Tucked away in the historic hillside town of Tunbridge Wells, lies the charming station link of the Spa Valley Railway. Walk through the doors of the beautifully preserved station house and you will find yourself transported back to the days of steam and mechanisation, with plenty to spark your interest as you wait for the tell-tale chug-chug-chug sound that means your ride is about to arrive.
Originally opened in 1866, The Spa Valley Railway provided an additional route for tourists to journey through the area of outstanding natural beauty known as the High Weald from the South Coast of England to Central London and Kent. Today, the railway line offers a pleasant ride from Tunbridge wells to Eridge via High Rocks and Groombridge, a village bordering Ashdown Forest, the home of fiction’s Winnie the Pooh.
Allow yourself some time before climbing aboard to explore the station and exhibits such as vintage advertising, photographs and original artefacts before settling on a platform bench wih a bag of classic sweets to wait for your train. The station is run and maintained by some very knowledgable volunteers who have a ton of stories and information to share, if you have some questions do ask! Allow yourself to get swept up in the excitement and before you know it the smoke is all around you and the train in pulling in.
Hop on one of the steam or vintage diesel locomotives and feel the satisfaction of hearing the slam-door clatter closed behind you once again. Tickets are available for train rides only and combined tickets for train and attractions such as Groombridge Place can be purchased. But why stop there? The High Weald Belle offers dining and afternoon lunch trains as well as Fish n Chip suppers for an inclusive experience, with special Murder Mystery and Ales on Rails evenings on special dates throughout the year.
Festive passengers can book a place on one of the Santa Specials this December for a train to remember with Santa visits, free gifts for the children and Victorian penny machines near a spectacular Tunbridge Wells Christmas tree, (find more details at https://www.spavalleyrailway.co.uk/product.php/17/santa-specials).
So enjoy a real window into the trains of the past at The Spa Valley Railway. For me, there was nothing better than sitting with the Victorian station setting around me and watching the cloud of steam as the train appeared around the track bend to the station and I bet you a chocolate orange that someone you know would love the gift of seeing this too.
For more details about the Spa Valley Railway and all of its offers, please visit: