IT may have been one of the wettest days on record – with something like a month’s rain falling in 24 hours – but it would have taken more than a bit of drizzle to dampen the Christmas spirit at Drayton Manor Theme Park.

Horrendous weather was forecast, but we were on our way to meet Father Christmas at the park’s Magical Christmas event, so we – me, my brother, and his children, Caitlin, seven, and Kieran, four – pulled on our wellies and wrapped up warm, and somehow managed to ignore the raindrops dripping from our noses as we immersed ourselves well and truly in the festivities.

Drayton Manor, near Tamworth in Staffordshire, is around two hours from Swindon, but as far as the little ones were concerned it was every inch the North Pole.

This year’s festive theme is the Knight Before Christmas, and the park’s existing Excalibur ride has become the home of Santa and his elves. Adorned with icicles and snow-capped turrets, and covered in twinkling lights inside and out, Excalibur is the setting for a mystical tale about St Nicholas who was made a knight and asked to look after a magical dragon egg.

Visitors are taken on a journey through the grotto until they arrive at Father Christmas’s lodge, where good little girls and boys are given a storybook to take away.

As well as the magical castle, the park is showing a shortened 4D version of the Polar Express Christmas film, featuring the voice of Tom Hanks as the conductor. I don’t want to give too much away, but let’s just say we didn’t exactly escape the soaking when we settled down for a bumpy ride.

The screening was followed by a glittering firework display over the enchanted castle, which is suitable for young children.

The bigger thrill rides at the park are closed for the winter, but little ones will love Thomas Land, home to 20 rides and attractions based on the popular Thomas & Friends series. There’s festive music, live shows, decorations and machines which make it snow three times a day (even when it rains!) In addition, Drayton’s Ben 10: Ultimate Mission roller coaster is open during the festive season. We weren’t brave enough to give it a try, but the roller coaster launches riders forwards on their first tour of the 180m track, hitting speeds of 55kph and a G-force of 3, before returning travelling backwards along the same route.

Also open throughout the Magical Christmas season is be the park’s zoo, which provided one of the highlights for us: with so many visitors huddled up inside the cafes and indoor attractions, the black panthers took a quiet moment to strut around their enclosure and show us their sleek, glossy coats - quite breathtaking.

Drayton’s Magical Christmas runs every weekend (Fri - Mon) in the run up to Christmas. It will be closed from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day, before opening daily from December 27 to January 7. Online prices are £15 for adults, £10 for children, and under-fours go free.

Tickets can be bought online at or by calling 0844 472 1960. Drayton Manor Theme Park is also on Twitter and Facebook for regular updates and news.