Visiting Santa at Kirklees Light Railway

Christmas is great whether you’ve got children or not, but it adds something special when you’ve got a child with all the magic that comes with them.

When you’ve got a baby you know they have no idea what’s coming up and what’s special about it, but it doesn’t mean you can’t go all out and do things Christmas related for them…

Well, I say it’s for them. It’s not really, it’s for the parents. Once you know this you can just do whatever exciting things you’ve wanted to do for ages but you’ve a great excuse! Hopefully they’ll enjoy it though, and you can do nice things to try and make it special for them too.

One thing we were looking forward to was a trip to see Father Christmas! We had been to Kirklees Light Railway before (see my review here) and really enjoyed it. When a friend told us they ran a train called Santa Express all the way to the North Pole we were sold!

What is Kirklees Light Railway?

In essence it’s a small steam train in Kirklees, or more specifically Clayton West.

However, it’s much more than that. On arrival there’s a cafe and gift shop with loads of Thomas The Tank Engine stuff. All the staff are really friendly and welcoming.

The train is pretty small when you get in. You can sit two adults next to each other but not really opposite each other (not enough room to enjoy any leg space if you did that). It’s then pulled along by a steam engine.

You travel for about 30 minutes to somewhere called Shelley and normally you can just have free time there. It was different this time though!

Santa Express

Kirklees Light Railway Santa Express
Kirklees Light Railway Entrance

Firstly, on arrival, you are greeted with a bit of a sign change on the outside and some Christmas decorations. Inside the station at Clayton West they have it all decorated and have Christmas items to buy in the gift shop.

At this point it’s probably worth pointing out the turkey, stuffing and gravy sandwich which comes with cranberry sauce (we also got chips). This sandwich was absolutely amazing. Relatively simple but oh my word it was good! I would definitely recommend that! We had two of those, two coffees and some chips for about £17 so not bad.

Once your train is at the station you have to find your carriage and seat number. We were in Blitzen. Yes, they’re all named after the reindeer. Now the seats aren’t massive, you couldn’t fit four adults in one part and be comfortable (though I’m 6 foot 5 so maybe it’s just any carriage with me in it that couldn’t fit four people!). Probably three at a push. However, for me, Clare and N it was perfect. So off we went…

The Journey

It takes about 25-30 minutes to get to Shelley. That’s just enough time to get your coat off and get comfy.

Kirklees Light Railway Santa Express
Here’s the Santa Train!!

The journey takes you through the lovely countryside where you can see all sorts. Meanwhile they play Christmas tunes throughout the train. On the journey you go through a tunnel too.

They’ve decorated the inside of the tunnel with lights and the train slows down so you can see and they turn the lights off in the train to make the decorations easier to look at. It was a great touch.

Then you arrive at Shelley and wait for someone to come and talk to you about what’s going to happen. We were in the last coach and we only had to wait a few minutes.

Throughout the whole journey N was great. Trying to play with the decorative snowflakes, eating a snack, playing. They really don’t stay still these babies!

Seeing Father Christmas

We were in the last carriage to be called in to see Father Christmas. We waited there for about 50 minutes, but there’s a marquee in which you can get mulled wine and mince pies, plus a BBQ tent for food. It’s a great set up, they know what they’re doing!

So after 50 minutes we were called to see Santa. We were in a short queue for our carriage, only four children in total.

While you wait you’re standing in an area decorated for Christmas (of course!) with maps of the North Pole. Then we went in to see Santa…

He was great. He was so welcoming and kind. He was really nice and even said I should keep growing my beard but I’ve quite a way to go to match him!

The grotto was decorated very nicely and the elves were very helpful too. N got to sit on Father Christmas’ knee for a few photos and was very calm, if very cautious and curious.

He also got a present which was a Fisher Price bath toy. I know sometimes you can get rubbish gifts at these things but it really isn’t, and none of the ones I saw were.

After seeing Father Christmas we got straight back on the train (or you waited for the train if you were seen earlier – we were literally the last ones to be seen).

I’d Recommend It

I think the whole day out was fantastic!

It was the first time N got to see Father Christmas and it all went so well. All the staff were lovely and really helpful and you aren’t in a massive queue for ages which is a great benefit.

There’s plenty to eat and drink when you get there, plus activities in the marquee for older children.

If you’re wondering where you can go see Father Christmas that’s a bit different I’d go here!

Or maybe you’ve already been. What did you think?

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