Enjoy a full day of train travel by using Southeastern services to visit one of Kent’s fascinating heritage railways
Kent’s Heritage Railways
Enjoy a full day of train travel by using Southeastern services to visit one of Kent’s fascinating heritage railways. Whether you want to see the wonderful scenery of the Garden of England, immerse yourself in the history of the county’s railways or simply fancy a great-fun family day out, Kent’s heritage railways could be just what you are looking for.
These five distinctly different heritage railways are all easy to reach from our mainline stations. The only difficulty you’ll have is trying to decide which one to visit first…
East Kent Railway
Restored electric and diesel trains take passengers along the East Kent Railway from Shepherdswell to Eythorne through the former Kent coalfield. The railway is a treasure trove for train enthusiasts with two preserved signal boxes, a model railway and two miniature railways with ride-on trains as well as picnic areas, a woodland walk and a café at each station.
Getting here: Getting to the East Kent Railway is easy as Southeastern trains stop at the Shepherdswell mainline station, between Dover and Canterbury, less than 100 metres away. The route is well signposted.
Spa Valley Railway
There’s a destination at every station on the Spa Valley Railway which runs through the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. At Eridge, head out for a walk into the country or hop off at High Rocks to discover the sandstone outcrops that characterise the area. Disembark at Groombridge to explore the award-winning gardens of Groombridge Place or take a tour of Tunbridge Wells to shop and sightsee in this Regency spa town.
Getting here: Reaching the railway from Southeastern’s mainline station at Tunbridge Wells involves a half-mile walk, taking around 15 minutes, via the historic Pantiles to Spa Valley’s Tunbridge Wells West station. Alternatively, you can enjoy a short bus ride with Arriva on route 281.
Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway
(Image credited to: Tony Dimmer)
One of Kent's top tourist attractions, the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway was marketed as “the smallest public railway in the world” when it opened in 1927. The 13-and-a-half-mile track runs from the pretty town of Hythe to quirky Dungeness and combines 90 years of steam railway heritage with some of Kent's most picturesque countryside.
Getting here: Take the train to Sandling, two-miles from the RH&DR station at Hythe. It’s a 40-minute walk (approximately two miles) downhill on the way, uphill on the way back). An excellent leaflet, Big Train Little Train, has been produced by the Friends of Sandling Station and is available at the station showing a cross-country route. There is also bus stop at the station with Stagecoach buses 10 and 18 too offering a 10-minute connection to Hythe.
Sittingbourne and Kemsley Light Railway
The Sittingbourne and Kemsley Light Railway gives passengers a unique insight into the town’s paper-making industry which the railway was first built to serve. Visitors travel on the original trains and original track of this narrow-gauge railway from the urban environment of the town through marshes to a still-working paper mill at Kemsley Down.
How to get here: Take a train to Sittingbourne, which is a walk of approximately six minutes (less than half a mile) away from the Sittingbourne and Kemsley Light Railway’s Sittingbourne Viaduct station. Turn right out of the station then take the first right at the roundabout on to Milton Road until it meets Milton Way (B2006). Turn left here until you reach the turning for the railway.
Kent and East Sussex Railway
The Kent and East Sussex Railway is recognised as the country’s finest example of a rural light railway and runs steam and diesel trains on a picturesque route. Opened in 1900 and built to serve rural villages, passengers can travel from the charming town of Tenterden to Bodiam, with its magnificent National Trust Castle.
How to get here: Take a train to Headcorn or Ashford International and use connecting bus services (Stagecoach route 2 or 2A from Ashford, or Arriva 12 or 12RL from Headcorn) to reach Tenterden Town Station.