Family events at heritage lines this summer

10 June 2022
Want to try something different this summer with the whole family? Here’s our pick of enjoyable events to keep everyone entertained...

To the enthusiast, heritage railways are the best place to see a wealth of gleaming restored locomotives and rolling stock from the past, in a short space of time, and often in a picturesque landscape.

To the non-enthusiast, however, the novelty-factor of riding on a well-appointed train and admiring views from the window often isn't enough to see them return to a preserved line several times a year. Aside from tried-and-tested formats of 'vintage weekends' or 'classic car weekends', more recently, heritage railways are teaming up with external partners to offer visitors a different more family-friendly experience.

Here's our pick of family-friendly days out this summer at heritage railways:

1. Fine Art Sketching Workshops

Severn Valley Railway drawing event

  • When?: June 11, July 16 and August 13
  • Where?: Severn Valley Railway

Bewdley-based Foundry Artists’ is to host relaxed 120-minute sessions to help you create fantastic works to remember your visit.

Each two-hour session will give you the tricks, tips and skills to create impressive works of art. Your ticket price includes the workshop and a Freedom of the Line Ticket, allowing you to travel all day and find the best spot to find your inspiration.

Whether you’ve only just picked up a pencil, consider yourself a novice or are a dab-hand with all kinds of art materials, its sketching workshop will help you find inspiration and dive in.

Events taking place are as follows: Sketching using pen & wash – June 11, Sketching in watercolour – July 16, sketching in colour – August 13.

2. Beer & Cider festival

North Norfolk Railway Beer and Cider festival

  • When?: June 24, 25, 26
  • Where?: North Norfolk Railway

Whether you relax aboard one of its historic carriages or on the platform at Sheringham Station expect many local ales and ciders, alongside those from breweries further afield. A selection of wines, spirits and soft drinks will also be available.

Enjoy DJ sets throughout the day courtesy of returning favourite Drivetime Music. Live music is provided Friday evening by the Sheringham Shantymen, with The Hillbilly Goats Gruff entertaining Saturday evening.

Refreshments will be available from the railway’s buffet or Lilwall’s hog roast.

Advance ticket holders will receive a souvenir glass, festival programme and beer list plus the first £10 worth of drinks tokens with their tickets. Additional tokens will be available to purchase on the day, with refunds given on unused tokens.


3. Afternoon Tea

Nene Valley Railway afternoon tea

  • When?: June 11, July 2, July 30, September 24
  • Where?: Nene Valley Railway

Combine the nostalgia of steam while enjoying the quintessential British tradition of afternoon tea. Relax & enjoy the luxury of its 1st class continental carriages as your afternoon tea is served to your table, while enjoying the nostalgic steam-hauled journey. 

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Seating is available in open carriages (traditional afternoon tea) or in a private compartment (premier afternoon tea). Numbers are limited for each train.

Booking is per table. The Nene Valley Railway reserves the right to change locomotives when operational circumstances require, which may see heritage diesel locomotives in service. 

Afternoon tea services all depart from and terminate at its Wansford Station in Stibbington (PE8 6LR). The service is for people aged over 12 and no dogs are allowed (except assistance dogs).

4. Passage to India Curry Train

North Yorkshire Moors Railway Curry Train

  • When?: July 17, July 15, August 19
  • Where?: North Yorkshire Moors Railway

Add a little spice to your railway journey! Choose from classic onion bhajis, a trio of samosas or lightly spiced masoor dal for your starter, before moving on to the main course choices of lamb rogan josh, creamy chicken korma or chana masala. All are served with pilau rice and freshly cooked poppadoms.

For your dessert, choose from kheer, served with shortbread, or gajrela ka halwa as you return along the heritage line from Pickering. All served with a cup of warming masala chai – a milky tea flavoured with spices.

Be sure to view details of all the options available for each of the Passage to India Curry Train courses by downloading the menu from the North Yorkshire Moors Railway website.

5. Go Wild at Winchcombe

Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Railway Nature trail

  • When?: August 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14, 16, 17, 18, 20, 21
  • Where?: Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Railway

Aimed at raising awareness of its scenic surroundings to children, the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Railway is planning activities to keep children entertained at its Winchcombe station. Separate from the running of the railway, the activities will entertain young minds while being educational.

12 train operating days are planned between Saturday August 6 and Sunday August 21, with full details to be revealed on the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Railway website, nearer the time. Add the dates to your diary!

See all availability of the above events on their respective websites.

Is your heritage railway organising a new event? Let us know!


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