Christmas is just around the corner and everyone is beginning to feel festive.
So, what better way to allow yourself to get properly excited and into the seasonal spirit by jumping on board a classic steam train at Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway.
I had the pleasure to visit the historic place with my family last weekend and what a magical time we experienced. The station is very easy to find along the A59 near Skipton, until you see the signpost "Bolton Abbey Station" and ample free parking is available.
We arrived and made our way into a beautifully decorated marquee, lovely and warm thanks to a roaring coal fire and were greeted by friendly and efficient volunteers. The Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway is a volunteer-run, preserved Heritage Railway, which does not receive any grants or subsidies towards running.
There were stalls inside selling a varied range of seasonal treats. My four-year-old daughter and seven-year-old boy were delighted to receive a complimentary gingerbread Christmas tree! We only had to wait a few minutes before we were directed towards our carriage entitled "Dancer". Once inside, we were pleased to see it had been recently upgraded, very clean and decorated with tinsel and baubles. The train soon departed the station and an hour of enchantment awaited as the carriages full of the young and young at heart chugged their way passing through some of North Yorkshire's breathtaking countryside. All the staff were so friendly. The youngsters' eyes lit up when they saw Santa's helpers, the elves, Rudolf and Miss Clause make their way into the carriages entertaining everyone and ensuring every child was singing Christmas songs, especially classics such as "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer".
While the children were entertained, the parents could go to the nearby small bar/buffet which was selling festive drinks such as hot chocolate with marshmallows and cream, mince pies, cakes, chocolates, crisps and plenty of drinks.
The staff made everyone feel so welcome and then came the special visitor everyone had been waiting for - Father Christmas. He arrived with his elves stopping and talking to every child and asking them what present they wanted. The presents received were of a very high quality and certainly put a huge smile on the faces of all the children on board. Once Santa had spoken and handed out presents to all the children, the festive music continued and the elves returned to give a "high-five" to all the little ones on board! Once the train returned to the station, there was an opportunity to pose for pictures on the platform in front of the steam train.
What a wonderful way to spend a Saturday or Sunday in the run-up to Christmas and create beautiful memories. We will certainly be returning next year!
Embsay's festive train journeys are extremely popular and it is recommended tickets are bought in advance. For timetables, ticket prices and to book, please log onto https://www.embsayboltonabbeyrailway.org.uk/events/santa-trains or call 01756 710614.
For more ideas of other great activities/steam journeys in Yorkshire, please visit Yorkshire.com