Day Out With Thomas The Tank Engine At Mid Hants Railway – Watercress Line

We have visited the Watercress Line a couple of times already as both daddy and son are big train enthusiasts. However, we never attended a Meet Thomas Day.


For those whose never been there, the Watercress Line is located in Alresford, Hampshire. It’s a heritage railway which was saved by enthusiastic volunteers in 1973, and Watercress Line was re-open as a tourist attraction four years later. A 10 mile line is operating currently with steam locomotives between Alresford and Alton. They regularly do Meet Thomas The Tank Engine days, in every few months.

Visiting the Watercress Line is great fun every time, we especially like stopping at Ropley, where all the engineering works are being done, and can be watched too. Fascinating for train enthusiasts. There’s a playground for small children (I’d say from 3 years up) and picnic area. Snacks and drinks are also available in the station gift shop. The King’s Cross bridge from one of the Harry Potter episode is moved down to Ropley, so even Harry Potter fans will find something exciting.

Visiting the restored ticket office and the station masters lounge makes you feel, that you stepped back in time. Even the toilets are made to look vintage. Another times we also stop at Medstead and go for a picturesque walk to Alton, visiting the Jane Austen House in Chawton village.

This April we booked tickets (£18 for adults and £12 for children) to see Bobcat’s favourite character Thomas The Tank Engine. We arrived early to make the most of the day, as you’re entitled to unlimited travel on the day, so we stopped at every station, marvelled the engineering works, watched the character trains pulling into Ropley station. The trains were running up and down between the stations in every half an hour.

We went for a few rides on the miniature train, which was one of the top favourites of the day. We packed lunch and had picnic, whilst the little guy spent some time on the playground and went for teacup rides – he was way too excited to eat. Outside of the station we even met with Bertie the bus, his second favourite character from the show. Apart from Thomas, some other tank engines are present (don’t ask me names, all I know that, they all have a name and a number) and running between the stations. He also shook the Fat Controller’s hand – the organisers really paid attention to the smallest details.

There was a tent with story corner where they did daily story time and DVD shows. Also some tables and chairs with Thomas themed coloring sheets and play sets. Bobcat received a certificate and some Thomas stickers too. The only thing we didn’t try was the big bouncy slide, it said from 3 years+, but Bobcat was too small for that, we thought. But he didn’t mind, he was perfectly happy with all the other fun things. Naturally, fell asleep on the way home and had an unusual long nap which resulted him bouncing around till 11pm that night. Oh well.

 

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Ski Chalets Le Chardon – The Family-Friendly Luxury

Have you ever tried to go on a ski holiday with small kids or babies? If you have then you’ll know that you usually need to take everything with you. It can take a lot of time to research and plan childcare, family-friendly restaurants and the best ski schools for you and your family.

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Le Chardon Val d’Isere have everything you need for a perfect, stress-free family ski holiday. The 5 traditionally designed ski in / ski out luxury ski chalets located in Val d’Isere in the French Alps are easily accessible from Chambery, Geneva or Lyon airports. All major European cities also have trains going to Bourg St. Maurice, which is just 19 miles from beautiful Val d’Isere.

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The smallest chalet has 5 en-suite rooms and the largest has 10 rooms, so you can plan your holiday for small or big families. Each luxury ski chalet  is individually and tastefully designed and equipped with everything you need for a relaxing holiday.

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They offer a 5* concierge service who can arrange highly qualified nannies for babies and toddlers so for a change, mummy can ski too and just pop back to the chalet for feedings. All the chalets have sledges, high chairs, cots, DVDs and games. Private or group ski lessons and ski hire for the older children and family can be arranged with the option of boot fittings done in your own chalet. When you’re not on the slopes, there’s plenty of family fun activities such as husky rides, ice karting, ice skating or a visit to the Aquasportif Centre in the village is always a popular choice. All chalets are equipped with a sauna or outdoor hot tub and you can also book in a massage with Le Chardon’s very own wellness therapists.
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I think the best feature is the 5* dining with every meal prepared by your own chalet chef. Using the finest local produce, your chef will create a bespoke menu especially for you and your family. Each chalet also operates an open bar policy including fine wines, spirits, beers and soft drinks. So, you don’t have to worry about finding child friendly restaurants that will suit your children’s daily meal schedules. You don’t have to drive to get to a restaurant or waste your precious time with cooking. You don’t have to worry about the menu and whether picky toddlers will eat it or not. They can go to bed at the usual time and have breakfast in their pyjamas!

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Their concierge service will provide everything you may need from airport transfers including champagne picnics to ski hire. If you wanted a private flight to Geneva Airport and back – that’s not a problem either.
The French Alps are also beautiful after the snow has melted and a popular destination for active families. The area provides wonderful mountain walking routes, mountain biking possibilities, hiking, trekking, via ferratas, rafting or even glacier skiing.
If you’d like to find out more about Le Chardon Mountain Lodges for your next luxury ski holiday then check their availability and prices. Most chalets are booked on a chalet basis, however shared chalets options are occasionally available.

And to celebrate Easter, Le Chardon are running a competition until 21 March ’16 to win a fabulous Fortnum and Mason Champagne and Truffles gift. To be in with a chance of winning, head to http://www.lechardonvaldisere.com/fortnum-mason-easter-giveaway/to enter.