Days Out With the Kids in Hampshire on the Mid Hants Railway
Not far from Winchester, the Watercress Line’s Day Out with Thomas is a must see for all train fans. The Watercress Line is a 10 mile track which takes around 40 mins to travel. You can do this on a range of different steam and diesel trains which stop at different stations – Alresford, Ropley, Medstead and Four Marks and Alton. These aren’t your traditional stations, instead, these are well maintained and beautifully crafted attractions in themselves.
If you are looking for more ideas on things to do in Hampshire for kids then have a look at:
The Definitive Guide To Days Out in Hampshire
33 Half Term Activities in Hampshire That Are Free
31 Family Days Out in Hampshire For All Ages
The Watercress Line
We started at Ropley where there’s a lot of free parking and a overflow near by.
The station is a short walk from the overflow and when there, the staff where really friendly and dressed in traditional train conductor fashion. We had a family ticket that covered us for unlimited rides on the trains between all stations on the line, as well as all of the activities.
You’re given a timetable for the day, giving you choices of getting a steam or diesel train, and what activities were happening at each station.
Just seeing Thomas sat their puffing away brought both children to tears! They couldn’t quite believe that one of their favourite characters was truly here.
Deciding against the longer 40 minute ride to Alton, we decided to take the shorter trip to Alresford and back and see what was going on there.
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Mid Hants Railway
At each station, there were different activities for the children from bouncy castles and imagination rooms filled with Thomas toys to different characters or buses. You do have to travel to each station depending on activity but most of the main events were held at Ropley and Alresford.
We took a picnic, and enjoyed sitting on the benches in Ropley watching the trains puff past. The kids were enthralled! We ended up watching them for half an hour until they couldn’t contain their excitement anymore and we went down to ride them.
If you do decide to hit the restaurant, then they had plenty to choose from, but at high attraction prices as you’d expect.
There was honestly so much to do it and it was very organised.
It is assessable of wheelchairs and pushchairs but toilets could only be found on one side of a platform each time, meaning you had to cross the bridge or walk around if you ended up on the wrong side. We didn’t bother taking the buggy, but many were left safely on the platforms, in a buggy area.
If you think your kids are to old for a Day Out With Thomas on the Watercress Line then think again. My eldest daughter is 5 and while she said the start of the day that “Thomas was boring” by that first look she was hooked! She was completely enchanted with all of the trains and loved going up and down, waving at everyone that passed.
This was a really great family day out. If your kids are Thomas mad, then they will explode at seeing and riding their hero up and down a real track.
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The Watercress Line with Thomas Top Tips
- Get there early as parking can be a nightmare.
- Take a picnic. There’s loads of benches or grass to perch on and watch the trains hoot past as you eat.
- Plan to stay the whole day. To go from Alresford to Alton takes about 40 minutes. We ended up spending five hours there and still didn’t get to do everything.
- Hop on and off at will and enjoy the other stations. A few had only a little to amuse the kids but we found just walking around the old station fascinating.
If you enjoyed this post and would like some more ideas on things to do in Hampshire then head over to the Things To Do section here on Things To Do In Hampshire With Kids where you’ll find over 50 day out ideas in Hampshire that the whole family will enjoy. You could also pop over and follow our Facebook page here or our Hampshire days out Pinterest boards for lots more ideas on what you can do as a family in Hampshire; Days Out For The Kids in Hampshire and Cheap and Free Days Out in Hampshire.
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