Aln Valley Railway

Aln Valley Railway, Alnwick: Address, Phone Number, Aln Valley Railway Reviews: 4.5/5

Aln Valley Railway
4.5
Speciality Museums • Rail Services
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The Aln Valley Railway is re-opening the branch railway line which ran from Alnmouth on the Edinburgh to London main line up to Alnwick. Lionheart Station is open on advertised days, with parking, entry to museum, engine shed and displays of rolling stock all free. Rides are available at modest fares for trips to Greenrigg Halt in restored carriages from the 1950s behind a steam and diesel locomotive or Pacer railcar. The Lionheart cafe is open for hot and cold food and drinks, alongside cakes and traybakes (menu dependent on volunteer availability!). Combine a visit to the railway with visits to Alnwick's other attractions for a really good day out. New for 2022 - Miniature Railway for all ages to enjoy!
Suggested duration
1-2 hours
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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4.5
146 reviews
Excellent
78
Very good
47
Average
12
Poor
2
Terrible
7

Millie024
Llantwit Major, UK434 contributions
Couples
After visiting the very busy Alnwick Gardens, it was a great relief to come to the much quieter Aln Valley Railway. There was a nice big car park , free, and with plenty of room. We arrived in good time for the 1.45 train, and after buying our tickets, got on board. We were able to enjoy sole occupancy of a comfortable compartment, and jog through pleasant countryside behind Jennifer, a steam engine. A few minutes in the museum was worthwhile, but disappointingly, the model railway coach was shut. However, I found three interesting books in the Bring and Buy coach, which had a very good selection, a far more enjoyable browse than in the larger and more famous destination in Alnwick. In the shop they had jams, pickles and marmalades, and I bought two jars as little presents. All the staff were pleasant and helpful. There was a cafe and toilets. Families with children would have enjoyed the miniature railway, a new attraction this year, which at £3 per ticket, for as many rides as you wanted seemed to me to be amazing value. The Aln Valley Railway has been going only for about ten years, and has already extended its track half easy to its ultimate destination of Alnmouth. Congratulations to all the volunteers.
Written July 23, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

AGDWG
Newcastle upon Tyne, UK6 contributions
Booking system efficient and easy to use. Email confirmation of seat allocation arrived when promised. On the day, volunteers were welcoming and friendly and it was easy to check in as pre booked passengers. Hot drinks and a mince pie provided in the cafe as part of the ticket price.
A separate compartment allocated to every booking to help prevent spread of Covid and masks were worn by the vast majority of people.
It is a short ride up to Greenrigg. Research prior to visit gives that information. Train pulled by steam always a bonus.
The noon departure today were the first group allowed to get out at Greenrigg following the improvements made.
Well done to all concerned for their hard work
Written December 27, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

AnitaT
South Shields, UK2 contributions
Family
I travelled there with my partner and two children (4 and 7) today for the Easter special. We all had a fantastic day!

I had originally booked to pick up the train at Greenrigg Halt, but found out (the night before we were due to travel) that there is no car parking anywhere near the station. I think the closest place to park is a small row of houses which is quite a distance to walk with young children. I contacted Gemma at the Aln Valley Railway the night before we were due to arrive, and she changed my booking so we could pick up the train at Lionheart instead (which has a large car park). On arrival, our booking had all been amended for us - there was no problems at all. Fantastic customer service!

The train itself was a beautiful steam train, with an immaculate interior with all original fixtures. The joinery to Greenrigg and back to Lionheart lasted around 20-25 minutes in all, passing through the beautiful Northumberland countryside.

Back at Lionheart there are loads of things for children and adults to see and do. The cafe was spacious and clean and had a good menu offering hot and cold foods. There’s a small outdoor children’s play area and a short miniature ride-on railway. There’s a little shop with a lovely selection of souvenirs, and other buildings in which you could go inside, one of which you could see the trains being maintained.

The staff were all friendly and very helpful.

All in all, a lovely family day out!
Written April 17, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

