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.
- Special Rail Ale services
- Saturday dinner aboard the Watercress Belle
- Sunday lunch on the Countryman
- Festive Christmas dining events
- Murder mystery events
- Volunteer Opportunities
From Red Letter Days
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.
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.
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.
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
SHOP THIS STORY
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.