The Polar Express Train Ride in Wensleydale Review

The Polar Express Train Ride in Wensleydale Review – The Polar Express in Yorkshire is at the Wensleydale railway.  There is more than one place to have this experience in England, I know that Churnet Valley Railway in Staffordshire also have a Polar Express Ride if that is closer to where you are. 


Have a read of our review of the Wensleydale Polar Express from a couple of years ago.


This weekend we went along to the brand new Polar Express Train Ride in Yorkshire.  It was new to us too as we have never done a Polar Express ride and really didn’t know what to expect!  It was an immersive theatrical experience, and quite took me by surprise (in a good way!).  Ok, let me start at the beginning with the practicalities.  You begin your journey at Leeming Bar Services (ok, that does not sound all that romantic, but you have to park somewhere!). 


There is a designated parking area there, with clear signs that this is where you park for the Polar Express.  Then there are lots of helpful people directing you into parking spaces.  It was very well organised and easy.  You are advised to arrive no sooner than 45 minutes before your train to make sure the parking does not get clogged up.  Then you head over to the Services themselves where there is a reception desk (and a photo opportunity in front of a huge poster) and you are advised where to wait for the bus.  Have a look at our video review (though don’t show the kids, because of spoilers!).

There are frequent dedicated (and decorated) Polar Express buses that take you the five minutes or so away to the Polar Express Station.  Again, this was really quick and easy.  On the the station forecourt there are outdoor festive food outlets.  

The Polar Express Wensleydale in Yorkshire

There was a coffee and doughnuts stall, a bar and a grill.  We headed over to the grill as the children had not yet had tea.  We bought Master T a ‘Traditional Pork Bap’, which was basically pulled pork with stuffing and gravy, which, after trying a bit I’d recommend.  It was priced at £5.  

The Polar Express Wensleydale in Yorkshire

Miss H went for ‘Festive Fries’ (Mr W ate the bacon from the top!).  They were £4.50.  On a side note, there is a McDonald’s drive through at the services too.

The Polar Express Wensleydale in Yorkshire

The Polar Express Train Ride in Wensleydale

There is a huge marquee with tall ‘stand up at’ tables where you can eat your food.  This is heated by a large air-blower and is very warm so you don’t need to worry about being cold.  The train was warm too actually, which is worth knowing.  After the kids had eaten, we headed into a big marquee where the fun began.  There are lots of chairs in here, it isn’t just a waiting room, so if you have little children try and get as close to the front as you can as there will be a festive play happening in front of you.  It’s perfect for getting the kids in the mood and building their excitement before the doors are opened and you can walk along the platform to wait for the Polar Express!  You do walk along the platform so do keep hold of little one’s hands and don’t let them run in front!

You can stand along the platform where your carriage will pull up and then the excitement builds and then the Polar Express draws into view (watch my video above if you’d like a taste of this!).  Once safely on the train the entertainment begins.  There are two VERY excitable chefs that look after you throughout the whole journey.  They chat and make friends with the children, giving them lots of attention.

The chefs on board The Polar Express.

We were also visited by the Hobo and the Ticket Collector, who punched the kids’ initials into their tickets, and again chatted lots!

The Polar Express Wensleydale in Yorkshire

We were all given hot chocolate (Hot! Hot! Hot!), which went down well.

The Polar Express Wensleydale in Yorkshire

As well as a cookie each!

The Polar Express Wensleydale in Yorkshire

The highlight of the trip of course is the visit from Santa Claus!  He visits each table and chats to each child. 

Santa on the Polar Express

Then each child (and grown up!) are given a beautiful silver bell to take home.  These now take pride of place on my Christmas tree!

We really enjoyed our trip on the Polar Express.  I didn’t realise how theatrical and entertaining it would be.  I would say that it would be absolutely perfect for children younger than ten.  


We were invited to ride on The Polar Express, Wensleydale.  As always, all opinions expressed are my own.




The Official Press release:

“Well, are you coming?” Inspired by the hit movie, this holiday favourite comes to life as you and your family take a magical trip on THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride!  The Polar Express train ride at Wensleydale railway will depart from Leeming Bar station, handily located just off the A1(m), 5 times a night during December.

The Polar Express Train Ride in Wensleydale - Yorkshire Dales

Set to the music from motion picture soundtrack, families are sure to enjoy their trip to the North Pole, hauled by a genuine American steam locomotive, complete with hot chocolate and cookies
served by dancing chefs on board the train. Passengers are entertained by a reading of The Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsburg and the singing of Christmas carols. Upon arrival at the North Pole,
Santa boards the train and greets each child and all guests will receive their own sleigh bell – just like in the movie!

The Polar Express Train Ride on the Wensleydale Railway

After the journey you will have the opportunity to linger in Santa’s Workshop, where more family photo opportunities and activities will be available, and a range of gifts will be available to purchase in the gift shop.  The event runs through December, and weekend tickets are already selling out fast!

The Polar Express Train Ride in Wensleydale - Yorkshire Dales

About Wensleydale Railway

The Wensleydale Railway is a tourist and heritage line starting at the County town of Northallerton to Redmire on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, passing through the Georgian market town of Bedale and the Dales market town of Leyburn, with constantly changing scenery, from the lands of the Vale of Mowbray in the east to hills of the Yorkshire Dales in the west.
The line is a predominantly heritage diesel line, with steam services operating over selected weekends, special events and the summer months. For further information please see the timetable
page for days on which the steam service runs.

The Polar Express Train Ride in Wensleydale - Yorkshire Dales

About PNP Events

PNP Events Ltd has been launched by rail enthusiast Paul Hughes and business analyst Phil Neal. PNP Events is based in Telford where they have warehouse and office space suitable for event
management, storage and props construction.  Their first major series of events will run on steam trains at Wensleydale Railway in North Yorkshire throughout December, employing a further 50 staff on short-term contracts.  Both Paul and Phil volunteer for Telford Steam Railway, where they run the hugely popular The Polar Express train ride as a charity event. After seeing the benefits of running the event, they saw there was a market to help other charities host the event. PNP Events is working with Rail Events to bring
this fully licensed event to Wensleydale Railway.  PNP Events will be growing over the next few years to create a series of both licensed and
unlicensed events throughout the country.  PNP Events see themselves as being in the “Memory Making” business.

The Polar Express Train Ride in Wensleydale - Yorkshire Dales

About Rail Events

Rail Events Inc. was established in 2000 and is a proud member of the American Heritage Railways Family. They are in the business of coordinating licensed special events (This includes working with Warner Bros Inc and issuing licences to authorised parties for The Polar Express train ride worldwide), event promotions, merchandising, and related activities to railroad and museum operators throughout the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.  Rail Events Inc. was established with these goals in mind – to create family memories and preserve history. By creating licensed railroad events for young families and children, we are working to build interest in trains with young people around the world.


Also look at our round up of Christmas Trains throughout the UK.