The Kent & East Sussex Railway is the country’s finest example of a rural light railway. The line owes much of its charm to its origin as the world’s first light railway. Originally opened in 1900, the tightly curved line, with steep gradients, is typical of those rural railways that were developed on shoestring budgets to bring the ‘iron horse’ to sparsely populated areas. Typically, stations bear the name of the nearest village although these can be miles away from the actual line – a result of geographical conditions and available funds.
Re-opened by dedicated volunteers as an attraction in 1974, following its closure to passenger traffic in the 1950’s, today The K&ESR is one of Britain’s most loved, most original heritage railways. Running steam and heritage diesel trains for 10½ miles on the preserved central section of the original line from Tenterden, affectionately known as ‘The Jewel of The Weald’, the line runs through the Rother Levels, a marshland valley so difficult to appreciate in any other way but by train, to Bodiam in East Sussex – where it terminates in the shadow of the magnificent National Trust Castle.
Whether you are interested in heritage, shopping, nature, food and drink or recreation there is an ever-evolving range of special events and offers that provide temptation and interest for all ages, whether you’re a regular visitor or one who has yet to discover the unique charm of the K&ESR. Either way, you will find a warm welcome and we’re sure your day will be a truly memorable experience.