Discovering the Magic of Audley End Miniature Railway

Located within ancient woodlands near Saffron Walden in North Essex, Audley End Miniature Railway is a magical day out for all ages. A visit is based around a journey on the miniature train, but there is plenty more to explore. With seasonal opening their events including Father Christmas experience, Easter Bunny and Halloween that sell out, but they also offer Woodland Adventure Days and Train & Play days in the summer months. It's also worth checking out their holiday activities eg this half term (25th May - 2nd June 2024) is a Fairy Tale event. 

A red steam train travels along the tracks surrounded by fields and a wooden fence
All aboard! Enjoy a journey into the forest on a traditional steam train

Visiting Audley End Miniature Railway

Audley End Miniature Railway was created by Lord Braybrooke and opened to the public in 1964. It is now run by Lord Braybrooke's daughter. The Braybrooke family hostorically owned the neighbouring Audley End House until it was sold and taken over by English Heritage in 1948. 

Audley End Minature Railway continues to be developed with new additions and improvements appearing every year. 

Why Audley End Miniature Railway is a good place to visit with children

There's enough to keep children occupied for hours so ensure you give yourself enough time to enjoy all it has to offer:
  • A fantastic outdoor space to allow children to run around in nature and let off steam (pardon the pun!) 
  • The miniature steam trains take you on a whimsical journey through the forest, with themed huts to see along the way. 
  • The park has fantastic wooden playground equipment including climbing frames, slides, a train and tree lookout as well as swings.  
  • The fairy walk is beautifully set up with lots of different fairies and their houses to discover. Catch the show throughout the day for an interactive and fun experience. 

What Is There To Do At Audley End Miniature Railway?

Ride The Train

When you book your tickets to Audley End Miniature Railway you book a specific train journey time. You can enjoy the rest of the activities before and after your train ride so make sure you have enough time to be at the station for your ride time.

The train is a 10 1/4 inch miniature railway. You sit in carriages undercover, but the sides are open to the elements for the mile and a half round trip. The train is pulled by a mixture of engines. They try to use the steam engines on weekends and event days, but train journeys may be pulled by another type of engine.

Woodland Adventure Days

Between April and October the miniature railway is open most days. Outside of the special events you can visit at a reduced rate. On these days you can enjoy: a train ride, visit the fairy and elves in their woodland homes enjoy the sensory nature corner, run around the adventure playground. The woodland cafe is also open. On these days you may be able to buy tickets on arrival, but you save money buying in advance. On event days and peak times you need to prebook tickets.

Special Events

At Easter, Halloween and Christmas extra activities taking place. The train ride stops part way through for a performance, children also get treats. During other holidays there is normally extra activities and theming, but the train ride is normally non stop.  

Fairy And Elf Walk

If your child like fairy doors they will love the Fairy and Elf Walk. There are lots of beautifully decorated and themed miniature fairy houses around the walk to look at. You can also make a wand and meet full size fairies (may only be available at limited times).

Fairy houses with miniature fairies within the trees in the woodland
Children will enjoy spotting the fairies in their fairy homes

A woman in a fairy costume performs on stage to an audience of families.
Children will be captivated by the fairy show

A child sits upon a large dragon sculpture made entirely from wood
An impressive wooden dragon sculpture at Audley End Miniature Railway

Adventure Playground

The adventure play area is great fun for children. There is plenty to climb, slides, baby swings and children can even pretend to drive a train in the train themed playground made from sustainable wood. It can get very busy at peak times, but there is enough space that it shouldn't feel too crowded.

Wooden play equipment within the forest
The play equipment at Audley End Miniature Railway is made entirely from sustainable wood. 

Wooden play equipment and grassy area
Train themed wooden play equipment

What age children will enjoy visiting Audley End Miniature Railway?

Children of all ages can enjoy and explore but it seems more catered for children 3-13.

Is it suitable for pushchairs?

Pushchairs are welcome but some areas are wood chips so bear in mind paths can get quite muddy depending on the time of year. Pushchairs must also be left in a buggy park when getting on the train.

What are the toilet facilities like?

There is one block of toilets that include baby changing facilities. These are a bit of a walk from some of
the areas so give little ones ample time to get there. They can also get pretty busy.

Eating at Audley End Miniature Railway

The woodland cafe serves hot food, sandwiches, drinks and treats. You can also treat yourself to a delicious stone baked pizza or a scoop of award wining Saffron Ice Cream Company ice-cream. There are vegetarian and vegan options available and they can cater for dietary intolerances too, plus food packaging has the allergen advice on. If you would rather bring a picnic with you there are plenty of tables and picnic benches or grass areas to spread a picnic blanket.

A row of food kiosks with customers walking past
There are a range of options to buy hot and cold food

What you need to know before visiting Audley End Miniature Railway

A view from the train bridge, areas of grass with a tent and train tracks
A view from the train bridge

The site is outside and there is very little cover. On the winter special events (Christmas and Halloween) they usually have temporary structures, but dress appropriately for the weather as the train ride can get very cold. 

The special events are very popular and the preferred dates and times book up very quickly. Make sure you are signed up to the mailing list or following them on social media to make sure you know when tickets will go on sale.

Is it dog friendly?

Yes. Dogs are welcome on a lead around the site and on trains. They request that they are kept under control and you clean up after them.

What to take with you when visiting Audley End Miniature Railway

  • Wellies and overalls/waterproofs are essential if it has rained recently as the paths and playground equipment can get really muddy. 
  • I'd also recommend a carrier for smaller babies where possible as it can be easier to get around than with a pushchair.
  • Audley End Miniature Railway is a cashless site so don't forget your card.
  • Children often go wearing costumes, especially at Halloween.

How to get to Audley End Miniature Railway and Where to Park


Audley End Miniature Railway,
Audley End Road,
Audley End,
Saffron Walden,
CB11 4JB


Audley End Miniature Railway has a free car park. The main car park is situated less than a 5 minute walk up the road but as it is within the woodland it can get quite muddy and watch out for the tree roots. Make sure you leave plenty of time to get from the car park to the entrance if you have an early train booked. 
If arriving from the B1833 direction the main car park is on the same side of the road as the railway, but further along the road. 
Accessibility parking is available just outside the admission area which is on hard ground.

What to do near Audley End Miniature Railway?

  • Across the road from the miniature railway is Audley End House and Gardens, a spectacular English Heritage mansion with vast, beautiful grounds. Keep an eye on their website for seasonal events as they often have child friendly activities in school holidays.
  • Saffron Walden is a medieval market town just a mile away. It has a museum which is free entry for children, plenty of places to eat and a market on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
  • Stansted Mountfitchet Castle is about 20 minutes drive away, a Norman Motte and Bailey Castle recreation.

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