Lapland Express 2018
Come and visit Santa on the Lapland Express Steam trains!
Adults: £8.50 Children: £10 (including gift from Santa)
Child tickets are listed as 4+ and under 4 years old. This is make sure they get the most appropriate gift bags.
Note: very young children who do not require a present from Santa, and do not require a seat on the train are classified as ‘babes in arms’ and can travel free of charge.
Reduced prices are available if you are booking groups of 10 or more people – the discount is 10% on normal tickets, and is only available if you pay in full in advance, i.e. before you arrive at the station.
To do this, add the Group Adult or Group Child tickets instead of the regular adult & child tickets. You can only check out and purchase these if you add at least 10 group tickets to your order. It can be any combination of group adult, group child +4 and group child under 4, so long as it adds up to 10 tickets.
Dates and times
This year’s Lapland Express Santa trains are running on the following dates:
Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd December
Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th December
Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th December
Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd December
Please check the online ticket office for times. Doors will open generally at 1pm and close after 5pm, but you will be booking for travel on a specific train and won’t be able to get in until 30 minutes before your train.
On the day
Please arrive in good time for your train – allow at least half an hour in case there’s queues. You won’t be able to get on an earlier train with your ticket, so please be patient!
Make sure you have your eTicket or reference number with you, either on paper or on your mobile phone.
Lapland Express – Frequently Asked Questions
What all happens on the Lapland Express? Where does it go?
You board the train at Downpatrick Station and take a trip along the South Line towards King Magnus’ Halt. The train then returns to the Loop Platform where Santa’s special North Pole workshop train is waiting. Everyone gets off the train and your children get their present from Santa in his workshop, where you can take photos with Santa if you wish. You can have a cup of tea or refreshments in the buffet carriage there while you wait for the next train to pick you up again.
Depending on Santa’s busy work schedule these days, he might also nip out to see the train arrive or depart.
There’s also a Thomas the Tank Engine model railway exhibition in the station while you wait for the train (to keep the children amused), or you can visit the Carriage Gallery to explore our collection of heritage carriages and locomotives. We have a souvenir shop for late railway-themed Christmas presents too, be sure to call in before you leave.
I have a teenage son/daughter who doesn’t want to see Santa, do they have to pay the child’s fare?
No, if they’re too old to see Santa then the adult fares apply.
Can I bring a pram or buggy?
Space is limited on our trains, and it is not possible to wheel a pram down the carraiges of the train you travel on, or along the train at Santa’s workshop. There is an area for prams and wheelchairs on one of our carriages, but we can ony carry a few prams at a time.
How long does the visit last?
The trains will be running at 40 minute intervals to a fixed timetable, so be prepared to stay for up to 2 hours. Dress up warm, Downpatrick is a cold place in winter!
Will the queues for Santa be long?
The Lapland Express is a very popular event, but with pre-booking and online ticketing, queues should be a thing of the past. Just don’t arrive too early for your train if you don’t want to hang around too long. We recommend you aim to arrive about 30 minutes before your train.
Do I have to pre-book?
Yes! We have operated a ‘come along and pay on the day’ system for years, but the Lapland Express was getting busier and busier and the queues were getting longer, so we are now trying to manage the crowds better and reduce queues.
If you do not have a pre-booked ticket, you will not be able to get on the train to see Santa. Sorry!
Do you have wheelchair access?
We have wheelchair access into the main station building, as well as wheelchair friendly carriages with double-doors, and accessible toilets at Downpatrick Station building. Please ask a member of staff for help into the carriages, as a ramp will need to be used.
Special arrangements will need to be made at Santa’s Workshop as it is not possible for a wheelchair to pass along the train; again, please tell our staff and we’ll do our best to make the journey easy for you.
Are the Santa trains running during the week?
No, only the weekend dates listed on this page.
Where is the railway station?
Downpatrick Station is on the main Downpatrick-Newcastle road (the Ballydugan Road). The entrance for the station is between Rathkeltair House (the tax office) and the Translink bus station. Look out for the brown road signs that say “Railway Museum” and follow those.
For more details, please see our How to Find Us page for maps and directions.
Where can I board the train?
For the Lapland Express you can only board at Downpatrick Station. Inch Abbey Station will not be open.
Are dogs allowed?
Dogs are welcome; the only restriction is the buffet carriage, for obvious reasons. Guide dogs are most welcome, and travel free.
Can you take Visa/Mastercard/etc.?
Yes, we can take credit cards via our online booking system.