas was decorated with fair lights and cute antlers and the train ride was decorated with Christmas scenes as you travelled from Knapford to Farmer McColl’s Farm.

The larger rides for teens are not open, however you can still visit the zoo, ride on Ben 10 Rollercoaster and experience the Polar Express in the 4D cinema.

Drayton Manor

We were booked in to see Father Christmas at 4pm and were surprised to find no queue at all. We were greeted at the door by a friendly elf who chatted to the children before letting us inside.


You enter a large room with a stack of real toys in front of you with another elf explains that he has been making and are then ushered into a room to meet Father Christmas. Eagle eyed parents will notice there is more than one room but the kids were so transfixed by the toys that they didn’t notice.

I have to say that although the journey to see Father Christmas was a little uninspiring, the visit itself was fantastic. He engaged with the children, took a genuine interest in what they were saying and chatted to them for around 5 minutes.


Santa’s gift to them was a white paper bag which contained a golden ticket to return to Drayton Manor next year, a huge (and I mean HUGE) gold chocolate coin and a cuddly elf which they were instructed to look after and place on the window sill of their bedroom on Christmas Eve so he knew where to deliver their presents.


If you are looking for an experience that lasts the whole day then this is for you. The park closes at 5pm and finishes with a fantastic Christmas parade and show and then fireworks over the lake.

Park entry plus a visit to see Father Christmas costs £12 for age 2-3, £17 for age 4-11 and £22 for age 12+ which is very reasonable considering everything they have on offer – find out more on the website: DraytonManor.co.uk

The Places We Will Go

All New VertiGO at Drayton Manor

Isaac is fast following his Dad and big brothers footsteps in becoming a bit of an adrenalin junkie, so when I told him that we were visiting the new High Ropes attraction at Drayton Manor he was very excited.

We set off from a beautifully sunny Bournemouth on Saturday morning full of excitement about what was to come, until just 15 minutes from Drayton Manor when the heavens literally opened. We feared torrential rain might scupper our plans, but thankfully after waiting the storm out for half an hour or so, the rain stopped and it was time to climb.

VertiGO is situated just down the hill from the theme park’s on-site hotel, and you don’t even need tickets to the park to be able to try it out. From afar the VertiGo High Rope Adventure looks like a giant climbing frame, only one where adults and children can climb safely whilst attached to a special harness. Unlike some high ropes courses there is no clipping on and clipping off making it a seamless experience

After watching a short safety video, those that were climbing were geared up in safety harnesses. Hubby and Isaac were taking the VertiGO challenge whereas Eliza and Sebastian were testing out VertiGO Tots, which allows younger climbers the chance to test their balance and agility on a low-level course. Hubby and Isaac were the first to go.


It is safe to say that Isaac has no fear! There are two levels to VertiGo, a lower and an upper level with various rope challenges and instead of gradually building up to the challenge but doing the lower level first, Isaac was straight up the top. They had 30 minutes to navigate the course at their leisure and they must have tried every single route in that time – no circuit is the same.


The zip wire was the firm favourite of the day though and they headed back to both the high one and low one time and time again.

Whilst the boys raced around the high ropes, it was my job to supervise the little ones on VertiGO Tots. Like Hubby and Isaac they were put in harnesses before being allowed onto the course which puts agility to the test with rope bridges and balance beams. We have done a similar course before at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and Eliza was off, zooming around without a care in the world.

Vertigo Tots

In fact Eliza tried to make it more interesting by swinging on the harness which isn’t allowed – I think she would have preferred the bigger course but she didn’t want to do it. Sebastian on the other hand was a little more cautious and demanded I hold his hand as he started off.

VertiGo Tots

The course is designed so that you can pop in and out and help your child as you go by lifting barriers, which is great for more cautious children like Sebby. Once he realised he couldn’t fall, he was off and although not running around like his sister, was happily tackling the rope bridges and walkways. He only lasted about 10 minutes though as he wasn’t keen on wearing the harness.

To do the VertiGo course children must be 1.2m (4ft) or taller to climb without adult supervision and those between 1m and 1.2m must be accompanied by a responsible paying adult and stay within arm’s length at all times. The maximum individual weight for VertiGo is 21 stone (136kg).

For VertiGo Tots children must be aged two and above and no taller than 1.2m (4ft). Participants must have a responsible adult with them.

Entry to VertiGO is not included in the price of an admission ticket to Drayton Manor and I recommend you buy your tickets online before your visit as it costs from £3 for VertiGO tots and from £5 for VertiGO.

Sin Cara

WWE Barclaycard Arena – Birmingham

There are three things that Isaac adores at the moment – WWE, Doctor Who and Ghostbusters.

