Travel Back in Time & Escape the Modern World
The railway you see today at 10½ miles in length is a fine example of one of England’s light railways and originally part of a larger system which operated between Headcorn and Robertsbridge. The K&ESR was the very first ‘light railway’ to be constructed: light railways are equipped with full size trains, but have steep gradients and operate at low speed.
Passenger trains ran from 1900 until 1954 but an ambitious scheme to reopen the railway from Tenterden was proposed, although it was not until 1974 that the first trains were able to run on a short section of line. The registered charity that now owns and operates the line was able to finally restore services to Bodiam in time for the centenary of the line in 2000: today the K&ESR welcomes around 90,000 people each year.
Steam & Diesel Trains
We’ve a unique collection of trains, some of which are approaching 150 years old – but still going strong!
The journey time between Tenterden and Bodiam is around 50 minutes each way and from 22nd June our great value Freedom Tickets allow you to hop on, hop off any of the trains operating on the day of your visit.
Some of our trains include carriages with old-fashioned family compartments – perfect if you prefer your own personal space. The Ticket Inspector will be pleased to advise availability on your train – there’s an £8 single journey supplement for up to 8 people to occupy a compartment.
We’re proud to have been granted the Visit England “We’re Good to Go” Industry Standard mark, demonstrating that we have followed government and industry COVID-19 guidelines.
Book Online & Save
Get best value when you book online – tickets are discounted online and normally available until midnight on the day before your visit, but as accommodation is limited, don’t leave it too late!
Providing unlimited travel for a whole day, Freedom Tickets (when purchased online) are £19.50 for adults, £13.50 for children (3-15 years inc, under 3’s go free.), whilst our Family Freedom Tickets are £49.00 for up to 4 people travelling together (2 adults 2 children or 1 adult and 3 children). Dogs go free!
Subject to availability, non-discounted tickets may also be purchased on arrival at the station (on the day prices are £20.00 adults, £14.00 children (3-15 years inc.), Family Freedom Tickets £54.00)
Make the most of your visit
The Kent & East Sussex Railway is situated in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and follows the wide unspoilt Rother Valley for much of the journey. Our small rural stations are typical of light-railways of the period, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to see or do! Almost all our staff are volunteers and we’re always pleased to help you get the most from your visit, including:
- The award-winning Railway Museum, where you can discover more about Colonel Stephens, the entrepreneur who built and operated the railway, is an absolute must. Located near the car park at Tenterden Town Station, the museum is open when trains are operating and entry is free
- Find out more about the fascinating story of how the K&ESR was preserved in an informative display in the Model Railway Room at Tenterden. Kids will love the model railway too – collect a token from the booking office.
- Enjoy light refreshments in a unique station setting – or take them on board the train as you travel through the beautiful Rother Valley!
- Become a nature detective – look out for the unique mix of nature as you travel along the line. Both family nature trails and on board information is available – https://kesr.org.uk/what-to-see-from-the-train/
- Pick up that perfect souvenir of your visit from the Gift Shop.
- Get up close and personal with the beauty of the local countryside with one of our downloadable Rail Trail walks. Or explore the diverse range of independent shops in the beautiful market town of Tenterden.
- Combining the excitement of a train ride with a visit to Bodiam Castle? If you’re a member of the National Trust, entry to the castle is free – but if not, remember to show your valid K&ESR ticket at the entrance to receive 10% off your castle admission!
How to Find Us
Tenterden Town Station TN30 6HE
By Train – The nearest mainline train stations are at Headcorn and Ashford. Bus links operate from these stations to Tenterden
South Eastern Trains
By Car – Tenterden is about 12 miles southwest of Ashford on the A28. The K&ESR Car Park is just over the level crossing at Tenterden Town station. Find Tenterden Town Station using Google maps
Northiam Station TN31 6QT
By Car – Northiam village is about 12 miles north of Hastings. The station is adjacent to the A28 one mile north of the village centre. Find Northiam Station using Google maps
Bodiam Station TN32 5RA
There is no public car parking at Bodiam Station – visit Bodiam by train from Tenterden or Northiam. The car park at Bodiam Castle is a short walk from the station and is free to National Trust members.
Stagecoach route 349 runs from Hastings to Bodiam Station.