Tucked away in Loughborough is the headquarters of the only mainline steam railway in the country. There’s a café at every station and on most trains, whilst in the evenings there are wonderful historic dining carriages. A small museum at the Loughborough station boasts an impressive collection of railway signs and memorabilia.
We chose to enjoy a short jaunt from Loughborough to Quorn, where we stopped for a lazy afternoon in the surprisingly-sunny-for-October beer garden of The Manor House. While enjoying a couple of top notch door-stopper sandwiches, we sampled their wide range of lager on tap.
Every station has a brilliant nostalgic aura: old luggage cases and brown paper parcels are piled up on the platforms. The Station Masters, Conductors and Ticket Officers are dressed historically, with waistcoats and pocket watches. We particularly enjoyed the wartime posters in Quorn & Woodhouse Station; the walls are plastered with warnings not to take unnecessary train journeys and hold up munitions supplies. It was an aspect of wartime history that I had never considered.
All day runabout tickets are £16 and the cheapest return is £5; ticket prices for special events vary. The timetable is seasonal, so check the website before you go.