Visiting a local light display has become a bit of a ritual in the run up to Christmas. SteamLights at the Bluebell Railway offers something a little extra than your average Winter Wonderland. Their annual locomotive light show returns this year with more glimmer, dazzle and sparkle than ever before. I was thrilled to accompany two very excited seven year old boys to experience this festive spectacle for ourselves on their opening night.
As though visiting the Bluebell Railway isn’t a treat enough in itself, visiting this little piece of history as dusk turns to night feels particularly special. As we approached the ticket office the sun was setting creating an incredible light display of its own. The boys, already bursting with excitement, started asking questions about Harry Potter and whether they’ll get to see Platform 9 ¾ ’s (sorry to disappoint boys!) All is forgiven as they turn the corner onto the platform which is filled with the sounds, smells and excitement of the bustling historic rail station.
The SteamLights experience begins with a dramatic introduction from a Station Master who may as well have just stepped off the Polar Express. With a touch of magic the display begins illuminating the train, station and carriages. Excitedly we head to our compartments to settle down for the ride.
I don’t want to share too much about the ride because I don’t want to ruin the surprise for anyone visiting soon – just expect music, lights, magic and big smiles. My little companions bounced around our compartment for the duration of the journey to Horsted Keynes, stopping every now and again to aww and ahhh as we passed stunning woodland scenes. A short interlude at Horsted Keynes allowed us the chance to explore more laminations as the engine uncoupled ready for the return to Sheffield Park.
Need to Know..
SteamLights is ideal for family groups and friends of all ages. At this time of year it’s an experience you can enjoy without having to worry about the weather or less mobile family members having to walk too far. The experince all takes place from your seat and your carriage! Couldn’t be easier. I’ve answered some FAQ’s below for anyone thinking of visting..
- Santa doesn’t visit SteamLights. There is a separate Santa Special service just for him.
- The experience lasts around 1 hour 30 minutes.
- Seats are booked as whole compartments or tables of 4 so you can enjoy your time exclusively with your family or friends.
- There are refreshments and snacks available to buy at Sheffield Park. Passengers are also welcome to bring their own drinks. Mulled Wine will definitely be available!
- There are toilets at the stations and on the train.
If you’d like to find out more about SteamLights or other services running on the Bluebell Railway please visit www.bluebell-railway.com