ALL The Polar Express Train Ride Locations In The UK (2023)

If you’re a train enthusiast and looking for the ultimate Christmas train experience, look no further than a Polar Express train ride.

In fact, even if you’re not into trains, the Polar Express experience is a fabulously festive day out for families in the UK.

Our guide gives you all the details you need to know about all of the Polar Express train ride locations in the UK.

Just a quick piece of advice before you where to find the Polar Express trains in the UK. The Polar Express 2023 tickets will sell quickly so make sure to book well in advance.

Most of the 2023 Polar Express train dates for 2023 have been released. We will update the other UK Polar Express Train Rides when they are released. 

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If you’re visiting London this Christmas, take a look at all of the places you can visit Santa in London. Or maybe you’d like to see our suggestions for family Christmas holidays in the UK.

You might also like to check out the best Harry Potter days out for Harry Potter fans.

The Polar Express Train Ride

There are a number of Polar Express train ride UK locations which we have detailed below but first…

Here are a few quick FAQs about the UK Polar Express Train Rides.

What is the Polar Express Train ride like?

Each Polar Express train ride follows a similar format but there might be something slightly unique about each one.

For each of the Polar Express train rides in the UK, we give more details below. But in brief, here’s what to expect from the Polar Express train ride experience.

During the train ride, you will meet characters from the film. The main characters you will meet are the Polar Express conductor, the singing chefs and Santa.

The experience will include singing and dancing, a hot drink and a cookie and a meeting with Santa. Each passenger will receive a Polar Express themed gift at the end (usually a silver bell).

Do I have to watch the Polar Express film to enjoy the experience?

In case you haven’t heard of the Polar Express Christmas train ride experience, it is based on the beautiful Christmas story by Chris Van Allsburg – The Polar Express.

The book is lovely and you may want to take along a copy to join in with some of the story telling on certain trains. If you are lucky, one of the Polar Express characters may even sign your copy.

You don’t have to have watched the movie to enjoy the experience, but watching the movie before your day out can add to the experience. If you haven’t yet seen the film or you have watched it a while ago, you can rent it on Amazon Prime for £3.49.

If you love the Polar Express Movie, you are bound to love this Polar Express experience.

Do I have to book UK Polar Express train tickets in advance?

Yes, you need to book tickets in advance. Some of the UK Polar Express train ride tickets go on sale almost a year in advance. They can sell out quickly.

We aim to keep this post about the Polar Express trains in the UK updated with ticket release dates but it is worth signing up for email notifications of ticket releases so that you don’t miss out.

Which is the best Polar Express in the uk?

Since all of the Polar Express train rides in the UK are very similar, it would be hard to say which one is best. It is probably best to go with your nearest.

With 11 Polar Express locations in the UK to choose from, there is bound to be one fairly nearby.

Do I have to wear pyjamas on the Polar Express train ride?

You don’t have to wear your pyjamas on the Polar Express trains, but wearing Polar Express PJs will help you to get into the spirit of the Polar Express experience.

Wearing pyjamas is encouraged by the Polar Express train operators.

To make the experience extra special, check out these lovely Polar Express PJs on Etsy:

Polar Express PJs with long sleeves

Polar Express PJs with short sleeves

Personalised Polar Express Pyjamas

This Polar Express onesie is also really cute or you may prefer this raglan Polar Express set.

What age is best for the Polar Express train ride?

The Polar Express train rides are perfect for all ages. Everyone will be entertained. Children aged 4+ will probably get the most out of the experience.

Of course, the train rides are perfect for anyone who loves the Polar Express. Big kids included.

Where are the Polar Express Train Ride locations in the UK?

There are currently 12 Polar Express train ride locations in the UK where you can find a UK Polar Express Train Experience.

Here are the Polar Express Train ride locations in the UK in 2023.

South Devon Railway Polar Express

Polar Express South Devon

The South Devon Polar Express is a large, black steam train that puffs out huge clouds of steam as it pulls into the station.

Chefs lean out of the windows to greet you and then it’s all aboard and full steam ahead.

You’ll meet the conductor (who will clip your ticket) and a few other Polar Express characters as well as Santa.

