“Mummy, it’s like the Polar Express!”

PUBLISHED: 19:21 30 November 2017

The North Norfolk Railway. Picture: Sarah Louise Orme, iwitness24

The North Norfolk Railway. Picture: Sarah Louise Orme, iwitness24

© Sarah Louise Orme

Sally White and family enjoy a wonderful wintry journey from Holt to Sheringham on the North Norfolk Railway

Have you noticed how children can sniff out high expectations? Every time I head out with high hopes the kids sense it and throw a foulie or drop their ice creams or get a nose bleed or start trying to kill each other or some such else. I’ve learnt to keep my expectations in check. Trying to play it cool about a day trip on the North Norfolk Railway was tricky though and happily the day didn’t disappoint.

The NNR runs between Holt and Sheringham with various stops in between. We took the train from Holt and, be warned, the station is further away than you think so brace yourself for a good navigational bicker with your beloved about that.

But we found it eventually and it was like walking into a storybook. There was wintry sun in the yellow trees, the children were kicking leaves rather than each other and the train was waiting, patient and stately, in the handsome station. I actually felt like one of those Instagram mums: ‘Quick Husband! Take a picture!’

Holt station is utterly picturesque and makes you feel like you should be in a belted coat with gloves and a felt hat waving goodbye to a sweetheart. I suggested a slo-mo snog out of the carriage window but Husband pretended he didn’t hear me.

Instead we did battle with two giddy children and bundled them on to the train and, after a scuffle over the window seat, we were off.

The countryside between Holt and Sheringham is absolutely stunning. Windmills, churches, fields and cliff tops chugged past. The boys solemnly passed over their tickets to cheerful conductor who clipped them with a smile (“Mummy, it’s like the Polar Express!”).

Having left Holt in a blaze of autumnal sunshine it was a bit of a blow to arrive in the icy winds of Sheringham. I’ve written in this column before about my love of Sheringham but it was tested on this day. The kids loved it though. The hardy pair demanded strawberry ice creams and sat gazing at the grey crashing sea, solemnly licking away with their bobble hats pulled over their ears (BTW: isn’t seeing your kids in hats and wellies the best bit about this time of year?)

Back at the station for our return journey we all managed a quick marvel at Sheringham Station. The plummeting temperature had distracted us on arrival but now we took in the almost stage-set charm of the place. And the boys managed a fumbled hello to the station staff. My children greet train drivers and ticket inspectors with the same reverence some kids reserve for meeting Mickey Mouse at Disneyland.

Once we were back at Holt we drove in to town and had a mooch about there. It really is picturesque, especially with all the Christmas lights twinkling and the UFLs (‘up from Londoners’) swanning about looking glamorous. We couldn’t stay too long because the children were bordering on exhaustion but we will be back - no doubt about it.

Information, tickets and prices can be found at Come over to my blog to read more parenting truths and spoofs at

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