They don’t call it Sunday Funday for nothing, and our latest expedition to Pinewood Miniature Railway certainly helped this day live up to its nickname.
Pinewood has been running trains for over 25 years, transporting children and parents on an exciting half mile journey around an area of woodland located at Pinewood Leisure Centre, between Wokingham and Crowthorne in Berkshire. The miniature railway opens on the third Sunday of every month, from March to October, and the infrequency of these open days makes them all the more popular when they do come around.
When it came to locating the railway, the rapidly growing queue was immediately what pointed us in the right direction. Unsurprisingly, we weren’t the only people to seize the opportunity of an opening coinciding with a warm sunny day, as eager families waited in their droves for a turn on one of the tiny trains.
As we joined the long line, it wasn’t without an element of trepidation given our toddler’s notoriously short attention span. Luckily, however, the queue moved quickly and before long we were climbing aboard with equal excitement and apprehension (on my part at least) at the impending ride-on railway experience. Our toddler was less fazed than I was about the prospect of steaming off into the woods, with only a strong grip for security, but fortunately the train’s leisurely pace put paid to this early apprehension, and even made for a somewhat pleasant tour of the woodland wonderland.
With a series of secret fairy doors hidden within the trees, the setting was almost as captivating for little ones as the train ride itself, with the challenge of locating these little entrances compounding their excitement of the whole experience. To my surprise, there wasn't much beyond the actual railway to incentivise a visit, however there is a park and a cafe within the Pinewood Leisure Centre to help families make more of a day of attending one of the public runnings, which otherwise could potentially be summed up in ten minutes (depending how many rides you have).
Although somewhat basic, the cafe does have the novelty factor or a resident parrot and fish tank, which was much to the amusement of the children of our group. It's the simple things, as they say, and this is true in the case of the Pinewood Miniature Railway experience as a whole. What might be lacking in term of the usual 'frills' you'd expect from a day out destination, are in this case more than made up for in the time honoured appeal of some lovingly-maintained locomotives which - whatever your age - cannot fail to impress.