On Sunday we took the Podlings to see Father Christmas, but we decided to do something a bit different this year. Our children aren't getting any younger and we are fortunate that we still have a full party of believers. We are aware that we don't have many years left of that, so wanted to do something a bit special this year whilst all the Podlings can fully enjoy the magic.
After a brief investigation, we came across the Santa Special at Amerton Railway near Stone, Staffordshire. We have visited the adjacent farm before, but had never taken the children on the narrow gauge railway next door. The Santa Special sounded like the perfect way to make our visit to Father Christmas something to remember. I rang them up on the day and we were lucky that they still had spaces available on their afternoon trains.
We told Tom in advance as he doesn't handle surprises very well, but we didn't tell the girls about the train until we got there. All they knew was that we were going to see Father Christmas. When we told them they were so excited. Emma has never been on a train before and she couldn't wait to get on it!
The train set off and then stopped at a little siding where Santa's train was waiting. Father Christmas then came over to our train and spoke with each child in the train whilst his elf helper fetched a gift. The adults got to enjoy a mince pie (and a sherry if you wanted it, which I didn't). After Father Christmas had seen every child, the train's whistle blew and we set off again back to the little station.
The Podlings loved it! Even Alex was rather fascinated at the goings on. Mark loves steam trains (courtesy of a childhood reading the Rev. W. Awdry's Railway Stories), so certainly enjoyed it at least as much as the Podlings! It was certainly a very special way of seeing Father Christmas and we would certainly consider going again. I'd love to do it again when Alex is old enough to know what it is all about.
Waiting to board