Santa specials trains within a two-hour drive of Liverpool

By Amy Browne & Ellen Kirwin

We're on the countdown to Christmas and what's more magical than a steam train ride to see Santa and a present from the big man himself?

There are lots of Christmas train rides for you and the family to try and they're not too far from Liverpool either.

We've rounded up the best ones within a two-hour drive of Merseyside, from West Lancashire Light Railway to Llangollen and more.

READ MORE: Pantos and Christmas shows taking place in Liverpool and across Merseyside in 2021

These Santa Specials will be snapped up before you know it, so make sure you book your tickets in advance.

For more exciting events in and around Merseyside on the countdown to Christmas have a look through our Christmas in Liverpool 2021 page and join our Christmas in Liverpool Facebook group where you can share your recommendations too.

West Lancashire Light Railway

Santa trains at West Lancashire Light Railway (Gemma Jaleel)

What's better than a steam train ride and a chance to meet Father Christmas?

Well, West Lancashire Light Railway is offering Santa Special train rides and you can book now.

These are always popular and your little kids will even receive a present from Santa himself.

When: Booking is now open with rides available on December 5, 11 and 12, 18 and 19 with timed slots.

Price: Tickets cost £8.50 for children including a train ride, meet and greet with Santa and a present and adults cost £5.50, which includes the ride, plus a mince pie and mulled wine. Book now here.

Where: West Lancashire Light Railway, Station Road, Hesketh Bank, PR4 6SP

UPDATE: West Lancashire Light Railway's Santa Specials are now FULLY BOOKED.

Windmill Animal Farm

Visit Windmill Animal Farm and meet Father Christmas on the miniature railway.

Admission includes all the farm facilities, your train journey to Lakeview Station to meet Santa in his magical grand grotto and a present - if you've made it onto the nice list of course.

Then warm up by the roaring open fire in the coffee shop where the grown-ups will receive a complimentary hot drink and a choice of homemade cake.

When: Dates for this year's Santa trains are TBC.

Price: Ticket prices are TBC. If you more than four people are travelling, two compartments will need to be booked. You can buy tickets here when bookings go live.

Where: Windmill Animal Farm, Fish Lane, Burscough, L40 1UQ

Ribble Steam Railway

Ribble Steam Railways Santa Specials are a perfect family get together, sprinkled with some festive fun, excitement and laughter.

On board the festive vintage trains, Santa will be providing festive joy and cheer, while handing out presents to all the children.

There will be six festive heritage trains a day starting from mid morning and running until late afternoon.

Llangollen Railway; Santa Clause annual visit to Carrog, Lapland Station near Corwen. Santa with Alex Woodhall with her son Alex and his cousin Liam Murray from Chester (Robert Parry-Jones)

When: Weekends from December 4 up until Christmas, with six timed slots from mid morning until late afternoon.

Price: Tickets prices TBC. Visit the Ribble Steam website to buy tickets when bookings go live.

Where: Ribble Steam Railway, Chain Caul Road, Preston, PR2 2PD

East Lancashire Railway

Kick start your Christmas celebrations with a steam train ride through the Irwell Valley. The experience starts with a walk through the beautifully decorated Bury Bolton Street Station, decked with over 200 Christmas trees and twinkling fairy lights.

Come face to face with jolly old St Nick and his crew of happy elves as they travel through the train handing out gifts. There will also be plus mince pies and festive tipples for well behaved adults.

When: The 2021 Santa Specials run on November 27-28, December 4, 5, 11, 12 and 18, plus Christmas Eve.

Price: Depending on which day you book, tickets cost from £20 to £28 for adults and for children. Tickets for an adult with a child under three (child unseated) are £32 to £39.

To book, visit eastlancsrailway.org.uk or call 0343 208 1858.

Where: Bury Bolton Street Station, Bolton Street, Bury, BL9 0EY

Middleton Railway

The popular Santa Special trains include a present for children aged up to 12 delivered by Santa on the train.

The festive experience will start as you make your way through the decorated display hall and look out for Santa and his helpers boarding the train.

Once the train has arrived back at Moor Road, adults (including children over 13) will receive a hot drink and a mince pie. For children there will be juice and biscuits.

When: Every Saturday and Sunday until Christmas, from December 4, plus December 23 and Christmas Eve. First train will leave at 10am and the last train will depart at 3.45pm.

Price: Prices start from £10.75 for adults, £13.75 for children aged three to 12 and £9 for children under three. Babies aged 0 to roughly 12 months go free (no gift and no seat). Visit Middleton Railway to book tickets.

Where: Middleton Railway, Moor Road, Hunslet, Leeds LS10 2JQ

Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway

Santa will be on the train, which departs from Bolton Abbey station, giving out presents to children on his nice list. His elves will also be on board to ensure the the festive spirit keeps flowing as Christmas music plays.

There's a range of festive experiences to book including First Class, Premium Compartments, Breakfast with Santa, Festive Afternoon Tea, Evening Specials and more.

Each experience includes a one-hour steam train ride, festive entertainment, a visit from Santa at your seats on-board and a present from the man himself.

Santa Claus, giving a presents sisters Gwenno and Ellen Jones at Tanybwlch Station with Santa Special Train in the background Photo Robert Parry Jones (Robert Parry-Jones)

When: Various dates from November 27 to Christmas Eve.

Price: Tickets for adults and children aged three to 15, start from £13, and for children aged 0-2 from £8. Visit www.embsaybotlonabbeyrailway.org.uk for tickets or call the Santa hotline on 01756 710614.

Where: Bolton Abbey, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 6AF

Bala Lake Railway

For Covid safety reasons, Bala Lake Railway has decided not to run its Santa Specials this year. Instead it has decided to replace them with 'Mince Pie Specials', for a different festive experience. This mean there will be no Santa's Grotto as part of the experience.

Dates and ticket details will be released once the station has confirmed the event is going ahead. People can register their interest in booking on a Mince Pie Special here.

When: December 11 and 12

Price: Details to be confirmed, visit www.bala-lake-railway.co.uk for latest updates.

Where: The Station, Llanuwchllyn, Gwynedd, LL23 7DD

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