Thursday, 31 March 2016

A day out on the East Lancs Railway

Ever since I had Monkey, Thursday has been my favourite day. It usually consists of Aquababies in the morning, dinner in the library, then Pramtime in the afternoon and usually a trip to the park on the way home if the weather isn't too awful.

Aquababies and Pramtime aren't on for a few weeks though as it's the school holidays. As Daddy Monkey is off this week too we decided to have a family day out.

Last time we went on a train Monkey seemed to really enjoy it so we thought she might like a ride on a steam train. So this morning we caught the tram to Bury to begin our journey.

The East Lancs Railway runs a steam service from Heywood to Bury. The main station and gift shop are at Bury - Bolton Street and there is also a transport museum opposite the station although we didn't visit this.

The staff were very friendly and were chatting away to Monkey as we got our tickets. The train is free for children under 5 but they still get their own ticket. This was great for Monkey who insists "Me big!" and sees no reason why she shouldn't have the same as everyone else!

East Lancs Railway tickets - including one for Monkey!
I would never think of myself as a train person but there is something quite magical about a steam train. I have to admit to being quite excited as it pulled into the station. All the noise certainly got Monkey's attention.

Our train arriving at Bury - Bolton Street

The ride out to Rawtenstall took about half an hour. Monkey spent most of the journey looking out of the window and telling us what she could see. She loved the sound of the whistle and watching all the steam go past and her face every time we went under a tunnel was brilliant.

On the East Lancs Railway with Daddy

We arrived in Rawtenstall at dinner time and had a picnic on the station while watching the train set off back to Bury. Then came the question - what do you actually do in Rawtenstall for 2.5 hours until it's time to get the train back? We were there because that's where the train went rather than any real wish to be in Rawtenstall.

I remembered a park I had visited there about twenty years ago and a quick google said it wasn't too far away so we headed there. They had a fab children's play area which was big enough for Monkey to feel big and grown up but not big enough for me to panic. She's always been quite wary of slides up until the last couple of weeks when she's decided she loves them. There were two here and she went on them both loads.

At the top of the slide at Whitaker Park

The most unexpected part of the day was meeting two owls - Tigger and Digger. There wasn't any kind of event going on there was just a woman walking through the park with one. She stopped to let us see him and told us she'd be back later with another one. We saw her again on her way out of the park with a smaller burrowing owl. We chatted more this time and she explained she had four owls that were part of a larger group that did school visits etc. Monkey has been very into owls lately and loved looking at them although she wasn't too sure about stroking them! Neither was I, although Daddy Monkey was much braver and gave Digger a tickle.

Monkey, Daddy and Digger the owl
We didn't take the pram or a carrier out with us today and I was so proud of how well Monkey managed. She's not two yet and only has little legs but she did so much walking. She really has no idea she's so tiny and still my baby. In her head she's big and grown up!

My big grown up girl
It's been a really lovely day and I would definitely recommend it. We tired Monkey out though. She just about managed the steam train back to Bury but fell asleep on the tram home.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall


  1. Sounds like you had a great day out

    1. We did - it was so much fun :-) They had a pirate event on the trains too so we thought of you (well Lottie!) xx

  2. Lovely photos. Sounds like you all had a fab day.

    Thank you so much for joining in with #MMBC.

    Have a great week :) x

    1. I enjoyed it so much more than I thought I would.
      Thanks for hosting and have a great week

  3. It sounds like a perfect day. I love the excitement of a stream train, we have a few around us too and they are wonderful to visit. It sounds like the park was the perfect time to spend your time in Rawtenstall and the owls an added bonus. It's not everyday you bump into an owl walker! Well done to Monkey on all her walking, what a little grownup she is already. Thank you for haring a lovely family day out on #CountryKids

    1. She's too grown up for my liking! What happened to my baby? It was a really lovely day though and like you said the owl waker was a rare treat!