THE Santa experience at the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway is quite different.

Instead of queuing at a grotto, you and your children travel in comfortable heated carriages, and cheerful Santa and his elves join the train along the way.

Every child gets a quality gift and, at journey’s end, there are mince pies and fruit juice or mulled wine for all.

For just £12 each in advance (and babies free), it’s a lovely experience with country scenery to entertain and, at about 45 minutes for the trip, just the right length for little ones.

The railway is easy to get to, with free parking and four or five departures a day from Llanfair Caereinion (SY21 0SF), just over the Welsh border.

Trains run on December 9, 15, 16, 22 and 23.

The railway advises booking early at or on 01938 810441 – every train sold out last year.