Do you recognise this building?
At this seasonal time of year there are many events happening throughout the country of all different types and there are a great many that can be accessed by train via Wolverton Train Station.
The station sits on Stratford Road, a short walk from the Town Centre and is part of the West Midlands Railway system with trains running from London Euston right through to Liverpool’s Lime Street Station. If you are travelling from the station, there is dedicated parking and cycle stands and regular buses serving Stratford Road. The station is manned on a part-time basis and there are ticket machines for such times when the ticket office is closed. During ticket office opening times there is a retail unit selling papers, drinks etc. Trains heading south to London take from 44 minutes to arrive while trains to Birmingham’s NEC will take as little as 1hr 06mins and Birmingham’s New Street from 1hr 19 minutes with 3 trains an hour travelling south and 2 per hour travelling north.
Below is just a sample of some of the events in our own community and other landmark cities that visitors can attend just by taking a train journey and either boarding or alighting at Wolverton Station.
On Armistice Day at Milton Keynes Museum, sited on McConnell Drive, Wolverton the community is taking part in the National Beacon Lighting to commemorate all those that lost their lives during the First World War. There will be free entry to the museum, as well as a remembrance ceremony culminating with the lighting of the beacon at 19.00. The Wolverton Town Band will be performing and there will a performance of First World War songs by Sloop Groggy Dogs. A mounted soldier will be on site plus a story of World War 1 will be related.
On Wednesday 14th November we will have the annual Christmas Light Switch on in The Square with performances by children from local schools. The fun starts at 15.30 and with luck all the lights will be illuminating by 17.00.
On Saturday 24th November is the spectacular Wolverton Lantern Parade! This year is the 30th parade to take place and the theme is Blue Planet. There are workshops organized for families to attend in the run up to the parade and on the day, there will be opportunities to take part in workshops including Junk Percussion, processional windsock making, circus skills plus performances from the infamous Rock Choir and Wolverton Town Band. There will be several samba bands performing along the parade which gives the parade an exciting vibe. Check out the Wolverton Lantern Festival Facebook page and/or catch up with them on Instagram. This year’s parade will be the parade of all parades!
Starting on November 30th Milton Keynes Museum will open their doors to host the Museum’s Victorian Christmas. The Museum will be turning back the clock to recapture the fun and wonder of a true Victorian family Christmas. In addition to this there will be a traditional Christmas market, Christmas crafts in the old schoolroom and much more.
The Old Bath House will be hosting a festive fair on Saturday 9th December with stalls selling local produce and products. There will be the chance to discover great gifts from midday until 16.00. Stalls include candles, cards, bags and jewelry and there will also be face painting plus mulled wine and other refreshments.
Saturday 15th December will see the Wolverton Community Orchard host its annual Christmas Event from 16.00 - 18.00. The orchard can be accessed off Woburn Avenue, between Western Road and Furze Way. This annual event sees Santa in his grotto while the orchard is illuminated by fairy lights and a glittering Christmas tree. There will be a BBQ as well as live bands and carol singers. Refreshments will be available in the converted railway carriage tea room and there will be stalls selling a selection of goodies.
In addition to all these events there are other delights for the traveler to explore such as The Secret Garden, the Farmer’s Market, an array of different shops and a brilliant choice of restaurants including Turkish, Italian, Japanese, and Mediterranean. Why not walk one of the three town trails and absorb the local history or visit the Urb Farm.
If you are travelling out from the station you can go one of two ways, south as far as London Euston on this line and north as far as Liverpool Lime Street with many of the northbound services stopping at Birmingham International for the airport and the NEC and Birmingham New Street for the town Centre. These are the two places that I have decided to highlight their seasonal events as either journey will take less than an hour and a half.
Firstly, in London, for Jazz lovers there is the London Jazz Festival that runs from November 16th to November 25th at various locations in the city. There are activities for all ages, including toddlers, workshops, performances and much, much more. At the same time the Southbank starts its annual festive fun with a Christmas market and various free events on in the Southbank Centre itself.
Two large crowd pullers open their doors on November 22nd, Christmas at Kew and Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park. At Winter Wonderland you will find winter markets, festive fairground rides, ice skating, cozy wooden grottos and warming winter street food. New attractions added last year include the Magical Ice Kingdom Enchanted Forest, an immersive showcase of woodland animals and mythical creatures created from over 500 tons of ice and snow, karaoke cabins for festive sing-a-longs plus Peter Pan on Ice. This year there will be ice sculpting workshops, a stand-up comedy programme and immersive screenings of the Christmas classic, The Snowman.
Attend Christmas at Kew and you will be enchanted by the after dark explosion of festive colour as you amble through the gardens along the illuminated trail. The one-mile pathway winds its way through the world-famous gardens in a magical after dark experience made possible with over a million-twinkling pea-lights and thousands of laser beams. New this year will be glittering spiral trees dripping with silver shards, moonlit woods featuring a Laser Garden and hundreds of glowing boats floating on the lake’s shimmering surface.
For Harry Potter fans there is Hogwarts in the Snow when the studio tour gets a frosty and festive makeover with Christmas trees and festive food in the Great Hall.
London boasts some amazing festive street lighting and suggested streets worth checking out are Oxford Street, Carnaby Street, Covent Garden and Seven Dials. Also, at this time of year ice rinks seem to pop up at several places. Those worth looking out for are at Somerset House, Hampton Court Palace and the Natural History Museum.
Now heading north on the train from Wolverton, after about an hour is Birmingham International station where you can alight for the Birmingham NEC as well as the airport. There is always something of interest going on at the National Exhibition Centre. Starting at the beginning of November there is Bricklive, the UK’s biggest celebration of Lego while at the same time there is the Crafty Christmas Show as well as the Cake International Show. For ‘petrol heads’ later in the month the NEC hosts the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show and for budding cooks there is the BBC Good Food Winter Show. For those looking for a venue for their ‘works’ party or just a festive evening out with family or friends, starting 30th November is Christmas Party World which combines food and drink with cirque style entertainment, all set in a themed environment.
If you head a few stops north on the train you will reach Birmingham New Street station, a newly refurbished station within a shopping Centre that was officially opened by HM Queen Elizabeth in 2017. This ‘state of the art’ station hosts a selection of retail units along with many places that you can dine or just grab a coffee on the hoof. Birmingham city Centre plays host to the largest German Market outside of Germany itself. The market itself is outdoor (so wrap up warm) and runs the length of New Street and into Victoria Square. The market sells traditional and contemporary gifts crafted mainly in Germany. The stalls are interspersed with food stalls selling traditional German street food along with Gluhwein, their traditional warm mulled wine. Carol singers as well as bands will entertain you on a daily basis, well worth a visit!
Bourneville, Birmingham is home to that British institution, Cadbury World where you can uncover a world of chocolate delights and enjoy a fun-packed fascinating day out. You can learn how your favourite confectionary is made as well as play in virtual chocolate rain!
There is always something new to discover either in Wolverton, London or Birmingham whether it be a cosy café or a great entertainment venue. You will never be disappointed! So, let the train take the strain and discover something new!