Spa Valley Railway – Steam Trains & Diesel Engines in Kent, a Review

We recently took a trip on Spa Valley Railway, Tunbridge Wells, Kent

We were gifted tickets for this review.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t really know how it worked. I assumed you had to buy a timed ticket but this was not the case. You buy your All Day Rover ticket and can hop on and off as much as you like. This was great and made for a lovely relaxing day. At other times of the year this might be different – I assume things like the Santa Special will be a timed ticket.

When we travelled on Spa Valley Railway you could get on at any of the four stations: Tunbridge Wells West, High Rocks, Groombridge and Eridge.

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Sign at Spa Valley Railway, Kent

We opted to start at High Rocks as there is a large, free carpark a short distance away. However, next time I would probably park next to Tunbridge Wells West as it is the end of the line and nearer to the Pantiles.

It is worth mentioning that High Rocks is predominantly an unmanned station. There is no ticket office but there is the lovely High Rocks Inn (where you can stop in for refreshments) and, of course High Rocks themselves. There is a guard when trains are due and we got there just in time for “Ugly” the steam train. 

The guard was lovely and informative. We were the only ones on the platform and I was able to take this video of Ugly approaching.

There is certainly something about steam trains and we’re very lucky to have this track so near to Sevenoaks in Kent

We grabbed a first class carriage.

We took my mum, Granny, with us who regaled us of tales of her childhood train journeys to school on trains “just like this one”. Apparently, the boys and girls were segregated. Imagine doing that these days!

We decided to head up to the end of the line, Eridge, as there is a pub where we could have lunch. 

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A photo taken in the first class carriage

The Huntsman pub is charming with a large garden for the children to run around. The food is on the pricey side though. A halloumi burger and sweet potato fries set us back over £12 each and didn’t even come with salad! Next time we will either take a picnic or lunch in The Pantiles with it’s many bars, restaurants and cafe’s.

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The garden at the Huntsman Pub in Eridge, Kent

Eridge Station is manned and has a small selection of snacks and, very importantly, toilets 

We didn’t get off at Groombridge Station it’s one for next time – here you can go to Groombridge Place (about 15 to 20 minutes walk), but there is an entrance fee to pay. There is a ticket office and on busier days a small refreshment kiosk selling snacks and ice creams.

Tunbridge Wells West Station is Spa Valley Railways headquarters

Here you can see their “historic collection of locomotives and carriages receiving maintenance or repairs, relax in “Emily”, a retired express train buffet car from the 1960s, or visit the historic spa town.”

Tunbridge Wells itself has a lot to offer. You could spend a week here and not see it all! 

What did we think of our day at Spa Valley Railway?

 We had a wonderful time! Although we received free tickets we would happily go back as paying customers.

The kids had a whale of a time, not only seeing a steam train up close but also actually riding on one!

The adults enjoyed watching the world go by, relaxing and spotting all the lovely sights on our journey.

Because we went over the Easter Holidays there was a “spot the bunny” event and a man making balloon animals and handing out bunny ears. I would guess that there is often a theme and this was a lovely touch.

For full details of Spa Valley Railway and to book tickets click here.

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PIN ME!

*We were given tickets free of charge in return for this review, however all opinions and photos (and videos) are my own

 

 

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