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“Not so magical experience” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Weardale Railway

Weardale Railway
Railway Station and Bondisle Way, Stanhope DL13 2YS, England
01388 526203
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Ranked #2 of 2 Attractions in Stanhope
Type: Scenic Railroads, Cultural
Attraction details
Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
“Not so magical experience”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2013

My little boy is 6years old and his favorite Christmas movie is The Polar Express, so when we heard that Weardale Railway was having a Polar Express Experience we just had to take him.We were advised to arrive an hour/hour and half before our experience so we arrived at 5.30pm, our train journey was at 7pm. I expected something there to keep lids entertained while you waited but all that was there was a gift shop in a tent. The gift shop sold overpriced tat. I have no idea why they advised you to be there so long before your journey as the booking office to get your tickets did not open till 6.45pm. Felt it was all very badly organized. On a more positive note the actual staff on the train looked like they were having as much fun as the kids were, maybe even more so. They were very enthusiastic when it came to the singing and dancing. The staff who were at the station could have done with a lot more of enthusiasm, they were so miserable. On the train you were given hot chocolate however this hot chocolate was more like chocolate milk, it was freezing cold and tasted disgusting. When Santa comes onto the train the children are given a bell which has The Polar Express stamped on it which is a nice little souvenir shame they hadn't taken the 'Made in China' sticker off. Not worth the £20 charge per adult. In all very disappointing

Visited November 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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256 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“Children enjoyed it!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2013

We went on the Polar Express on the 10th December at 5pm. Everything went smoothly on arrival. There was no queuing and the train was in the platform. The gift shops were not great. I think Weardale is missing a trick or two here as we would have bought some souvenirs had there been anything worth buying!

We boarded the train early. We were in first class and I thought the train inside was warm, comfortable and festive. The chefs were on hand with paper and crayons to help keep the children occupied and chatted away to them. Throughout the journey we were attended by 2 chefs. One was a natural with children and fun to be around. The second was a lovely girl who was trying hard but unfortunately she didnt have quite the same charisma! The train guard was great with everyone and my children enjoyed wearing his hat. The hobo was great fun and my children really enjoyed hiding their tickets and the hobo threatening to grab them.

We then had hot chocolate and cookies. The chocolate was a perfect temperature and the cookies tasty. There was some clapping/dancing up and down the train. It wasnt fantastic but then there isnt exactly space on a normal train for somersaults!

We arrived at the North Pole and I have to agree with other reviewers that it wasnt the best. My older daughter who is nearly 9 and questioning Santa wasnt convinced but my 5 year old loved it regardless!

The one let down for me was Santa. He didnt really speak to my children much at all. The train guard and the chefs were much better. I appreciate he has a lot of children to see but I just didnt find him the best.

So would we go again. If I had two children who both believed totally in the magic it would be worth it but its a lot of money to spend when only one child believes. That said I havent ruled out a return journey next year.....

Visited December 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Polar Epress”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2013

Found all staff very enthusiastic and they looked like they enjoyed the experience as much as the children! my son and I loved it and I will continue to reccommend this to others

Visited December 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Withernsea, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
13 attraction reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
“High expectations which were not met.”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2013

Cannot say how disappointed I was with this train ride, firstly i expected a steam train which it wasnt. Inside was poorly decorated .... it was really a case of been sat on a train that felt like you were in a never ending tunnel as didnt see anything outside until you arrived at the North Pole. I thought the price was expensive for what you got and very disappointed you couldnt buy a mug in the gift shop as only got them in first class... however as only 3 of us we couldnt do first class unless paid for an extra place as only did them in equal pairs. I drove 8 hour round trip to do this train ride and honestly would not do it again unless they improved their standards and offered more for the money. Staff did try hard but again only limited dancing and singing... thought be more of them... high expectations sadly which were not met.

Visited December 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Darlington, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“A Magical Experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 31, 2012

My sister Michelle, Niece Amanda and I took my 2 grandchildren Annalise and Brandon on the Polar Express. Apart from the muddy car park we had a fantastic afternoon and really enjoyed the singing and dancing on the train.

All the staff were great and really made us laugh. When Santa and the elves came onto the train - Santa approached a little girl and I became all emotional when I heard the bells ring. Santa approached me as a tear dropped from my eye and asked if I would stop crying if he gave me a bell? - I said maybe and my sister Michelle set off crying too. We all received a bell from santa and we will treasure these forever.

As the afternoon went on we enjoyed everything including the hot chocolate and cookies and we can't wait to take my new grandson and grandchildren back next year.

Well done to all the staff and thanks for a great day

Karen Maitchell

Visited December 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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