Carters Steam Fair comes to my town every year and for some reason, I always seemed to miss it so this year I wanted to change that, especially as the boys are now at an age to both enjoy it. If you haven’t heard of Carters Steam Fair it is a vintage funfair which has been running now for over 40 years. During this period they have lovingly restored traditional rides and attractions dating from the 1890s to the 1960s, bringing joy to countless people by touring around London and the South East. It is considered to be the most famous vintage fair in the world and this is not only because of the hard work and dedication the team have put into creating such a stunning collection of rides but also because it has appeared in TV and films such as The Theory of Everything, Call the Midwife and Paddington 2.
When we arrived at the steam fair we were immediately wowed. The rides are so striking with their bold and beautiful colours as well as the detailed handpainted decorations. It’s just like walking into another world and I loved that.
When you arrive you’ll want to head for the token booth or if you want to be super organised you can book them online prior to the day. The fair itself is free to enter but you will need tokens to go on the rides, stalls and arcades. They offer a variety of options at the counter or alternatively you can purchase them at the token dispensers which are dotted around the site. Most toddler rides cost 4 tokens, most family rides cost 5 tokens, most thrill rides cost 6 tokens and most games cost 5 tokens.
There’s such a wide variety of rides at the Carters Steam Fair which means that people of all ages can enjoy it. William is 21 months, Jake is 5 and myself and my husband are mid-thirties and all of us had an amazing time and went on plenty of the rides. Some do have height restrictions so you will need to check these out once there or you can read their age recommendations via their website here.
As I mentioned above, all of the rides have been lovingly restored back to their former glory and you’ll honestly never see another fair like this around.
After a wander around to see what they had to offer, the children immediately chose the rides that stood out to them and I was so pleased to hear that William could go on with Jake or by himself too. The vintage cars were the first port of call and William was in his element!
This ride goes round and round and was perfect for little people who love to imagine that they can drive.
The train was next on William’s list and they ended up going back on this later on too…
They also loved this beautiful boat ride…
Now, I’m not a big one for rides because the round and round motion tends to make me feel ill but when Jake begged me to go on the chair-o-plane with him I couldn’t turn him down. I used to love these as a kid but my word did this go faster than I thought and went on for what felt like an age… I won’t show you the after photo but if you are like me with rides, don’t do this one (the people below were lucky it stopped when it did!) I least I was smiling beforehand!
My husband, on the other hand, adores rides and the faster the better for him. If you have a daredevil in the family any of these will thrill them!
He somehow roped Jake onto the faster rides too…
The fair also has dodgems, which Jake went on about 3 times in the end!
Plus a fab rocket ride…
Of course, the favourite for me had to be the Gallopers, not the carousel as I had wrongly called it. Fun fact: a carousel turns anti-clockwise and the horses are often different from one another and prancing. ‘Gallopers’ is the British term for this ride which turns clockwise.
A perfect ride for the whole family (unless you need the hubby on the ground to take the photos!)
The oldy worldy stalls were attracting loads of attention from all of the visitors and it was great to watch. People were cheering others on, they were chatting to one another and all of us were amazed by the elderly lady who had a mean shot with the rifle!
Our favourites were hook a duck (gifted tickets), hook a fish and the shooting range.
Food, Drink and Facilities
We visited the Steam fair in the afternoon after lunch so we didn’t need to get substantial food during our visit. We were gifted 2 vouchers for hot drinks plus 2 vouchers for candyfloss so we took full advantage of those as well as being completely tempted by the doughnuts! The tea wasn’t the best I’m afraid to report and I had to tip mine away. I think it may have been the milk. The doughnuts, however, were delicious and I could have eaten a whole batch of them! Jake had his first-ever try of candyfloss and was taken aback by the size of it!!
I was very disappointed in the toilets. I thought that with all of the trailers there that the toilets may have been found inside one so after struggling to find them I was very surprised to be told that they were in fact just 3 portaloos (I had to ask a stallholder in the end because I just couldn’t locate them) Walking around with a toddler in your arms, desperate for the toilet and not being able to find them wasn’t enjoyable and neither was the fact that they were smelly (others were also complaining of this too) and there was no alcohol rub for my hands. I’m not sure where anyone was meant to change a baby but we ended up doing it outside on the grass. This is something you will have to take into consideration when visiting.
The Vintage Vehicles
When you visit Carters Steam Fair you need to take a wander ‘behind the scenes’ too. The vehicles are just as impressive as the rides and stand proudly on display all around the site.
We had an amazing day overall and would highly recommend a visit to Carters Steam Fair to everybody. The boys adored it, I loved watching their little faces light up and it was so lovely to do something completely different with the whole family. The staff are all so friendly and chatty and are on hand to answer any questions, the rides are like nothing you will have seen before and the atmosphere is just full of fun. We will most definitely be visiting next year.
*We were gifted tokens and vouchers in exchange for an honest review of Carters Steam Fair. For further information please refer to my disclosure page.
Pin for later:
If you enjoyed this post you can follow more of our life, opinions and antics over on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. Plus feel free to come and join in with my parenting group ‘From One Parent to Another’ on Facebook.
If you’d like to contact me you can either leave me a comment or drop me a line via my contact me page.
For other topics similar to this one check out these suggestions below…