The Mid Hants Railway, known as The Watercress Line, is a preserved steam railway in Hampshire, operating steam trains across four authentic stations. Recently, we were invited back to The Watercress Line to enjoy a Day Out With Thomas for the purposes of review.
We are big Big BIG fans of Thomas in our house, and so this event is always much loved by us. The Watercress Line pulls out all the stops to make this event a success and its easy to see why it always proves so popular.
Ropley Station is our preferred station to start with. Parking next to the station is free and easy. There is a huge field that can accommodate hundreds of cars, just a short walk up a small hill. On entering the event, children are provided with a Thomas Passport to complete during their visit and a certificate (for signing by Sir Topham).
Towards the station entrance is a convenient buggy park, where you can leave your buggy should you want to, and here, children can choose from a selection of Thomas and Friends temporary tattoos to start their adventure.
Just inside Ropley Station, is the Station Masters Office. There, the children can meet Sir Topham Hatt, have a little chat and a photo, and get their certificates signed. Opposite Sir Topham’s office, is the Gift Shop. Packed with Thomas and Friends goodies suitable for all ages, and reasonably priced too.
Out on the Platform is where the magic comes to life! Thomas, Toad and Diesel all run regularly up and down the line for the duration of the day. Visitors literally squeal with excitement as Thomas pulls into the Station, and I’m not just talking about the children.
You can jump aboard all the trains for a quick ride down the track or choose to travel between the four stations, where you will find further activities for everyone. The boys absolutely love riding on the trains, pointing out the signals and waving at everyone as we pass them.
There are plenty of activities, rides and shows to keep everyone entertained throughout the entire day. These are all included in the ticket price. We always like to take a packed lunch with us, but there are cafes located at the stations should you prefer.
The boys also love to play in the Imagination Stations located at Ropley and Alresford. Trevor and I always joke about leaving the boys in the play area whilst we grab some lunch. They would play there for hours, happily!
The Vintage Fairground Rides and Miniature Railway were both big hits with the boys this year. Their smiles in the photos below are just what such days are all about. Childhood dreams and memories, right there in the making.
Aside from Thomas, visiting The Watercress Line is a wonderful experience in itself. The station grounds and buildings are beautifully maintained and the restored engines are just incredible. We love wandering around the platforms, climbing the bridges and checking out the trains. The staff do a fantastic job and are always so friendly too.
As well as the Standard Travel Days, The Watercress Line operates special events throughout the year. These include a Day Out With Thomas, War on the Line and Santa Specials, along with Steam Galas and more. Coming up soon, is the Wizard Weekend in October, which sounds awesome. We are definitely considering taking the boys for some wizardry and spooky fun.
They also operate Driver Experience days. The Steam Engine driving experience would be the perfect gift for my dad without doubt. His childhood home backed onto a railway line, and he always tells us about how he would sit and watch the steam trains pass his house, along with other fascinating stories.
We look forward to visiting The Watercress Line again soon. You can’t beat it for a wonderful family day out.
*We were invited to visit The Watercress Line for free, in exchange for our honest review. However, photos and opinions are entirely my own.