This year we decided to take the kids on Santa and Steam train ride at Churnet Valley Railway with some friends. It was our first time on a real steam engine train which lasted about 45 minutes to an hour from Cheaddleton. The station which was built in 1849 has seen many things in its time including surviving demolition in the 1960s as well as periodic restoration and expansion. Some of the attractions and facilities there include the unique Victorian style North Staffordshire railway station, toilet facilities, picnic tables, museum room, car parking facilities as well as it is licensed for marriages. Click on to see more photos and get some tips if you are planning a visit there.
There are about 3 – 5 departures depending on your travel day and if you are departing either from Cheaddleton or Froghall. I would recommend taking the late morning or the afternoon train as its still not dark and you will get a chance to see the lovely countryside scenery. We took the 2.30pm train and it was just perfect, only set back was it was raining so we headed to the cafe to grab a hot drink and some cakes before we headed off. Here are some shots taken at the station, the cafe and people as they waited.
Here’s a shot of the Santa Steam Train, it was really crowded with lots of people at the front of the train taking selfies, so this is the best shot I could get. The steam was really steamy especially when stading in the front. The second shot of the train’s side view was captured when the train stopped a little further down for about 5 minutes.
There was lots of activities for the kids to do and the 45 minutes train ride went by quickly. The kids were given lots of things starting with chocolates and juice, then an experienced balloon sculptor came around to make each child a balloon. The adults were given mince pies and a glass of cherry. Santa then came over to have a private chit chat with the kids and to hand their gifts. All in all it was a lovely train ride and worth the experience. Although there are different themed train ridess such as Valentine’s Dinner, Sci-Fi weekend, Halloween’s etc in a year, the Christmas one is one of the most popular ones.
Some tips if you’re planning to book the train ride:
- Try to pre-book your seats if you can
- Bring along some toys for the kids to play with to keep them occupied, as little kids may get fidgety
- Bring along some snacks for the kids in case they are still hungry
- Get the kids to use the toilet at Cheaddleton train station before the train leaves
- If possible try to do a group booking, seated nearby, as the kids will have the opportunity to move around to play with other friends / relatives and not feel confined to just seating at their seat