Sadly Dr Who is off our screens at the moment and we have to wait until July for the new Ghostbusters so there was only thing left for a pre-birthday treat, a trip to see WWE Live when it arrived in Birmingham last weekend.

The WrestleMania Revenge Tour is currently on tour of the UK and includes episodes of both Raw and SmackDown, much to the Hubby and the boys delight.

We arrived in Birmingham in good time so decided to have a bite to eat in Gourmet Burger Kitchen which was pricey but delicious. We were convinced we were sat next to a star of WWE but sadly have no idea who it was apart from the fact he was huge and had a very expensive looking watch!

We have been to WWE before but there has never been anything to do other than eat or shop. This time Isaac got to pose with a WWE Championship Belt and see his photo up on the WWE Kids facebook page and check his height against some cardboard cut outs of his favourite stars.

WWE Birmimgham

The venue was packed and the atmosphere can only be described as lively with adults and children all eager for the action to begin. The first match was between the wrestler we all love to hate Stardust against the king of the spins Cesaro. During the match there were some funny moments with stardust and Cesaro won after the Cesaro Swing!

Stardust Vs Cesaro

Next up was one of Isaac’s favourites – Sin Cara from the Lucha Dragons who was to fight Tyler Breeze. Sin Cara won with a Swanton but Breeze got on the mic saying he wouldn’t leave until he got a victory selfie. It went all dark and then out came Jack Swagger who beat Breeze really quickly with an ankle lock.

Sin Cara

The next match was Kane vs Rusev. I have to admit that this was a match that went on a little too long for our liking with Kane finally winning with a chokeslam.

Kane vs Rusev

Thankfully the next match was much more fun with the WWE Tag Team Championship featuring the brilliant New Day, who made the best entrance of the night complete with a trombone and swagger, versus Braun Strowman and Erick Rowan of the Wyatt’s. Their entrance was just as good as the lights went out before the they came in and the whole arena lit up with everyone lifting their phone on high – it was a real spectacle to behold. Of course is was the New Day who won with their double finish!

New Day

A break followed with the chance to stretch the legs and a comfort stop before the second half of the evening commenced with Hubby and the teen’s favourites – the Diva’s. Charlotte who came out with Ric Flair, beat Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch to retain the WWE Women’s Title.

WWE Diva's

The first time we saw WWE Live, Kian really enjoyed the USO Twins and much to his delight they were back tonight versus the Dudley Boys.  The Dudley’s teased by offering tables but sadly they never appeared, despite the crowd shouting “We want Tables” and the Uso’s won after double super kick.

Dudley's vs Uso's

The final match of the night belonged to the WWE World Heavyweight Championship between Seamus and Roman Reigns. I was really surprised when both men were booed, although Seamus fully deserved it for winding up the Birmingham audience with jibes about being no longer in the Premier League. I have to admit that I like Roman Reigns so was really pleased when he won and I have nothing but admiration for him as instead of heading out of the ring and straight back to his dressing room after his victory, he stopped and signed autographs and posed for selfies with his fans for a really long time. I am just disappointed that we couldn’t get close ourselves.

Seamus vs Reigns

All in all it was a brilliant night out and we are hoping to get to NXT in June at Bournemouth International Centre.

Disclaimer: We were guests of WWE and received a family ticket for the purpose of a review, all thoughts are our own.

Thomas Land

A Winter Visit to Thomas Land

We were first introduced to Drayton Manor when Sebby was a newborn but it was our second visit where we really fell in love with Thomas Land and all the park had to offer. There is nothing better than seeing your child gasp with awe and excitement around every corner as they spot their favourite characters around every corner.

Last weekend we were invited to Drayton Manor, home of Thomas Land for an exclusive event where we got to ride our favourite characters before members of the public were allowed which meant no queues, not that I have ever found them that long on our previous visits.

We followed Sebby’s lead and soon found ourselves flying high aboard Jeremy’s Air Academy.

Thomas Land

Flynn’s Fire and Rescue was next up, although it was too cold to shoot the water jets we enjoyed the ride all the same. Sadly Sebby was just too short to ride Captain’s Sea Adventure, so we watched and waved to Abbey, Isaac and Eliza instead before another flying lesson but this time aboard Harold the helicopter.

Thomas Land

Nothing would persuade the older kids to go on the troublesome trucks rollercoaster although they did bravely ride Bertie Bus and Diesel’s Locomotive Mayhem for the first time, before a more gentle drive in Sodor’s Classic Cars and Winston.

Thomas Land

Around Thomas Land there are a few booth’s where you can win prizes and we decided to have a go at the hook a duck. The joy on Sebby’s face when he won, with Abbey’s help, a James cuddly toy was brilliant and seconds later he met Sir Toppam Hatt too – that was certainly the highlight of his day.

