Strathspey Railway – Steam Trains and Cake

Strathspey Railway

One of our main reasons for our camping trip last weekend (read more about the camping part here) was to go on the Strathspey Railway and the Cairngorm Funicular (post to come later this week).  We had promised O a funicular trip when we couldn’t find one when on holiday in Italy in June (the guidebook mentioned it, but it turned out just to be a chairlift) and as the steam trains leave from Aviemore we thought we should make a day of that too.

Unfortunately our chosen day for the train ride was raining heavily.  But still, we packed some lunches and set off to Aviemore to catch the train.

Strathspey railway

 The Strathspey Railway Company was set up in 1971 to buy areas of the railway and start trains running along the old route.  Currently the trains run between Aviemore and Broomhill, although tracks are being re-lain to extend the railway to Grantown as it was in the past.

We bought our tickets for a 90 minute round trip, adult tickets are £11.25 (under 5’s are free).  If you pay a little bit more then you can have a dining experience, private compartment or afternoon tea.  Maybe another day!

Strathspey Railway

Our train looked very grand and you can imagine people in the past standing on the platform in the rain, waiting for the train to arrive in their tweeds and long dresses.

View train window

We watched the woodland and fields pass by, A excitedly pointing out the sheep and cows and O ‘reading’ the information leaflet.

On the train

We stopped to take on more water at Boat of Garten and then moved on to Broomhill station where a lot of the passengers got off.  However, as it was raining and a mile and a bit walk to Nethy Bridge we stayed put.  When we arrived back in Boat of Garten the rain had stopped and we disembarked to go for a wander around and have our lunch.  Of course, as soon as we got off the train the rain started pelting down again!

Boat of Garten station

Fortunately we found a lovely little gallery and coffee shop where we had a cake and drink.  The boys had fun looking around the gallery, I didn’t get a chance to have a proper look at the art, but I did see a good number of painting that I liked in my brief ‘walk’ around the building!

Boat of Garten Woodland

The rain had eased off a bit and we headed back outside to search for the woodland walks I had read about.  Sure enough a bit further up the road from the gallery there were signposts for the walks in the woodland.  We wandered past pretty Scot’s Pines and some very lichen’y’ birches, taking a route back toward the station to catch the train back to Aviemore.

Lichen on birch

The train arrived right on time, we heard the whistle well before we saw the steam puffing over the trees.

Steam train oiled

 A 15 minute journey back to Aviemore and it was already late afternoon.

Boat of Garten Station

Scales at Boat of Garten Station

This was a lovely relaxing day, even if it was raining.  I definitely recommend the trip to anyone else who is passing through the Aviemore area.

On the train

Me and my boys (ignore the tired eyes and messy windy/rainy day hair!)

Have you been on a steam train recently?

J x

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88 Comments

  1. August 21, 2015 / 2:39 pm

    Aww what a great day out by the looks of it! The train looks amazing!! Fantastic photos and even better memories being created! Thanks for sharing! Suz x beauisblue.com

    • August 23, 2015 / 4:00 pm

      Thank you! We had a lovely time and definitely lots of memories being made! 🙂 x

  2. August 21, 2015 / 3:59 pm

    Sounds like a great day out! Thanks for linking up to the #BinkyLinky

  3. August 21, 2015 / 11:51 pm

    Oh wow this is all the way up in Scotland! The train looks amazing, i do love steam trains, they are so beautiful. Especially when they run on the actually old route, you can really imagine you’ve gone back in time! It’s such a shame about the weather for you 🙁 We just visited the one in Kent & East Sussex, a bit more expensive than the one you visited, but hey it’s worth it, isn’t it! Sabrina xx

    • August 23, 2015 / 3:56 pm

      Definitely worth it, and of course the kids just love this sort of thing too! 🙂 x

  4. August 22, 2015 / 4:58 pm

    Looks like you had a fab time great photos thanks for linking to the Binkylinky

  5. August 22, 2015 / 11:16 pm

    Wow, this looks like such a lovely trip. And the train looks almost like the one on Harry Potter too! I bet it was great fun riding on it 🙂 I myself never been on a steam train but would if I had a chance 🙂 #binkylinky

    • August 23, 2015 / 3:53 pm

      You should definitely have a go on a steam train, they are so much fun! Especially if you get the chance to have afternoon tea or something similar! 🙂 x

  6. August 23, 2015 / 4:35 am

    I’m discovering kids just love days out that involve a trip on some different types of transport.

