Today we went on a magic train journey courtesy of the North Norfolk Railway! The Santa Train is a similar take on the Polar Express, something that Ita absolutely loves.
Our journey started at Sheringham Station where we were greeted by the ticket conductor who informed us of our carriage number and we boarded our private compartment. The steam train is beautiful and really did remind me of the polar express train! When we booked our tickets back in June, we deliberately paid for the private compartment at an extra cost of £25. However, as covid issues continue, everyone now gets a private compartment (we weren’t refunded for paying extra but if you did then it may be worth enquiring).
The compartments are only very slightly decorated with tinsel and I do think they could make a bit more effort in the compartments as it would encourage people to spend more time in them – I’ll get to that in a moment… Off we went on a short journey (about 10 minute) to Weybourne Station where we arrived at Santa’s station aka The North Pole.
We were instructed quite clearly upon entering Sheringham Station that once we arrived at at Weybourne, we would gradually leave our carriages in order to careful filter people to collect their mulled wines and to see Santa. However this didn’t happen and it became a bit of a free for all! Everyone jumped off the train and the station became really packed. I do feel that this part could have been better managed as we didn’t know what to do or where to go.
We decided to queue to meet Santa and we were greeted by a friendly nutcracker. Once inside we entered through a magical wardrobe, into Narnia!! It was stunning and we weren’t expecting it so it really did feel magical.
We wonder around the festive walk-through kingdom. It’s filled with over 100 Christmas trees, light displays, decorations and much more. There are lots of photo opportunities and this part didn’t feel busy or rushed. At the end you’re greeted by a very energetic elf and brought through to meet Santa in a small with a wood burning fire. Although the gift Ita received wasn’t great, it was actually better than the one she received in Hamleys!
Afterwards you are asked to head back to your carriage to wait until the train departs back. You do get to spend a bit of time in your compartment, especially if you’re one of the first to meet Santa. I really looked forward to spending time in the train carriage so it’s a shame that there wasn’t any music on (they had speakers up) or that it wasn’t decorated more. I think this is an area they could definitely work on.
When booking your tickets, you can add a little food platter. Each of these platters (serves 4 people) are handmade and are made up of freshly made sandwiches, savoury bites, cakes and of course sweet treats. I actually wish we had booked one of these because they looked tasty but it would have been perfect to nibble on whilst we waited to depart back to Sheringham. You can’t bring your own food onto the train so this is something to bear in mind.
The train departs 4 times a day at 10.00, 12.05, 14.30 and 14.35. The whole experience is about 2 hours and the trains are cleaned in between.
For further info, head to their website; https://www.nnrailway.co.uk/santa_specials-2020/