We had booked onto the 11:30 train so headed off and arrived about 11am. Kirklees is lovely, upon approach I was instantly impressed. There was a large train carriage on our left which is where children's parties are held, I think it would be an amazing place for a party. Inside the train carriage was facepainting and just outside, the three most adorable donkeys waiting to provide rides for the children.
Now onto our train ride. We went through onto the platform, it is a gorgeous little place complete with a ticket office and lovely cafe area. The Fat Controller (or Sir Topham Hatt as he is known these days) was on hand to help people out and to wave the train off on its journey. The Thomas the Tank Engine songs were played into the carriages and our train, which according to the children was Hiro. I am none the wiser!
The train travels from Clayton West along to Shelley which is approximately 20 minutes and the scenery is beautiful, we even travelled through a long dark tunnel complete with whistle which the kids loved! At Shelley station there is a large picnic area if you wanted to bring your own food. There is a nice tearoom with very reasonable prices and as part of the Thomas event, there was a gorgeous smelling barbecue selling burgers and hot dogs. There was Toby truck here and we went for a ride up and down the platform. We spent some time getting tattoos and colouring in various Thomas pictures, dressing up and playing with the wooden train sets. After a run about on the train themed playground, it was time to head back to Clayton West. The trains depart every 30 minutes and were exactly on time.
Back at Clayton West there was masses to do, first port of call was the face painting. There was a bit of a queue but there were three extremely talented ladies painting so it did not take too long to go down. The facepainters were brilliant and even accommodated Luca's request for Hiro on his face!
We had a bite to eat in the cafe, again was reasonably priced, a lunchbox for the children which contained a sandwich, crisps, a drink and a piece of fruit was £3. The Fat Controller came into rally the troops as poor Thomas had lost his whistle and out onto the platform to rescue him we did go. Sir Topham Hatt (I will give him his full title) was really fun, exactly as you would expect him to be and made us all laugh. We sorted out Thomas' whistle and then the children helped to fill his engine with buckets of water. These little touches really added to the experience and I thought they were excellent.
Once we had filled up Thomas' engine, we went along to see Sir Topham Hatt for a photo opportunity, the children were also presented with certificates for attending and Sir Hatt signed them, again a really lovely touch.
More donkey rides followed, they were beautiful and so patient and gentle, as was their handler, my two had two rides and would have stayed for more if I had let them! A quick visit to the gift shop and a quick bounce on the bouncy castle and it was time to leave.
Absolutely brilliant day at Kirklees, very well run, lots of activities to keep the children amused and it was not too busy which gave plenty of time to enjoy everything. I noticed they have a lot of themed days, including Santa trains which I would love to try one Christmas. They even have Driver Experience Courses where you can learn to drive a steam train. Everyone at Kirklees provided a fabulous service, they were great with the children and the driver of Thomas even showed the children how he works by shovelling the coal into the fire. I highly recommend a Day Out with Thomas and I highly recommend Kirklees Light Railway, we will be back to try another event.