A Day Out With Thomas│Review

We don't really have any Easter traditions (see last year!), so when I spotted that Thomas the Tank Engine would be at Buckinghamshire Railway Centre over the Easter weekend I decided to book some tickets. I thought it was fairly priced at £13 per adult or £9 a child (under 2s were free) as I know that it is expensive to get Thomas to the railway and for the centre to host these kind of days. After the initial outlay for tickets we didn’t pay for anything else inside, and we took a picnic with us (although there were options to buy food there - a cafe, a pizza stall, and a stall selling churros) to keep costs down.

The doors opened at 10.30am. We arrived at 10.20am and the car park was already extremely busy. However, there were plenty of car park attendants on hand to direct the traffic and, despite the volume of people arriving at the same time, we got parked up without any hassle. We were greeted at the entrance by the Fat Controller, and we walked straight in to have our tickets checked.

I have never seen anyone as excited as Benjamin was when he first saw Thomas, and Charlotte was more into it all than I thought she might be. We started with a ride in one of the carriages behind Thomas, as we though that the queue would probably get longer as the day went on. We just missed out on a ride, but were front of the queue for the next. From our time spent in the queue, and the view from our train rain, we noticed that most people moved from the Thomas ride straight up to the miniature railway. We decided to follow suit, but walked quickly to try get nearer the front of the queue. This worked well and we got onto one of the miniature trains pretty quickly. There was a photographer taking photos of each group on the miniature railway, which you could buy afterwards. Ours was really nice...just not £7 nice!

Up by the miniature railway there is an outdoor picnic area and a model railway. The children spent quite a while watching the trains go around before we moved on.

There didn’t seem to be a queue for Percy at any point, just the wait on the platform for him to return from his previous journey, so we had a little wander around the centre before having a Percy ride. Charlotte also had a go on a little teacup ride. Benjamin didn’t have a go, much to his dismay, as it was for children only and I didn’t trust him to not stand up and try and get off if he didn’t have adult supervision!

Due to the less than great weather (although we did pick the best day of the Easter weekend) it was very busy inside the visitors centre but we found a spot for the kids to squeeze in and eat their picnic. Inside the visitors centre there was an area to colour a certificate, which you could take to the Fat Controller to sign, and I think you could make a badge. I must confess to being a mean mum and staying clear of this section though, as it was right next to the face painting which I wanted to avoid. 

I have to say, I have never taken the kids anywhere with such lovely volunteers and members of staff. From the guy taking our tickets, to the train drivers and guards, to the people manning the teacups, and the photographer on the miniature railway. Everyone was so kind, friendly and helpful, and they all had big smiles on their faces throughout the day. You could just tell that everyone was really passionate about the railway, and sharing it with the younger generations. I’m not convinced I would be so smiley and enthusiastic on day 3 of 4, of driving a steam train full of families up and down the same bit of track over and over!

We really did have a great day out. If you are interested in seeing Thomas he moves around the country, but will be back in Buckinghamshire on 30th June & 1st July 2018, and 1st & 2nd September 2018. I am assuming that the days have a similar format across the various venues, but I couldn’t rate Buckinghamshire highly enough.

a day out with thomas