Drayton Manor Theme Park
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Drayton Manor’s a third of the size of nearby Alton Towers, but it has a friendlier, more personal feel, and still packs a lot into its 280 acres. The big rollercoaster here is Shockwave, an aqua green steel monster on which adrenaline junkies ride standing up (well, perched on a bike-saddle). Its swooping drop-over-the-rapids ride is a blast.
Other highlights include log-flume Stormforce 10, which supplies a soaking through three high-speed drops (including one backwards plunge). The Ben 10: Ultimate Mission rollercoaster is an ace family thrill and Thomas Land has more than a dozen rides lovingly themed around Thomas, Percy, Rosie and friends to cater for younger guests. Best avoided is G-Force, a compact coaster that’s more uncomfortable than exciting.
Apocalypse After being winched up a 170-foot drop-tower, riders plummet back to earth at 50mph, experiencing four seconds of freefall. It’s enough to turn even the most confident adrenaline junkie into a weeping wimp.
Don’t want to go home?
The on-site hotel – a four-star guesthouse – is sleek, stylish and comfortable. ‘Thomas & Friends’-themed rooms feature bunk beds, railway wallpaper and some hidden surprises, but can add a hefty sum to the price of your stay – and there’s no early ride access for hotel guests.
|Transport:||Rail: On the A4091 nr Jct 9 & 10 of the M42|
|Price:||£36 (from £20 online); £27 (from £13 online) children aged 4 to 11; £5 children aged 2 to 3; under-2s free|
|Opening hours:||2013 season: Mar 1-Nov 3: times vary, check the website for details|
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