The Kent and East Sussex Railway (K&ESR) is celebrating a great start to its 2022 season with its first event selling out within weeks of tickets going on sale.
After a challenging two years, due to the pandemic, the much-loved steam railway attraction, which runs from Tenterden to Bodiam through the beautiful Rother Valley, has come up with a bumper programme of both new events and popular favourites.
The sell-out opening event – a Sparkling Afternoon Tea aboard the historic Wealden Pullman on 2 April – was one of the new concepts for 2022: an elegant rail experience pairing a traditional afternoon tea with sparkling English wines from nearby Woodchurch vineyard.
Following a phenomenal booking response, two similar events are being added to the calendar using other Kent & Sussex wine producers. The first will take place on Easter Sunday and will feature Chapel Down’s award-winning sparkling wines to accompany a menu of scones, dainty sandwiches and cakes, all served by the Pullman’s liveried stewards. Tickets for this event are now on sale on the K&ESR website. A further event during the Jubilee weekend, in partnership with a local vineyard will include a guided tour and tastings at Bodiam, East Sussex and details will be added shortly.
In addition, the ever-popular Fish and Chip Supper Specials at the Railway are also selling fast, with just a few tickets remaining for the scheduled program. Trains depart from Tenterden at 6.30pm providing a great, relaxing end to a visit to the pretty market town of Tenterden and the surrounding area. Further dates are likely to be added to the Fish & Chip specials programme later this summer.
One of the regular events in the railway’s calendar will sadly not be taking place this year. Following the advice of the Heritage Railway Association, the K&ESR has taken the difficult decision to postpone its 1940s weekend (14-15 May) in view of the continuing crisis in Ukraine.
K&ESR Commercial Manager Andre Freeman said: “We are sensitive to the events unfolding in Ukraine and the terrible suffering that is being experienced. Although the 1940’s weekend usually plays a tremendous part in our overall package of educational experiences, we fully support the Heritage Railway Association’s recommendations. We are sorry for the disappointment this will cause supporters of this popular railway event, and offer our thanks to those who had already promised their support.”
The full season includes a wide range of events to appeal to families, couples and friends to enjoy aboard the heritage railway, as well as regular train services:-
Friday 8th April and Friday 6th May: Real Ale Trains make a welcome return. These start with a private tasting at Tenterden Town station, hosted by local partners Old Dairy Brewery, followed by a ride through the beautiful countryside with hot food and a selection of Real Ales for the journey. Trains depart from Tenterden Town Station at 7:15pm and return at approximately 9:45pm.
Thursday 2nd – Sunday 5th June: K&ESR’s own Platinum Jubilee Party – The Best of British Weekend. Plans are well advanced and will include the offer of tickets at 70% of the normal train fare if booked at least 7 days in advance of the weekend. Further details will be announced in due course.
Saturday 18 June (11am to 10.30pm): CAMRA Real Ale and Cider Festival with live music programme at Tenterden Town Station.
Throughout season April to October: Children can become nature detectives with a free nature activity sheet to help them spot the many birds, plants and other wildlife to be seen along the 10.5 mile route along the Rother Valley through this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Full details of all events and product can be found and bookings made on the K&ESR website : https://kesr.org.uk