(ad – pr) As my daughter approaches her sixth birthday it’s dawning on me that she won’t continue as such a delightful, angelic, kind being who craves my company forever. With Christmas around the corner, I suppose there’s a limited shelf-life (elf life?) to the whole Christmas/Santa subterfuge so in actuality the window between gaining enough cognition to appreciate it but not so much as to question it is only a few years, rather limiting the number of opportunities to indulge both her and us. We had a great time at Murton Park last year meeting Santa on a train ride there so when the North York Moors Railway suggested we join the NYMR Santa Special I leapt at the chance, knowing that trips with them are invariably special.
The journey begins at Pickering, where we were rather early after leaving leeway for the unpredictability of traffic on A64. This afforded us the chance to stop by the tea room just off the platform and start with a few snacks while grabbing hot drinks to take on the train. The Coronation Chicken sandwiches were executed extremely well and fill generously! Boarding goes smoothly after your kids are issued with tokens to redeem for a gift from Santa himself and the train is judiciously loaded with blankets, a sensible precaution given the time of year and heritage nature of the fleet – it’s worth dressing up warm too.
Pulling out of Pickering station on the NYMR Santa Special is an experience in itself as invariably rail enthusiasts line the route at all the best vantage points while you get snug and take in the views. This was actually a novelty for me as it’s been years since I’ve been aboard in daylight, my last few journeys having been on the Disco Steam Train experience. We’d got Little Fork’s best mate with us for the ride too so they kept themselves occupied before the elves came round to introduce themselves and inject some jollity into our travels. We listened to Santa land his sleigh on the roof of the train ready to make his rounds. The big man made his appearance in due course distributing toys to all the kids and patiently listening to their requests for Christmas itself, with us then becoming occupied putting together said gift before the train reversed course to get back to Pickering from our stop at Levisham.
The return leg was filled with more games from the elves while the children snuggled with their new toys and we patted ourselves on the back for another 12 months of having kept the magic intact, phew! Tickets for the NYMR Santa Special are still available to book for £30 a head here.