We love a Santa experience, and if it includes a train ride then we are absolutely sold on attending as we have two train-mad toddlers. Today we rode on the Santa Special today and had a fabulous time, both Gabriel and Willow loved every second of it and it’s so great to combine two of their loves- trains and presents!
We are really lucky to live so close to the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway (KWVR) and as Haworth station is just a mile or so away from our house, it seemed the perfect choice three years ago when we first chose to have a ride on the ‘Santa Special’.
The Santa Special at Oxenhope, Haworth or Keighley Stations is a ten-mile return journey on a steam train, which lasts around an hour. I wanted something special to become a tradition on Christmas Eve with the children and so when I realised I was able to book this train journey I jumped at the chance! This has been our third Christmas Eve Santa Special and each year it has been fantastic!
Although not cheap (£16.50 each for over threes or those requiring a seat!) I love how KWVR decorate the coaches, play festive music and really get you into the mood for Christmas! Before setting off to prepare for his night ahead, Santa and his elves visit each child during the train journey, delivering presents. (Which I have to say, are the best quality gifts I’ve known from similar experiences!). The child also receive a souvenir badge, all of which we have kept and put in their memory boxes for them to remember the train journeys by!
The grown ups aren’t forgotten either, because as the train departs they are served with a mince pie and seasonal drink (sherry, a large portion!) which is in my opinion the perfect way to begin the Christmas preparations.
The Santa Special also has a buffet car serving real-ale, hot and cold drinks and also have festive entertainers on board to make sure you get the most out of your day, and the children leave with a smile on their face!
The entertainers are wonderful and soon have everyone singing along to carols and playing along with the mini ‘pantomime’. The volunteers really work hard to make each child’s experience special and I cannot applaud them enough for this. Gabriel and Willow especially loved the show this year, having previously been a bit ‘unsure’ of the Scrooge character. He has us all laughing with his silly ‘I hate Christmas’ jokes and the children were even happier to see Santa than usual!
The ticket for the Santa Special also allows free travel on the connecting diesel services on the same line, so it’s a great way to visit to local area. If you live within travelling distance to the KWVR I would wholeheartedly recommend visiting the Santa Specials. They are a lovely, festive day out for all the family. I will most definitely be returning year after year. Just remember to book early to avoid disappointment!