    This looks fun My son would thoroughly enjoy it.

    • August 23, 2015 / 3:52 pm

      Definitely! Something to ride on is always fun for kids! 🙂 x

  7. August 23, 2015 / 2:30 pm

    What a great day out. My toddler would love that train ride. I am so glad the rain eased off for you so that you could explore the woodland.
    Becky-LittleOandme

    • August 23, 2015 / 3:51 pm

      So were we, it was such a lovely place to visit, we didn’t want the rain to completely spoil it! 🙂 x

  8. August 24, 2015 / 6:17 am

    My 3 year old LOVES trains – big, small, old, new, steam or diesel. But his favourite are steam trains! We have never visited Scotland but it is on our list so we will definitely bear this in mind and possibly plan to stay near Strathspey – if the children are happy, the parents are happy hey?!

    • August 24, 2015 / 7:48 am

      Ha ha! Yes, we visit a lot of train themed things as O loves trains, not always what I want to do, but as you say, if it keeps them happy… 🙂 x

  9. August 24, 2015 / 5:46 pm

    Oh wow, sounds like a great day out! You can’t beat a steam train: even just looking at these pics my kids are now asking to go 🙂

    • August 24, 2015 / 7:18 pm

      Steam trains are so much fun, hope there’s one near you to vist?! 🙂 x

  10. August 25, 2015 / 6:43 am

    I LOVE steam trains of every kind! Especially after I had 2 boys. So I can imagine why steam trains would be on your to-do list for a family trip. The one on my bucket list is the Thomas steam train in Japan.

    • August 25, 2015 / 7:37 am

      A Thomas steam train in Japan? Ooh, must go look that up! 🙂 x

  11. August 25, 2015 / 12:29 pm

    What a brilliant way to spend a rainy day, and how can you not love a railway journey, followed by cake? In fact we did this last week too in the Cotswolds. Great mind! Thanks for linking up with #MondayEscapes ps. Sorry my code for the badge didn’t work, I’ve done it again!

    • August 25, 2015 / 5:01 pm

      You have to have a train journey on holiday, don’t you! Don’t worry about the badge, mine is forever causing problems! I have to re-do it every week! 🙂 x

  12. August 25, 2015 / 8:34 pm

    Aw this looks like a lot of fun, I keep meaning to take the boys on a train! Thanks for linking up to #PicknMix hon,

    Stevie xx

    • August 25, 2015 / 8:53 pm

      Trains are great fun for all ages, we love them! 🙂 x

  13. August 26, 2015 / 6:08 am

    We took the kids to the mainland for some summer holiday adventures last year, and their first ever train ride (there are no trains on our island!) was on a steam train in the Lake District! 😀 We did the funicular in the Cairngorms too – super fun! The landscape reminded us of our home here in Shetland.

    • August 27, 2015 / 8:46 pm

      Ha ha, yes there is no need for trains on Shetland! That must have been fun too, I’ve just posted a blog post about the funicular as well. We loved it! 🙂 x

  14. August 26, 2015 / 6:46 am

    What a great day out for you! We love a trip on a steam train too! #whatevertheweather

    • August 27, 2015 / 8:45 pm

      It was, we do love a steam train journey. 🙂 x

  15. August 26, 2015 / 7:04 am

    Steam trains are a lovely way to travel! Looks a great day despite the rain! #whatevertheweather

    • August 27, 2015 / 8:44 pm

      They are great fun, thank you! 🙂 x

  16. August 26, 2015 / 7:25 am

    We did a santa steam train last Christmas and loved it, hoping to do something similar before the end of the summer – not long now though! #whatevertheweather

    • August 27, 2015 / 8:44 pm

      We did a santa one last year too, it was lovely, would have been even better if it had snowed though! 🙂 x

  17. August 26, 2015 / 7:45 am

    Really can’t beat the magic of a steam train ride!