Hot chocolate and cookies will be served by the singing chefs and guests will be encouraged to share their Christmas stories.

Santa’s Elves will be scanning little ones to see if they’re on the nice list this year. Guests will receive a silver bell.

The whole journey lasts around 1 hour but don’t miss the 20-minute pre-show before the train ride.

Tickets are e-tickets but you can order Souvenir Golden Tickets. These must be ordered before September.

South Devon Railway Polar Express dates: 24th November – 23rd December 2023.
South Devon Railway Polar Express ticket price: From £33.95 to £46.95 per person. Pre-booked car parking is £5.
South Devon Railway Polar Express location: South Devon Railway, The Station, Dartbridge Road, Buckfastleigh, Devon, TQ11 0DZ.
FAQs: Check here for any more FAQs on the train ride.

Santa handing out presents on the South Devon Polar Express - one of the Polar Express train ride locations in the UK.

Photo Credit: South Devon Railway Polar Express

Mid Norfolk Railway Polar Express

Polar Express Norfolk

Firstly, it should be noted that the the Polar Express in Norfolk is not a steam train experience. If you really want a steam train experience, you will need to choose one of the other Polar Express locations in the UK.

That said, the whole experience is very similar to all of the other Polar Express train rides with singing and dancing Polar Express characters.

There will be hot chocolate and a cookie served during the train ride and a gift of a silver sleigh bell.

The whole experience lasts about 2 hours.

Norfolk Polar Express dates: 11th November to 23rd December 2023.
Norfolk Polar Express ticket prices: Standard tickets from £27.50 and premium from £41.95. You can book tickets here.
Norfolk Polar Express location: The Railway Station, Station Road, Dereham, Norfolk, NR19 1DF.
FAQs: Check here for any more FAQs on the train ride.

You might also like to read our post on Christmas events in Norfolk.

Wensleydale Railway Polar Express

Polar Express Yorkshire

The Polar Express train picks you up at Leeming Bar station and transports you on a magical journey to the ‘North Pole’.

During the journey you meet characters from the Polar Express story, starting with the conductor  from the Polar Express who welcomes you on board.

The characters will entertain you with singing and dancing and serve cookies and hot chocolate. There will also be a reading of the Polar Express story.

When you arrive in the ‘North Pole’, you meet Santa who gifts a silver sleigh bell to all kids on the nice list.

The train journey lasts about one hour, but it is recommended to allow 2 – 2.5 hours for the whole experience.

Yorkshire Polar Express dates: 10th November to 23rd December 2023. Check all dates here.
Yorkshire Polar Express Ticket prices: From £31.95 (standard) to £44.95 (premium) per person.
Yorkshire Polar Express location: Wensleydale Railway, Leeming Bar Station, Leases Road, Leeming Bar, Northallerton, DL7 9AR.
FAQs: Check here for any more FAQs on the train ride.

One of the singing chefs on the Polar Express train ride in Yorkshire.

Photo credit: Wensleydale Railway Polar Express

Seaton Tramway Polar Express

Polar Express Seaton

The Seaton Polar Express Tram Ride is is a tram, not a steam train, but the experience is similar.

The journey lasts around 2 – 2 1/2 hours during which there will be hot chocolate, cookies, Christmas carols and a light show to walk around once you reach the ‘North Pole’.

Each passenger will receive a silver sleigh bell as a gift from Father Christmas.

Nearest parking is at the Underfleet Car Park in Seaton.

Seaton Tramway Polar Express dates: 24th November – 24th December 2023.
Seaton Tramway Polar Express ticket prices: From £24.95 – £39.95 per person (under 2 free). .
Location: Seaton Tramway, Harbour Road, Seaton, Devon, EX12 2NQ.
FAQs: Check here for any more FAQs on the train ride.

Conductor clipping a golden ticket on the Seaton Tramway Polar Express train ride in the UK.

Photo Credit: Seaton Tramway Polar Express

The Polar Express Train Ride at Telford Steam Railway

The Polar Express Telford

Telford Polar Express is a lovely Christmas experience with the re-telling of the story whilst drinking hot chocolate and eating a cookie.

The Polar Express characters entertain guests in the carriage which is decorated festively.

