Ad | Churnet Valley Railway Santa and steam review

Steam train called santa express on the station

Last weekend we were invited along to Churnet Valley Railway Santa and steam. It was a lovely festive family day out that we all enjoyed. This review should give you an idea of what to expect from a trip on the Santa Express through Staffordshire.

Cheddleton station house
Cheddleton station
Blow up elf and sign for Cheddleton station
Waiting to board at Cheddleton station

We boarded the train at Cheddleton but you can also get on the train at Froghall. There was plenty of parking at Cheddleton and the station is beautifully decorated for Christmas. As soon as you arrive you know you are in for a festive treat. There are Christmas trees, tinsel, a waiting room full of carol singer statues, blow-up Christmas decorations and lots of lights. There is a little tea room and a pop-up shop selling off last years leftover gifts. Of course, there are toilet facilities too.

two children on the platform at Cheddleton statiion
Enjoying the festive decorations
Reindeer lights on the station
My girls adored these reindeers

The Steam train arrived and what a sight it was to see. I was not expecting it to be as big as it was. I didn’t count the number of cartridges but I bet it was double figures. This was the first steam train my girls have been on (not counting the much smaller trains at Kirklees Light railway). My 6-year-old was interested to talk about how they work.

Steam train at the station

Once inside the train, we found our pre-booked seats. Being a family of 4 we had 2 benches opposite each other with a table in the middle. This was repeated throughout our coach. Each family having their own table comes in very handy for the festive treats we were served.

Traditional steam train carriage decorated for christmas
Feeling festive yet?
Male elf on steam Churnet Valley railway

As soon as the train set off the team of volunteers, dressed either in victorian costume or elf outfits, started handing out the festive treats. There are fruit shoots & chocolate Santas for the children, sherry and mince pies for the adults and Christmas cardboard glasses for everyone.

Basket of mini santas
Look at all those mini chocolate Santas

The train travels through the Staffordshire moorland between stations and it takes a little under 30 minutes each way. Once the train stopped at Froghall Santa starts making his way down the train with his team handing out presents and chatting to all the children. My girls are 3 and 6 years old. The excitement on their faces as they saw Santa heading down the carriage towards them was priceless. They loved chatting to Santa and having their photo taken with him. They also loved the gifts they received. We noticed that younger children received mega blocks and older children Minecraft and other brick building toys.

Father Christmas on Churnet valley railway santa and steam
Father Christmas walking down the train
a toy dog and ladybird cuddly toy
Aren’t these Christmas gifts lovely?

I think we were stopped for about 15 minutes before the train returns in the opposite direction. All in all the experience lasts an hour and 15 minutes. We loved the experience. Such a unique way to meet Santa. It is nice to combine meeting Santa with a trip on a steam train. The train journey is just long enough to feel like a journey without being too long and children getting fidgety. Our girls were far too excited to get bored.

Female elf on steam train
One of Santa’s elves at Chrunet Valley railway Santa and Steam
Child sat looking out of window on a train
Enjoying watching the Staffordshire moorlands go by

Churnet Valley railway is run by volunteer railway enthusiasts. The railway was severely damaged by flooding late October 2019 so it is a testament to their dedication for ensuring this well-loved family event was able to go ahead this Christmas.

Children looking at a station map
Where shall we go today?

Santa and steam is running on selected dates between now and Christmas Eve. Prices for under 2s are just £7, over 2s £12-15 and adults £17-21. Find out all the available dates and times here and book your tickets.

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Steam train

Disclosure – We were given tickets for Santa and steam in exchange for this review. All thoughts, opinions and photos are my own.

2 thoughts on “Ad | Churnet Valley Railway Santa and steam review

  1. Sarah Speakman says:

    Sounds a superb day…we’re so looking forward to bringing our 2 year old grandson on the 14th…

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