Cost – £30.00 (April 2018) Includes All Day Travel ticket on the railway.
Parking and Access – There is a car park next to the station at Wansford. It should be noted that this is a heritage site and there are steps to be negotiated, not least into the trains. Toilets were available downstairs in the main station building.
Background – We had seen last year that the Nene Valley Railway offered an Afternoon Tea service on a few special trains each year (there are seven dates in 2018). We didn’t manage to book in time and so missed out in 2017. This year we were prepared and decided to try to book for the April date. We booked at the start of March and even then we were unable to book one of the compartments to have our Tea in so we had to go in the main carriage.
The price of the Afternoon Tea booking includes travel on any of the trains running during the day. So we arrived early at Wansford station (the main station for the railway) and joined an earlier train into Peterborough. When we arrived we got off and walked into the centre of Peterborough to see the Cathedral and have a look around.
We then rejoined a later train back to Wansford where we joined the Afternoon Tea train.
We were seated in a carriage dating from the 1950’s in pairs of seats with a table between. The carriage reminded me of the trains I travelled in when I was young! The train was pulled by a ‘Battle of Britain’ class Pacific steam engine number 34081, named 92 Squadron.
We had a lovely day.
Contents – Four triangular sandwiches each (smoked salmon, cucumber, ham and cheese). One large fruit scone, a mini Tiptree jar of strawberry jam and a Rodda’s pot of clotted cream. Two slices of Victoria sponge and two squares of chocolate brownie between four of us!
Options Available – For an extra £5 each you can have your Tea served in a private compartment.
Comments – We were shown to our reserved table in a coach reserved just for Afternoon Teas. The table was ready laid with a plastic cloth and chunky round white china. The sandwiches, cakes, jam and cream were already waiting on two metal stands
with chunky round white plates.
However, our stands only contained a total of fourteen sandwiches between the four of us. We checked others around and they all had sixteen sandwiches for four people. Luckily, we asked the lady who was bringing round a teapot and she got us a couple more sandwiches. In fact, the message got a bit confused and we ended up with eighteen! We didn’t admit to this!!
The tea and coffee were brought around in large stainless steel teapots to all of the tables by a couple of ladies. Milk was available in a small jug on the table. We were able to get three teacups of tea during the journey. Then the hot water ran out!
The sandwiches were beginning to dry a little, having been waiting for us on the tables. However, they were reasonably well filled (except for one cucumber sandwich which was sadly lacking in cucumber!) The sandwiches were on a mix of brown and white bread.
The scones were delivered after the train started its journey. They had been warmed and tasted fresh.
There was enough jam in the mini jars, even when I managed to slice my scone into three layers! There was also just enough clotted cream for us.
The cake section of the tea was sadly lacking. It would have been much better to have each had a slice of cake and a piece of brownie. However, we managed to cut everything in half so that we all had a piece of each (although it was rather difficult to halve the slices of cake). The cake was very good. Nice and fresh and light with a tasty middle layer. The chocolate brownie was really delicious!!
Service was more than adequate given we were on a moving train staffed by volunteers. The staff were helpful and friendly.