Watch out for the Polar Express ghost! The conductor passes through and clips your golden ticket with your first initial, just like the film.

The train passes through a tunnel where you’ll experience the magic of the Northern Lights. On arrival at the ‘North Pole’ you can look out at the lights of the Elf village and you will see Santa.

Everyone receives a silver sleigh bell gift.

On the journey back, join in with the festive carols. Back at the station you can explore the Christmas Workshop and write a letter to Santa.

Kids can also pass through the Naughty or Nice Scanner. The whole experience lasts about 2 hours.

The Telford Polar Express 2023 tickets are on sale now.

Telford Polar Express dates: 24th November to 21st December 2023. See dates here.
Telford Polar Exress ticket prices: Standard Class for 2 passengers – from £61.99 to £75.99.
Location: The Old Loco Shed, Bridge Road, Horsehay, Telford, Shropshire, TF4 3UH.
FAQs: Check here for any more FAQs on the train ride.

Hot chocolate cup from the Telford Polar Express.

Photo credit: THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride at Telford Steam Railway

Embsay & Bolton Abbey Polar Express Train Ride

Polar Express Train Ride at Embsay & Bolton Abbey

Enjoy a 30 minute performance in a heated marquee before setting off on your 60 minute train ride to meet Father Christmas.

You will be served hot chocolate and cookies as you settle in and enjoy the storytelling of Chris van Allsberg’s ‘ The Polar Express’.

Santa and his Elf will appear to present every guest with a silver bell.

Embsay & Bolton Abbey Polar Express dates: 18th November to 24th December 2023. You can check exact dates here.
Embsay & Bolton Abbey Polar Express ticket prices: From £33.95 – £54.95 per person (under 2 free). You can book tickets here. TICKETS ON SALE NOW.
Embsay & Bolton Abbey Polar Express location: Bolton Abbey Station, Bolton Abbey, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 6AF.
FAQs: Check here for any more FAQs on the train ride.

They are also running a great Halloween train ride that you might want to check out.

Churnet Valley Railway Polar Express

Polar Express Train Ride at Churnet Valley Railway

After welcoming you on board, the conductor will punch tickets and then rejoin the show as you pass through the Northern Lights on the way to the North Pole.

You will be served a hot chocolate and a cookie by the singing chefs during the journey.

At the North Pole, Santa will be waiting for you with a gift of a silver sleigh bell.

The Staffordshire Polar Express Train Ride lasts about an hour with the whole experience lasting about 2 hours.

Churnet Valley Polar Express dates: 18th November to 23rd December 2023. You can check exact dates here.
Churnet Valley Polar Express ticket prices: From £22.95 – £49.95 per person (under 2 free). You can book tickets here. TICKETS ON SALE NOW.
Churnet Valley Polar Express location: Churnet Valley Railway, Kingsley and Froghall Station, Froghall, Staffordshire, ST10 2HA.
FAQs: Check here for any more FAQs on the train ride.

Churnet Valley Railway - The Polar Express Train Ride.

Photo credit: Churnet Valley Railway Polar Express

Cholsey and Wallingford Railway Polar Express

The Polar Express Train Ride at Cholsey and Wallingford – SADLY THIS RIDE WILL NOT TAKE PLACE IN 2023.

The journey on the Polar Express at Cholsey and Wallingford starts out as the movie starts and during the journey you will meet all of the main characters and enjoy hot chocolate and cookies. The slight twist to this journey comes in the form of a stray Caribou on the track!

If you’re on the nice list, there will be a silver sleigh bell for you to take home. Once back at the station you can visit Santa’s workshop and write him a letter.

The whole experience lasts about 2 hours.

The Cholsey and Wallingford Railway Polar Express 2023 tickets will be on sale soon.

Cholsey and Wallingford Polar Express dates: N/A
Cholsey and Wallingford Polar Express ticket prices: N/A
Location: Cholsey & Wallingford Railway, Wallingford Station, 5 Hithercroft Road, Wallingford, Oxfordshire, OX10 9GQ.
FAQs: Check here for any more FAQs on the train ride.

