Perrygrove Railway is a beautiful heritage railway in the heart of the Forest of Dean which is always a great day out. Read our Perrygrove review here. Throughout the year it is open for diesel and steam train rides, the treetop adventure, an indoor village, a beautiful woodland walk, a covered picnic area, extensive play areas, a den-building area and outdoor fun for the whole family. During the festive season, they hold a number of different events and we were invited to attend the Twilight Trains event on the opening weekend.
Be aware that during the Twilight Trains event, the outdoor play areas, woodland walk and covered picnic area are closed for safety as it is just too dark to see but honestly, they are not missed. The excitement of the evening begins before you even arrive in the large free car park, as you can catch a glimpse of some of what is on offer as a few of the light installations are visible from the road as well as the lights on the steam trains themselves.
AD: This is our review following a PR visit.
The Twilight Trains Fairies
Almost as soon as you arrive you are greeted by some magical and excitable twilight train fairies. They will welcome you to Perrygrove and invite you to explore the area around the platform which features a stall selling flashing light wands, sweets and popcorn; a couple of photo opportunities for the children; the engine shed; the toilets and a café onsite serving great coffee and delicious local ice cream.
When it is time for your departure, the fairies will call you over to the fence alongside the platform where they will summon the train in a beautifully choreographed and clearly well-practised routine set to music so that the train halts at exactly the right spot in the station at exactly the moment the fanfare sounds. It truly is spectacular seeing the train emerge from the darkness through a cloud of steam.
The Train Ride
Once the twilight trains fairies have summoned the train and all the guests have boarded, the train departs Perrgrove Station and heads off on a round trip to Oakiron station and back, passing a simply stunning array of light installations. There are horses pulling a sleigh full of presents; flowers and toadstools; elephants, giraffes and other animals and a huge tree at the end of the line. On the way to and from Oakiron station, there is great excitement and lots of waving at the Heywood station, (named after Sir Arthur Heywood, the innovator of the fifteen-inch minimum gauge estate railways of which Perrygrove is a fabulous example) when another train passes by and you can see the full effect of the lights on the train roof.
Santa and his Elves
Once the train arrives at the end of the line, Oakiron station, there is a flurry of activity on the platform. All guests remain in the carriage whilst the engine detaches and moves to the other end of the carriage ready to pull them back down to Perrygrove station. While guests are waiting, one of Santa’s elves comes along and serves everyone a delicious hot chocolate or mulled apple juice for those who cannot have dairy. Then for the big moment itself, Santa heads along the platform greeting each child along the way and giving them all a gift of a wooden Perrygrove Railway Christmas tree ornament. To stop the children from getting bored while they wait for Santa to get to them or after he’s visited their carriage, there are another couple of elves who come along to see everyone. One elf brings magical warm snowballs to the children and invites them to throw them at him while the other comes along to add the children to the nice list and make a note of what they hope Santa will bring them at Christmas.
Once Santa and the elves have seen all the children, the train then sets off back along the track passing all the light installations again on the way back down so there is plenty of opportunity to see the ones you might have missed. As the carriages do not change direction, it might be worth swapping sides in your carriage before you set off so that everyone gets a different view but this is not necessary. We didn’t swap and all four of us had fantastic views of all the lights as the placement of them has been very well thought out.
New for 2022 is the photo booth experience in the engine shed at Perrygrove station. The shed has been beautifully decorated with fairy lights and two enormous Christmas trees that have been adorned with hand-knitted mini woolly hats and stockings. In front of these is a bench so the family can sit down and pose for a festive picture which can then be purchased as a bauble, a photograph in a card mount, a magnet frame, a snow globe or a snow block. We had our picture taken and bought a bauble to add to our ever-growing collection of special baubles. Prices for these printed items range from £9 up to £12 and you are not permitted to take your own photos in this area.
When do Twilight Trains run?
Twilight Trains at Perrygrove Railway run on selected dates from the 1st of December 2022 to the 23rd of December 2022 with some dates already sold out so if you want to go, book quickly to avoid disappointment. Prices start from £36 for a half-compartment seating a maximum of three people and £72 for a full-compartment seating a maximum of 6 people (babes in arms count as one person). All compartments are separated by glass partitions.
4 thoughts on “Twilight Trains at Perrygrove Railway”
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What dates are you running evening events? Can my little dog come?
Hi Charlotte, if you have a look at the Perrygrove website you’ll be able to see the events and whether dogs are permitted. I know that dogs are not allowed at the Twilight Trains event but I’m not sure about the others. https://www.perrygrove.co.uk/whats-on/
Hi Charlotte. Dogs aren’t allowed in the evenings I’m afraid. The up to date availability is on our website 🙂