Blue Mountain Mystery at Drayton Manor

17 Sep

Summer without my car has been difficult, we’ve really missed all the little trips out that we’re used to. The farm, country park, the beach; all journeys of twenty minutes or less which would take up to two hours to do using public transport. Needless to say, we’ve spent a lot of the summer at home, or doing the fifteen minute bus ride to the nearest park. As the end of summer was rapidly approaching, I knew we had no chance of a proper holiday but I really wanted to take son somewhere special, even if it was only for one day.

While I was busy looking for somewhere for us to go, a rather fabulous offer landed in my inbox. I wondered if it would be possible for us to accept as it would be quite a long journey and not one that I fancied tackling by train. But Grandad came to our rescue and offered to drive if I could sort everything else. So, that was it; we were going to Drayton Manor Park, home to Thomas Land, to see a special 4D screening of the brand new Thomas & Friends movie, ‘Blue Mountain Mystery’. Now if that’s not a special day out, I don’t know what is.

Drayton Manor is over three hours drive from here. I thought son would be too tired to fully enjoy his day after such a long time sat in the car, so we travelled down the day before and stayed in a hotel. With just a short drive to the Park in the morning, we were there shortly after opening at 9.30 and got a car parking space close to the entrance. The first thing son spotted as we parked the car was Cranky the crane, just visible through the trees.

“Look mammy! Cranky! It’s really Cranky!”

We were lucky that it was a quiet morning so we didn’t have to queue to get our tickets, we were through the main entrance and into Thomas Land in about five minutes. The rides didn’t actually start operating until 10.30, but we had a nice stroll around Thomas Land so that son could say hello to all the engines before heading into the zoo.

We didn’t spend very long here. Partly because I’m not a huge fan of animals in cages, partly because son was just too excited about Thomas Land. He didn’t care that the rides weren’t running, he just wanted to be there. Not that I can blame him, Thomas Land is brilliant!

The island of Sodor is really brought to life with the rides themed around favourite characters. Harold treated us to a helicopter ride, Bulstrode rocked us at Sodor docks and crazy Bertie bus took us on no ordinary bus ride! Our favourite by far was the Troublesome Trucks runaway coaster. I thought it might be a bit much for son, but he insisted on having a ride and then proved me wrong by laughing and chuckling the whole way round. I even bought the photo that was taken mid-ride as he loved it so much.

After that, we needed an ice cream, which was a perfectly timed decision as the Fat Controller and his brand new Station Mistress were just about to start a live show from his office balcony. Son enjoyed the songs and joining in with the ‘toot-toots’ and ‘peep-peeps’, but was not too impressed when the clown arrived and so we had to make a sharp exit. Not to worry though, as it was nearly time for the movie.

We made our way over to the 4D cinema where we were given some popcorn and bottled water before having a play with some fabulous new Thomas & Friends toys, which have been brought out to tie-in with the movie. The Fat Controller was also there chatting to everyone and I was quite surprised when son, unprompted, strolled over and offered him some popcorn! He wouldn’t give me any! It wasn’t long before the cinema doors opened and we took our seats.

In his latest adventure, Thomas is sent to work at the Blue Mountain Quarry where he spots an engine that he’s never seen before trying to hide. Thomas wants to know who this engine is and why he’s hiding but, well, it’s a mystery so I won’t spoil it for you! The 4D aspect of the film added a little extra fun with moving seats, bubbles and splashes of water and I thought it was good that the sound levels were slightly lower than other cinemas we’ve been to, making it perfect for little ears. Son loved the new movie, he has watched the DVD several times at home and still sits captivated all the way through. The theme tune is quite catchy and does have a habit of sticking in your head for the rest of the day though!

A quick bite to eat and we were ready to explore some more of the Park. We loved the pirate themed rides and the view from the Big Wheel was amazing. We had a ride on the carousel and popped back into Thomas Land to buy a gift for my nephew from the huge Thomas shop there. We put our feet up in the sunshine with a nice cuppa before heading back to the car for the long drive home. Son must have been exhausted, he was fast asleep in about ten minutes.

It really was a fantastic day out. We probably only covered half of the park and there were some rides in Thomas Land that we didn’t have time to go on either. I was really impressed by the amount of child-friendly rides there. Even though son is only three, he could go on every ride in Thomas Land and quite a few in the rest of Drayton Manor, although he had to be accompanied by an adult for some of them. I would love to take son back for the Magical Christmas at Thomas Land, I’m not sure we’ll manage it this year but we will definitely be visiting again.

*                    *                    *

For more information on Drayton Manor Park and Thomas Land, please visit

You can find out more about the Blue Mountain Mystery here:

Thomas and Friends can also be found on Facebook and Twitter

All opinions are honest and our own. We were given entry into Drayton Manor Park and the 4D screening, and a lovely goody bag free of charge for this review.


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