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Set in 280 acres of parkland in Tamworth, Staffordshire, Drayton Manor combines elements of a theme park and a zoo. The park is home to more than 35 rides and attractions, including the first stand-up roller coaster in Europe, Shockwave, and the 5-sided drop tower Apocalypse. In addition to thrill rides, it also caters for younger guests with the popular Thomas Land, the only themed area in the UK based on Thomas & Friends. The 15-acre Drayton Manor Zoo operates for 365 days a year and houses more than 100 animal species.
Drayton Manor’s history dates back to 1830, when construction of the original Drayton Manor house began. The house was demolished in the 1920s, with the estate subsequently being acquired by the Bryan family in 1949, when work began to convert it into an amusement park. The park threw open its gates later that year, offering a restaurant, dodgems, rowing boats and several hand-operated rides. The first animal exhibits were opened in 1954, and new attractions were gradually added over the proceeding two decades. While it is still overshadowed by nearby Alton Towers, Drayton Manor has sought to install unique attractions to differentiate itself in recent years. The park has also added its own hotel, which opened in summer 2011.