cazw
Kirkcaldy, UK15 contributions
Friends
So we arrived just in time for train leaving we didn't have a ticket. One of party walked onto train and we asked how much they said we could purchase ticket from office once we came back we asked again and they said they didn't know, we all went on train really not knowing what to expect, we went on the journey passed a few fields and a few trees to find the train stopped. We asked what happens now to be told that it stops for 15 mins then we go back. I honestly thought we were getting taken to the steam train to be told oh that's nxt wk. So we reckon the whole journey which could only bn a mile in total cost the party of 4 £28. Once off train we couldn't enjoy what was there as we were constantly followed where ever we went to make sure we paid the fare. Definitely won't be back and wouldn't recommend the journey even if it was the steam train
Written April 27, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
We were very disappointed to hear that your visit to our railway did not meet with your expectations, as we strive to create an enjoyable time for all of our visitors, as can be seen in the majority of reviews. Our responses to the points you raise are as follows: All of the information regarding which traction is scheduled to run on operating days is clearly advertised on our website, on social media, in our leaflets, literature and on the timetable attached to our entrance gates. We have now asked our volunteers to also offer leaflets to visitors upon arrival. Tickets are available to purchase in advance prior to the journey, either by booking online up to 9pm the day before travel, or from our shop on the actual day of travel. As the train was ready to depart Lionheart Station, the volunteers were trying to be accommodating by getting you on to the train regardless of the fact that you had not yet purchased a ticket, because the next train would not have left Lionheart for another hour. We have taken this comment on board and have communicated to the Front of House volunteers that they mustn’t let anyone on the train without a ticket going forward. Had this been the case with yourself, you could have made an informed decision about travelling at the time of purchase based on traction and price. The Guard who was in charge of the train may not have known the ticket price, as it isn’t within their remit to deal with ticket sales, their main tasks are to ensure passenger and visitor safety at all times and to facilitate the safe arrival and departure of our trains. Unfortunately we cannot comment on your reference to being followed around, however as it is expected that visitors would normally have paid for a ticket prior to boarding, the volunteers would have wanted to ensure that you went to the shop upon returning to Lionheart station to pay for the journey. The return journey from Lionheart to our new halt at Greenrigg is approximately 2 and a half miles. We are a growing railway and we are carrying out an ambitious project to reconnect Alnwick to Alnmouth. Running a railway and all the overheads that go with it, along with the continuing progress that we are making on advancing the line and building new infrastructure does not come cheap, every penny we raise goes back into the railway. We are a 100% volunteer led organisation with no paid staff, it is disappointing and disheartening for us to receive a review of 1 out of 5 for things such as traction and price, which are both clearly advertised in all of the various marketing mediums both online and in print as outlined above.
Written May 4, 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Kwak_4
Greater Manchester, UK40 contributions
Family
This railway is a great project which has started well but has potential to hopefully become much better. The staff were fantastic, enthusiastic and willing to chat and help. The train ride itself was five minutes ride in an old northern rail pacer (steam trains only run on certain dates) to Greenrigg Halt which is set to be a proper station, but is currently under construction so you can't get off, you just ride 5 minutes back again (the line is eventually due to run through to Alnmouth). Our Thomas the Tank Engine mad son thoroughly enjoyed the ride and the short length meant that young children didn't get bored. He was also able to sit in the driver's seat when we'd returned to the station which was a lovely bonus for him. The carriage was split into sections with perspex screens, a one way system and masks to be worn. Unfortunately due to covid the museum and model railway are currently closed - they are in portakabins with not enough space for social distancing. The cafe served drinks and cold snacks, a pity there were no bacon butties, but there was plenty of seating indoors and outdoors. There is a children's play area next to the cafe/gift shop which our four year old would have loved but unfortunately most of it was fenced off for repairs. There are numerous carriages/trucks around the yard and also a couple of workshops that you can see into. One of the volunteers took us into one and showed us a couple of trains that they're currently restoring, he was excellent.
I want this place to succeed as I think it could be a great attraction. It isn't 'polished' yet but needs visitor support to be able to develop and improve.
Written July 2, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Richard M
Bolton, UK36 contributions
Couples
When you visit this place you will notice that it costs nothing to visit. There isn't a huge amount to see unless unless there is a event such as the model railway exhibition which cost £3. It's a work in progress to restore a disused line and is a testament to the hard work and vision of a wonderful group of people. There is cafe where you can get embarrassingly inexpensive snacks and a small gift shop. I think it only opens at weekends or bank holidays but if you are in the area, pop in and spend some money so they can complete the final few miles
Written September 6, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

David H
1 contribution
Family
For a Family of Four the cost was £26. We rode the steam train, which was great for the kids. However, the reason for the average review is we felt the price was rather steep for the time and length of the journey. The whole experience was over in 30 minutes. The train traveled at a snails pace for 10 minutes max, it then stopped for 10 minutes, whilst the engine was moved, it then traveled back to the start. The whole experience did not feel value for money. I have traveled on far better for a lot less. The staff were very friendly.
Written August 31, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

NaughtyBetty
Northumberland, UK1 contribution
Family
What a lovely day we had on the Santa Special at Aln Valley Railway today. Amazing volunteers made us all so welcome, from the entrance, serving refreshments (lovely mince pie and coffee), supervising the childrens activity area, the souvenir shop and on the train itself.
Santa and his elves made it a personal and magical experience for Thomas not forgetting all his helpers on the train. Would highly recommend the experience ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️🚂🎄🎅
Written December 19, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Vic
3 contributions
Family
Absolutely amazing experience on the santa train on Sunday 🥰 My girls loved doing the Christmas colouring and crafts in the cafe, aswel as the cookies! It was lovely to have a goody bag on the train seat for the children, and then to get a present off santa too. The full santa experience felt very personal with Santa and the elves saying the children's full names, and he had plenty of time to see everyone.

All the volunteers are super friendly🌟

Can't wait to book up for next year.

Thank you so much🎅🚂❤
Written December 21, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Mike
Glossop, UK344 contributions
Solo
Arrived on spec and the blackboard said tickets were available for the next train, but when I went to pay I was told they were all booked up.

It would have been nice to have a small museum or display of the railway’s plans for the future, but there wasn’t much to see.

Cafe staff pleasant but waited 20 minutes for a toasted tea cake and they had lost my order. They did give me another coffee while I waited though. Cafe could have been made a bit more interesting with some old photos or something of railway character to lift it up a bit from just being a Portacabin.
Written August 14, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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