This summer I had promised L a trip on a train. I hadn’t given it much thought, I just knew it would be something he would enjoy. So when Greater Anglia launched their #RailAdventure campaign and wanted to know if we would like to take part I leapt at the chance.
We are lucky enough to be situated close to two rail stations, Diss and Wymondham. In fact we spend quite a bit of time at Wymondham Station thanks to the delightful Station Bistro. A lovely establishment that allows us to enjoy great food whilst watching the trains go by, it one of L’s and mine favourite spots.
We are also lucky that there is loads to do by train near us. London isn’t too far by train, then there’s Cambridge, loads of coastal options, Colchester and more. We opted to go to Somerleyton Hall and Gardens. A favourite destination of mine as a child and somewhere I was eager to share with L. Plus as it is Easter weekend they had an Egg Hunt, so perfect for L.
Good Friday saw us hopping onto the train. L was beside himself. He loved waiting for the trains. He loved getting on the trains. He loved changing trains. He just had the best time.
I’ll admit both husb and I were skeptical about the practicalities of train travel. I mean we could drive there quicker and then have the benefit of being able to leave when we wanted. Then of course there is the cost. L is free until he is 5 years old, which is fab but for husb and I you would be looking at around £30.
What we found after today was that travelling by rail was indeed part of the adventure. #RailAdventure couldn’t be a better campaign as it is just so true. The travel was as much a part of our day out as the destination. Not only that but as neither one of us was driving, we all got to relax and have fun during the trip.
Every member of staff we met was happy and helpful. When we got to Norwich Station L was given some Mini Eggs just because it was Easter. It was such a nice gesture and it just made his day even more special. We would definitely go on another #RailAdventure. We’re thinking about taking him for a day in Cambridge maybe. It was just so very easy and very fun.
Somerleyton train station is about a mile from the Hall. Around about a 30 minute walk. As L is walking and will not use a pushchair, we opted for a taxi between the station and hall. When you are planning on spending a whole day walking with a little kid you don’t want to wear them out before they’ve even started. I certainly didn’t want to have to wrangle him all the way back to the station either. It was certainly the right call as he was flagging by the time we were done and asking to be carried.
Both husb and said that if he was younger and still in a pushchair the walk wouldn’t have phased us. Same goes for if he was older. It’s just an awkward stage at the moment, but the taxi just added even further to his adventures of the day.
But let’s not forget our fabulous destination. Somerleyton Hall was just as impressive as I remembered. The gardens are a perfect mix of formal and wild. Then of course there is the maze. It’s famous Yew maze was our first stop. We made our way to the centre, finding some of the hidden eggs on the way and in my case a good friend. Considering I could barely keep track of myself in the maze I certainly wasn’t expecting to happen across someone I knew.
The Hall itself was closed which was a shame, but we had a fabulous time exploring the gardens and hunting for eggs. There is a small aviary and L loved seeing the birds. There are lots of ponds, both ornamental and for wildlife. All of which needed to be checked for fish.
Everywhere you turned there were families enjoying the weather and the gardens. Plenty of people were having picnics and playing ball games. We even happened across a family who had made their own chocolate egg hunt in one pocket of garden.
We enjoyed some lovely food as well, we were spoilt for choice. I opted for a cheese scone which was fabulous and they would have used as part of a ploughman’s for me had I wanted. Husb and L enjoyed sausage rolls and as it was Easter a suitably decorated cupcake was shared too. There was loads to choose from and a really well thought out kids menu. We just fancied a little snack though, just to refuel before some more egg hunting.
L was so happy to see the Easter Bunny exploring the grounds too. He accosted her on several occasions to let her know how well he was doing finding her lost eggs and asking for his picture to be taken. It was so sweet and a real first for us and normally he shies away from such encounters. but he took a shine to the Bunny that’s for sure.
We really did just have the best day. I would have loved to have been able to look around the hall, but as the weather was so good we were all happy looking round the gardens and enjoying the scenery. We spent a good two and a half hours there, I would have liked maybe an extra 30 minutes or so, just so we could have enjoyed a more leisurely lunch. But to explore the gardens it was the perfect amount of time and for L as well, he wouldn’t have lasted much longer.
His #RailAdventure was just too exciting. So to cut a very long story short, we will definitely be travelling by rail more, it was a lovely way to spend more time together as a family. We will also be returning to Somerleyton Hall, in fact I can’t believe we had left it so long, it’s a great destination for families.
Please answer this quick question about this article. If you can’t see it, please go to https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/JZSKS8J
Create your own user feedback survey
Disclosure – our rail fare and entrance to Somerleyton was provided as part of the #RailAdventure campaign. All thoughts and opinions are our own.