Chorley's Santa Express set to return to Lancashire this Christmas - and is already almost fully booked

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A festive land train that takes passengers on a magical journey to meet Father Christmas has proved one daddy of an attraction.

This year’s Santa Express in Chorley is almost fully booked up already – weeks before it is due to make its first trip.

Parents and children fill the Santa Express on an annual basis

Parents and children fill the Santa Express on an annual basis

And if you’re not aboard, there will be no extra journeys.

Organised by Chorley Council as one of its festive season attractions for the town, the Santa Express whisks families from the town centre through Astley Park to meet Father Christmas at Astley Hall.

Coun Peter Wilson, deputy leader of Chorley Council with responsibility for events, said: “Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year in Chorley and we want to get as many people as possible to visit our fantastic town.

“We have been blown away by how fast the tickets for Chorley’s Santa Express have sold this year.

Christmas activities outside Market Walk

Christmas activities outside Market Walk

“It’s a fantastic experience to meet Father Christmas in the wonderful setting of Astley Hall and there are still some tickets available on Saturday, December 1 but we are looking into ways to increase availability in future years.”

The train will be running regularly from its new stop on Market Street in Chorley town centre, opposite the town hall, between 9.30am and 4pm every Saturday and Sunday in December from Saturday, December 1, until and including Sunday, December 23, to take families to meet Santa as he takes up residence in Astley Hall’s Inlaid Room in the run up to Christmas.

Every child who meets Father Christmas will receive a special Christmas gift and there will be some festive fun too.

Tickets to take a ride on Chorley’s Santa Express to meet Father Christmas at Astley Hall must be purchased in advance and are available to book online at checkoutchorley.com/christmas.

Christmas at Astley Hall

Christmas at Astley Hall

The time slot you book for is to meet Father Christmas at Astley Hall so visitors are asked to allow up to 30 minutes before your time slot to travel on the Santa Express land train.

Alternatively if you and your family would simply like to take a ride on Chorley’s Santa Express land train, you can purchase a train ticket from the conductor at either the stop on Union Street, Chorley town centre or at Astley Hall.

And back by popular demand, Chorley’s Winter Wonderland will open on Cleveland Street car park on Saturday December 8 until Sunday January 6 and will include a real ice rink, festive food, drink and craft stalls, a Bavarian fun house and ride for children and the return of Betty’s Tipis serving delicious drinks.

Coun Wilson added: “There are plenty of events taking place in Chorley this Christmas and we are especially delighted to be bringing back Chorley’s Winter Wonderland in a new location on Cleveland Street car park after getting many requests for it to return.

“In addition to the events we have organised there are also plenty of other events taking place across the Chorley borough all of which are listed in the new What’s Happening in Chorley magazine, which will be available to download on checkoutchorley.com from the beginning of November.”