British heritage lines don’t get more charming than the Bluebell Railway, an 11-mile scenic railway through the picturesque scenery of West Sussex (and a little bit of East). The Bluebell Railway runs between East Grinstead and Sheffield Park, stopping at Horsted Keynes and Kingscote, and guest with an ‘All Day Rover’ ticket can hop on and off as much as they like.
On board, travellers step back in time to a bygone era where train travel was king, and can sit in lavish carriages while enjoying lunch, afternoon tea or an evening meal. Evoking a feeling of nostalgic and excitement, the line uses steam to pull its 150 vintage carriages, and today has 30 steam locomotives in its fleet – most pre-1939.
Prices from: £18
Departing from: Sheffield Park
Journey length: 1 day
Bluebell Railway routes
The Bluebell Railway operates in the lush countryside of Sussex, one of the most beautiful counties in Great Britain. The train runs a host of different routes and itineraries throughout the year, operating between Sheffield Park and East Grinstead and stopping at quant countryside stations with original signal boxes, and where railway staff are dressed in period clothing. Scenery includes lush countryside and the sprawling Ashdown Forest – the very forest that inspired AA Milne to create Winnie the Pooh and the Hundred Acre Wood.
The train also runs special events throughout the year, like family fun days and Santa Specials – with Christmas music, mince pies, chocolate coins and Christmas punch. The Bluebell Railway also operates dining trains on select days where guests can enjoy a scrumptious afternoon tea, silver service dining, themed dining evenings (think fish and chips, pie and mash and curry) and ‘Rail Ale’ beer evenings.
The Bluebell Railway train
The Bluebell Railway has a fleet of 150 vintage carriages and 30 steam locomotives, making it one of the most impressive heritage railways in the UK. The diverse collection includes carriages from the Metropolitan Railway stock, five grand Pullman cars with historic furnishings dating from the 1920s and ’50s, a collection of old LBSCR, SECR, LSWR and Southern Railway carriages, and a unique LNWR Observation Car dating back to 1913. The railway also a Great Northern Railway Directors’ Saloon – a grand teak-panelled carriages built in 1897 and refitted in 1933 – which is available for private hire.
Why we love it
The Bluebell Railway is British heritage personified in a train. Everything is unbeliebly charming, from the myriad of carriages and interiors to the scenery in which is passes through. You can ride the railway over and over again and try out different carriages and hop on and off with the special ‘All Day Rover ticket’.
There are so many ticket options to choose from, from a simple ride to private compartment for your family and lavish evening meal to afternoon tea. The railway is also perfect for kids, offering regular family-friendly deals and exciting little ones with steam engines and historic train stations.