The warm sunshine greeted us as our day began on Sunday. We had a #RailAdventure to enjoy with Greater Anglia trains and Audley End Miniature Railway. There was no time to waste so we hopped into our car and drove to Cambridge Train Station where our adventure was to begin.
Cambridge Train Station
Despite having been to Cambridge many times we had never actually been to the train station but we found it easily. The train station and surrounding areas are the perfect mix of old meets new with the period train station building surrounded by modern new build shops, eateries and even a Rutland Cycles – well everyone in Cambridge rides a bike right?
This was our first time travelling via the Greater Anglia service between Cambridge and Audley End which was just four stops with trains running approximately every 10 minutes or so throughout the day. We were happy to note that the trains were very clean and modern with enough space for our family of 6 to not annoy (a) each other and (b) fellow passengers.
Audley End Train Station
Audley End train station is a small but quaint train station with super friendly staff. We asked for directions to Audley End Miniature Railway and she suggested that since we had small children we would be well advised to grab a taxi rather than walk the 1.3mile footpath as it is close to a busy road. Depending upon how sensible your children are and whether they like to walk or not, it would make a nice walk from the station. We had to use a 7-seater taxi and the journey cost us £9 each way, although this is likely to be less for a standard taxi.
Audley End Miniature Railway
Audley End Miniature Railway is situated directly across the road from the beautiful Audley End House and Gardens within the Audley End Estate. We were given a Combination Ticket for our visit which included a train ride and access to the Fairy and Elf Walk. Within the grounds of the Miniature Railway is a small gift shop, toilets, Signal Box cafe, picnic and play area with a good selection of wooden play equipment. There are also bouncy castles, Swing Boats and a further small ride-on train which is operated by the Saffron Walden and District Society of Model Engineers. The small train, bouncy castles and swing boats incur an additional charge to your entry ticket.
Enchanted Fairy and Elf Walk
Usually we would be completely swayed by trains but the Enchanted Fairy and Elf Walk was just perfect. We were met at the start of the walk by the Fairies who invited the Beans to make their own Fairy Wands and write a special wish to leave with Cristabelle the Wishing Fairy. The Fairies were beautifully dressed in Fairy Costumes and stuck to their roles very well. The Beans loved creating their wands and completely bought into the magic of it all.
We were waved on our way by our good Fairy and made our way through the flowery willow arch. The Beans had each been given a special Enchanted Fairy and Elf Walk book to see if they could spot all of the Fairies and Elves and work out the special Fairy code along the way.
Hubby and I both commented on how much work had gone into creating the Fairy and Elf Walk, it was beautiful. As you walked along the paths you would find little Fairy houses decorated in the style of each Fairy with their own special personality.
When we arrived at Cristabelle’s house the Beans all tied their Fairy Wishes to the trees, fences or anywhere they wanted ready for Cristabelle to collect.
Unsurprisingly Curly liked Gormley the Troll who lived under the bridge, the smaller Beans were a little unsure of him since he appeared to have a few skulls under the bridge with him.
Whether you love Christmas fairies, Candy Fairies, Perfume Fairies, Fairy Babies, Gnomes, Goblins or Trolls there will be a little house that everyone will love all whilst enjoying a leisurely walk through the woods. Some of the houses were surrounded by pretty crystals, stones, flowers and other ‘pretties’ which pose too much of a temptation for little fingers. At the end of the walk there is a Fairy Karma drop-off point where the children are invited to replace anything they may have taken so that the Fairies will reward them with good karma. I thought this was a really nice touch as they totally understand what little ones can be like with such tempting things in their reach. Jelly Bean got to the end of the walk and said “Mummy I forgot to put this gem in the karma bucket” so we found one of the Fairies and asked if she could return it for him, of course she was only too willing to oblige and he was happy again.
Audley End Miniature Rail Train Ride
Jelly Bean is a huge fan of trains so was very excited to board the train at the station. He gave the Station Guard our tickets and waved as the train pulled out of the station. We expected to just go for a ride around the large field a few times and so were very pleasantly surprised when we rode off through the woods on a special ‘I-Spy’ journey. Again, so much hard work had been put into this with beautiful wooden houses built for bears, monkeys and array of other animals. All of the houses were covered with flowers to match the magical Fairy Walk.
It was perhaps one of the longest train rides we have been on of this nature, travelling through tunnels, over tunnels, through signals and over bridges. We saw all kinds of animals from rabbits and squirrels to pheasants and even a little Muntjac.
Be quick if you want to visit . . .
The Enchanted Fairy and Elf Walk is running until 4th June 2017. Starting from this Saturday through to the 4th June will be a magical Fairy and Elf Festival with Train Ride, Fairy and Elf Walk, Fairy or Elf Wand Making, Craft Making, Face Painting and Hair Braiding, Story Telling, Games Area all included in the price. Don’t forget to wear your Fairy and Elf costumes.
DISCLAIMER: All of our above #RailAdventure experiences were provided free of charge for the purpose of this post. All words, images, videos and opinions are my own and may not be copied without my permission. I have not been instructed what to write.