Shropshire Star

'We stayed in Drayton Manor Hotel - and one room in particular provided a wow factor'

Drayton Manor. You have to love it, don’t you?

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The Vikings Room

It has a knack of transporting this particular grown up back to simpler, childhood times.

I vividly recall my love of the cartoon series Mr Benn, a man who would visit a fancy-dress shop, try on a particular outfit and would, through a magic door at the back of the changing room, enter a world connected to the outfit he was wearing for an adventure.

The entrance to Drayton Manor feels like that changing room every time I visit because it draws you into many of those adventures you dreamed of as a child. It has pirate, dinosaur and Vikings themes. You can feel like a train driver – in Thomas Land – or a ghostbuster in The Haunting. Or you can imagine being a zookeeper.

Frontier Falls

And now it has a new look cowboy/girl area, called Frontier Falls to take you on a wild west adventure. If you added a space area, I think all childhood dreams would be covered.

Our trip to the theme park was made all the more special by staying in the Drayton Manor Hotel. This allowed us to really immerse ourselves into the whole experience.

Firstly, there’s a great vibe around the hotel. Guests are happy and staff are welcoming.

The hotel has a room for everyone – fun themed rooms, or modern and stylish.

The Vikings Room

Themed rooms include those devoted to Thomas the Tank Engine – magical for the younger children in your life – but we were lucky enough to stay in a Viking-themed one and it had a real wow factor.

As soon as you enter, all of the surroundings catch your eye. A double bed resembles a Viking warship with a big flag above it and the walls are covered in Viking-themed decor.

The bed was an impressive sight

My daughter Eleanor, 11, was also thrilled that both bunk beds had their own TVs – although at Drayton Manor, you have little need for screen time.

Our bottom floor room looked onto a lovely park area, with a great little play spot for children and, during our stay, we also discovered a hidden gem – a very challenging but equally fun crazy 12-hole golf course which guests can use. This was something we really enjoyed as we whiled away an honour after eating an evening meal.

The katsu curry

That delightful dinner was in The Brasserie, which has great menus for adults and children alike. The wild mushroom risotto, with wild rocket and truffle essence particularly got the thumbs up from me, while my partner Amy enjoy a katsu curry. There were plenty of children's options too.

The risotto

The hotel also served a top notch breakfast – from your bacon, sausage and eggs, to cereal, as well as fruit and pastries to provide the perfect start to a busy day. Guests also receive a visit in the morning from Sir Topham Hatt, much to the delight of younger guests.

The beauty of staying at the hotel is you can simply stroll down to the theme park when it suits and you can have an exclusive half an hour inside before the main gates open to get your bearings.

As a theme park, Drayton Manor really does have something for everyone and the potential for growth means there’s always something new on the horizon.

Frontier Falls was a recent addition, with buildings in that section, while Accelerator was having a revamp and receiving brightly coloured wild west facades, including a county jail – perfect for a picture opportunity.

Frontier Falls

The cinema has been reimagined as The Falls Theatre, a state-of-the-art 4D venue, which sees visitors transported to into the zany world of their favourite characters – Wile E Coyote and Road Runner – as part of a sensory experience.

The Blasting Barrels & Co ride also provides a Western twist on the classic teacup ride while the Sheriff’s Showdown is an interactive shoot-out ride to challenge co-ordination and reflexes.

It’s another welcome addition to the park, although it feels like there’s perhaps scope to improve it further with more cowboy actors and themed games around the area to draw more people in. A new ride, currently under construction is due to launch in the future, which will attract more people to this part of the park.

Eleanor Panter at Drayton Manor

Thomas Land continues to bring joy to those who visit, of course, with its wide range of rides and interactive shows, while thrill-seekers can enjoy the reimagined Shockwave – now The Wave, plus Maelstrom, Accelerator and Stormforce 10.

For those needing to relax while other adenaline-seekers rush around, a walk around the zoo is a great way to while away some time but for us, in keeping with our themed room, the Viking area of the park was particularly popular, in particular Loki and Jormungandr. Personally, this cowardly Viking prefers to watch people on Thor.

By including a night’s stay at the hotel – a ‘stay and play’ experience if you like – it was definitely my favourite Drayton Manor visit. Visits here create memories to last a lifetime and this trip was no different.

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