So, you’ve got a train-mad little boy, a nice sunny day in South Wales, and nothing planned of a Saturday morning. What do you do? You visit the Brecon Mountain Railway of course. Here is everything you need to know about visiting the Brecon Mountain Railway with kids!
The Brecon Mountain Railway is situated just a few minutes from Merthyr Tydfil and is a railway with a steam engine to thrill the hearts of any train fan. It was also located just 15 minutes from our South Wales home and was somewhere we had been meaning to visit for a long time. We finally managed it with our then two-year-old.
Visiting the Brecon Mountain Railway with kids
Running from Pant to Torpantau, the Brecon Mountain railway follows part of the original route of the Brecon and Merthyr Railway which closed in 1964. It takes you into the Brecon Beacons, through Pontsticill, and along the full length of the Taf Fechan Reservoir before climbing up to Torpantau high in the Brecon Beacons.
The starting point of the railway is just 2 miles from the town of Merthyr Tydfil and can be a great day out in Wales with kids. Established in 1970 by a train enthusiast, the Brecon Mountain Railway has been delighting train fans, young and old, since it was opened in 1980.
Our visit to the Brecon Mountain Railway
On the day we visited the Brecon Mountain Railway, we drove to the Pant Station, parked up, and bought our tickets in the office before making our way to the platform. We passed the locomotive running shed and workshop on the way to the platform and the smell was lovely. Grease, oil, and engine smells. There is also a model railway as you approached the platform which our son loved.
We waited patiently for our train, boarded, and handed the conductor our tickets. The train left Pant Station and started its journey through the stunning Brecon Beacons towards Torpantau. We even saw the peaks of Pen-y-Fan and the Pontsticill Reservoir.
Although it had been sunny when we left Pant, the clouds got thicker as we ascended towards Torpantau. We alighted the steam train and a certain little boy wasn’t too sure about the steam coming from the engine.
The engine spends a few minutes changing around before everyone gets back on for the journey back to Pontsticill. There, you have 25 or 30 minutes to enjoy the views, have a refreshment in the small café or spend some at the playground, as we did. You can even spend longer there if you want to, and get a different train back. We chose not to.
Back at Pant Station, we visited the traditional sweet shop and bought some rhubarb and custards for my hubby, his favourites, before heading home. Although we had only been at the Brecon Mountain Railway for less than 2 hours, it was a fun filled 2 hours. Our son thoroughly enjoyed his ride on the steam engine and his time at the playground.
Things to note if visiting the Brecon Mountain Railway with kids
- There are 3 or 4 train journeys a day, depending on the time of year. There were three the day we visited.
- For latest prices and availaiblity, check the website.
- There is ample parking at the Pant Station and it is free.
- The Brecon Mountain Railway is mostly wheelchair and buggy friendly, although wheelchairs are limited to manual ones and cannot leave the train at Torpantau Station.
- There are toilets at both Pant and Pontsticill Station and baby changing facilities.
- There is a tea room at both Pant and Pontsticill Stations.
- There is a gift shop at Pant, while the Steam Museum (which is free) is located at Pontsticill Station.
- A children’s playground is located at Pontsticill Station, which we can highly recommend for young children.
- The Brecon Mountain Railway also holds special days throughout the year such as for Easter, Mother’s and Father’s Day. They also hold Santa Special Trains throughout the month of December.
- Trains run non-stop to Torpantau and return to Pontsticill for 25 or 30 minutes. Passengers are allowed to stay longer at Pontsticill and get a different train back to Pant station.
- For timetables and up-to-date news, it is best to check the Brecon Mountain Railway website.
We thoroughly enjoyed our few hours on the Brecon Mountain Railway and would highly recommend it for families as a day out in South Wales. It would particularly appeal to Thomas fans and fans of trains in general.
And if your kids love the Polar Express and you fancy an extra special train ride in the run up to Christmas, then check out this amazing list of the best Polar Express days out with kids across the UK.