I think it’s fair to say most people are feeling festive – we actually put our tree up the third week of November! I know. Normally we wait until at least the start of December. Anyway it’s definitely worth thinking about whether you want your little one to meet Santa with a train experience as since I last posted about Santa specials more details have been announced. There’s something to suit all budgets.
The cheapest option is Caldecotte Miniature Railway in Milton Keynes. You go twice around the track and your child gets a small gift from Santa. It’s £1 each to go twice around the track. It’s running 5/6/12/13 December 12pm – 4pm. Want to see more pictures? Then read about what we thought of it here. Bear in mind it does only last a few minutes, it’s a train you sit on, rather than in! You may wish to go to the park, feed the ducks or go to the pub at the lake as well.
One train that we haven’t yet been on (but really want to!) is the Leighton Buzzard Railway – they’re also running santa specials. This is probably the mid-price option. Lots of choice of dates – the first three weekends in December as well as Wednesdays that month and Tuesday 22nd. Some trains have already sold out so have a look at their website for details and booking info. Santa Specials operate on the section of line from Page’s Park to Leedon and back, a distance of 1.25 miles each way, and not over the whole length of the line. Consequently, the scenery is predominantly suburban in character, but they say it’s fun to stop the traffic at the level-crossings! The journey lasts about 25 mins and there’s also a Santa’s grotto. It costs £8 an adult, £8.50 for 2-12 year old and under 2s are £4.
One of our most favourite days out this year was seeing Thomas the Tank Engine at Buckinghamshire Railway Centre. We enjoyed it so much that we went twice. You can see all the pictures here. They are also doing a Santa special on 5/6/12/13 December. It is very much a treat though with 1 year olds and over costing £15 and under 1s are £4 (booking in advance through their website). Some of the most popular times on both weekends have sold out, so its worth looking ASAP.
There’s also be a special event on the Marston Vale line on 12th December – It’s a ‘normal’ London Midland service train so usual fares apply. However, what makes it different is that it will be decorated by Community Rail Partnership volunteers in a festive theme. Santa’s Grotto will be at one end of the train with a face painter at the other end. Younger visitors to Santa’s Grotto will receive a small gift. They’ll also have a balloon modeller on board and refreshments. There is no extra charge for visiting Santa and both the balloon modeller and face painter are free. Your ticket also allows you to break your journey in one direction on the same day. For example you might start at Bletchley, visit Santa in his grotto, get off at Bedford and visit the Victorian Christmas Market, return and break your journey at Ridgmont for the craft activity (this must be prebooked tel 01234832645 £2.50 per child) and then return later on a normal service train – your ticket doesn’t ‘tie’ you to the Santa Special. More details on their facebook page. From Bletchley: 10:05, 12:01, and 14:01. From Bedford: 10:55, 12:55, and 14:55