The bank holidays are a great time for some rest and relaxation.
That extra day off work can come as a great relief for many people and while some dedicate the time to tending to the garden or doing some DIY around the house, there are a plethora of steam engine events taking place. The end of May sees the second bank holiday of the month and with the weather picking up it could be the perfect opportunity to head down to your heritage railway and enjoy steam.
Whether you are a fan of model railways or prefer the real thing, there is something going on at pretty much every heritage railway line in the UK. If the country manages to avoid the stereotype of a washout bank holiday then it could make for a great day out for all the family. It can be the perfect end to a relaxing three-day weekend and one that could create memories which last a lifetime.
Here are a selection of the activities going on during the spring bank holiday.
The West Somerset Explorer – Saturday, May 24th
The West Somerset Explorer is a real treat and will see passengers enjoy a jaunt through the south-west countryside travelling along some of the nation's favourite heritage railways. Starting at Bridgnorth the Pacific No. 34067 Tangmere passes along the Severn Valley Railway and the West Somerset Railway.
It travels through the likes of Worcester, Cheltenham Spa and Bristol before reaching its final destination in Minehead. Passengers will be able to sit back and relax as they snake their way through the countryside, passing the valley of the River Severn. The train reaches Minehead at 14:30 BST allowing people to have a look around the town before heading back to the train at 16:55 BST.
Ticket prices for this very special tour begin at £84 for adults, £59 for juniors and £227 for a family ticket.
Ale & Cider Festival, Swindon & Cricklade Railway – May 24th – 26th
Swindon & Cricklade Railway represents the first heritage railway which has undertaken a complete reconstruction of a standard-gauge railway with no legacy of track or buildings. Spread over four miles, the railway offers round-trip passenger journeys. Running between Blunsdon and Hayes Knoll, the railway has a number of impressive steam locomotives.
The spring bank holiday will see the railway play host to an annual ale and cider festival. Over the three days, attendees will be able to sample some of the best tipples the area has to offer. There will also be a live jazz band playing throughout to get people in the mood.
Teddy Bear Steam Specials, Ribble Steam Railway – May 24th – 26th
Preston's Ribble Steam Railway sits on the docks of the Lancashire city with visitors able to enjoy a three-mile trip along the riverbank of the site. Alongside the railway there is an extensive museum which houses a range of historic locomotives and people can even gets 'hands on' with some.
The bank holiday will see Ribble Steam Railway hold a Teddy Bear Steam Specials event. Children are encouraged to bring their favourite teddy bear so they can ride the rail and join in with the various activities planned for the weekend.