With some of the best landscapes in the UK along its glorious coastline and in the Broads, exploring Norfolk on a heritage steam train is a great way to see the county.
With eight Norfolk steam railways to pick from, there’s plenty of choice for your next outing. Jump aboard and enjoy the natural surroundings and unique experience of travelling by steam train in Norfolk.
I’ve got all the information you need about Norfolk heritage railways routes and special events so you can book your next steam train journey in Norfolk and get the most from your special ride!
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Steam Railways in Norfolk
North Norfolk Railway
The North Norfolk Steam Railway has fought through closure, eviction and redevelopment to become a much-loved and voluntarily run major attraction in Norfolk, based in the Victorian seaside town of Sheringham.
You can drive and park at North Norfolk Railway Sheringham station, or jump on the regular Bittern Line from Norwich and change onto the NNR at Sheringham – the stations are just a few minutes’ walk apart.
Jump onboard the North Norfolk Poppy Line for a steam-driven trip between the vintage Sheringham station and the Georgian market town of Holt, stopping at Weybourne station (for a lovely walk to Sheringham Park) and Kelling Heath station along the way, and enjoy amazing views of the countryside as you go.
The Sheringham steam train offers an eleven mile round trip, with vintage diesel trains on some journeys, through the North Norfolk Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. To the south are rolling woodlands and to the north, infinite sea. This is definitely North Norfolk coast highlight!
The picture-perfect Holt station, whilst not on the original site, is a faithful re-creation of a Midland and Great Northern country station in the early 20th century and uses station buildings recovered from various locations around East Anglia.
Also at the station is a model railway which depicts Broad Sidlinch, a fictional town featured in Thomas Hardy’s short story The Grave, and the William Marriot Museum housed in a recreated goods shed. The museum tells the history of M&GN, and beautifully restored goods vehicles can be viewed in the loading bay just outside the museum.
Steam buffs will love the railway experiences on offer, which include a steam driver experience, and a signalling experience day. There are also dining trains, including fish and chip trains, cream tea trains and even Norfolk gin trains!
North Norfolk Railway also have a full calendar of themed events, so whether you love the Norfolk lights express at Christmas, the forties, the sixties, or vintage transport in general, you’ll find an event to attend and enjoy.
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This award-winning Norfolk heritage railway has been operating since 1997 by the Mid-Norfolk Railway Preservation Trust. Since opening, the MNR has restored Dereham station to its former glory, and installed run-round loops at Dereham, Wymondham and the tudoresque Thuxton, which has a fully operational signal box fitted with a 26 lever McKenzie and Holland frame, recovered from Seven Sisters signal box in London.
The railway operates both steam and diesel locomotives over 17.5 miles of track and passes through eight stations, five of them belonging to MNR. From the historic Dereham station, the stations south to Wymondham Abbey are Yaxham, Thuxton, Hardingham and Kimberley Park, which are being tastefully restored to retain many original features.
During the Norfolk holiday season and certain other times of the year the steam locomotive runs, and throughout the year, the Mid Norfolk Railway runs events like the popular Polar Express at Christmas, afternoon high tea trains and my favourite, fish and chip trains!
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Bure Valley Railway
Experience one of Norfolk’s best days out on the Bure Valley Railway, Norfolk’s longest narrow gauge railway, which runs between the bustling village of Wroxham and the historic market town of Aylsham, through the heart of the lush and tranquil Norfolk Broads.
The eighteen mile round trip on the Wroxham steam train takes in the gorgeous Bure Valley countryside following the meandering River Bure through meadowland and ancient pastures, dotted with sheep and cows. Along the line are wayside halts serving the picturesque Broadland villages of Brampton, Buxton and Coltishall.
Running alongside the entire length of the Bure Valley Railway and linking with the Marriott’s Way Heritage Trail at Aylsham, is the picturesque Bure Valley Path, a nine mile footpath and cycle path, run by the Broads Authority. It’s a great family day out to pack a picnic, walk or cycle the trail and then hop on the train back again!
After your trip, pop into Wroxham Miniature Worlds, where you can see some of the largest model railways in the world on public display!
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Wells & Walsingham Light Railway
Hop on to the smallest public railway in the world! The Wells & Walsingham Light Railway 10 1/4 inch narrow gauge steam railway travels between Wells-next-the-Sea and the historic Saxon village of Walsingham, home to the famous pilgrimage site of Our Lady of Walsingham.
You can start your 30 minute journey at Wells or Walsingham, or take a return trip. There is no need to book in advance as the railway operates on a first come first served basis – you may have to queue on busy days. If they are not too busy, dogs can enjoy the ride too.
Trains depart four times a day between the 2nd April and 30th October. Choose an enclosed covered carriage, or an open carriage when the sun is shining.
You can buy snacks from the Signal Box Café, housed in an actual redundant signal box! They also have a play area to keep kids entertained whilst waiting for the train, and ample parking at the Wells station on Stiffkey Road.
