Days out diary - child friendly and family activities

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I've already written a review of taking children for a day out at Kirklees Light Railway, which had the regular engines from Kirklees Light Railway. Our second visit to the light railway was during a special day out with Thomas weekend, featuring Thomas the Tank Engine and some of his friends.

Thomas the Tank Engine at Kirklees Light Railway, Clayton West

The Kirklees Light Railway holds these events on about 5 weekends in the year with other railways using the engines at other times. We visited on the day of a England game during the 2010 World Cup, which may mean that this was less busy than similar weekends.

The day out with Thomas days are more expensive than the normal return tickets, but they include some extras in the price of the tickets.

In addition to the trip up the main track each child ticket gets 6 extra tokens marked on the ticket. These can be used for other activities including: Platform ride with Mavis and The Troublesome Truck, Short ride in Thomas / Toby train, ride on the sit-on miniature railway, face painting, bouncy castle and donkey rides.

Mavis and The Troublesome Truck platform ride - Thomas Day at KLR

There is also a children's playground at Clayton West and some other activities that are at Shelley (other end of the line) including bouncy castle, playground and a marquee with colouring, games and temporary tattoos.

The main train is sometimes pulled by Thomas the Tank Engine, but is normally pulled by Percy or one of the normal KLR engines such as Owl and Fox, which feature a smiley face.

Percy and Owl at KLR's Day out with Thomas

Day out with Thomas vs. Day out at Thomasland

For Thomas the Tank Engine fans it's a great day out, but how does it compare with a day out at Thomasland (Drayton Manor Theme Park)?

It's not really possible to make a direct comparison, but here are a few of the pros for Day out with Thomas at Kirklees Light Railway and Thomasland at Drayton Manor Theme Park.

Day out with Thomas at Kirklees Light Railway

  • Much cheaper (depending upon special offers at Thomasland)
  • Real steam trains (similar size engine to Thomasland main trains)
  • Longer train ride down a real former railway line
  • Meet Mavis and Toby
  • Ride in The Troublesome Truck
  • Up close and personal with the engines
  • Minimal queues

Thomas land at Drayton Manor Theme Park

  • More geared towards children
  • Better themed for a more "life like" visit to Sodor
  • Shorter train ride better for younger passengers
  • Lots more Thomas and Friends themed rides
  • Part of a much bigger Theme Park

Conclusion Thomasland vs. Day out with Thomas

For Thomas the Tank Engine fans both Thomasland and Day out with Thomas are great and kids with love them. Train enthusiasts will prefer the real steam trains at Kirklees Light Railway, but children will probably prefer the number of rides at Thomasland. My kids love both.

Thomasland is normally much more expensive, but there are some good discounts available at certain times and events at Thomasland.

Toby and Thomas at Day out with Thomas at Kirklees Light Railway in West Yorkshire

Thomas The Tank Engine and KLR related links