Leighton Buzzard Railway – Santa’s Steam Special

Christmas Special at Leighton Buzzard Railway

Leighton Buzzard Narrow-Gauge Railway - Santa Steam Special 2017

A friend of mine told me this week that I have a FOMO baby. Fear of missing out. And it’s so true!! There is so much going on here, the baby is always being entertained and he never sleeps. I am exhausted after last night, with him still wanting to sleep in my arms at 7 months old! (I’m starting to see a theme to the beginnings of my blog posts. I’m exhausted but….) but about a month ago I bought tickets to the Santa Special at Leighton Buzzard Railway. So we were committed.

When George was 3 (he is now 10) The Polar Express was his favourite film. He would watch it all year round, and knew it word perfect. I have a cute video somewhere of him recreating a scene in between the wallpaper samples at Wickes, which makes me laugh every time I see it.

Since then we have watched The Polar Express every Christmas, and every couple of years we take the children on a steam train around Christmastime.

When we lived in Kent we used to go to the Kent and East Sussex Railway, which was always amazing – Christmas music at the station, Victorian fair ground rides, mince pies and drinks on the train, and a visit from Father Christmas. I just love the ambiance. A few days before Christmas, or on Christmas Eve, it is just a wonderful experience.

We have been trying to recreate the Polar Express magic since we have been living in Northampton. We went to the Northampton and Lamport railway in 2011, and although we enjoyed it, it wasn’t the same. This year we went to the Leighton Buzzard Narrow-Gauge Railway.

Leighton Buzzard Railway is much smaller than other railways we had been to, which actually was perfect for us today. I wasn’t in the mood for it to be busy, and also the parking was so close we didn’t need to set up the pushchair. I love that it was easy.

The staff at the railway were really friendly, they gave us mince pies and drinks on arrival, and even helped us all onto the train.

When we were on the train, Father Christmas walked down the platform waving at all the children on the train. George said to us, jokingly, “I think he’s hiding weapons under his coat”, and then unexpectedly Oliver shouted out the window “have you got any weapons?”. Father Christmas shouted back “I can tell that you have been naughty”!

The train went a short way, with views of the back of houses and roads, and then it turned back. I’m not sure how long it ran for but it was pleasant. The views weren’t amazing but we were all chatting in the carriage. We remembered the last time we were on a steam train; they stopped the train to tell someone (I can’t remember if it was my son or my husband!) that they should stop sticking their head out the window.

Back at the station we visited Father Christmas in his grotto and yes, he remembered Oliver. They chatted for a while, and then he gave each of the children a present. The older 3 got a microscope, Max got a sketch pad, and Sam got some balls to play with. They were actually really decent presents so I think Father Christmas did a good job there.

We then walked to the nearby park for the kids to play before we drove home. It wasn’t the Christmas magic we were looking for, but we did have a very enjoyable few hours at the railway.

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