Don’t confuse the Wells and Walsingham Light Railway with the narrow gauge Wells Harbour Railway which ran alongside the mile-long sea wall north of the harbour. Sadly, it was permanently closed in 2021.
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Bressingham Steam & Gardens
What better way to explore the beautiful gardens, woodlands and countryside of Bressingham than by climbing aboard a magnificent steam engine! With over four miles of narrow gauge steam lines and three journeys to choose from, it’s the perfect way to relax and enjoy the scenery!
The 1.5 mile long 2ft gauge track of the Fen Railway (formerly the Nursery line) leaves from the museum building and passes the locomotive sheds and the lake before crossing over the Waveney Valley Railway, where passengers get their first sight of the 15 inch (0.38m) gauge engines waiting to begin their journey from Lakeside station.
Designed and built by Bressingham’s own engineering team, the Garden Railway operates from the Dell Garden and the coach park. Its track, which runs alongside the perimeter of the gardens, has been lengthened to 1,234m and now has a gauge of 10 ¼ inches (0.26m).
Trains on the Waveney Valley 15″ gauge railway leave the Lakeside station travelling east, stopping to allow trains on the Fen Railway to pass before turning south over the Bressingham Drain and running out over low-lying water meadows and through banks of mature rhododendrons.
Bressingham is also home to the 16mm Suffolk & Borders Light Railway which is on display at the Bressingham Steam Museum. If you love steam, this really is the place to come!
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Whitwell & Reepham Railway Station
Norfolk’s newest 21st century heritage railway is nestled in the mid-Norfolk countryside, alongside The Marriott’s Way Trail and just one mile from the pretty Georgian town of Reepham. Whitwell and Reepham Railway Station has been lovingly restored to its former glory nearly 50 years after it was closed to passengers.
The railway station is now a wonderful place to visit, where you can explore the museum and station before hiring a bike and taking a ride along The Marriott’s Way, before enjoying a cuppa and slice of cake in the café.
At the weekends, no visit would be complete without a ride up and down the track on one of their treasured trains or attend one of their popular steam rallies which take place regularly throughout the year.
They even have a campsite right next to the station, so steam buffs can really immerse themselves!
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Eaton Park Miniature Railway
Eaton Park in Norwich is home to a miniature railway which comprises the original elevated heritage 5″ gauge track and the main line, a longer ground-level dual gauge track, both of which run through the beautiful meadows of the park.
It was built, and is developed, run and cared for by the Norwich and District Society of Model Engineers, and is one of the park’s most popular attractions. Public trains run every Sunday and Bank Holiday Mondays from the first Sunday in April until the last Sunday in September.
Pop-up trains run as and when there are enough volunteers to operate safely, and subject to the weather! Follow the Facebook pages of Friends of Eaton Park or Eaton Park Miniature Railway where pop-up days will be announced.
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Barton House Railway
Located in a beautiful and spacious garden on the banks of the River Bure in Wroxham, Barton House Railway is a miniature ride-on railway with a traditional railway atmosphere where the whole family can enjoy the nostalgia of the golden age of steam with two (soon to be three) ride-on railways, a working full-size signalling system and authentic tickets.
The Midland railway is 3.5″ gauge, the Riverside railway is 7.25″ and a third line is being constructed, the Museum line, also at 7.25″ gauge.
During your visit, you can also explore the extensive museum of railway artefacts with a Midland and Great Northern theme, enjoy delicious homemade cakes by the pretty river and watch the signalman at work in their full-size original signal box which acts as the control centre of the railway.
Part of the Wroxham Railway Heritage Trust, Barton House Railway is operated by volunteers and does not run every day – check opening times, running days and upcoming events here.
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Other Steam Attractions in Norfolk
The Thursford Collection in North Norfolk holds the world’s largest collection of steam engines and organs, fairground rides and the Wurlitzer, a kind of electric piano. Watching it being played is an event in itself and their Christmas show is legendary!
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Forncett Steam Museum
Just a few miles south of Norwich is the award-winning Forncett Industrial Steam Museum, which gives a fascinating insight into Norfolk’s industrial heritage.
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Strumpshaw Hall Steam Museum
Close to RSPB Stumpshaw Fen, the wonderful Strumpshaw Hall Steam Museum has steam engines, 100-ton working beam engines, a narrow gauge railway, a 1930s fairground and mechanical organs to admire.
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Charles Burrell Museum
The fantastic Charles Burrell Museum, housed in a listed Grade II former paint shop in Thetford, is a veritable treasure trove of steam traction engines, agricultural machinery, steam lorries and steam tram engines.
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Wondering where to stay in Norfolk?
Map of Steam Trains in Norfolk
How to use this map – Use your fingers (or computer mouse) to zoom in and out. Click or touch the icons to get more info about a place, and click the arrow in the box top left to open the index. To add to your own Google Maps account, click the star next to the title of the map.
Have I missed your favourite steam attraction in Norfolk off my list? Leave a comment below so I can check it out!