If you have got a train-obsessed toddler, this place is a MUST visit! At Didcot Railway Centre, I seriously felt like I’d been transported back in time – in a good way! Steam trains galore, old tracks, stations, platforms, vintage adverts and so much space! It was amazing! And what was nice was that it was full of little boys just like Tyler who just love trains, and of course the more older and established train enthusiasts 😉
It’s just half-an-hour on the fast train from Slough, and cost us a tenner each using our TwoTogether Railcard. The centre is accessed through Didcot Train Station. It’s very quiet at the entrance, like eerily quiet – but it is the right place! There was a little hut to pay. As it was a Steam Day, admission was £10 per adult, but we used our Tesco Clubcard Vouchers to pay, and children under 3 are free. Steam Days are days when they have steam trains running and you can ride on them as much as you like. You can check their calendar here.
Once in, we walked up the tracks when there were loads of vintage trains to look at. These were my favourite, I love the writing on them. Me and Tyler are pulling a lever of some sort here 🙂
In the centre there was a tea room, museum, giftshop and a science learning centre, and outside seating. We bought some ice cream and carrying on wandering around the train tracks, where we discovered a real working steam train, with the driver dressing autentically too! We could ride on this as many times as we wanted – all included in the admission price. And freakily the train had Greenford printed on the side – my husband’s home town!
This is booking office by the steam train – this would have been a real one in the olden days. There’s me inside, and Tyler’s in there somewhere 🙂
This was inside the booking office. I just really liked how it looked, and these coat hooks – how cool would they look in a hallway!
The steam train ride was about 5 minutes and took us to Burlescombe which was the far end of the centre. This was where they had old stations, one housing trains that were in the process of being refurbished, and the other holding an old steam train – below is the ‘working class’ carriage. Talk about cattle class – imagine commuting on this?! Travellers were advised to sit with their backs to the engine so they didn’t inhale as much steam!
Lots of lovely vintage ads here too.
The whole centre had tracks running through, and they were safe to walk over. It’s amazing as this was actually a real route in the old days. There was so much space to run around too, so much grass and trees. It was really peaceful, such a nice atmosphere here.
This old signpost – love it.
Another steam train running – this was on the other side of the centre.
After we had a look around the whole place, we had tea and cake at the Refreshment Room – it is styled like a tea room from the past, really kooky. Tyler approved of the bread and butter pudding!
Next we had a look around the little museum – lots of vintage signs and posters – and then we bought a magnet from the giftshop before going home. It was such a good day, helped by it being sunny. I wouldn’t go if it was forecast to rain as it’s all outdoors. Tyler thoroughly enjoyed it, as a train-mad boy. He wanted to go again and again on the steam train, and we could! And for me as a designer, seeing all the vintage ads and signs was the highlight for me.
If you fancy visiting, these are the details:
I haven’t been paid to write this post – I just had to share it with you all, as I’m sure many of you have train-obsessed toddlers!