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All Aboard for Half Term family fun!


1 February 2023

All aboard for Half Term family fun!

Come rain or shine, there's plenty to do down on the Kent & East Sussex Railway this half term with some great free activities for families to enjoy.

Kids for a Quid is back!

There's a welcome return of ‘Kids for A Quid' travel - available from Saturday 11thto Sunday 19thFebruary (excluding Monday and Friday when there are no trains running) on all services when booking online.

Nature detectives

Once on board, everyone can turn nature detective, taking advantage of a free bird-themed activity sheet to spot the many different species to be seen along the route. Children can also collect a free sticker to reward their detective status!

Representatives from Rye Nature Reserve will be joining departures on Wednesday 15thFebruary (10:20), Thursday 16th (10:20 and 13:00) and Saturday 18thFebruary (10:20), walking through the train chatting to visitors about what birds they are able to see.

As the train wends its way alongten and a half miles of the beautiful Rother Valley - adesignated AONBthat is considered one of the finest examples of a medieval landscape in Northwest Europe- passengers are never far from local waterways. Swelled by the recent prolonged heavy rain, this is a great time to spot and learn more about the diversity of the birds and other wildlife to be found there.

Local author storytime

Author Jeannie Duncanson with her books

On Saturday 18thFebruary there's a chance to join the train for Storytime with local children's author Jeannie Duncanson in the beautifully refurbished 123-year-old Victorian Family Saloon open carriage.

Jeannie will be on board the 11:15 and 14:05 trains from Tenterden and their return services from Bodiam to read from her countryside story book seriesThe Educated Pheasant,about three unlikely friends - Pheasant, Rabbit and Mouse - each with a different attitude to life, embarking on adventures together.

The tales, which are suitable for children from six years upwards, give a modern twist to classic storytelling and bring countryside characters to life, teaching them to cope with a challenging world. 

Ms Duncanson, who grew up on a Kent farm, wrote and illustrated the series during lockdown.The Educated Pheasantand an accompanying Activity Book will be available to purchase in the station gift shop.

As the Family Saloon seats a maximum of 20 people, spaces for these storytelling events are limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. In order to maximise the total number of children who can enjoy the sessions, just one adult will be able to accompany their child/children and each party should only travel in the Family Saloon on either the outward or return journey.

A Victorian experience

Restored Family Saloon interior

Built in 1900 by the South Eastern & Chatham Railway at the Ashford works, the Family Saloon was originally designed for use by wealthy Victorian families intending to travel together to destinations outside the reach of their home railway. In fact, it is the kind of carriage that might have hosted the fictional Grantham family from Downton Abbey on their trips around the country.

The Family Saloon arrived at the K&ESR in 1985 and was a popular attraction on the line for many years. Restoration began in 1992 but was only recently completed by dedicated volunteers. Joining the Half Term services will be its first public appearance in over a decade.

For more information and to book and save on tickets, visit the K&ESR website:




For press enquiriesplease contact:-

Alison Miles, Press Officer, Kent & East Sussex Railway  /  07900 691116

Tenterden Town Station, Station Road, Tenterden, Kent TN30 6HE


About Author Jeannie Duncanson:

Jeannie has been an artist for many years and has turned her talent into writing and illustrating children's books. She has a quirky sense of humour and a creative mind. Each illustration is hand-painted, using mainly watercolours. She believes that the classic hand-drawn look lends a special quality to her illustrations.

For more information on Jeannie Duncanson's books go to: