During our final day at Sherwood Forest YHA we had to check out early. We decided to spend our morning at Sherwood Forest Railway, Nottinghamshire’s only narrow gauge steam railway. We were obviously eager as we arrived an hour before the first train! Thankfully there’s a lovely play area which kept the kids entertained while we waited. Take a look:
Visiting Sherwood Forest Railway
From Sherwood Forest YHA, where we stayed, Sherwood Forest Railway (Sat Nav: NG21 9HL) is only 3 miles and a less than ten minute drive away (hence us arriving so early). From Edwinstowe it was very well signposted, in fact it was spotting these signs whilst exploring Edwinstowe that inspired us to visit here.
Trains run between 17th February until the end of November, from 11am each day, the last train leaving at 4:30pm. They have plenty of free car parking. Train rides cost just £2 each and include use of the playgrounds and bouncy castle. There are also toilet facilities, refreshments available, a shop and picnic area. Babies (under 1) and well behaved dogs ride free.
Waiting for the Train
I have to admit we felt a bit awkward arriving so early but the play area was open and the bouncy castle inflated so the girls had fun playing.
The structure above was really fun. They could pretend it was a car, plane, train, submarine, space ship, house and whatever they wanted it to be.
They always love a tyre swing!
Of course with a huge free playground our kids had to spot an opportunity to spend money so they wanted a go on the remote controlled boats. These are 50p and only one was working during our visit so they took it in turns and we became that family, you know the one who warns other families not to put their 50 p’s into the broken machine (we did inform a member of staff too).
It was very relaxing to watch the fish in the pond!
“Do not feed the alligator!”
The girls had lots of fun controlling the boat, they pretended it was our friend Meurig’s boat and that Dodge the dog was on it too!
I love these shoe house slides, they remind me of my own childhood.
There is plenty of seating available to rest while the kids play or enjoy refreshments. There’s a covered seating area too which I’m sure is much appreciated on wet days.
We popped into the shop and found a lovely selection of train themed toys, books and souvenirs. Izzy had her heart set on an engine driver teddy bear but it was too expensive for a pocket money treat so the girls chose these Engine Driver hats instead. As you can see she was still sulking over the teddy bear in this picture!
A Steam Train Ride
Eventually it was time to buy our ticket and wait for the first train.
All around the station there are vintage advert posters which I love. Many years ago I visited the Museum of Packaging and Advertising in Gloucester, and I loved the nostalgia. I was sad to hear that it had closed but now realise it had instead just moved it’s collection to London at the Museum of Brands in so I’ll have to visit there one day. My mum would love it too.
Our engine drivers!
The Train Ride
The train ride itself is a short but pleasurable ride on the track around the field. There are lots of signs and models to look out for along the way. We spotted real bunnies too!
At Weldale Station the kids all had a chance to “ring the bell”. My camera played up so I didn’t get to capture the photo in time- typical! You can also get off here and walk to the picnic pasture and eat or fly a kite or play ball. If we come here again we’ll bring a picnic and toys and wile away some more time here. As you can see they also have permission to extend the track in the future.
The train then made it’s way back to the platform.
Dave and I look drunk for some reason! “I’m on the night train…”
That was the end of our short but sweet train ride. The staff were polite and the train driver was very friendly. If you’re local they are always looking for volunteers!
In 1998, David Colley saw two steam locos advertised for sale and he went down to Keith Hardy’s home in Cheltenham to look at them. The Bagnall had already run at Cleethorpes Coast Railway. Pet had never before been ran. After some consideration Colley decided to buy both of them and the following year found this site to run them. The attraction has extended and improved each year and continues to do so.
Once off the train we spotted a charming miniature train we could control from the station.
Visiting Sherwood Forest Railway was an enjoyable and affordable way to spend the morning. It’s a great day out for families. I would have loved it if our extended family were here with us too. It reminded me of days out with my own parents and grandparents as a child. We also love to visit “full size” steam railways, such as Gwili Railway and West Somerset Railway. We haven’t taken the kids to one of my childhood favourites Ffestiniog Railway yet but we plan to in the future!
Which railway would you recommend for a day out?
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