Disclosure- The AD is for a link at the bottom of this post for another Polar experience up based up North. However, this original post has been paid for by myself.
The extremely popular and iconic Christmas film ‘ The Polar Express’ was released in 2004 and became available to buy on DVD in November 2005. My eldest son, Leo was born December 2005 and it has been his all-time favourite Christmas film since he was three years old.
A few years after the film was released, railway stations started to offer The Polar Express experience in certain areas of the Uk but, unfortunately for us our closest station was a 6 hour round trip, so we never got to do it. Then I found out that Norfolk had started to offer the experience in the Dereham station which is only an hour and twenty minutes away from us however, I was always too late booking the tickets and they were sold out.
This year, I did my research and set a reminder so that I would not miss the release. Norfolk Polar express release their tickets in March so you have to be organised and early to get them. So, set a reminder if you are planning to go next year.
I have kept this blog post very minimal in detail, so I don’t give too much way but what I will say is that we all enjoyed this trip very much. It was well worth the money spent on the tickets and the wait for the big event.
So here is some handy information for you if you are thinking about booking The Polar Express
Firstly, everyone wears Christmas pyjamas on The Polar Express (Including adults) but wear sensible warm shoes.
Car parking is available on site, but you need to obtain a permit or there is a Morrisons carpark across the road, but you are limited to three hours only. Blue badge holders can park on site, but you do not have a guaranteed space, so arrive early to ensure you can get a space if you have not booked one.
The Polar Express- Before boarding the train
When you see the entrance to the waiting area. The very friendly staff greet you at the door and show you through to the ticket desk, and there is a lovely fireplace and Christmas tree for your arrival photo opportunity. The booking desk checks you in and gives you the details for your coach and seat numbers and you are let through into the large waiting hall. The train coaches are named after Santa’s reindeer and there are banners up around the waiting hall with the location of your carriage. For example, we were on Dasher which was the second coach along.
If you can arrive early, you can get to sit right in front of the stage. They do have TV screens within the hall so if you are sat further back you can still see, but up front and centre the kids will get to see the play and performance up close. There are disability seats reserved for those with limited mobility. These are situated in the middle of the room. They will take you through to the train ahead of time to allow opportunity to move easily and avoid crowds.
While you are waiting some of the performers (the chefs) come out and start interacting with the children in the hall. This was a lot of fun as they entertain and get the kids excited about what’s to come. Then, the show starts – the performance is great starting with the singing of the classic “When Christmas comes to town”, sung really well. As the story progresses, with laughs and interacting, getting the kids shouting, we are then met by the conductor.
The Polar Express- ALL ABOARD!
Finally, he calls “All aboard!”, and we are off. We move to our train, and just a word of warning this happens quickly, and everyone moves quickly, so you can either move first or wait for crowds to move through and then go when it has calmed. Once you enter the train you are met by your conductor who helps you through and the Chefs help you to your seat.
When the train is full, the performance continues, and you set off to the North Pole. Throughout the journey you are provided with songs and dancing, silliness and jokes… and most importantly, hot chocolate and cookies! Then you reach the North Pole village where you see the town and Santa’s sled.
As the show continues everything goes deadly silent and you hear a bellow from the coach as Santa Claus enters. During this time, we were chatting with the Chefs, who were very engaging as they entertained the children until Santa Claus come past to deliver the first present of Christmas, the Jingle Bell.
After this, we start the journey home, the noise of jingling stops as we are met by a cheeky little elf who entertains us on the way. After more songs and dancing, engagement and entertainment we arrive back in the station where we depart. In the station there are more photo opportunities and if you look around you can find the King of the Polar Express. On your way out you pass through the gift shop where you can purchase a memento or collector item.
Overall, the whole experience was amazing! The kids were entertained, and even Leo – who is coming on to 17 now – really enjoyed the experience (and even joined in!!). We had a fantastic time; the team were great and I cannot recommend this experience enough for those who are looking for a bit of magic as we wait for the magical day of Christmas.
Please only buy directly from the website as I have found there is a lot of people on Facebook groups trying to scam you selling ‘tickets’. Not everyone is honest unfortunately so please be aware.
Polar Express Train Ride at Churnet Valley Railway in Staffordshire also offer this amazing experience for those who are located up north.
For more days out with the kids reviews, click here.