Watercress Line, Alresford, Hampshire
The Watercress Line in Hampshire is a very fine way to experience the golden age of steam travel. It’s ideal for a family day out or for celebrating a special occasion.
Dine out on the Watercress Line in style
Stepping on to the platform at Alresford station, it’s easy to sense the air of excitement amongst travellers and families spending a day out on the Watercress Line. It is one of Britain’s most popular steam railways and also one of the most glamorous. There’s much on offer in the way of dining experiences and themed events to suit all tastes. The surrounding countryside is just lovely too. Don’t go home without buying a bunch of watercress from the station buffet before you go home. Whizz it up into a watercress sauce and serve with salmon from Alresford’s excellent fishmonger.
- Special Rail Ale services
- Saturday dinner aboard the Watercress Belle
- Sunday lunch on the Countryman
- Festive Christmas dining events
- Murder mystery events
- Volunteer Opportunities
The Story of the Watercress Line
The Watercress Line once transported watercress grown in Hampshire’s meadows up to the markets of London. The line, which was saved after closure in the 1970s, chugs along for ten miles between the pretty Georgian towns of Alresford and Alton. Its shiny carriages and polished steam engines are maintained by a dedicated team of over 450 enthusiastic volunteers and staff who run a varied programme of themed events.
Station Clock Alresford Station
Vintage suitcases on Alresford Station
Step Back into the 1950’s on the Watercress Belle
Relive the magic and splendour of steam-hauled fine dining on board one of the Watercress Line’s First Class dining trains. The Watercress Belle will take you back to ocean liner glamour. Dress up for the occasion and indulge in a celebratory meal with your friends and family. Sunday lunch, served onboard The Countryman, is also very popular and relaxing. Poirot and Miss Marple fans will relish the chance to take part in the Murder Mystery service where you can interrogate the suspects whilst enjoying your meal onboard.
London Lights Cigarette Advert
Vintage Cadburys Chocolate Sign
Hop Aboard The Real Ale Train
Affectionately known as RAT, the Watercress Line’s Real Ale Train operates on selected Fridays and Saturdays. It’s a merry affair as real ale is served from a restored bar carriage pulled by a steam locomotive. Beer explorers can taste beers from 2 local Hampshire breweries and the surrounding counties too.
Waiting Room With Coal Fire, Alresford Station
Watercress Line Steam Engine
Hop on and Off
Families out for the day will find it easy to hop on and off along the route. At Ropley, Harry Potter fans can walk across the wrought-iron bridge once stationed in London’s King’s Cross. At Medstead & Four Marks, you can take a two-hour walk to Alton via the village of Chawton to visit the home of Jane Austen.
- Go for a walk round Alresford’s watercress meadows and have a pint at The Globe pub
- Visit in May for the Alresford Watercress festival
- Pop in to Caracoli, a buzzy café and deli on Broad Street
- Shop for gorgeous gifts and culinary lavender products at Long Barn Lavender Farm
- Travel by mainline train from London and join the Watercress Line at Alton station
- Become a Watercress Line volunteer
Where to Stay
Hotel du Vin Winchester – Housed in a beautiful Georgian building, this was the very first Hotel du Vin. Relax with a glass of wine in the 18th century walled garden, eat in the bistro and get expert guidance from the Sommelier.
Hannah’s B&B in Winchester – Lovely and luxurious B&B in this beautiful home located in central Winchester.
Lainston House – a luxurious country house hotel experience. Lainston House is ideal for food-lovers with its own very smart Season cookery school.
They tell me that dogs travel for free.
How to Find The Watercress Line
Watercress Line, Alresford Station, Alresford, Hampshire, SO24 9JG
The Foodie Travel Guide
Sally is the founder and editor of The Foodie Travel Guide. She travels around the UK and beyond in search of the best foodie days out, tasting experiences and delicious places to stay. She loves a glass of English sparkling wine, afternoon tea with friends and escaping London for gastronomic adventures.