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The National Student's Summer Day Out at... Drayton Manor

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Award-winning and renowned for catering for families, Drayton Manor has proven itself to be child friendly with attractions such as Thomas Land and three Best UK Attraction for Children awards to its name. With such a heavy focus on providing for kids, particular those under the age of 6, what’s left to accommodate for the UK’s student population?

Aside from a number of thrill rides designed to scare the bejesus out of you, the Staffordshire theme park is considerable cheaper than its closest rival Alton Towers. Coupled with a guarantee for a free return pass if it rains, it means it’s a great destination for the cash-strapped student looking for a day out with their pals.

Typically of the Great British weather, it rained for a massive part of the day. We got wet, not that it made a lot of difference after going on the parks ‘Stormforce 10’, a RNLI lifeboat based log flume and Splash Canyon, involving river rapids. However, it did mean that the park was far less busy then on a normal day during the summer holidays. With fewer crowds there were less queuesm, meaning we had to wait less than 20 minutes to get on all the anticipated thrill rides on our list. Yet, we still were easily occupied for the entire day.

First port of call was the Maelstrom, it being next to the entrance and dubbed “the perfect warm-up ride” to get us started. This spinning pendulum throws its victims around at a peak of 95o angles and was quickly followed by the classic adrenaline-inducing features of the park. That is, with the exception of the Apocalypse. Named the UK’s scariest ride by the Gadget Show, this 54m drop tower was just something I couldn’t hack. However, I redeemed myself by being hurled around 360o by the ‘World’s Best Stand-Up Roller Coaster’ Shockwave and its younger sister G-Force and volunteering to do so again.

The park’s new contender for 2014, Air Race, was a surprising addition to the thrill ride list. With its gaudy exterior, you would be forgiven for assuming it’s is aimed at young children. However this dark horse comes with a hefty height restriction of 1.2m and barrel roles willing punters until they are seeing stars with dizziness. Despite its child-friendly appearance, this is not for the faint-hearted.

The in-house zoo gave the perfect excuse to take a breather after lunch. Whilst I expected it to be quite a small attraction within the park, it is a commodity in itself; we spent at least an hour walking around and respectfully observing its residents. Surprisingly there is a completely detached atmosphere from the park as once we were on zoo grounds there was no exterior noise from terrified visitors on nearby rides. The peaceful ambience within the zoo is completely disconnected from the thrill-seeking world we’d just left, leaving us with the feeling that we’re visiting a zoo and not wandering around an attraction in a theme park.

Alongside the conservation of endangered species, the park actively engages in local conservation, participates in awareness days and raises awareness of different environmental issues and charities. It also provides fun and entertainment for all ages, including and especially the student market and is within easy reach of other tourist attractions throughout Staffordshire and the West Midlands. So book your tickets online for a discount and get yourself up there for a full day of fun and thrills.

http://www.draytonmanor.co.uk/




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