Hollycombe – Steam in the Country #CountryKids

I think it’s fairly obvious to you all, that we love steam and traction engines.  We’re always on the lookout for a new Steam Rally to visit, exhibition to explore or a new Steam Train ride to take.  We recently discovered a wonderful place that combines both steam and traction engines – Hollycombe – Steam in the Country.

Hollycombe hosts the largest collection of working steam machinery in the UK, including the largest traditional fairground.  Based on the outskirts of Liphook in Hampshire, we decided to head down the motorway and find out more.  Hollycombe were holding a Model Weekend earlier this month, and this sounded like something that Monkey and Daddy P would really enjoy.

The first thing you see once you’ve bought your ticket (buy once and return all year – just check the website for opening days/times) is the Steam Train station.  Mummy, there’s a steam train!  Cue one very excited Monkey.  Then he spotted the traction engines – he was going to have a wonderful day.

Hollycombe

What to do first?  There are different sections at Hollycombe relating to different industries where steam was used in the past.  Steam at the Fair, on the Farm, on the Water, on the Rails, on the Estate and on the Road.  You receive a map of the Hollycombe site on arrival and there are information points for each area.

The World Beneath our Feet Hollycombe

In the main entrance we had spotted a sign telling us that the Steam in the Fair attractions would start at 12.30, so we decided to explore other areas first.  Yes, we started with the steam train ride.

Hollycombe

The Steam Train does a loop around the site and stops half way to show you the view of the countryside.  It was rather cloudy/misty on our ride so we didn’t get to see much. But on a clear day I would imagine you can see for miles.  Monkey loved the ride, especially as we were sat in the first carriage – toot! toot!

We decided to visit the Waterwheel and Beam Engine and the Steam Farm.  Neither of these attractions were running on our visit, but it was still interesting to see everything. Hollycombe is run by volunteers, so I’m not sure that everything around the site is running all the time.  This actually makes multiple visits worth while, as every trip would be a little different.

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It was lovely to walk in the wooded area along by the farm machinery and we soon discovered the miniature railway.  Another train ride for Monkey.

Hollycombe

We decided we were hungry and went in search of a somewhere for a picnic in the Woodland Gardens.  I’d also spotted picnic tables by the cafe (they sell a selection of sandwiches and hot meals, along with drinks and ice creams) and we later found some in the Fairground area too.

Hollycombe

The Woodland Gardens were lovely, quiet and we found an ideal spot to have our lunch.  It was really tranquil and a lovely area for Monkey to run around.

But lunch was over quickly as there was so much more to discover.  We entered the Fairground area.  There are a number of rides, Monkey’s not a great one for that sort of thing, so we watched, rather than participated.  But he did discover a couple of model railways, and even got to have a try at moving one of the trains.

Liphook Model Makers club was there for the Model Weekend and a lovely gentleman showed Monkey his various models and let him work them.  Monkey was very careful and listened intently to the man tell us all about the various machines.  Lovely to watch.

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We’d noticed as we parked up at Hollycombe that there were a number of miniature Traction Engines set up by the entrance to the museum and Monkey was keen to have a look at them all.  The owners were great with him and one gentleman patiently explained how everything worked. Monkey was just in awe.  I have an engineer in the making I think.

Hollycombe

There were so beautiful engines on display and we heard that they were all going to be heading to the Fairground later in the day.  I made a mental note to keep an eye on the time.

Hollycombe

We’d seen a notice about another area of the museum where we could find some more models so we set off again.

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There really was so much to keep us all amused at Hollycombe – it was fascinating.

It was wonderful to watch all the miniature engines in one place.  Monkey was totally mesmerised.

As we followed the small engines out of the fairground we noticed a Traction Engine with a trailer by the train station.

Hollycombe

Can we go on that Mummy???  Yes, I think we should.  This was a first for all of us and it was great and not as bumpy as I thought it would be either.  A real experience to end our day at Hollycombe.

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When Monkey is a bit older I think we’ll try one of the Fairground at Night evenings that Hollycombe hold, I bet the atmosphere is fantastic.

We had a really enjoyable day and we will be back again in the future I’m sure.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

disclaimer:  we were provided with free entry in exchange for an honest review

About Over 40 and a Mum to One

I'm a Mum in my late 40′s with a 7 year old son. I had a busy life in Export Sales before my Monkey came along, but decided to become a stay at home Mum once he arrived. Now I enjoy writing my own family lifestyle and travel blog. sharing the adventures that we have as Monkey makes his journey through school. We have a cat called Brewster who makes appearances and I’m a mad Ferrari Formula 1 fan, so that expect to hear about as each season unfolds. We love reviewing toys, games and books and would love the opportunity to look at anything that fits in with our family lifestyle. We are always out and about and offering an insight on the places we visit, with a passion for nature thrown in for good measure. If you like what you read please leave me a comment, I love to hear from people, and always try to reply. Enjoy the read.

15 thoughts on “Hollycombe – Steam in the Country #CountryKids

  1. Now that looks like the perfect Monkey day out to me! Next time you’re both here, remind me to show you my husband’s little traction engine-think Monkey might quite like that. So much to see and do, I think we’d enjoy a visit there one day too x

  2. I am with you all the way on these steam fairs. You can tell we have boy heavy households! I love the look on your son’s face at all that is going on here, clearly a very enjoyable family day. Thank you for sharing with me on Country Kids.

  3. Oh my goodness this looks like fun! Steam-trains are a novelty for me, so I like them as much as my little T does. Good thing, there’s one near us, in Launceston, which reminds me, must visit again soon 🙂 #countrykids.

  4. My boy loves the steam & traction engines too. Our friends own a mini traction engine so he takes pride in telling strangers how it works!

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