  18. August 26, 2015 / 8:19 am

    Seemed like a fab day despite of the rain. The last time we went on a steam train was when we went to Bo’ness for a Day out with Thomas, where we surprised our little boy as he was so fond of Thomas then. It’s was also pouring rain and bit cold that time but it was certainly a fab day out. #whatevertheweather

    • August 27, 2015 / 8:42 pm

      We loved the Day out with Thomas at Bo’Ness, we went on the Santa train last year too, it was lovely! 🙂 x

  19. August 26, 2015 / 8:23 am

    I love a good steam train – we go on the Bluebell railway in Sussex and the Swanage steam train in Dorset – always a hit with the kids! #whatevertheweather

    • August 27, 2015 / 8:40 pm

      Bluebell railway sounds lovely! 🙂 x

  20. August 26, 2015 / 8:28 am

    Shame about the rain, but sounds like a lovely day out despite the weather. My son would like to go on a steam train again. x

    • August 27, 2015 / 8:38 pm

      We’ve been on loads of stem trains together now, we practically hunt them out for O! It was a great day even though the weather wasn’t brilliant. 🙂 x

  21. August 26, 2015 / 8:54 am

    Wow this looks like a great day out, shame about the rain, oh the joys of British weather but looks like you all had a lovely time despite this. My girls would love to go on a steam train, if we’re ever visiting the area we will defiantly be popping by here.

    • August 27, 2015 / 8:35 pm

      Trains are so much fun, you should definitely find one with the girls. 🙂 x

  22. August 26, 2015 / 9:19 am

    Sounds like a great way to spend a rainy day! We still haven’t been on a train with ours x

    • August 27, 2015 / 8:35 pm

      Trains are great fun, we particularly love steam as it’s a little bit different. 🙂 x

  23. August 26, 2015 / 9:43 am

    I just love the expression on his face! Someone had a good time! I do love travelling by train, it’s such a relaxing way to see parts of the countryside that are sometimes difficult to access in other ways. But for me it’s important to have good views or somewhere to explore the other end – the woods look great! Am slightly scared of going on a steam train again as one of my daughters freaked out at the train’s whistle last time! Hopefully that was a phase! Great way to make use of a windy day 🙂

    • August 27, 2015 / 8:31 pm

      Ha ha, yes, A jumped at the whistle the first time, but then kept saying toot toot after that. They are such fun to go on, hopefully she’ll be ok next time when she’s a little bit older? O loves trains so much, as you can tell by his face! 🙂 x

  24. August 26, 2015 / 10:10 am

    Sounds like a lovely day out despite the rain! I’ve never been on a steam train and Emma loves trains at the moment so would love to go on one with her. There’s meant to be one fairly nearby – might have to organise a day out 🙂 #whatevertheweather

    • August 27, 2015 / 8:29 pm

      If she likes trains I’m sure she’ll love it! 🙂 x

  25. August 26, 2015 / 10:31 am

    Who doesn’t love a steam train?! Looks like a great day out-despite the weather! #whatevertheweather

  26. August 26, 2015 / 11:27 am

    We haven’t been on a steam train lately. My son loves playing with trains, but actually being on a train? Not so much. No idea why. I remember loving all things steam as a kid. Maybe he needs to be a bit older to fully enjoy it!

    • August 27, 2015 / 8:26 pm

      Maybe he’ll like them when he’s a bit older? O isn’t too sure of the train itself, but likes going in the coaches! 🙂 x

    • August 27, 2015 / 8:14 pm

      It’s not too far really! MY OH has family in Cumbria, so we visit that area sometimes too, need to take the boys camping in the Lake District, I used to go camping there a lot as a child. 🙂 x

  27. August 26, 2015 / 3:34 pm

    Awww shame about the rain, still though, looks like you guys had fun! The stem trains look amaznig!! 🙂

    • August 27, 2015 / 8:12 pm

      I know, can’t do much about the rain, but at least the trains are fun! 🙂 x

  28. August 26, 2015 / 5:25 pm

    Looks like a fantastic day out! We have done the santa special at our local steam railway line… I love the smell of the old trains… so much fun! #whatevertheweather

    • August 27, 2015 / 8:12 pm

      Oh yes, we went on a santa train last year and it was great! They are so much fun! 🙂 x

  29. August 26, 2015 / 6:04 pm

    I hope to take my son on a train ride. One of his favorite show is Thomas.

    • August 27, 2015 / 8:11 pm

      O loves Thomas too, we have to visit any train thing happening! 🙂 x

  30. August 26, 2015 / 6:07 pm

    Love that area! We’ve camped around Aviemore and spent a few holiday there. It’s beautiful x

    • August 27, 2015 / 8:03 pm

      It is such a gorgeous place to be, I love being beside the mountains. 🙂 x

  31. August 26, 2015 / 6:43 pm

    What a lovely train – looks a great day 🙂 Thanks for hosting #whatevertheweather

  32. August 26, 2015 / 6:58 pm

    This looks a like a great day out for all the family! Really good to hear you had a fab time despite the weather!

