Tuesday 7 August 2018

Peep peep! Our Thomas adventure on the Watercress Line

We had a great time visiting my parents this weekend, and a highlight was visiting the Watercress Line because, whilst Ethan knew we were going on a steam train with Nanna, he didn't know that Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends were going to be there too!

The special event is on now so you can enjoy a day out with Thomas until end of play this Sunday, and there isn't a better time to go if you have little ones because not only can you see Thomas, but there are other friends to spot, plus passports and colouring in certificates, fairground rides and miniature trains, and lots besides so you can make it a packed day out.

We found that the Watercress Line has a lot to offer everyone in the family. It's a 10 mile track with four stations, the main one being Ropley, in the middle, which also happens to have free parking during this event too. You pass through picturesque Hampshire, with wheat fields and wildlife, and the journey isn't too long at all, so little ones shouldn't get fussy.

It's a popular event and in the sunshine too, it was a great day for it and Ethan was excited when he spotted each of the characters, whilst my Mum enjoyed the vintage travel aspect.

Here are our top tips having ridden the rails during this event:

* Arrive early so you can pack as much into the day as you want to, and perhaps avoid being out in the sun in the afternoon where the sun is at its hottest

* Ropley station is a good base for you to start your day, as it has a field with free parking right next door

* From Ropley, you could explore the fairgrounds and see if you can find the Fat Controller, then head onto the train to go in one direction, then ride the line all the way to the other end, hoping off when it suits you for a toasted tea cake or spot of lunch

* There's refreshments and things to see at each stop, plus picnic areas if you want to bring your own food with you

* Bring your camera so you can get lots of snaps of Thomas and friends, and be sure to collect the passport to adventure when you arrive, as it's filled with lots of activities to keep fidgety children happy

* Plan your day, in advance or when you arrive and you have the timetable, so you can fit everything in to the time you have and so you know what you're doing if it is busy - trains go every 45 minutes

We really enjoyed our day out and whilst it did get busy, we always had a seat on the train and didn't feel cramped at all. It was lovely to see so many families enjoying the lovely weather, and I loved taking in the traditional trains and vintage style stations.

I've included all the essential information from my preview post about this special event below and we would really recommend a visit before the event ends after 12th August, as it made a great day out and there was added excitement with Thomas and co. there, with plenty more to see.

Meet Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends here at the Watercress Line. Experience a ride on a real steam engine, shake hands with The Fat Controller. All activities and rides are included in your ticket price. 

4th - 12th August 2018 (9.30am - 5.00pm)

NEW! This year we will have vintage fairground rides at Ropley and a fantastic delicious new food offering.
Keep up to date with news about the event on our Facebook page!
There are plenty of activities to keep the family entertained for the whole day - ALL included in the ticket price:
  • Unlimited travel on the big steam trains that run up and down the 10 mile line - trains run every 45 minutes from 9:45am to 4:45pm
  • Unlimited rides behind Thomas the Tank Engine and in Toad the Brake Van at Ropley
  • 'Rusty' entertaining children with magic and fun at Ropley
  • Unlimited rides on the miniature railway
  • Vintage fairground rides
  • A Passport To Friendship full of activities for children to do throughout the day with a sticker on completion
  • Story Time with Rusty and the Fat Controller
  • 'Thomas & Friends' temporary tattoos 
  • A Day Out With Thomas colouring-in certificate
  • Imagination Stations with Thomas play-sets, colouring and DVD shows
Adults: £18
Child (2-16 yrs): £12
Child (under 2 yrs): Free
Family (2 adults and 2 children): £54
*An online booking fee applies
Parking Information:**Ropley: We have FREE car parking in a large field next to Ropley station. Postcode SO24 0BL. 
Alresford: Pay and Display, £1.50 for the day or free Sundays and Bank Holidays.
Alton: Pay and Display South Western Trains car park. £2 on the weekend or £7.50 on weekdays.
Disabled parking available at Alresford and Alton stations. Disabled drop-off at Ropley station and park in the field.
Further Information:Trains run between 9:45am to 4:45pm.
The Imagination Station is open at Alresford and Ropley from 10.30am - 4.30pm, entry is strictly by travel ticket only.
Thomas gives rides at Ropley station.

Accommodation: Try the beautiful Watercress Lodges, a self catered holiday retreat set in relaxing farmland surroundings overlooking our Ropley station (where Thomas will be) and the South Downs. Choose from Lodges, Glamping Safari Tents, Tipi Tents or pitch your own. 

* We were invited to review this event, all opinions are our own.

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