I’m pretty sure that my fiance is a bit of a closet train geek. With a flatmate that worked on the heritage steam railway close(ish) to Birmingham it was probably pretty predictable that it would happen – though a bit of a shock to find train magazines in the loo on my last visit! Alongside the promise of tea and cake for me, I indulged him in a trip to the railway.
A steam railway running between Kidderminster and Bridgenorth, the Severn Valley Railway is a 16-mile long track with a journey taking around an hour on a steam-powered train. Passing through some stunning countryside, including a view of the West Midlands Safari Park (I spied elephants and rhinos on this day, although unfortunately failed to have my camera ready at the crucial moment), it really is a lovely day out.
We stopped off at a couple of the stations on the line – first for a spot of mid-morning tea and cake in Arley. We sat down by the river, in a very picturesque spot, and shared a slice of some of the best carrot cake I’ve eaten. The perfect amount of frosting to cake, no dried fruit and a lovely spiced flavour. All worked off with a quick dash back up the hill in time for the next train!
A good chunk of the day was spent in Bridgenorth, a lovely little Midlands town. Plenty of character and independent shops if you take a short stroll from the station – I highly recommend a wander.
We stopped off for lunch at The Pie Room (in BamBoo Wine Bar) – an excellent decision. Serving locally sourced pies with a variety of mash, peas and gravy, the food is my idea of heaven on a plate. Especially when you can choose your size of pie slice! The majority of us went for the Chicken, Leek and Ham Pie with the differences being in the mash. Cheesy was a popular choice (and from the forkful I got, was very tasty too!), garlic was said to be rather overpowering, and my mustard mash was a little disappointing. The wholegrain mustard interferred with the smooth creaminess of the mash, and it needed more of a kick. Maybe a combination of English and wholegrain would work better? That said, the pie was a triumph. Crisp but not dry pastry, tender meat, a creamy sauce, it was pretty much the perfect pie.
The sensible option having devoured a massive plate of carbs would have been to walk up the hill. But with train enthusiasts in tow? We got the Cliff Railway! A little steep and rickety for my liking, we survived the journey and got set for a good old wander. I found the most charming looking bridal boutique (despite LOVING my dress choice, I’m a little sad that the experience is over), and loved the old-fashioned buildings.
And what should we do when the rain begins to pour? Head into a teashop for more bad things of course – this hot chocolate was one of the best I’ve had in a long while! It was here I managed to get hold of my final university marks – a First Class degree was enough, but knowing just how well I did in my final year made me cry all over again!
What have you been up to lately? What’s the best hot chocolate you’ve ever had?!