Destination UK

Autumn Steam Gala at West Somerset Railway

Posted on
November 8, 2016

Back at the beginning of October we headed to Somerset for the Autumn Steam Gala on the West Somerset Railway.
Sebby is steam train mad and his godparents had rented a holiday cottage in Watchet and invited us to spend the weekend with them and their Dad, who used to work the railways and was helping out for the weekend.
Having him and all his fabulous stories really made the weekend special and the kids loved hearing all his tales. In fact he was working on the very last steam train that travelled from Bournemouth to Bath back in the 1960’s.
West Somerset Railway
We boarded his train at Watchet station and made the journey to Minehead where we got off the train to have a look around the town.
I have to admit that it wasn’t the bustling haven of activity that I had imagined it to be, but then it was out of season and not the school holidays either so we decided to head back to the station, watch the trains come and go and fill up with water before heading back to ride the whole line all the way to Bishops Lydeard.
Minehead Station
After setting off on our next “steamie” we were approached by a guard who asked if we were hungry. It turns out that they were serving cooked breakfasts on board in a dining carriage and although we had brought a picnic with us we could not pass up such a rare experience of being able to eat on a moving steam train.
West Somerset Railway
The West Somerset Railway is the longest heritage railway in England and some of the stations have museums to visit and even model railways that enthusiast build and run.
West Somerset Railway
There is something about model railways that kids love and they spent ages watching the trains go about their business.
West Somerset Railway
Also at Bishops Lydeard is the The Gauge Museum on Platform 1 which has many items of local rail interest and shows how the railway affected the people who worked on and used the line.
Bishops Lydeard
The Museum also contains a working model railway, a working signal box for the kids to operate and even some old-fashioned clothes to try on so they look the part.
West Somerset Railway
I have to praise all the employees and volunteers for creating such a fabulous event. The stations were spotlessly clean and decorated with magnificent floral displays.
Bishops Lydeard
If you get the chance to visit the West Somerset Railway I would highly recommend it as travelling the entire line is lots of fun and an unforgettable experience.
West Somerset Railway
We headed back to Watchet after a full day on the trains, ready to explore the town and beach the next day.
Thankfully the weather was a bit better and we decided to explore the ancient harbour town with it’s quaint streets, beautiful old houses and the famous statue of the ancient mariner.
We had studied the map before setting off for our walk and the kids spotted fossil hunting and rockpooling at Helwell Bay so we purchased some nets and buckets before taking the short walk over the cliff. We were treated by a steam train thundering past as we went too.
Steam Train
It was a bit of a hairy walk down the steps to the beach, but it is well worth it.
Isaac had found a fossil within about ten minutes of searching the stoney shore.
Sebastian was more interested in collecting shells and built up quite an impressive collection in his bucket.
Helwell Bay
Eliza was the one determined to do some rockpooling and ended up soaked as she tried to catch some of the creatures she spotted.
It was a lovely weekend break and I would highly recommend a visit to the West Somerset Railway. Keep an eye on their website for events and their Santa Express is coming up in December.

  1. Reply

    Steph Curtis

    November 8, 2016

    That first beach looks gorgeous – much better empty!! 😀 My husband would love the train trip.. the girls, not so much 😉

  2. Reply


    November 9, 2016

    This looks just brilliant, my twin nephews would love this, train obsessives that they are x

  3. Reply


    November 9, 2016

    My son would love the train journey and the fossil hunting x x

  4. Reply

    Kate Williams

    November 9, 2016

    Oh that steam train looks amazing! Love that you could get a proper breakfast on it too 🙂

  5. Reply


    November 9, 2016

    What a lovely day out. The picture of your little one in the signal box, playing the part in his hat is adorable as well! MY boys are train mad, so will definitely be looking into this if we are ever that way.

  6. Reply

    Michelle Twin Mum

    November 9, 2016

    We always find Minehead as quiet as can be, even over Easter, which is when we are normally there.We have never ridden the train before though, so we will have to change that next year. Mich x

  7. Reply

    Penny Alexander

    November 10, 2016

    Gorgeous pics, I love your collages, but I also love seeing them all big as there are some stunning pics here! What a fabulous day out and so many happy smiles.

  8. Reply

    Erica Price

    November 10, 2016

    It looks a lot of fun particularly the signal box.

  9. Reply

    Jen Walshaw

    November 11, 2016

    Looks like you had a fabtastic day out and I have to say we are huge fans of trains here too!

  10. Reply


    November 11, 2016

    What a fantastic day out you had. I love the picture of your little one in the signal box, playing the part in his hat!

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Are we nearly there yet? is a new online blog run by me, Kara Guppy, and is named as such thanks to my daughter Eliza who always asks that very question when we are less than 5 minutes up the road heading off on our adventures. You may know me from my other family blog