Thomas Land

No trip to Thomas Land would be complete without a ride on some trains and we also boarded the Blue Mountain Engines and got to ride in Clarabel, pulled by Thomas of course.

Thomas Land

At the other end of the line is the chance to ride on Terence the Tractor and see the Thomas & Friends™ Exhibition in Farmer McColls Farm.

Thomas Land

Sadly the bigger rides at Drayton Manor were closed, but the zoo was open and we got to see some very real looking dinosaurs as well as snakes, monkey’s, meerkats, lynx and a rather hungry looking black panther who was pacing his cage.

Drayton Manor

I was really impressed with the facilities in the park too. The toilets and baby changing rooms were modern, warm and clean and the restaurants served reasonably priced food with a family meal deal costing £20 for four (season pass holders also get a 20% discount on food and in the shops).

Thomas Land

It may have been a cold and grey day, but it felt warm and sunny thanks to the excitement of all the children and we cannot wait to come back soon, do some of the bigger rides too and experience the what the rest of the park has to offer.

We were invited to Drayon Manor Theme Park as guests in exchange for this post.  This is our entry for the brand ambassador role for 2016.  


WWE Birmingham Review

As Isaac gets older I have noticed that he is becoming more decisive about what he likes and doesn’t like and over the last two weeks he has been very lucky to go to two events which he follows with a passion – Doctor Who Festival and WWE Live.

We were super lucky to be invited to WWE when it visited Birmingham and it was bigger and better than when we saw it come to Bournemouth earlier this year.

Held in the Genting Arena it was a half hour hike from the car park to the venue, but surrounded by excited WWE fans it didn’t feel that long. Inside there were merchandise stands selling tour t-shirts, masks, championships belts and other memorabilia. Isaac had brought his Lucha Dragon mask to wear but Daddy bought him a Finn Bala Mask and a children’s t-shirt too. We were a bit disappointed by the children’s range as they only had one style of t-shirt and it was still ten times too big for Isaac – he will grow into it one day!

WWE Birmingham

The venue soon filled up, the lights dimmed and the music started pumping at full volume…………it was time to begin. The announcer introduced the first wrestler to the stage, WWE legend Ric Flair, who proceeded to whip the crowd into a frenzy before the first fight began with New Day and the Dudley Boys taking to the stage.


As with all WWE flights it was mixed with acrobatics, humour and playing up to the audience. There were lots of shouts of “We want tables” and they didn’t disappoint.

Next on stage was the self-styled hearthrob The Miz who was met with boos and jeers from the crowd, followed by Cesaro who was met with cheers. It was a fun fight to watch as no winner was clear until Cesaro finally got the upper hand and finished with his famous Cesaro spin move where he managed to spin The Miz over 30 times!!

WWE Birmingham

The Irish contingent were next with Finn Balour vs Shaemus. It was a feisty fight although Shaemus did stop at one point to wind up the crowd who had been shouting “You look stupid” in reference to his quirky hairstyle.

WWE Birmingham

Next up was probably my favourite match of the evening for its pure comedy. Bo Dallas came into the ring all cocky and was beaten in seconds by Curtis Axel. A little shocked that he had been beaten so quickly he requested another opponent and R-Truth arrived. Bo Dallas then proceeded to do the cheesiest dance off I have ever seen to “I’m too sexy” and was completely out-danced by R-Truth who was dancing to “Billie Jean” with the fans were cheering for him. Dallas then attacked Truth. Truth was down momentarily, but rushed back to his feet delivering the “Lie Detector” to Dallas, picking up a victory. Poor Bo was beaten twice that evening and walked off humiliated.

WWE Birmingham

The final bout of the first half was Kane vs Big Show and I have to admit that it did go on a little too long. It did feel like they were stringing it out, but the boys seemed to enjoy it nonetheless.

WWE Birmingham

After a much-needed break it was straight back into the action and my elder travelling companions, Hubby, Kian and my BIL Mark were very excited by the fact it was the Diva’s up next. British girl Paige was to referee and it was the Brie Bella and Alesha Fox vs Charlotte and Becky Lynch. It all got very feisty very quickly and even Paige joined in with the fighting at one point, triggering a male ref to come legging it onto stage.

WWE Birmingham

It was now the turn of Tyler Breeze who was accompanied on stage by Summer Rae. He was to fight Dolph Ziggler and Summer tried to get in on the action by wacking Ziggler around the head with her stiletto. She was sent packing and Ziggler finally won the match after a lot of to-ing and fro-ing.

WWE Birmingham

The final match of the evening saw Dean Ambrose defeated Kevin Owens by disqualification in a match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship, although half the WWE Wrestlers we had seen throughout the evening ended up in the ring for one final brawl, much to the delight of the crowd.

WWE Birmingham

For the final results of the evening see the WWE Live Events page here.