Spa Valley Railway Polar Express

Polar Express Train Ride at Spa Valley Railway

The Polar Express steam train departs from Spa Valley Railway on a magical journey to the North Pole. The whole experience is very similar to all of the other Polar Express train rides with singing and dancing Polar Express characters.

There will be hot chocolate and a cookie served during the train ride and upon meeting Father Christmas at his home in the North Pole, a gift of a silver sleigh bell will be presented and the whole family will get to talk to him.

Once back at the station you can visit Santa’s workshop and write him a letter. The whole experience lasts about 2 hours.

This is the closest Polar Express Train ride to London. If you’re visiting London, you might like to read our top recommendations for things to do in  London with kids.

Spa Valley Polar Express dates: 17th November to 23rd December 2023.
Spa Valley Polar Express ticket prices: Prices from £24.95 to £36.95.
Spa Valley Polar Express location: Wealden Railway Co. Ltd, West Station, Nevill Terrace, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN2 5QY.
FAQs: Check here for any more FAQs on the train ride.

Caledonian Railway Polar Express

Polar Express Train Ride at the Caledonian Railway

The anticipation will build as you hear  “All aboooooard!”. You will be escorted to your seat by the Chefs from the film who will then proceed to sing, dance and serve cookies.

While the Polar Express Scotland train travels to the North Pole you can listen to the story of The Polar Express.

On arrival at the North Pole, you’ll catch a sighting of Santa’s sleigh, a bag of toys and a giant Christmas tree.

You will also see the man himself, Santa, who will present each passenger with their very own “First Gift of Christmas”, a silver bell from his sleigh.

The Scottish Polar Express Train ride lasts about 30 minutes each way but allow 2 hours for the whole experience.

Caledonian Railway Polar Express dates: 19th November to 17th December 2023.
Caledonian Railway Polar Express ticket prices: Tickets start from £24.95 for standard and £36.95 for premium.
Caledonian Railway Polar Express location: Caledonian Railway Brechin Ltd, The Station, Park Road, Brechin, DD9 7AF.
FAQs: See here for Polar Express Train ride FAQs.

Conductor showing images from the Polar Express book on the Cholsey and Wallingford Polar Express.

Photo credit: PNP Events

Polar Express Birmingham

The Birmingham Polar Express

From receiving the Golden Ticket to boarding the train to watching the Polar Express characters, the whole experience is magical. Hot chocolate and cookies are served, the Polar Express story is played and there is a lot of festive energy.

On arrival at the ‘North Pole’ you will see festive lights and Santa will board the train giving out gifts.

The return journey lasts around 80 minutes.

Birmingham Polar Express dates: Weekends in December to 23rd December 2023.
Birmingham Polar Express ticket prices: From £98 for 2 seats in tourist class to £118 for 2 seats in Pullman class.
Birmingham Polar Express location: Birmingham Moor Street Station, Queensway, Birmingham, B4 7UL.

The Edinburgh Polar Express

Edinburgh Polar Express

The Polar Express Train Ride Edinburgh is one of the newest Polar Express train rides in 2023.

During the 1 hour train ride to the North Pole you will meet your favourite Polar Express characters including the singing chefs and the hobo.

There will be hot chocolate and singing and a gift of a silver bell for you to remember your special day.

Polar Express Edinburgh dates: 30th November to 22nd December 2023.
Polar Express Edinburgh ticket prices: From £59.95 to £65.95 (plus £6.95 booking fee).
Polar Express Edinburgh location: Edinburgh Waverley Station, Edinburgh, EH1 3EG.

Swanage Railway Polar Express

Swanage Polar Express

The Polar Express Train Ride in Swanage is the newest train ride in 2023.

The train ride will last approximately one hour and will include dancing and singing characters from the Polar Express movie.

Hot chocolate and cookies will be served and singing and each customer will receive a special present on the return journey.

Polar Express Swanage dates: 17th November to 30th December 2023.
Polar Express Swanage ticket prices: From £39.50 per person (plus booking fee). Tickets available via See Tickets.
Polar Express Swanage location: Swanage Railway Station, Railway Station Approach, Swanage, Dorset, BH19 1HB.

Whichever Polar Express train ride location in the UK you choose, you are sure to have a fabulous time!