Bluebell Railway

Sheffield Park Station East Sussex TN22 3QL

The Bluebell Railway was the very first heritage steam railway to open in Britain, in 1960, and got in on the act before the others. As a result it’s equipped with some wonderfully antiquated rolling stock, including some utterly gorgeous 1890s compartments and a 1913 observation car. The stations are evocatively done up in period detail too – Kingscote takes you back to the 1950s, Horsted Keynes is twenty years before that and Sheffield Park, the line’s southern terminus, recreates a country station in the 1890s with its old advertising signs and platform lamps. In March 2013 the line was finally rejoined to the national network at East Grinstead, making this a feasible car-free daytrip from London. The ride itself is beautifully rural as the loco steams its trundling way through the Sussex countryside. There’s plenty to see at the stations, particularly at Horsted Keynes, where you can watch carriages being restored, and Sheffield Park Station is within strolling distance of the National Trust's Sheffield Park garden, at its most dazzlingly showy during late spring and also during the autumn, when it brings colours to rival New England.

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