8 unmissable Christmas steam train experiences

Get into the Christmas spirit by boarding any one of these classic steam trains in England. From meet and greets with a certain Mr Claus to illuminated rides through the countryside, the kids are sure to have an unforgettable time on board.


Isle of Wight Steam Railway Santa Specials

Havenstreet Station

Santa exiting train on the Isle of Wight Steam Railway

Enter a sparkling Winter Wonderland, full of festive music, seasonal market stalls and children’s entertainment, before hopping on an express train to the ‘North Pole’. While onboard this majestic locomotive, you’ll get to meet Santa and his elves who’ll be handing out gifts as you cruise through the island’s wintery landscape. Once back at the station, meet the donkeys from the Isle of Wight Donkey Sanctuary or let the kids loose in the indoor fairground. Or, if you fancy a break just for two, splash out on a three-course candle-lit Christmas carvery train.

Find out more

Bure Valley Steam Trains to Santa

Wroxham Station

Take a steam train from the twinkly lights of Wroxham Station in Norfolk to Santa’s Grotto, where Father Christmas will greet you from his railway sleigh, filled with yule-time gifts for all the kids. While at the Grotto, there will be songs, games and refreshments for everyone – think mulled punch and mince pies – as well as time to get a few snaps with the main man himself. Running for over 25 years, these festive-themed journeys are always a hit so get in quick.

Check it out

Dartmouth Steam Railway Christmas


Steam train covered in neon lights making its way through the forest

Steaming through wooded glades and along the south Devon coastline, the Dartmouth Steam Railway’s Christmas services are guaranteed to get filed under “warm and fuzzy Christmas Memories”. On the Santa Express trains there’ll be mince pies and mulled wine for the adults and homemade biscuits for the kids, along with a gift from Father Christmas as he ho-ho-hos his way down the aisle. While the popular Train of Lights is a magical after-dark journey on a train decorated with thousands of glittering lights.

Book your place

East Lancashire Railway Santa Specials

Bury Bolton Street Station

Colourful fairy lights leading to railway platform

You’ll hear the brass band play traditional carols before your eyes meet a platform decked out with hundreds of Christmas trees and sparkling decorations at Bury Bolton Street Station. On your journey to Rawtenstall, inside warm vintage carriages, you’ll meet Santa and his crew as they hand out gifts and spread Christmas cheer. Grown-ups get a Christmas tipple and mince pie too as you’re pulled through the Lancastrian countryside by a handsome locomotive.

Learn more

Great Central Railway’s winter steam trains

Loughborough Central Station

An hour of enchantment awaits as the young and young at heart chug their way from Loughborough to Leicester North. On a Santa train, have a chat with St Nicholas himself and make sure everything is in order for the big day –  he’ll even give you a present in person and there’ll be enough tasty treats on board to keep the whole family refreshed. Or opt for the Winter Wonderlights for an evening of colourful festive joy.


Severn Valley Railway Santa Specials

Kidderminster Station

Elf in facemask standing at front of steam train

Roasted chestnuts, live music and festive magic fill the air at Kidderminster station in Worcestershire, where you board your vintage steam train to the village of Highley. During your journey, Father Christmas passes through the tinsel-clad carriages handing out gifts to all the children, and stopping to chat about what they’d like for Christmas morning.

Get your tickets

Kent & East Sussex Railway Santa Specials

Tenterden Station

Roll through the south-eastern landscape on a festively decorated steam train. Look out for Santa and his handy elves with their sacks full of goodies, and tuck in to mince pies and chocolate as you pass fields of green (or white – fingers crossed!). When you arrive back at Tenterden, there’ll be ample time for family photographs and rides on the beautiful Victorian carousel. On selected dates, the Railway will have a more relaxed timetable, perfect for children with more specific needs.

Climb aboard

North York Moors Railway’s Santa Express

Pickering Station

Santa warming hands on steam train engine

Kids will be doubly excited to go through their list with Santa in his special grotto on-board the North York Moors Railway's Santa Express. Travel through the stunning North York Moors National Park on a steam train and celebrate the most wonderful time of the year in beautifully decorated heritage carriages. You'll embark on an adventure the whole family will never forget. 

Find out more
17 May 2021(last updated)

Don’t miss

A view of Brindley Place in Birmingham during the summer.

6 ways to escape the everyday in Birmingham with Sophie Bradbury-Cox

Sophie Morgan outside Waddesdon Manor

Sophie Morgan’s guide to accessible breaks in Buckinghamshire

Warwick Castle

16 days out in England

Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire, a key filming location for Netflix's The Crown.

15 of England's best historical places for kids

Premier League Trophy

11 great places to watch live sports in England

12 of England's best football experiences and stadium tours

  • 1

    Havenstreet Station

  • 2

    Wroxham Station

  • 3


  • 4

    Bury Bolton Street Station

  • 5

    Loughborough Central Station

  • 6

    Kidderminster Station

  • 7

    Tenterden Station

  • 8

    Pickering Station

VisitEngland would like to invite you to take part in a short survey about our website, it should take no more than a couple of minutes.

Go to the survey

To add items to favourites …

… you need to be logged in.

If you already have an account, log in.

Or register a

Access your account

Enter your e-mail address or username.
Enter the password that accompanies your e-mail.
Forgot your password? Recover your account