    • August 27, 2015 / 7:52 pm

      Sometimes you just need to keep going no matter what the weathers like! 🙂 x

  33. August 26, 2015 / 8:52 pm

    My dad is a bit of a steam train fanatic so I went on so many when I was a kid. I didn’t complain too much because it was great fun. This certainly looks like a lovely day out and perfect if the weather isn’t too bright. The old heaters on steam trains always keep my toes toasty. The last one I want on was between Dartmouth and Paignton in Devon. The views are spectacular #Whatevertheweather

    • August 27, 2015 / 7:46 pm

      Wow, you were lucky! I love going on steam trains, partly for the kids excitement, but also because I love imagining the past! You’re right about them keeping you toasty! 🙂 x

  34. August 26, 2015 / 8:54 pm

    we haven’t been on a stream train before, but we have been on a model stream train last Christmas. We had such a blast! I think a real stream train will be our next step. 🙂 #whatevertheweather

    • August 27, 2015 / 7:45 pm

      We love model steam trains too, but real ones are great, especially with the proper whistle and steam! 🙂 x

  35. August 26, 2015 / 9:13 pm

    Looks like so much fun, my boys would love this, thanks for sharing! #whatevertheweather

    • August 27, 2015 / 7:44 pm

      We love steam trains, definitely a great family day out! 🙂 x

  36. August 27, 2015 / 4:20 pm

    It is such a great day out, we went on a steam not long ago and my boys loved it X

    • August 27, 2015 / 7:39 pm

      It is, I love going on steam trains! 🙂 x

  37. August 27, 2015 / 8:06 pm

    Looks like a lovely day! We always go on a steam train at Christmas, great fun. Thanks for linking to #picknmix

  38. August 28, 2015 / 2:07 pm

    My son loves all things Thomas The Tank Engine but we have yet to take him on a steam engine. Your post has reminded me that we really must get round to doing something like this as he would absolutely love it.
    #whatevertheweather

    • August 28, 2015 / 7:57 pm

      Oh yes, if he’s into trains you should definitely go on a steam train, so much fun! 🙂 x

  39. August 29, 2015 / 4:12 pm

    It looks so much fun it’s a shame you couldn’t go for the full lot and have a special dining experience ce but u understand with small children it may not have been quite fine dining. We have a steam train near us. US adults have been on it but so far our little ones have just watched it from outside which they prefer #whatevertheweather

    • August 29, 2015 / 9:51 pm

      I would loved to have had the afternoon tea, but couldn’t guarantee the kids would sit for it, maybe when they’re a little older! 🙂 x

  40. August 30, 2015 / 4:12 pm

    Your son’s smile in one of the photo is just priceless. And I can see why as it looks like the amazing place ever! #countrykids

    • August 30, 2015 / 8:50 pm

      I know, I love that photo, the boy is train mad! Thank you! 🙂 x

  41. August 30, 2015 / 7:00 pm

    I love steam trains!!! I went on one for dinner recently and we dressed up all old fashioned, it was brilliant! I’d definitely recommend going again and eating on one. It is so much fun!

    The boys look like they’re having so much fun. I can’t wait to read your funicular post. It’s a shame that it was just a chair lift in Italy. If you ever go back, you need to go to the Isle of Capri. They have the most amazing Funicular railway with unbelievable views.

    What a fun day out despite the weather! I quite like watching the rain drops running down train windows though. x

    • August 30, 2015 / 8:49 pm

      Oh yes, I went to Capri when I was younger and loved the funicular there, I had completely forgot about that! 🙂 x

  42. September 1, 2015 / 5:39 pm

    Strathspey Railway looks like a fab day out for anyone with little ones, I don’t know any kid who doesn’t love a ride on a train. They boys look like they’re having a fab time even if it’s raining and cold. It’s great that they’re restoring the old line for people to ride on, will you be heading back to ride again once it’s completed? Thanks for linking up with Country Kids.

    • September 3, 2015 / 1:10 pm

      It was great fun, I think rain really only bothers us grown-ups! Kids just get of with it! Will definitely go back again one day. 🙂 x

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