Many people believe that Christmas is cancelled this year. While it may not be the same, you can still have fun and bring a bit of Christmas spirit to the season. One way would be to hop on one of the Christmas train rides in the UK.
With Social distancing in place, some traditions may be out the window. It is easy to feel down in the dumps about it or you can make the best of a bad situation. You might even make new traditions along the way.
Christmas train rides UK offer a unique experience and a great family day out. Kids of all ages can tag along and of course, a visit from Santa is included. Steam train rides are located all over the country, so you are sure to find one near you.
Polar Express Train Ride UK
Polar express train rides UK became popular after the film with the same name. The film was full of magic and a Christmas train ride is sure to offer the magical experience that kids loved in the film.
However, if you haven’t read the story or watched the film then now is the perfect time to do it. You can grab a copy here. If you have the book at home, then you could bring it along. Some train rides may even tell the story during your ride.
Steam train rides Yorkshire
For a polar express train in the UK that lets you relive the film, then head to Wensleydale Railway. It is hugely popular and your journey will start at Leaming bus Station, just like the movie.
All of your favourite characters will be there and families are encouraged to wear their PJs. Throughout the journey, the story will be retold by the singing Chefs. Families can watch the events unfold while sipping their hot chocolate and eating their cookie.
Of course, the kids will get to meet the main character from the story, Father Christmas. Each child receives a gift, a Silver Sleigh Bell and if you have purchased the book, Santa may even sign it for you.
On returning back to the station, children get to check if they are on the naughty or nice list. They also get to write their own list to Santa. It is an enchanting experience that families are sure to remember.
Don’t worry if you are not in Yorkshire. The Polar Express runs from multiple locations around the UK. Some even offer an overnight stay for you to make the most of it.
Unfortunately, the Polar Express has been cancelled this year, but they hope to return in 2021.
Polar Express North Yorkshire
If you are lucky to be in Yorkshire or the surrounding area, then check out Santa Reimagined at the North Yorkshire Mors Railway. They made a few amendments to their service and rethought out how to offer train rides for kids while keeping to social distance measures.
With different departure times starting at 9 am, each family can book their own private compartment for up to six people. The journey is around one hour from Pickering station to Levisham station and back.
The train will be decorated to rival any Winter wonderland and there will be Christmas music playing in the background. Kids will get a present from Santa and get to interact with the elves onboard.
The tickets usually sell out quickly and booking in advance is required. Face masks will also need to be worn while you move about the train, but they can be removed in your private compartment.
Steam Train Rides, Midlands
Out in the Midlands, there is an award-winning Santa Express. Great Central Railway in Leicestershire is inviting parents and children to board their beautifully restored compartment coaches.
Christmas train rides UK are all about the children so there are sweets and drinks ready at the Quorn and Woodhouse station. Father Christmas makes a surprise visit to your private family compartment to deliver your child’s gift. No queuing up!
Up to six family members can be seated in the compartments. You can easily print your ticket at home. Remember to help Santa get your child’s present ready by filling out a few details about your child online.
Festive refreshments are included in the price but if you are still peckish after the Santa train ride then check out the Butler Henderson Café and nostalgic Tin Shed Shanty bar for some hot food and mulled wine.
The station yard has a Christmas village and plenty of Christmas cheer. Present your ticket and families can enter the yard for free.
Steam Train Rides, West Midlands
In the West Midlands, this magical journey starts in Staffordshire. Churnet Valley Railway invites families to jump on board the Santa Express and take a journey on the outskirts of the Peak District.
Before boarding the train kids should have their wish list ready to tell Santa. The elves greet the children as they have forgotten to Santa and the train takes a quick to detour to pick him up. Throughtout the magical train journey to Lapland, the elves can keep the cheer going with songs and quizzes.
When Santa boards the train he delivers a special gift for each child and find out what is on their wish list. Each passenger receives a sweet treat and a drink during the 90 minutes trip.
Welsh Steam Train Rides
If you are looking for a polar express experience in the UK then how about a trip to Lapland from Llangollen. Hop aboard Santa’s Christmas Special, a two-hour return journey with the Santa visit included.
This like other steam train rides in the UK takes families on a beautiful scenic route through the Dee Valley and stops in Carrog (Lapland). There you can find magic elves to keep the children entertained and a cafe to warm up.
Each child will receive their own special gift. Remember to leave your child’s details in the comments section when you check out. While children cannot meet Santa at Lapland, they will be able to wave at Santa in his grotto.
The private family compartments can hold up to eight family members with a minimum number of four. Babies under one are free and not included in the headcount. Onboard each passenger receives their own drink and a sweet treat on board.
Steam Train Rides in Wales
Santa train rides may have become popular due to the Polar Express film but some families have been catching the train to Santa’s grotto for years now. The Brecon Mountain Railway is celebrating its 32nd year.
Guests get to travel from Pant Station to Santa’s Grotto in Pontsticill. The Steam Hauled train takes families to receive an age-appropriate gift from Santa. They haven’t forgotten about the parents either. Mulled wine and mince pies will be available onboard.
