If you have a train enthusiast, large or small, a day out at Colne Valley Railway in Essex is a great way to spend the day.
We arrived at 10.30am just in time for the opening with an excited toddler raring to see a real train. The entrance fee was reasonably priced at £8 for adults and the kids were free (2 and under). For this price you have access to a real railway line which you can ride on, station buildings, signal boxes, carriages and wagons, a minature railway train and a model village. We also found a rather large puddle which provided at least an hour of entertainment. Arthur was soaked by the end of it, but the look on his face throughout was priceless and it kept him quiet and happy! I should have taken the opportunity to grab a chair and a coffee because the rest of the day wasn’t so plain sailing. We coincided the visit with the day we decided to take away his dummy during the day. Whilst my 2 1/2 yr old only has it for naps, since the birth of his little sister it has snuck in an appearance a few too many times, so I decided it was time to bite the bullet.
Once we arrived we had a quick look around and made our way to the miniature train which we went on at least 4 times. It’s a great adventure for small people, and I can vouch that there were quite a few older generations enjoying the ride as well. Riding a real train and seeing the turn table working, just like in Thomas, was so exciting for Arthur. The reason for riding around 4 times was because it seemed easier to stay on the train than attempt to pull off a desperatly excited toddler. Eventually we had to peel him off, limb by limb, finger by finger…..We managed to distract him for a short while by getting him to leave a donation in the pot which goes to helping with the upkeep of the site.
We rode on the real train and this too was very exciting, Arthur could hardly contain himself. We then ate lunch on the buffet train, which was quite a highlight. The food was very reasonably priced and the family working there were very accommodating. There was a large selection of sandwiches and hot meals with a special menu for kids too. We really enjoyed the experience. Towards the end of lunch Arthur started to miss his dummy and his tiredness was beginning to kick in.
We had a major toddler breakdown in the model railway room. It actually has to be the biggest on record! It’s that moment where every parent sympathises with you as your toddler lies on the floor kicking and screaming. There was even a few Mike Tyson blows in there. For a small person he packs quite a bit of weight behind his hits. It was a real shame as he enjoyed the room so much, watching the trains go around. However, when it came to trying to exit the room with the model trains in hand I had to step in and a breakdown followed! I have to admit that shortly after that I decided to made a quick exit (yes with the toddler in tow, however tempting it was to leave him…) perhaps our little train enthusiast had become too overwhelmed with excitement.
Despite the tantrums we had a really fun day out. Thanks Colne Valley Railway for a wonderful experience. We also had a very quiet journey home with a toddler out for the count before we had left the car park.