JC Stays: Drayton Manor Hotel, Tamworth, Staffordshire

All aboard for a Thomas the Tank engine-themed family break


“Choo choo,” squealed my youngest as we followed the carpeted train tracks to the door of our room, a big hint as to what might be inside.

Drayton Manor Hotel, set in 280 acres of lakes and parkland, was the former residence of Prime Minister, Sir Robert Peel. Today, its close proximity to Drayton Manor theme park, home to the only Thomas Land in Europe, tempts most guests.

And, much to the delight of my two boys, we were booked into one of the hotel’s Thomas the Tank Engine themed rooms.

Unsurprisingly popular with kids there are 15 of them, each uniquely decorated, among the 150 rooms at this four-star hotel.

Ours was a family space of two halves. For the grown ups, a piece of artwork of a sleeping Thomas hung by our double bed, a subtle nod to the famous train.

Over on the children’s side it was a very different story. Their bunk bed was flamboyantly decorated with a large plastic-embossed Thomas, with each berth individually kitted out with a Thomas blanket and DVD player; DVDs are available to borrow from reception.

Opposite, a hand-painted mural depicted Thomas chugging through rolling countryside, past farmyard animals, with his friend Harold the Helicopter flying above. A painted ticket office adorned the adjacent wall, complete with its very own attendant.

White fluffy clouds floated on the ceiling and the carpet had a train motif. There was even Thomas bubble bath in the bathroom.

At bedtime, almost too excited to sleep, there were snuggles with the boys’ new Rory the lion soft toys, Drayton Manor’s mascot. Part of the welcome bags they’d been given on arrival, these were packed full of Thomas goodies including a travel toothbrush, colouring book and crayons.

A character breakfast the following morning was also part of our stay and play package. If it weren’t for the buffet of cereals, fruit, pastries and a cooked breakfast - I asked for vegetarian sausages that were specially prepared for me - I’d have thought we were at a children’s party. 

‘Gonna do the Thomas peep’ sang Sir Topham Hatt, the Fat Controller. Music blared in the background as he and his assistant, Freddie, taught their captivated young audience, wearing party hats, a dance routine.

There’s plenty here to keep kids entertained whatever the time of day. During peak season, on Saturday nights there’s a disco, arts and crafts or face painting, activities vary depending on the age of the guests.

Outside the boys let off steam running around the big grass lawn and play area, complete with swings, a wooden slide and roundabout, while we had a drink on the restaurant’s terrace.

The turreted hotel itself has a functional, business feel about it. But there’s a Thomas gift shop by the reception, along with other little touches; a ride-on Thomas train located by the lifts, a glass-enclosed Thomas carousel by the main entrance are giveaways to the real reason you’re staying here.

“It’s a bit cool,” said my toddler. And if the kids love it you will too.


Like this? Sign up for more with our JC Life newsletter, coming soon

From fabulous recipes, to parenting tips;  travel and West End entertainment; insightful interviews and much more: there’s more to  the JC than news

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive