So today we went on another of our Christmas Adventures. You can’t live on the Wirral for long without people mentioning childhood trips to Santa Special Llangollen Railway, which is only an hour away. Llangollen railway is renowned as being a great day out and one of the top things to do with kids in this neck of the woods.
Being a little obsessed with day trips, even more so having started this blog, I booked this trip in October. You actually have to though, as it sells out really quickly and there have been no tickets left for weeks.
We booked the 2.30pm train and they suggested we arrive for 2pm to get parked and make our way to the train. Llangollen is however only a small town, and there is a very active canoe/kayak presence in the river, so all the car parks were very full. We drove round for quite a while, whilst hubby got more and more agitated, before we finally found a space. TIP: leave longer than they suggest to get parked. Although in reality the train before you will probably arrive back and release some spaces but that would have been touch and go time wise for us. We don’t like being late.
The day was not really your perfect day for being out and about. It was pretty rainy, but we put on hats, coats and scarves. The twins put on their wellies, and Lily put on her new purple Trezzo boots, sent to us by the lovely people at Keen. The boots are fully waterproof and really warm so it seemed like a great day to try them out. They will definitely stand up to a lot more hard wear than they had today but she thought they were really comfy and loved the look of them – this is getting more and more important to her every day!
As there were 8 of us we thought we would treat ourselves to our own compartment in the one of the carriages. At £150 for 8 of us, it isn’t the cheapest afternoon out, but it actually only worked out at just over £18 each as opposed to the £16 each it would have been anyway. By having our own carriage we made sure we could all sit together and it was easier to keep all the kids contained. It also made it feel a little more special.
As soon as you set off the elves come round with baskets of goodies. These have drinks for the kids, a chocolate lolly pop and mince pies for the grown ups. Mulled wine then follows. They also tell the kids that Santa is on his way.
TIP: We had been worried about the kids drinking so much as the trip takes 2 hours as a round trip, but thankfully we discovered toilets so needn’t have worried.
Santa arrived and was lovely. He gave out age appropriate presents and was really kind to the kids. He told them to be good for Christmas and that they needed to be in bed early on Christmas Eve to make sure they were asleep when he came (I loved him for this!).
The train journey length was maybe a little long at times for the age of ours (all 4 are between 4 and 3) but we easily entertained them with games of I-Spy and spot the animals outside. Snow falling would have been sweet but you can’t have it all ( plus the actual drive there would then have been a nightmare!).
The train sets off from Llangollen and goes to ‘Lapland‘ station (renamed from Carrog). Everyone gets off, the train turns round, and whilst you are there you get your pictures taken with Santa. There are no overpriced photo opportunities here, you simply take your own, which is a really nice touch.
Whilst we were there, in pouring down rain unfortunately, we wandered down to the front of the train and the train guards let the kids get into the engine and watch them load coal into the fire. They were really kind.
My only criticism was that the journey back maybe needed something else to keep the kids entertained>? Not sure what, but maybe a drink or a snack. Not essential but something would be nice.
When we arrived back into Llangollen it was dark. All the twinkling lights made it feel extra Christmassy. The kids had had a lovely time and they wandered back to the car holding hands and singing Christmas songs. PS The Trezzo boots were great, kept her feet warm and toasty, were un-slippy and looked good too! We had had a lovely Christmassy day out.
Karen Beddow founded Mini Travellers in 2014 while doing what she loves most...going on holiday!
Mini Travellers is for parents looking for holiday ideas, destination reviews, days out and things to do with the kids. We also have family travel tips, activity ideas and all other things family holiday related. Take a look at some of our latest reviews for holidays and day trips in the UK.