It’s a bit of a tradition that for Monkey’s birthday we always take him out for the day. This has always involved trains, whether it be a trip to Thomasland or a day spent on a steam railway. With his birthday being 10th December, we’ve pretty much always been able to factor in a visit to see Father Christmas at the same time! We’ve visited all of the Heritage lines close to home now, so I decided to look further afield and make more of a weekend of his 7th birthday, with it being a Saturday. After a little investigation I made a booking and Monkey would be enjoying a birthday with the Kent and East Sussex Railway.
We drove to Charing, outside Ashford in Kent on the Friday afternoon and were up bright and early on the Saturday. Monkey had decided that 7 year olds wake up at 3.48am and don’t go back to sleep! Anyway, our Santa Special train ride was booked for 10.55 and we’d been advised to arrive 30 minutes before departure time. We’d never been to Tenterden station before so we decided to head over earlier still, to get parked and soak up the atmosphere.
There was ample parking available when we arrived and we were surprised to find a number of activities available behind the platform once we’d picked up out tickets.
We got treated to a magic trick from the Magician and Monkey even helped out. There was also the chance to have a family photo taken by a photographer and to get a free print.
We all got to try something new whilst enjoying a birthday with the Kent and East Sussex Railway. We got to stand inside a snow globe. In hindsight I should have stayed outside to get some better photos, but we all had a few giggles, and got covered in ‘snow’.
We were all enjoying a birthday with the Kent and East Sussex Railway, and it was time to board our train. We’d had a form to fill in letting Father Christmas know Monkey’s name, age and what he was hoping for, for Christmas, we’d also reminded him that it was Monkey’s birthday. Everything was so well organised, our tickets gave us a carriage number and dedicated seats so there was no mad scramble to get aboard.
Once in our seats Monkey was treated to an apple juice and a chocolate bar whilst the adults could enjoy a mince-pie and a drink. A cheeky Port and Lemonade for me, Daddy P had the soft drink option. All included in the ticket price too.
It was a dull grey December day and the carriage windows were steaming up, so we didn’t get to see the Kent countryside in all its glory really, but the atmosphere on the train made up for it. All the children were so excited, especially when there were whispers that Father Christmas was walking through the train with his elves, and presents!
It was lovely to see Monkey as excited as the children opposite us who were much younger. The magic is still very much alive.
Father Christmas sat opposite Monkey and started chatting to him before handing him a present. The whole carriage sang Happy Birthday to him too. His present was a rather cool Lazer Racerz set which went down really well with Monkey.
As the train journey carried on Monkey and Daddy P went to look out of the door window at the steam engine puffing along. Apparently at some point Father Christmas was walking back past them, stopped, called Monkey by his name and said to enjoy the rest of his birthday. Daddy P said Monkey’s expression was priceless. There’s no doubt that our son truly believes.
More memories were made and enjoying a birthday with the Kent and East Sussex Railway was a great way to start Monkey’s special day. The train journey itself lasted for about an hour and it’s a line we’d like to visit again at a different time of year, so we could take in the full journey to Bodiam.
The Santa Specials on the Kent and East Sussex Railway are all sold out now and I can understand why. The trip was great value for money with everything that was included and, there was a good variety of presents being given out and Monkey loved every moment.
But there were more surprises ahead for our birthday boy. We got back in the car and headed off for the second part of our day. Monkey has always wanted to see a castle with a moat actually filled with water. His wish was about to come true, but more on that on another day.
Have you visited this railway and the surrounding area before?