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"Uncovering the Magic: A Review of Whistlestop Valley and Foul Play Live"

Updated: Feb 22

Image Rights: Whistlestop Valley

Mad on Thomas or Chuggington?

Like Adventure?

Do you/ your children like Steam trains?

Do you like to combine adventure with a little bit of make-believe?

Then Whistlestop Valley maybe a great choice for your next family outing!

Our Day

We went on an adventure today, to see two of Monkey’s favourite things. Trains and theatre. You see Foul Play Live: Once Upon a Crime (by After Dark Murder Mystery Events) was on at Whistlestop Valley, and who can’t resist steam trains and fairy-tale characters?!

It’s around a 2-hour trip from where we live but as we have family near Whistlestop we thought we’d take the trip down. We arrived in good time, approximately 45 minutes before our train departed. This was advised when we purchased the tickets as it gives you enough time to get the lay of the land, and what a place it is!

Steam Trains, Ice-cream, Fairground, Miniature train rides and two play parks to boot!
Photo credit: After Dark Murder Mystery Events

The special event Premise.

“Once Upon A Time, in Story Book Land, The Cursed Book of Villainy was stolen and whoever has it holds the power to take over the world! The only people who may be able to stop this dastardly deed are… other villains, and they need your help to find out who has the book before it’s too late! Get your super sleuth skills at the ready and prepare for a quizzical quest as you play detective in order to solve the mystery and uncover the culprit who committed this confounding crime. Once you embark on your adventure, you’ll get the opportunity to seek out characters to question, uncover clues and unravel riddles to reveal which of the Fairy Tale Villains carried out the dastardly deed.”

Part Scavenger hunt/ treasure trail part mystery the day did not disappoint!

We were first met by the Big Bad Wolf who explained the story and told us our first mission, I won’t tell you what the missions were just in case you have the ability to attend an event. The character was brilliant equal parts of charm and wit, with menacing qualities thrown in.

Monkey was enthralled and invested straight away!

But the characters didn’t stop there, there were 5 in total, The Big Bad Wolf, The Wicked Stepmother, Maleficent, The Queen of Hearts and lastly, but in no means least, Cruella!

Each character had a really engaging but different personality from eerily evil, to complete bonkers and each character had a mission for us to complete. These ranged from finding missing objects, to relaying messages from clues that we had discovered. Each time we completed a task a character would give us a piece of information that related to one of 10 good guys that have gone bad!

It took around 2 hrs to complete the investigation, but we spent around 4hrs in total as there was just so much to do!

The train staff and the team at Whistlestop are welcoming and friendly and they go above and beyond to help their customers which is lovely to see. Each member of staff asked us if we were enjoying the day and you got the sense that if someone replied in the negative, they would take it upon themselves to try and fix it!

We rode on Hawk, monkeys favourite train, probably as Hawk is blue and reminds him of Thomas!

The day was full of excitement and glee, and I also noticed how invested all the parents were in solving the mystery. I put that down to a whole team effort (actors and staff) for being so engaging and enthusiastic.

The icing on the cake for us was having an ice-cream, to celebrate getting the right culprit!

On the way home Monkey did not stop talking about each character and how much fun he had, riding on the trains. Safe to say will be taking the trip down to Whistlestop Valley very soon, to see and experience other events.

Pricing (For a special event)

Adult: £13.95

Child: (2-16 years): £13.95

Infant (under 2): FREE

Family of 4: £47.95

Family of 5: £58.95

Carer/Max Card: £6.95

Food and Amenities

There is a picnic area

In the main station at Clayton West there is a Café “The Firebox” which is very affordable. The food is great! I personally recommend the All-Day Breakfast.

At Shelley Station there is an ice cream parlour “The Turntable desert Parlour” that serves delicious ice creams, waffles, and tasty treats. It also serves drinks.

Both stations and all areas are accessible and have toilets that are cleaned regularly.


If you are looking for adventure and a great full day out for a reasonable place, and also enjoy trains this is the place for you!

Allow extra time before and after your train journey, to be able to experience everything to its fullest extent.

Rules of Dadding Rating:

Whistlestop is always updating their facilities and since we went, they have installed “The Pillow” an inflatable trampoline which can safely allow 28 jumpers at one time!

Whistlestop have a host of special events on throughout the year including Santa Specials, Dino Days, Day out with Thomas, Wizard Academies and much more check out their Website for details, or head on over to their Facebook group. (links below)

Check out the links below:


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