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“Wonderful steam-train driving experience”
Review of The Lavender Line

The Lavender Line
Ranked #1 of 2 things to do in Isfield
Certificate of Excellence
New Malden, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Wonderful steam-train driving experience”
Reviewed 6 July 2014

My daughters and I had bought a one-day steam-train driving course for my husband and he chose to wait until the end of May. We were very lucky to have a fine, sunny day, so that my daughters and I could sit watching the proceedings and having a 'catch-up'.
Meanwhile, my husband was having the time of his life! He and his fellow students were given full instructions on how to drive the small, but manageable, engine for ever increasing lengths of time until, after lunch, they each drove the full length of the line.
Can't praise the set-up enough - the instructors, all experienced railway men, were competent and cheerful and made sure that the students enjoyed the learning process.
If you, or a loved one love steam trains and fancy a go, book this course and you can't go wrong.

Visited May 2014
Helpful?
2 Thank Ann F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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60 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Brighton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
412 reviews
129 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 216 helpful votes
“I love steam trains!”
Reviewed 29 June 2014

How lovely that this small line is still running with lovingly restored engine and carriages, serving Cream Tea's.

Visited June 2014
Helpful?
4 Thank Jacqui C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Exeter, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“This isn't the Bluebell!”
Reviewed 11 May 2014

This is a railway day out with a difference. If you go expecting a long train pulled by a large steam engine from A to B, you will be disappointed! The engines are small, the trains are short, the line is not very long; but this railway has a big heart. The volunteers were wonderfully helpful and couldn't do enough to share their railway; there is a personal touch to a visit here that other heritage lines can't offer due to their size. However, you have to approach a visit here with a different attitude, and make sure you get chatting to the staff and grab the different kinds of opportunities that arise. My daughter was allowed to sit in the cab of the train as it travelled back to Isfield from the halt at the end of their stretch of track; other people bagged steam loco cab rides. We also had a brake van ride at no extra cost (This is an experience in itself) As a bonus, there is a miniature railway, a model railway and a decent, well presented café. Don't rock up expecting the Bluebell railway or you will be disappointed. Have a chat with the volunteers, and and take advantage of the things you can get here that you can't at the Bluebell. It's worth the effort.

Visited March 2014
Helpful?
7 Thank HolidayTrip88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reading, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
117 reviews
59 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
“FANTASTIC DAY - SUCH FUN!”
Reviewed 11 May 2014

Our daughters gave my husband a gift voucher for his 60th birthday for a day's workshop learning how to drive a steam train with The Lavender Line. My husband was a bit apprehensive on the day and was relieved to find out that other attendees felt the same. Their concerns were unfounded and soon "laid to rest" by the very friendly and encouraging team. Right from when we arrived the atmosphere was brilliant (despite the dreadful weather - which did clear later that morning). There were 9 on this course (10 is max) and they were taken out for a briefing whilst family members enjoyed a cup of tea/coffee in The Cinders Café (and a lovely family invited me to join them which was very kind and enhanced my day). The men returned later for a bacon butty before going off to put into practice what they had leant!!

I had expected to spend the day in the car and had brought plenty to read and do. However, I didn't have a chance as we were welcomed and encouraged to be part of the day too. Most attendees had family and grandchildren with them. We hadn't realised so it was just me there with Mick. Our grandchildren would have loved to be driven in a steam-train by their grampy!! (There was a carriage attached to the engine.) There were 2 "novices" on the footplate at a time with a fireman and driver. Each member had lots of drives - it really was great fun. Lunch was provided for those on the course and visitors could order lunch too. The food was excellent quality and the prices very reasonable. There were also home-made cakes, ice-creams and snacks. The coffee was filter, not instant, and of a very good quality (which pleased me immensely) and course members had as much tea/coffee as they wanted for just £1. This is a fab place for families - it felt very genuine with the love of steam trains at the heart of its ethos - not making money! The other thing that's good is that on the training days, the Lavender Line is not open to the public, which means everyone there is part of the day.

Many people give up their time due to the love of steam trains making this place incredibly special. There was a lovely gift shop and I was able to buy some things to remind Mick of a very successful day. Our daughters were thrilled it had been a resounding success! (Our daughter had done a lot of research into various companies and felt this one was the most genuine and helpful - which turned out to be true!)

I hope my husband will be able to do it again sometime - with the grandchildren in tow! We would certainly give this a resounding "thumbs up" to anyone interested in steam trains.

Visited May 2014
Helpful?
5 Thank Piglet56
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bexhill-on-sea
Level Contributor
24 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Mum's day out”
Reviewed 27 April 2014

My wife and I took my mum here for a day out.
the line is very small compared to nearby Blue bell Railway. it consists of either diesel train or steam train.
All the Railway is served by volunteer's and i must say "what you don't get in size,you certainly get in friendlyness and on hands approach".
They even have day's where you can pay for training to drive a steam train.
This is a lovely little railway and i would highly recomend a visit.

Visited April 2014
Helpful?
3 Thank michael w
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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