We’re on a definite train theme this year, and were tipped off by a friend about Thames Ditton’s Miniature Railway which is operated by Malden and District Society of Model Engineers who have open days for the public on the first Sunday of every month after Easter and until October (as well as Bank Holiday Sundays).
Admission to the site is free, where you get an option to buy various tickets to ride miniature trains on their two tracks – both of which go around twice. The coolest part of all this is it’s run by volunteers – there’s zero commercialism here – no sponsorship, just trains, people restoring them and the public getting to ride on them.
We bought two unlimited travel tickets at £6.50 each (there’s no parent or child fares) and swapped them between us so one of us got to ride with H (while I gossiped with a friend mostly).
There’s a buggy storage area, and they don’t allow bags or baby slings onto the trains – but you can store them at the station safely.
The trains run every few minutes on two separate railways – and are usually hauled by model scale steam locomotives. Some trains are hauled by diesel and electric locomotives.
On site there’s refreshments, and a large grass area which is perfect for picnics. You can access this via a footbridge from the main entrance. The site opens from 1pm, trains run from 2pm to 5.30pm.
Every year the club runs Santa Specials – pre booked rides to see Santa at a cost of £10 per child. I’ve no idea what it’ll be like, but I’m liking the sound of it.
How to get there – this is the slightly difficult bit. It’s on a trading estate type area in Thames Ditton – there’s not much parking, so park around the nearby park on the Portsmouth Road (A307) – it’s just off Claygate Lane – postcode KT7 0DL. We turned from the Tolworth Roundabout on the A3 and it took under ten minutes to get there.