When I was invited to attend the War on the Line event at The Watercress Line just a week before my due date, I did have to stop and think for a second as to whether it was a good idea to go along. After a grand total of two seconds thinking that through, I decided that of course it was an excellent idea to go! Darcie is really interested in trains at the moment so I knew she’d enjoy herself and I had high hopes that it would be a great family day out for us all. For anyone who doesn’t know, The Watercress Line is a heritage railway in Hampshire along which several steam trains still run all year round. The Line played an important role in both of the World Wars due to it’s positioning between the army centre in Aldershot and the docks of Southampton.
The War on the Line event is an immersive experience that is held to commemorate and relive the ‘Blitz Spirit’ of the 1940’s. There were military and civilian re-enactors, vintage car displays, retro stalls and music and dancing at each station. The Watercress Line stops at four stations and at each one there were things to look at and do. Ropley was the main station for the event and this is where there is the most parking too. We parked the car and headed over to see all of the festivities. The atmosphere was lovely as soon as we arrived, the staff and all the re-enactors were so welcoming and everyone was in high spirits. Quite a lot of the people attending the event had dressed up in their finest vintage clothing and it was so nice to see everyone really getting into the spirit of things. I definitely would have dressed up but unfortunately at 39 weeks pregnant, my wardrobe is pretty limited!
We had a look at the vintage cars and army vehicles they had set up at Ropley station and then jumped onto the train to head to Alresford. The first train we went on was very busy which wasn’t great when trying to juggle a toddler who had never been on a train before, a bump and a pram! The subsequent trains we caught were all a lot quieter though so I think that must have just been a one off. When we arrived at Alresford we were straight away greeted by the sound of singing and dancing. There was a lot to look at at Alresford with vintage stalls and lots of re-enactors. We walked down into Alresford centre and picked up some bits for a picnic before heading back up to the picnic site and watching all of the steam trains go by. Darcie loved waving to them all as they passed. Alresford town was all decorated for the event too and it was lovely to see lots of the local businesses getting involved.
We carried onto Medstead and Alton where there wasn’t quite as much to look at but there were still lots of people milling around and enjoying the atmosphere and the music. It was getting late in the day for our over excited toddler by this stage so we headed back to Ropley to have a last little look around before going back to find the car. We bought a couple of cakes from The Baking Belles and stopped to have some pictures with the vintage cars.
All in all it was a great day out, everyone attending was in great spirits and that really rubbed off on Darcie who just loved exploring all the different stations, waving and making friends and watching the trains. If you’re local to The Watercress Line then I would highly recommend the War on the Line event. We’ll definitely be heading back another time just to ride the trains too, it’s a great family day out!
*we were kindly invited to this event for the purposes of this review, all opinions are my own.