Churnet Valley Railway Santa and Steam: Review

Churnet Valley Railway Santa and Steam: Review

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Walking through Froghall station, I couldn’t help but notice all the perfectly draped Christmas lights hanging between each street lamp. There were vintage suitcases piled high next to the Christmas tree on the platform, and the open fire next to the ticket office was roaring. We had arrived at Froghall ready to board the Santa express for a magical Santa and Steam experience with Churnet Valley Railway. The kids were super excited, and ssshhh don’t tell anyone.. but so was I.

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Churnet Valley Railway Santa and Steam Review
Santa Express

We try to arrange a visit to see Father Christmas each year. It is those little moments that, in all honesty, we will always look back on with a smile. Memories that I will forever cherish. Time passes so quickly and the children grow up so fast.

Santa and Steam at Churnet Valley Railway

I had heard good things about the Santa and Steam experience from friends and family, and as our youngest addition to the Otis and Us tribe is obsessed with trains,  I had high hopes for a lovely afternoon.

Kingsley and Froghall station for the Churnet Valley Railway Santa and Steam Review

Our Santa express departed from Froghall at 12:15, and there was ample parking available on arrival. We took the travel stroller whilst we wandered around the station and this was then left in the station waiting room during the train ride.  On arrival we popped into the ticket office where we were greeted with a lovely open fire and a few friendly faces, before heading to the tea room for a coffee and cake.

Churnet Valley Railway Santa and Steam: Review
Churnet Valley Railway Santa and Steam: Review

Santa Express

We had packed a few bits and bobs in a little bag to keep the children entertained during the journey, but in all honesty we didn’t need to. Soon after setting up camp in our designated seats we were greeted by a wonderful balloon artist, who kept the children entertained with his balloon skills. Next up came a lovely elf with a basket of chocolate coins, a drink for the little ones and a minced pie and sherry for the adults! Now all that was left was to sit back and enjoy those wonderful view of the Staffordshire countryside.

Churnet Valley Railway Santa and Steam: Review
Churnet Valley Railway Santa and Steam: Review

The arrival of the big man himself, with his long white beard and his big black boots, brought a few shrieks and laughter. He left a gift for each and every child as he wandered through the carriages. There were so many happy little faces on the train that afternoon.

Churnet Valley Railway Santa and Steam: Review

Santa and Steam Event, Churnet Valley Railway

The Staffordshire Heritage Railway’s iconic Santa and Steam event is a wonderful concept, combining a ride on a steam train through the Staffordshire Moorlands, and a visit to see Father Christmas.

There are a variety of dates available in the run up to Christmas.  The Santa Express departs from two stations, Froghall and Cheddleton.

Our journey onboard the Santa Express lasted around 1 hour 20 minutes and toilets are available on the trains (please note there are no baby changing facilities onboard).

Churnet Valley Railway Santa and Steam: Review

Santa and Steam; Our verdict

I can honestly say it was such a lovely, magical and memorable experience.  I loved that fact that our meet and greet with Santa did not involve any long queues for Santa’s Grotto in the bitter cold and rain !

Santa’s helpers were wonderful with the children, and the journey lasted approximately 1 hr 20 mins which was the perfect length of time. Any longer and I think we may have been chasing our toddler up and down the carriages!

Churnet Valley Railway Santa and Steam: Review
Churnet Valley Railway Santa and Steam: Review

How would I describe Churnet Valley Santa and Steam event?

Churnet Valley Railway Santa and Steam is a unique, thoughtful and memorable event suitable for all of the family. We had such a lovely afternoon….this is definitely a Christmas event to add to your diary if you are local to the area.

Churnet Valley Railway Santa and Steam: Review

Thank you for inviting us along  Churnet Valley Railway and thank you for making it a memorable and cherished afternoon. Merry Christmas to you all.

For the full timetable and prices head over to the Santa and Steam online.

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Were were provided with a family ticket to the Santa and Steam experience for this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


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  1. December 10, 2018 / 8:22 am

    This sounds, and looks SO magical!! You obviously had an amazing family time and the beautiful children look so happy! Definitely one I’ll be adding to my “to-do” list for next Christmas if we can’t fit it in this year! #MondayEscapes

  2. December 10, 2018 / 8:38 am

    Everything looks like so much fun! It is something I have never done and hopefully one day, will have the pleasure to experience.

  3. December 10, 2018 / 4:39 pm

    Santa Express looks fab, my boys would love the ride and indeed an hour and 20min sounds perfectly timed! #MondayEscapes

  4. December 10, 2018 / 8:18 pm

    What magic for a little one. We used to do a similar thing with Thomas – and the first time we went it snowed! So exciting (for us in Oz) #MondayEscapes

  5. December 10, 2018 / 9:32 pm

    I keep meaning to take my girls on a steam train. This does sound like a lovely and unique Christmas experience. #mondayEscapes

  6. December 11, 2018 / 5:08 am

    How delightful! I love the bright red waiting room door. And those old suitcases — they are perfect to feature in a photo.

  7. December 11, 2018 / 9:53 am

    Oh it looks absolutely magical, I also love these truly special days. Thanks for hosting this linky and I’m sorry I’ve been so terrible at linking up.

  8. December 11, 2018 / 10:21 am

    This looks absolutely perfect for a pre-Christmas day. We did a few steam trains when my boys were younger! #MondayEscapes

  9. December 11, 2018 / 8:18 pm

    Aww sounds wonderfully festive, what a lovely memory for the kids. We’ve done a similar train trip to meet Santa and loved it – def one of the best ways to meet the jolly old man in red #MondayEscapes

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