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REVIEW: Steam & Scream Special Halloween event on the GWSR

REVIEW: Steam & Scream Special Halloween event on the GWSR

It was a cold wet rainy day, the first day of the Halloween Hols, and England had just won the semi-finals. With son (9) and daughter (7) needing to get out of the house but with torrential rain threatening yet another two hours glued to the TV, we realised there was only one thing for it; Steam and Scream on the GWSR.

Battling through the traffic and downpour we sought out the free parking at Cheltenham Racecourse and made it in time for the 12:05. Timetable in hand, we bundled aboard, shook ourselves dry, a pile of our wet coats and umbrellas piled onto the overhead storage.

As the whistle blew, the train pulled out of the station, the kids little hands wiping away the misted windows we felt our heated seats kick into action. From the warmth of our very own compartment we watched rain droplets meandering down the pain and the mist and steam. We sped through the misty rain, turning on our cosy lights, totally cocooned in our little compartment of steam heated warmth.

Tunnels, viaducts, and picturesque stations spilling with flower pots potted our 14-mile journey to Broadway. We chased pheasants along the tracks as we clacked through Gotherigton, Winchcombe, Hayles Abbey Halt and Toddington. Wrapped up warm, we alighted at Broadway, scurrying for a hot drink in the delightful little tea room and watching the coupling of our steam train preparing to return to Cheltenham.

We hopped off at Winchcombe, and were immediately met on the platform by The Wicked Witch of the Wet... handing out prizes for (quite frankly) any effort made towards Halloween attire, and completed quizzes and ghost trails around the platforms. The volunteers were cheerful and helpful and totally committed to rewarding the children for throwing themselves into the various outdoor activities despite the weather.
We spent a happy hour at Winchcombe. Yes, partly in the the tea room (they stocked pink G&Ts), partly at the griddle (the smell of sizzling burgers drawing us in), and partly in the Discovery Carriage and the Model Railway.

But mostly, we were in the dry “Witches Cavern”, where patient volunteers donned in costume did a sterling effort in occupying children with myriad of Halloween craft. Mine both emerged from the Cavern with decorated pumpkin masks and peg bats, and crafted ghost and spider lollies... not to mention Halloween themed transfers up their arms and enough sweets and crosswords to occupy us the entire journey home.

Buoyed from our journey and activities, snug in our Harry Potter carriage munching chocolate eyeballs, lulled by the railway rocking, with daughter (7) dozing on my lap, we felt we were in the only place to be on this wet and cold afternoon, kicking-off the Halloween season in style.

You can also get on board the Steam and Scream Special at GWSR on Sunday 27 October.

Explore Gloucestershire
Saturday 26 October


For further information.


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