After months of not being able to enjoy a pleasant afternoon or evening journeying through the charming scenery of the Kent and Sussex countryside on a vintage steam train while feasting on afternoon tea or sipping an artisan gin, the good news is we can finally do so once again.
As of last weekend the Spa Valley Railway has kicked off a special seasonal and very unique calendar of festive foodie events aimed at getting people’s Christmas spirit back on track.
The railway, which is operating on weekends from 9-5, runs from Tunbridge Wells West Station along various routes in East Sussex.
After having to close due to lockdown the heritage railway charity is now back up and chugging along with a variety of special events including a Christmas Dinner evening this coming Saturday (December 19) at 6.30pm on the High Weald Belle to get you into the Yuletide mood.
All the food served will be prepared off-site by chefs at The Complete Lunch in Pembur, who then deliver their culinary creations in Covid-compliant hot boxes to ensure guests dine safely and well.
Paul Beament from the family-run catering business The Complete Lunch said that he and his team were ‘delighted’ to be back serving passengers.
“We are delighted to be back catering for these Dining in the Weald experiences on the railway after its recent closure. It is great to be helping the Spa Valley Railway look after their clients once again.”
Guests on Saturday will be served a welcome aperitif along with some tasty canapés at their own designated table before a festive three course meal is served.
All dietary requirements must be added at the time of booking as changes cannot be made on the day.
After Christmas there will be a Mince Pie Special on the impressive steam locomotive named Sir Keith Parks – officially known as a Bulleid Pacific No 34053. The locomotive dates back to 1946 and its carriages to 1960, and will be running every day from December 28 to January 3 throughout the morning and afternoon.
The Mince Pie Special journey will take you through the beautiful winter landscape of the High Weald between Tunbridge Wells West and Eridge taking in views of the High Rocks and Groombridge along the way.
You can either book a compartment or a table of 2 or 4 for your experience, and you’ll be socially distanced from other passengers for your trip.
The Spa Valley Railway’s final seasonal offerings for December are the Gin & Steam experience on December 30 where you’ll have the opportunity to savour a number of local distiller’s Anno’s gins, and then on New Year’s Eve they will be offering yet another indulgent afternoon tea courtesy of the talented chefs at The Complete Lunch.
After almost a year of our social lives being put on hold and not being able to dine out with friends and family we are certainly on board with this great idea . . .
For further information and to book your next heritage railway experience visit www.spavalleyrailway.co.uk
Money raised from ticket sales is used to keep the heritage railway open for all to enjoy. The railway all the events are run by dedicated and hardworking volunteers. We regret that due to the nature of the vintage carriages it is not possible to accommodate wheelchair users on these dining experiences.