Monday 19 December 2011

Leo and The Santa Express - Cheltenham Santa Special Train

Cheltenham Santa Special Steam Train

Dear my lovely Leo,

On Saturday 17th December 2011, your Daddy and I took you on a very special journey. A journey to visit Father Christmas for the very first time! You were coming up to 6 months old and not quite sitting up by yourself, but you seemed to enjoy the magical experience all the same, Even your Daddy seemed to succumb and enjoy every moment.

We started our journey to Santa's Grotto, at Cheltenham Race Course and amongst all the other families off to visit Santa, we all climbed on to the very distinguished steam train and went to find ourselves some seats. We managed to secure ourselves a private booth on the train for just us 3! Many other families on the Santa Express did not get this luxury, and for us it really did make the whole experience even more spectacular.

Our private booth was kitted out with tinsel, and our window seats let us look out into the cold station, where we could see all the people hustling about and the conductors pointing everyone in the right direction. There was steam coming up from under the train like a thick fog which really did put a magic spin on a our imminent departure.

Cheltenham Santa Special Steam Train

Leo you were so well behaved and I like to think that you knew that the whole day was about you, and introducing you to the magic of Christmas.
The train slowly started tugging along, and before long we had picked up speed and were jetting across country to go and meet Father Christmas. The whole train was alive with Christmas Cheer and we could hear families with young children singing carols and talking about how excited they all were.

Cheltenham Santa Special Steam Train

We passed so many different scenes of winter wonderland, and by train was really the very best way to see it all. You could tell how cold it was outside but we were lucky enough to be inside a warm carriage, looking out of the frosted windows into picturesque settings fit for the North Pole.
It seemed to take us forever to reach Santa's Grotto, but we made it and after a very festive train journey, we were one of the first carriages to be invited off the train and go into meet Santa Clause.

We gathered up all our belongings and made our way off the train, we only had a little wait before we were called forward and onto another train. This new train was decked out in Christmas decorations, from it's roof down to it's wheels, and it was apparent to me....that this was where Santa was hiding.

Cheltenham Santa Special Steam Train
We walked into a carriage and round a corner, then... there he was....Santa was sat at the other end waiting... waiting just for you Leo.

Your Daddy was the one to place you down on Santa's knee, he talked to you about Christmas fun and festivities, he explained that on Christmas Eve after himself and the Elves complete a years long job of making presents for children across the world, he gathers his 9 Reindeer Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid,  Donner, Blitzen and of course Rudolph, to travel all around the world in 1 night. He explained how he stops at every boy and every girl's house bringing them presents...if they have behaved well throughout the year. Santa told us all how he parks on the roof and slides down the chimney with a sack of presents for each family. If the family have been kind enough to leave out a snack he will take 5 minutes out....sit down and enjoy the goodies, before making his way back up the chimney and off into the night to finish his rounds, before everyone starts waking up and seeing that Santa has indeed been in the night.

Santa then presented you with a present, you were none the wiser but it was a special moment for all of us. It was then that I vowed I would take you on the Santa Express train each year as part of our Christmas Time Traditions.

Our time with Santa was magical but had to be cut short to allow the other boys and girls to come in and meet the man himself. We left Santa to continue his work and made our way off of the train and along to get a hot drink and mince pie from the canteen that was provided, next year Leo you can too indulge in your own mince pie.

Then Leo, it was time to make our way back onto the steam train, and leave Santa and his many helpers behind, it was time to go home as there was so much more work that Santa and his elves needed to get done for the big night, which was now a week away!

You proceeded to fall asleep in my arms for the duration of the journey home, but you seemed to have enjoyed your afternoon, with all magic and wonder that came with it. Your Daddy and I really loved taking you and even though you don't remember your first visit. We do. We will always remind you and show you the photos. We will tell you the story of your first visit with the man in red for many years to come and we hope you enjoy it as much then as we did when we took you.

Cheltenham Santa Special Steam Train

We love you Leo, Merry First Christmas and may it be filled with magic and happiness, now and for many, many years to come.

Lots of Love,
Mummy & Daddy xxx

Cheltenham Santa Special Steam Train


  1. This is such a sweet story for Leo <3 and a wonderful written memory for him xx

  2. Thanks Bryony :-)

    It really was a lovely day! And I hope one day he will enjoy reading this! Glad you are enjoying being a year older :-)

    I am just in with Leo at the moment, I moved bedtime forward as he just wouldn't go down last night! Here's hoping... Hehe xxx


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