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Santa Specials - Where to See Santa on a Train - North East and Beyond



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Santa Special, Santa Express, Polar Express - There are so many different names for these popular, festive train services and this year, there are plenty to choose from, across the North East and beyond.

Various heritage railways offer a differing range of magical experiences at various prices. When our boys were younger, we were regular visitors to the Santa Specials on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. The boys loved these visits, but we have also heard good things about some of the experiences offered by other railways.


Some of the railways across the region are yet to announce full details, but here is a guide to what had been announced so far.

This post will be updated whenever we receive any further details.


North Yorkshire Moors Railway Santa Specials - 3, 4, 10, 11 & 17 - 24 December

£30 per person. Includes a gift and backpack for each child.

"Join Santa and his special team of elves at either Pickering or Grosmont Station before a magical adventure aboard the Santa Express which will take you on a festive journey you won’t forget!

This enchanting Christmas experience sees Mr. Claus and his jolly helpers pass through the heritage carriages, giving children a chance to meet the legendary man himself on board the train, and gifting a special soft toy present to the children onboard - providing they’ve managed to keep themselves off the naughty list this year!"

2018 Our Santa Ride with NYMR

Aln Valley Railway Santa Specials - 3, 4, 10, 11, 17 & 18 December

Ticket details coming soon.

Credit Aln Valley


Stephenson Railway Elf Express - 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18 & 24 December

£16 - £24 per person

Tickets on sale from 8AM 29 September

"Join Santa and his helpers for a truly wonderful winter experience. Make this Christmas a real cracker with a trip on our Elf Express. Meet our Chief Elf, as well as The Man himself, in an interactive show where you’ll be put through your paces to see if you can be part of Santa’s crew before embarking on a fantastic steam* train journey. There’ll be plenty of entertainment and photo opportunities along the way, as well as a present from Santa, on this truly unique Christmas adventure. "

Credit Stephenson Railway


Heatherslaw Railway Santa Specials - 10, 11, 17 & 18 December

£19 per person. Gift and refreshments included

"We are delighted to announce that our Santa Specials are running again this December! Passengers are invited to travel from Heatherslaw to Etal Station (The North Pole!) and back again on our Christmas decorated train. The trains will be hauled by steam locomotives “Bunty”, or "Lady Augusta".

Last year, we adjusted our traditional format to keep passengers and staff safe whilst the pandemic was still lingering. This format was a huge success, so we are continuing with it; Santa will now welcome families at Etal Station and present each child with a quality gift. Refreshments will be available and distributed prior to your departure for you to enjoy on your journey!"

Credit Heatherslaw Railway

Wensleydale Railway The Polar Express - Various dates from 12 November - 23 December

Various ticket options starting from £27.95 plus booking fee per person

"Your journey begins just like the 2004 motion picture when THE POLAR EXPRESS™ will pick you up at Leeming Bar station to take you to the North Pole. You will get to meet the characters from the film including the conductor, the singing chefs, the hobo and of course the main man himself Father Christmas. You and your family, hopefully dressed in PJs, will experience a fun filled theatrical adventure as you make your way to the North Pole. Throughout your journey, you may tangle with the caribou and other magical happenings, as you have the original story of THE POLAR EXPRESS™ told to you by the singing Chefs. Don’t forget to have a bite of your cookie and authentic hot chocolate before arriving at the North Pole to meet Santa Claus. Santa will join you on board and, if you are on the nice list, hand you your first gift of Christmas, a Silver Sleigh Bell just as in the motion picture we all love. You will get to speak with Santa and he may even sign your THE POLAR EXPRESS™ book which is available to purchase with your THE POLAR EXPRESS™ tickets.

Once you arrive back at the station your journey is not at its end. Next you can write a letter to Santa, check if you are on the naughty and nice list and buy a little souvenir of your experience. THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Yorkshire at Wensleydale Railway is truly the most magical Christmas experience."

Credit Wensleydale Railway


Keighley & Worth Valley Railway Elf Explorer 26 & 27 November, 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18 & 22 - 24 December

£20 - £40 per person. Includes gift

"Your experience begins when you arrive at Oxenhope station and are taken exploring through a winter wonderland by an Elf from the North Pole. You’ll then be able to write a list for Santa before boarding a steam train named The Elf Explorer for a fun-filled adventure. Father Christmas and his helpers will join you on board, visit every family, and if the children have been good, they’ll receive their first gift of the Christmas season."

Credit Keighley & Worth Valley Railway


Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway Tinsel Trains - 3, 4, 10, 11, 17 & 18 December

£80 per compartment of 4 people. Extra tickets £20 per person

Join Father Christmas and his Railway Elves on board the LHR Tinsel Train. Take this 1 hr journey in your own private compartment from Haverthwaite to Lakeside and return.

Your compartment will be embellished with all things ‘Christmassy’ and filled with seasonal tunes, it’s the perfect environment to soak up the festive atmosphere.

Whilst onboard our Porter will serve Adults with a seasonal drink and piece of Christmas cake, while the Children receive a personally labelled, age specific present, handpicked by Father Christmas and his Railway Elves.

You must wait patiently for Father Christmas to visit your compartment. From your doorway he will give out presents to all the good children onboard. The perfect opportunity to capture a photo of the big man himself as he meets your family.

Credit Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway


Embsay & Bolton Abbey Railway Santa Specials/Breakfast/Picnic with Santa - Various Dates

£9 - £30.50 per person

"Start your Christmas magic at the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Railway this winter with steam trains, seasonal treats and - of course - Santa himself!

This year, we’re offering a range of experiences to bring your festive period to life, including First Class, Premium Compartments, Breakfast with Santa and more.

Every experience includes a one-hour steam train ride, departing from our station at Bolton Abbey, a present for children, festive entertainment and a visit from Santa at your seats on-board. Truly magical."

credit Embsay & Bolton Abbey Railway


Whistlestop Valley Santa Express - Various dates from 26 November - 24 December

£12.95 - £24.95 per person.

"This festive season, you can choose from TWO special Santa events at Whistlestop Valley: "Simply Santa" or "The Santa Express."

Both events feature a trip aboard the heated carriages hauled by one of our steam locomotives; transporting you to the North Pole!"

Credit Whistlestop Valley


Scarborough North Bay Railway Santa Specials - 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18, 22 & 23 December

£9.95 - £16.95 per person

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, so why not kick off the festive season by heading down to the Scarborough North Bay Railway for our famous Santa Specials!

Fun for all the family – all aboard the magical Christmas Express, immerse yourself in festive wonder as this very special train takes you on a journey to Lapland Central.

Whilst waiting to see Santa, adults can enjoy complimentary seasonal refreshments including mince pies, hot chocolate and mulled wine, with juice and biscuits for the children. There will be the chance to have a ride on Santa’s sleigh, write your letter to Santa, make your own Reindeer food and much more to keep all entertained!

Once it is your time, you will be led by our mischievous elves to the beautifully decorated Grotto to spend some quality one to one time with the man himself and receive a special gift.

Your Santa Special experience will last for approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Credit Scarborough North Bay

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