One of the many great things about Southampton is its location. Next to the coast, near the countryside, and close to some the best attractions in Hampshire! The Mid Hants Railway Watercress Line is the perfect example.

Recently Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends where there for ‘A Day out With Thomas’. If you missed him you’ll be able to catch him there next from the 3rd-11th August, just half an hour up the road from Southampton.

Local mum Anna took her children to the last Thomas event, here’s what she thought:

Excitement brewing as we had told the kids we were going on a surprise adventure. For the whole journey they were trying to guess where we were going, until that is, my just turned 3 year old saw the Thomas poster as we turned up the lane in Ropley (there’s no flies on that boy!).

With happy faces, him and his 6 year old sister skipped to the entrance (much like the other children heading in the same direction), trying to push their way through, excited to see Thomas. After being given an activity passport and donning a Thomas and friends tattoo, there was lots to keep them entertained, before travelling on the star of the show.

The show marquee was packed with Rusty and Dusty keeping everyone entertained and the fairground rides were a definite hit. We said ‘hi’ to the Fat Controller before we went to see and ride on Thomas himself – it was magical to see all the little faces light up when they came face to face with the train that we have all grown up with. Although appearing in books a lot earlier, Thomas the Tank Engine first hit our screens in 1979, so everyone has a connection with the little blue train.

We ate a picnic at Ropley (although my husband made it obvious that he would rather have had

a burger or pizza from the mobile vans!), before jumping on a big vintage steam train and heading to Alresford (travelling in a 1st class carriage of course!) to say hi to Diesel and Toad and have more of an explore and an ice-cream.

Back at Ropley we rode the miniature railway, took part in the Thomas themed activities and the kids ran back to the vintage fair ground rides, again…and again…before it was time to head home.

We didn’t have time to visit Medstead and Four Marks – Maybe next time!

With beautiful weather – the sky the same colour as Thomas as the lady on the entrance quite rightly said, lots to keep us entertained (included in the price) and watching the steam disappear in the sky from all the train activity, it was a perfect family day out!

A Day Out with Thomas is back at the Watercress Line 3rd – 11th August 2019. Find out more