In 2015 we visited the East Lancashire Railway in Bury for one of their Santa Express trips.
The day had been recommended by a friend and it didn’t disappoint.
My two year old squealed with delight when she saw the station all lit up with Christmas lights and the steam train parked up in the station choo choo.
We got on the train and sat in our seats and each carriage had its own host who told us safety advice and what would happen.
Firstly, a Christmas fairy came round ringing a little bell and let the children have a go ringing it.
Then we were served mince pies and sherry (orange juice for the children). One of the people who work there told us the sherry was made especially for them in Jerez and, on each bottle, it said ‘Santa Express’ and ‘made in Spain’ which I thought was a nice touch.
Then a lovely brass band came round and we sang carols which they had printed out for each table. Then one of Santa’s elves and a tin soldier came around and rallied the children up in preparation for the big man himself.
Father Christmas spoke to each child, gave them an age-appropriate present (we got a cuddly penguin) and posed for photos.
Then we enjoyed a leisurely train ride back into the station.
It was totally action packed. No one had chance to get bored as the staff worked tirelessly to keep everyone amused.
This was the first time we had ever been on a special train and Boo’s first time on a train) and we would definitely book again for next year.
There are a number of different events arranged for 2014 including special Thomas the Tank Engine journeys so it needn’t be reserved just for Christmas.
All of the people who work on the East Lancashire Railway are volunteers and their enthusiasm and friendliness really shines through,
We travelled with my 2-year old, husband, my mum, dad and myself and it really is a brilliant day out for all of the family.
This review of a Christmas day trip has been submitted by Emma who writes a great blog over at Farmer’s Wife and Mummy. Emma can also be found tweeting @EmmaLander2 and on facebook at www.facebook.com/farmerswifeandmummy
NB Mini Travellers say have a look at the website to book tickets for this year. Avoid the stress of parking in bustling Bury and take the diesel shuttle from Heywood Station, which has large dedicated car park. Your Santa Special ticket entitles you to free parking at Heywood and free travel for the children on the regular shuttle service. This shuttle is the best way to make your way to Bolton Street in comfort and style.