Bluebell Railway | Kidadl

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  • Visit Bluebell Railway for your chance to step back in time to enjoy the historical landscapes of Sussex on locomotive trains.
  • Check out the Bluebell Railway Museum for interactive displays, picnic areas and beautiful areas for play for a great day out.
  • Don't miss out on the events that are held regularly, like the Steam Light display in winter, along with festive, Santa themed events and more.

Travel through 11 miles of stunning Sussex landscape that passes by as you are on board a steam engine. Bluebell Railway is a fantastic, unique, day that offers unforgettable experiences that the whole family can enjoy.

The Bluebell Railway runs steam-hauled passenger trains from Sheffield Park to East Grinstead, calling at various stops, like Horsted Keynes and Kingscote. They began services in August of 1960, commencing fun family train services for all to enjoy. If you buy the All Day Rover ticket, you can hop on and off throughout the day as much as you like. Bluebell Railway, one of the best heritage steam railways, was one of the first preserved heritage lines in that existed in the country. Indeed, it has one of the finest collections of magnificent, vintage steam locomotives and carriages. Many of these were from British Railways and preserved straight out of service. The little ones will have a hoot meeting the railway staff in period clothing who bring the history of the steamed railway to life. Here you can see original working signal boxes, and vintage carriages, onboard this fun, historical train. Each of the four stations conveys a different preserved period of history, from the Victorian era to the 1930s and 1950s.

With the old-style stations, locomotives, pretty carriages and uniforms, this is like the best time travel experience ever, and on a moving train! Your little ones will love soaring through the Sussex Weald, with friendly people waving back at you as you pass along the picturesque landscape, creating an immersive experience that offers a real sense of theatre. The friendly volunteer staff, with their enthusiasm and passion, bring this moving time machine to life. Your kids will love seeing the ancient restored carriages, exploring the vast loco sheds, plus dressing up as a railway driver, pulling all the levers in the signal box.

Learn about the Bluebell Railway history on your trip, as the industrial age has lots of interesting facts that will shock, delight and entertain the family. The thrill of getting up close and personal to a working locomotive and luxuriate as the comforts and style of this bygone era surprise and delight you. Families love the hands-on interactive exhibitions, as it gives the kids something to do while learning at the railway museum. Plus, when you're done learning, children have a blast in the play area, running, jumping and letting their imaginations run wild while their parents relax having a tea and picnic!

For more learning about everything to do with the Bluebell Railway route and the surrounding history of this steam train, Sussex, check out the Bluebell Museum, which is a particular highlight when visiting the Bluebell Railway. This fascinating museum in East Sussex has great, informative exhibits so all visitors can engage in its history, intrigued by the fascinating past, with both your little ones, big ones, and grown-ups, all finding something to take from the museum. Children will love that they can see some wonderful model locomotives, an amazing paddle steamer and more. Keep an eye out for the museum mice that hide amongst the exhibits!

The Bluebell Railway Museum is regularly visited by researchers, railway enthusiasts and the curious, arriving from all over the globe because it has one of the finest collections of information and material about the history of railways in Southern England. The Bluebell Railway Museum tells the fascinating story of the railway line from Lewes to East Grinstead, bringing the history of railways that operate in the South of England to life. For more wonderful railway experiences, check out Epping Ongar Railway, for your chance to set back in time again and delight in the experience of romance and travel in the bygone times as you pass through picturesque landscapes for magical experiences.

Perfect for relaxing strolls, the Bluebell Railway is also the perfect place to enjoy the fantastic sights High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty has to offer or the delightful views of Ashdown Forest, the home of Winnie the Pooh, as you gracefully steam through the Sussex countryside. Pathways around the landscape crisscross with railways and greenery, where you can see the trains from the countryside, which is the opposite of how many people normally experience seeing the countryside (from their train). The little ones will love twisting and meandering along these ancient paths, with the pace you go at decided by you, crossing some glorious bubbling streams. Be on the lookout for hidden buildings, uncovering some hidden gems and coming across even more surprising views! It's a thrill, too, as walking from the line-side, you'll be able to feel the immense power of a locomotive and its heat, as it bolts past you! But, get to the bridges to catch the alluring scent of steam, coal and Sussex's countryside where you are most likely to notice the alluring smell of coal and steam.

Don't miss out on the various events that run throughout the year, including family fun days, temporary visiting engines, and festive activities, like Santa Specials. At Christmas, be sure to try out the Steam Lights event; where chilly winter evenings are brightened with seasonal Christmas lights that are spectacular! The train is lit up multicoloured, sparkling, glowing and shimmering on an enchanting train journey covered by thousands of vibrant lights. The dark landscape passes you by, illuminating the path as your family gaze at the fantastic light show along the way. There are festive displays, jolly music and stories and narration, all to keep the family occupied and entertained. This is a steam train experience you need to try out!

Get the family stuck into fantastic foodie events and enjoy traditional British fairs, with fish and chips and curry evenings, plus full English breakfast rides. Alternatively, brave visitors can even enjoy some Murder Mystery events aboard the Golden Arrow train for railway fun. There is magnificent engineering action to be seen at East Grinstead, too, as the locomotives detach and re-attach at the end of the train, as they return gracefully to Sheffield Park.

For more fun family days out in Sussex, check out Bognor Regis Beach, which is a traditional beach just south of South Downs National Park, with a great sunshine record and nearby cute towns for some great shopping and food experiences.

What to know before you go

  • Bluebell Railway opening times are 9:30am to 5pm.
  • When you're feeling peckish, and looking for a new experience, check out dining train services where there is a range of services, including lunch, afternoon tea and evening dining. Plus, there is good-value pub grub at the Bessemer Arms with family-friendly meals on offer. Plus, there is reasonably priced snacks and drinks from the station cafes at Horsted Keynes and Kingscote. There is a Tea carriage at East Grinstead. Plus, check out the grassy, pretty, picnic areas at all stations except East Grinstead. There is a buffet service on the train car which serves coffee, wine and cakes.
  • There are toilets, baby changing facilities and accessible toilets at stations that you stop by on.
  • Collapsible pushchairs and prams can be accommodated onboard the train by making use of the luggage racks overhead. Larger prams and pushchairs can be stored in the luggage compartment of the train, but this is subject to availability.

Getting there

  • Bluebell Railway is located at Park Station, Sheffield Park, Uckfield, West Sussex.
  • If travelling by public transport, Sheffield Park Station is the closest station to join to Bluebell Railway. Travel from London Victoria, East Croydon and Oxted to East Grinstead Station via Southern Railway where you can join Bluebell Railway.
  • If travelling via car, Sheffield Park Station is the best point to join the Bluebell Railway. This is located on the A275 East Grinstead, where Lewes main road is about two miles north of its junction with the A272. To get to the Bluebell Railway, Sheffield Park is well signposted with brown tourist direction signs from the A22 and A23 trunk roads.
  • There is plenty of free available parking at Sheffield Park as well as a Coach Park and Bays for visitors with acces needs.

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