Enjoying a steam train experience is becoming an ever-more popular day out.
Since the start of 2021, the number of searches on Google for steam train experiences has increased by 110%. Google trend data also shows that steam train day trips saw a breakout in searches this month, predicting that there would be an increase in demand for the classic travel experiences this year.
The increase could be partially thanks to one of 2021’s viral sensations on Tik Tok, a 20-year-old trainspotter named Francis Bourgeois.
Francis’ short showcasing his passion for trains became an international hit, leading to television appearances, widespread media coverage, and 2m Tik Tok followers. Only last week, Francis revealed on TikTok that he had shared trainspotting experiences with global pop superstar, Joe Jonas.
To help everyone step into the trainspotting trend Buyagift, the company that provides experience days, has shared its top picks of steam train experiences across the UK.
Behind the scenes Railway Day at Tenterden on the Kent and East Sussex Railway
For £149 per person,, visitors can explore behind the scenes at the Kent and East Sussex Railway. It takes place on one of England’s finest rural light railways, the Kent and East Sussex Railway, and promises to provide a memorable day out.
Family Steam Train Day Out at the Didcot Railway Centre, Oxfordshire
A family ticket costs just £35 to travel back in time to the golden age of the Great Western Railway. This 21-acre living museum with trains dating from Victorian times to the 1960s allows everyone to savour the sights, sounds and smells of steam. The entrance ticket includes unlimited rides, entrance to the original 1932 engine shed where magnificently preserved locomotives are displayed, and even climb onto the footplates of some of them.
Steam train driving taster experience in Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire
For just £59 per person, an expert instructor will guide you through the controls of a steam engine and demonstrate how to drive it on a practice track, before letting you have a go yourself. You will learn to drive a real 5/8th scale locomotive that has the same controls as its full-size counterpart, all with real steam on a real track through historic Sherwood Forest.
Steam Train Trip with Sparkling Afternoon Tea for Two on the East Somerset Railway at Shepton Mallet, Somerset
Costing just £69, two people can experience a charming ride behind a steam train through the picturesque Somerset countryside. Enjoy the gorgeous views as the train departs from Cranmore, catch up with someone special over a lovely pot of tea and a glass of prosecco to make your day extra special, before rolling into Mendip Vale. Included in the price is a delicious afternoon tea including sandwiches, mouth-watering dainties, and scones with preserves and clotted cream.
Cream Tea and Steam Experience for two on the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway in Cumbria
For £60, two people can take a lazy seven-mile journey behind a scale-model steam locomotive through some of Cumbria’s most scenic countryside as you travel through the Eskdale Valley, one of Wainwright’s favourite walks. The train departs from Ravenglass then at the end of the line at Dalegarth a scrumptious cream tea and sandwiches will be waiting for you, as well as tasty scones with fruit jam and butter as well as a hot pot of tea or coffee.
Alison Vickery, Executive Digital & Marketing Director at Buyagift, said “for the whole family, taking a trip on a classic British steam train is a great way to experience a slice of history.
“Originally used to haul materials such as coal, the first steam train was built in 1804. First growing in popularity as a luxury and comfortable form of transport throughout the late 19th and early 20th century, now we celebrate this iconic British industry by offering memorable journeys throughout the country.
“Our steam train experiences allow you to relive those decadent days and enjoy a journey through the scenic countryside. There’s the option to indulge in a delightful afternoon tea, treat yourself to fine dining onboard, or even learn the ropes and become a train driver for the day.”