The Polar Express Train Ride in Stanhope, Durham

All aboard! All aboard! Tickets please, tickets. Well, you coming? As soon as we were handed our golden tickets for the Polar Express, we knew it was going to be magical.

Thanks to the beautifully decorated ticket office and the singing elves on the platform at Stanhope Station, we were truly in the Christmas spirit before we even set foot on the train.

  • Spoiler alert – this article will tell you exactly what to expect on the Polar Express Train ride!


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The hour-long journey is based on the hit Polar Express film and award-winning book. Having an idea of the story before you take your seats is a must.

Passengers are encouraged to wear their pyjamas – just like the children do in the film – and to truly embrace the experience, my sister and I, and my children and niece and nephew all made sure we had ours on.

Yes, it’s pricey, but genuinely, it’s so magical and possibly a one-off, so it’s worth every penny!

We had booked premium-class seats, which were spacious and comfy, and as soon as we arrived we were greeted by the energetic chefs. I really think it’s worth the extra money to be in the best seats, we seemed to have more staff and more attention!

Mummy and her reindeer on the Polar Express

TIP: Wear sensible shoes like trainers or wellies as it’s a bit of a walk from the car park. Pack a brolly too because there’s only so much undercover queuing area.

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Dressed in white, exactly as they are in the film, all of a sudden they began singing and dancing up and down the aisles. The kids were mesmerised.

They are a highlight in the film, so I had hoped they would bring the journey to life, but I was blown away by how good they were with bags of enthusiasm.

Next, as the passengers are in the film, we were served our hot chocolate and cookies while the singing and dancing continued.

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The chefs then used books to tell the story of the Polar Express, while the official movie soundtrack played and made sure all children were involved.


And it wouldn’t have been the same without the conductor to check our tickets and even punch each one with each child’s initials – definitely something to treasure.


Then the magic carpet on the rails took us to the North Pole. From the comfort of our seats we saw Santa and his reindeer out of the window and real-life dancing elves. We stopped just for long enough for Santa to catch the train and we were then back on our way.


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As Santa made his way through the carriage, we were encouraged to get up and dance, singing everything from Jingle Bells to Deck The Halls.

Santa spent a good amount of time with each child and even gave them a shiny bell from his sleigh – just like in the film.

TIP: Don’t take a buggy. It’s a short walk from the car park (free parking) and back again

With lots to see, we wished it didn’t have to end – because that’s the way things happen, on the Polar Express.

Don’t know who enjoyed it more – the kids, or my sister and I
  • Reviewed December 2015



LOCATION: Stanhope Station, Station Road, Stanhope, Durham DL 13 2YS and also at Okehampton Station, Station Road, Okehampton, Devon, EX20 1EJ.

OPEN: November 20 until December 28.

PRICES: (2015) Standard class: £18 for children and £22 for adults. Premium Class: £28 for children and £38 for adults.




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