Tickets are not on sale yet, as dates and times have yet to be confirmed. However, like other Christmas train rides UK it is sure to be a popular event and tickets are likely to sell out quickly.
Steam train rides Scotland
Strathspey Railway is planning on a Santa train in 2020. They have had one in previous years and they don’t want to disappoint their customers.
Right now they are working out the final details, to make sure their passengers stay safe aboard the train and in line with government guidelines. Tickets are not on sale yet. Stay tuned for an update on the steam train rides in Scotland.
Xmas Train Rides, Scotland
The Santa Steam Train at Bo’Ness and Kinel Railway has been cancelled this year. They have stated on their website that due to the restrictions in place by the Scottish Government, they are unable to go ahead with the Santa train this year.
Their Santa train is interactive and includes a lot of singing and dancing with Santa. They hope to return in 2021.
Steam Train Rides, Kent
In Kent, there are many scenic train rides UK. The Santa train does not disappoint as passengers travel through the breathtaking Kent and Sussex countryside from Eridge to Tunbridge Wells.
There are two packages available at Spa Valley Railway. The standard package includes a pre-packaged mince pie for each passenger and a socially distant seat on the train. Both include a return ticket and a present for each child. Each family gets to see Santa from the comfort of their own seats as he makes his rounds throughout the train.
Choose the Premium package and your mince pie is upgraded to a snack box and Christmas cracker. You also get to ride in style in one of the premium compartment coaches. The compartment coaches can sit up to six people in the same family and just a one-off fee.
Steam Train Rides Cornwall
It is not surprising to find a Christmas train in Cornwall. Lappa Valley is located in 35 acres of Cornish woodland. It not only has a Santa train, but it has some of the best things to do in Cornwall with kids. In fact, there is plenty to keep little ones busy all day. The journey starts when you board a nostalgic train and ride it through the wooded valley into Lappa.
Kids can collect their presents from Santa in his socially distanced grotto. There is balloon modelling and music galore. While you are there you can also take advantage of the play areas or go for a woodland walk.
Tickets can be booked online and all bookings are seated together and treated as a social bubble.
Steam Train Rides Devon
Technically this is not a train ride. The Polar Express tram ride sets off from Seaton Tramway in Devon. Families are able to visit Santa’s home in the North Pole in one of the decorated tram cars. The journey is around 2.5 hours and there is plenty to do onboard.
You can enjoy a cup of hot chocolate and a special treat. Then take in the lights and speak to Santa as you walk around the North Pole. There Santa himself gives each child their special gift and there Christmas carols will be sung on the journey home.
This Polar Express ride UK runs throughout November and December and tickets online.
Steam Train Rides in Essex
Audley End Miniature Railway is nestled in the Estate Woodland. This Christmas you can find a magical winter wonderland there too. The Santa express takes you through the woods, for you and your family to meet Santa Claus and his elves. There you can pick up your gift and watch a special Christmas dance.
The adventure doesn’t end there as you are led to the Gingerbread house to hear what mischief the resident fairy and elf have been up to. The kids can burn off some energy at the adventure playground while parents can grab a drink at the cafe.
There are activities set up for kids to make their own reindeer food and write a letter to be sent to Santa at the North pole. Kids don’t just get to meet Father Christmas as Mother Christmas is there too with an interactive show of her own.
Like all Christmas train rides UK, tickets need to be booked in advance.
Steam Train Rides, London
During the booking process, the names and ages of the children are collected, so the gifts can be personalised. When you are stopped at a station the elves bring the gifts and leave them at the end of the coach.
As in line with the current guidelines, kids cannot meet Santa. However, there promises to be plenty of opportunities to see Father Christmas and take memorable photos.
All trains depart from the North Weald station and the journey lasts 2.5 hours. Compartments are available for families of 6-8 and can easily be booked online.
Steam Train Rides, Peak District
Peak Rail has added a new workshop to their traditional Santa & Specials. Families get to visit Santa at his workshop before boarding the train at Rowsley South Station.
The workshop was added this year in accordance with government guidelines. As families can not meet Santa personally, they still get to experience Christmas and see Santa at his workshop.
During your journey on the beautifully decorated coaches, the elves deliver the gifts onboard. Parents can enjoy a mince pie and cappuccino while the kids are entertained by the magicians.
The return journey to Matlock Platform 2 lasts approximately one hour and both tables and compartments are available online. Families can take in the beautiful views of the Peak District.
Christmas Steam Train Rides, Norwich
This December Bure Valley Railway has a Festive Express Steam train for families to meet Father Christmas. You need to arrive at Aylsham Station early to pick up your boarding pass and your refreshments.
Families can feel snug in their heated private compartments on a return journey from Aylsham to Brampton. Santa greets the children from his sleigh on your return to Aylsham and boards the train to hand out gifts.
There are several dates and times available throughout December.
There are plenty of Christmas train rides UK to choose from. We have done our best to ensure the information is accurate. However as things are changing in the blink of an eye, there may be changes or cancellations.
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