Day Out: Santa Express

It's no secret that I love anything Christmas related, from tree decorations to watching Home Alone for the millionth time, everything about this time of year feels so magical. So when my sister asked whether I'd like to join her taking my nephew on the Severn Valley Railway's Santa Express, my answer was definitely a yes!

Missing out on the chance to go last year, I was probably a little bit more excited to go than my nephew but the experience lived up to my expectations and was probably more enjoyable now as it was when I myself was taken over 15 years ago.

Starting off in Kidderminster, we boarded the awaiting steam train to make the half an hour journey to Arley along the Severn Valley Railway. Rolling past the countryside you even get a chance to glimpse into West Midlands Safari Park which had most of the children on the carriage shouting with excitement, including my nephew who was giving us a running commentary of what he could see. It would be amazing if the train could have stopped for a few minutes or at least slowed down more going past this point, but even the short spot of the animals seemed to be thoroughly enjoyed.

Going straight through Bewdley, the train makes it's way to it's end destination at Arley where you then get the chance to meet Santa Claus and the children receive a small gift. Being the first train to depart from Kidderminster we were quite lucky as it meant we were one of the first in to see Santa, meaning no more than a two minute wait for us.

To make the most of your time in Arley and to give the children something to do whilst you wait every half hour gap to get the train back, there is a footpath over the River Severn behind the train station which leads you into the village of Arley itself. There you'll find a Post Office, a traditional sweet shop that also sells award-winning ice cream (which sadly it was far too cold to indulge in) and a tea room where you can get hot drinks and sandwiches – perfect if there's a large group of you as there is plenty of outside seating which may be hard to find in busy periods in the station.

It was well worth the early start and I'm happy I was able to share this magical day with my nephew. He was so excited to see Santa and love his present, as well as all the other little gifts he managed to pick up from the Kidderminster station gift shop. If you live in driving distance and have kids (or even if you don't), then this is a great weekend day out and one that is a lot better value than some of the other meet & greets with Santa that I've seen. Besides, who doesn't love an excuse to go on a steam train?

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