After looking at pricy tickets for pantomimes this year, we decided to do something a little different and take the children on a steam train where they also get to meet santa. My son loves trains and they both love Christmas so I thought it would be a good trip out for them.
We're lucky where we live and there was quite a few places to choose from and in the end I settled on the Great Central Railway which runs from Loughborough to North Leicester. We paid £19 per person to go on the "Santa Deluxe". The children were very excited when we arrived as we had told them we were going to B&Q - mean parents that we are - so they had no idea we were actually going on a fun trip for them.
We arrived at Loughborough Station with about 15-20 mins to spare - word of warning, on busy event days it's worth getting their early as it's all street parking, which is free but it was very full and we were only lucky in finding a space because someone pulled out of one in front of us. When the train arrived we took our seats. There were Christmas crackers on the table which I thought was a nice touch and it wasn't long before warm mince pies and glasses of sherry were brought around, with chocolate chip cookies and Fruit Shoots for the little ones. They had a children's entertainer on board and of course, the big man himself Santa Claus (and he was a good one!) who had a present for every child as well as a big chocolate Santa. It wasn't a long train trip, probably about 40 mins in all but it was just about right. Any longer and the children may have got a bit restless.
It was all really well organised and all the staff were very helpful and friendly and the route through the countryside and over a large reservoir was nice. There's something very special about steam trains and it was definitely a bit different than going to the grotto in the local shopping centre.
We thoroughly enjoyed it and I think we'll look at something similar next year but perhaps on a different route.
Has anyone else been on a Santa train?