A Night on the Polar Express

East Lancashire Railway

East Lancashire Railway

East Lancashire Railway

Everyone has there Christmas traditions, whether you realise it or not. Some people like to decorate a Christmas tree a certain way, some open one present on Christmas Eve and some watch the same film year after year. Each Christmas my family visits the East Lancashire Railway. I’ve blogged about the Afternoon Tea experience before, but the real magic happens at Christmas.

I’ve basically grown up on these visits. When I was little we used to go on the Santa Express, a ride on an old steam train where Santa hands each child an age-specific present, carol singers accompanied by a brass band, and a festive snack for good measure. These visits were probably some of my happiest childhood memories full stop. And what’s amazing is that they are still going, and still get sold out. Fast forward to 2017 and we are still visiting the Railway at Christmas, but instead of the Santa Express, we opt for the more grown-up version of Christmas Dinner instead.

Arriving to a traditional train station, decked out in fairy lights, it was something straight out of an old black and white Murder Mystery film. Actually, people do dress up in vintage outfits and get pretty involved with it too. When we went their was a couple in 1940’s outfits, complete with stockings with black seams and an old smoking pipe! Walking up the red carpet and boarding the train, we were ushered to our table, all delicately set out with Prosecco and the first of 4 courses. ¬†We were greeted by the familiar staff who remembered my family from years of attendance and it was like seeing distant family again. Once everyone was boarded the train pulled away and drove into the Lancashire countryside, stopped at stations to let people stretch their legs and give the caterers a chance to catch up. I’m not sure how they manage to seamless serve so many people in such a restricted environment so efficiently but they did, and they made it look easy. Taking part in a little Christmas Quiz, looking at all the cottages lit by fairy lights and tucking into our Christmas dinner and Christmas Pudding, it was everything Christmas should be. By the time coffee and mince pies came round I was quite ready to settle down and watch the Queen’s speech, before remembering that Christmas was actually a week away. After 2 and half hours merriment of we arrived back at the station and ready to enter back into the real world, albeit a little bit more festive than before.

What are your festive traditions?