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Are you a big fan of model trains? Do you love taking a trip out on a heritage railway? Or do you want to find a new exciting experience for the kids? Norwich and Norfolk is home to a host of incredible train and railway experiences just waiting to be discovered!
1. Bure Valley Railway
The Bure Valley Railway is the perfect experience for lovers of steam trains. It’s Norfolk’s longest narrow-gauge railway, an 18-mile round trip which runs between the historic market town of Aylsham and the capital of the Broads, Wroxham. As you fly through pretty countryside, past the River Bure and through meadows, you’ll find yourself relaxing and having fun in no time.
Tickets for a return are £15 for adults, and £7.50 for children. Plus, there are regular themed events that you can book onto. This October half-term kids go free with a paying adult, and over Christmas you can hop on board the Festive Express, which will include festive treats and a visit to see Santa in his grotto.
For the hardcore steam train fans, you can splash out on an incredible steam driver experience. You’ll get to prep the steam engine and drive it with passenger carriages attached. Lunch and refreshments also included. One day course from £225.
2. Wroxham Miniature Worlds
Are you more interested in model trains than the real thing? There’s something so fascinating about being able to replicate such a large and powerful piece of machinery in such a small format! And you can come marvel at some fantastic examples of this at Wroxham Miniature Worlds. There are multiple layouts to see, replicating railways from countries across the world. And if you like to get a bit more hands on (or you have kids who do) there are interactive layouts too – giving you the chance to press the button and watch them drive around. The interactive Thomas the Tank Engine layout is definitely a favourite of the little ones. Adults £11.95, children £8.95.
3. Mid-Norfolk Railway
The longest standard-gauge heritage railway in East Anglia, the Mid-Norfolk Railway should be top of the list for railway enthusiasts. The railway’s main station is in Dereham and runs to Wymondham Abbey Halt station. To make a whole day of it, why not book onto one of the dining trains and enjoy a railway journey with the addition of delicious food! Or you can pop along when the world-famous Flying Scotsman locomotive will be visiting the railway in October. Return trips £29.50 per person, with a special fish and chip train £45.
4. Eaton Park
Eaton Park’s miniature railway is perfect for families looking to spend some quality time and get some fresh air! The railway runs through a beautiful meadow, and only costs £1.50 per adult and £1 per child to ride. Trains run on Sundays from midday until 4.30pm depending on the availability of volunteers and the weather. What could be better than having a lovely picnic in the park followed by a special trip on the miniature railway?
5. North Norfolk Railway
Running from the seaside town Sheringham to the pretty market town Holt, the North Norfolk Railway will take you past some of the most stunning coastline in the county. Steam trains operate daily in September and on most days in October, and there’s a whole host of special events to get excited about too. From fleet days where all the locomotives will be out on the track, to dining services, themed 40’s weekends, and even a spooky ghost train for Halloween. There’s also a range of experiences you can book as well – from a behind the scenes tour to signalling and driving days.
The icing on the cake though has to be the Norfolk Lights Express. From 15th November until 3rd January, you can experience an immersive, wintertime journey on board a steam-hauled train illuminated by thousands of tiny lights! As you journey along the track, you’ll pass a series of colourful lit-up dioramas that will prove fun for the whole family. Tickets only £18 per person.
6. Wells and Walsingham Light Railway
For something a bit more low-key, Wells and Walsingham Light Railway is a real treat. Take an adventure on the world’s smallest public railway, which steams between the seaside town Wells-next-the-Sea and the beautiful abbey village of Walsingham. Your trip will take you through countryside, over and under bridges, past a hill-fort and through a real ghost platform. With tickets priced at only £5 per person, it’s a great way to enjoy a day out on a budget. Pair with some ice cream, fish and chips, or maybe even some hot fresh donuts at Wells and you’re all set!
7. Bressingham Steam and Gardens
Bressingham Steam and Gardens has several narrow-gauge rail lines and a number of steam engines for all to enjoy. The highlight is definitely The Garden Railway, which takes you on a journey through the delightful gardens, so you can take in their beauty in a truly unique way. The museum is also home to the national Dad’s Army collection of vintage vehicles located on a reconstruction of the High Street from the famous TV series. There really is something for everyone here! Tickets from £5.08 for children and £8.17 for adults for standard entry, or from £7.26 for children and £11.35 for adults for entry with unlimited train rides.
Thursford’s steam engine museum hosts the country’s finest collection of steam traction engines and allows you to get up close and personal. Discover the history of steam power on the land, the roads, and on the fairground, and transport yourself back to yesteryear. The museum is currently closed for the Christmas Spectacular show at Thursford but will be reopening in 2022 – so make sure a visit is part of your New Year’s resolutions!