Wintertime seams to be the part of the year we hide away dreaming about summer adventures. For months we sit inside, complaining about the cold and wondering if it’s ever going to snow – but not that horrible slush stuff, the nice picturesque snow that we dream off. I been out exploring recently, I decided not to waste Winter, but to put the effort into making it fun and exciting. Many adventures home or away are to be had and I want to make the most of the cold months.
From pond dipping in the local river to something a little more exciting – The Polar Express, we’ve traveled to many destinations and had lots of cooler weather fun. This week we took the time to update the photos on our fire-stick. We use the fire-stick as a big slideshow of images on the TV and it’s a great way to get the girls talking about and remembering all the exciting adventures we’ve been on. As I updated the stick I found many happy images of the polar express and it made me feel all warm inside.
There are a couple of different Polar Express trains around the UK, but we chose the Mid-Norfolk Railway version in Dereham as it was closer and had fantastic feedback. If you’ve never seen the film, The Polar Express is about a boy who is starting to lose his Christmas belief, he goes to bed Christmas Eve and a train pulls up outside his house – That train is The Polar Express. After being uncertain, the boy dressed in his PJ’s decides to hop on and gets transported on a magical journey to the North Pole where he eventually meets Father Christmas and gets given ‘the first gift of Christmas’ (A single bell). The story ends with the boy at home telling the story – in a grown up voice – how all his friends used to hear the bell ring and one by one they can no more. My Children sit staring at the screen in amazement and tears roll down my face as I share the magic of Christmas with them.
So we hopped on a train to Norwich and then took a short bus ride to Dereham and started our magical journey, as soon as I stepped into the carpark of the Polar Express, I knew there was no chance I was leaving without happy tears! Myself and the girls changed into our Pj’s (of course we had to fully join in with the fun!) and waited for their cousins, auntie, nanny and grandad all to turn up.
Once our group was together, we all head inside and took our seats for the pre-show. I have to say, get there VERY early, the pre-show is in a small room and if you end up near the back you won’t be able to see and quite possibly wont get a seat too. That being said the pre-show was great, it brought you up to date on the story and had everyone very excited to board.
Soon boarding was underway and we walked along the platform will the steam from the engine blew beside us. We found our carriage and boarded the train. The excitement hit hard, we were about to visit the North Pole!
As the train pulled away the cast played out many songs and scenes from the show, the story was recreated beautifully and yes, I had to hold back my ‘mum tears’ many times as I watched the excitement on my girls – and my mothers – faces. The conductor came around and punched a ‘B’ for Believe out of each child’s ticket and punched holes in the adults so they could be easily turned into a beautiful tree decoration.
Part way through the journey the cast did the famous ‘hot chocolate’ song and we were served a very delicious cookie and cup of very hot chocolate – warning, it really does need time to cool before you drink it! Eventually we pulled up into the beautifully lit North Pole and who hopped on board… Why Santa Claus himself! The whole carriage erupted in excitement and Santa visited every single person (Children and Adults alike!) and gave us all ‘the first gift of Christmas’.
We took the journey back to the station, singing Christmas carols on the way and on our way out purchased a book to re-read year after year. Top tip: there were many amazing things to buy in the shop, so definitely save money for it!
On the way home (and many many days since) the girls haven’t been able to stop talking about their magical journey, that they saySanta and of course ringing the bell to make sure they still believe. It was a fantastic and completely memorable experience and one that I’m sure will stick with us all for a lifetime.