Before the world is sent into complete lockdown, we managed to get out into the countryside and explore one of our local Yorkshire dales attractions as a pre-mothers day treat for my lovely mum.
We decided to get the full experience and dine too, they have various different dining options on different weekends such as Curry express, Fish & Chip Specials, Afternoon tea… Loads! We went for the Winter Warmer weekend which was a bargain in my opinion, it included a return trip in first class, Sausage with vegetables in a giant Yorkshire pudding, unlimited tea & coffee and your ticket was a day pass which meant you could ride up and down as many times as you liked! All this for £20 each.
With a lack of communication, we arrived at the wrong station first of all, so drove over to Embsay Station which is where our train departed! Still we arrived well ahead of our 1.30pm booking and had a good amount of time to explore the shops and platform at Embsay. It gave off Harry Potter Hogsmeade station vibes to me, with its little bridge, old platform buildings and middle of nowhere location! We boarded the first class carriage which had a very royal red colour to the interior and exterior and were seated with a whole row to ourselves so we got unrestricted views out the windows. The very friendly and lovely team were very hospitable and got our meals and drinks with us within a few minutes just as we set off on our way to Bolton Abbey. We trudged along at a very steady pace giving us plenty of time to admire the views while we tucked in, the food was tasty and very filling, the chef also kindly came over to apologise about the lack of potatoes, though we didn’t notice to be honest!
The journey took us through the wonderful Yorkshire dales and took around 20 minutes, but this was plenty of time to eat, we then had a 20 minute stop at Bolton Abbey Station where you could disembark and have a look around before our journey back. There was a shop, cafe and miniature railway, but we decided to watch the beautiful ‘Cumbria’ locomotive change from the back to the front, there is just something fascinating to me about the smoke and whistles as the train moves tracks and hooks back onto the main body.
We jumped back on and into our seats and started the journey back with unlimited tea & coffee which they regularly refilled and made sure we had a pleasant journey. I later found out that the entire team that were operating the railway were all volunteers which makes the operation even more impressive. You can tell everyone is very passionate about the railway and gave us excellent service throughout the entire experience. It really makes me think that we need to support our local heritage attractions as we will lose them for good.
We enjoyed the journey so much that we decided to have another trip along the line, this time in standard class. A little less impressive than the first class carriage but to me the authenticity and looking a bit rough around the edges makes it for me, makes it more real. Bolton Abbey station is around a 25 min walk to Bolton Abbey itself, though we didn’t have time on this occasion. On the return journey this time they hurtled back at pace so only took around 10 minutes, I don’t know whether this was because the dining experiences had then finished or the team were just eager to get home! Either way we enjoyed it! I’d definitely recommend a visit, a small heritage railway that won’t have the marketing or money that some of the other heritage lines have, but for their very reasonable prices you get a fabulous day out and a lovely meal while helping keep one of the great train lines in the UK open.
Take a look at my pick of Virtual Train Journeys here!