We were gifted with free rides and food and drink for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.
Who doesn’t love a funfair? I know I do – and my kids do too. Something I really love is vintage style funfairs with carousels and rides like that. When offered the chance to come and review Carters Steam Fair who were in my area this past weekend, I just knew I had to say yes. It sounded like a dream come true for me and I knew the kids would love the day out. It has plenty more dates for the rest of the year so be sure to visit if it is coming near you!
Carters Steam Fair is a traditional English travelling steam fair. Their rides date from the 1890’s to the 1960’s and they have spent the last 40 years rescuing and restoring vintage fairground rides whilst taking them around London and the South East for the public to enjoy. Carters Steam Fair itself actually started in 1977 when John and Anna Carter bought the Jubilee Steam Gallopers that they still operate today.
Carters Steam Fair are unique in the fact that the engines, rides and transport all have absolutely beautiful signwriting, lining and traditional fairground decoration from Joby Carter and his team. He is a leading expert on the traditional craft of sign writing and fairground art and hosts training courses at the Carters Yard throughout the year which I think is incredible.
We arrived and headed over to the token booth to pick up our pack which enabled us to our free rides for the purpose of review. You can also buy tokens here or around the site from one of the many machines and you can even buy tokens online and take advantage of special deals! The rides are very affordable – the tokens are 50p each and the smaller, toddler rides are around £2 to £2.50 in tokens with the bigger rides a little more.
We were gifted with twenty free ride tokens so we could give a fair review of the rides they had to offer, two tokens for candyfloss, two tokens for a hot drink, two tokens for Hook-A-Duck so the kids could both have a go on the sidestall and a VIP ticket for a token deal should we wish to buy more.
There are many rides on site and Jack and Olivia did their best to try them all, although some even Jack wasn’t quite brave enough to try! I’m going to talk a little about the rides below.
The Jungle Thriller Ark is suitable for both adults and children and costs 5 tokens per person. This can go quite fast and can get quite busy as there are plenty of different animals and things to sit on. The ride speeds around and rises up on ‘hills’, much like waltzers do. Jack really enjoyed this ride.
The Jubilee Steam Gallopers is the oldest ride the fair owns, built in about 1895. The ride is gentle and is suitable for all ages although smaller children should be accompanied by an adult. This ride costs 5 tokens per person and was one that both kids really enjoyed. It truly is a magnificent piece of art too, so many beautiful designs and excellent craftmanship.
Jack was much braver than me and gave the Chair O Plane a go. This is for those who are over 1.1m in height and costs 5 tokens per person. This ride dates from the 1920’s and is a rare example of a working vintage Chair-O-Plane. Jack loved it although did a look a little bit worried by the speed and the wind when he was up there, haha!
The Mini Octopus was one of the kids most favourite rides. It costs 4 tokens per person to ride and two people can fit in a car. It is suitable for pre school age up to around the age of 6 although Jack did go in too and he’s 7. It spins you around and takes you up and down and both my kids loved it, especially being able to ride together.
Toytown was probably one of Olivia’s favourite rides! As you can see, she went on it quite a few times. It costs 4 tokens per person to ride and you can ride a train, a tractor or even a horse! It is a great little ride for little ones.
Somehow the kids managed to persuade me to take them on the Hurricane Jets – they are suitable for all ages but young children need to be accompanied. It costs 5 tokens per person and is lots of fun as you control how high you go with the lever in your jet. The ride flies fast and high and as you can see, my kids really enjoyed it!
The boat ride is for sailors under 1.1m in height and is 4 tokens per person. Young children can be accompanied by an adult. The boats slowly glide around as the children pretend to sail in them and both my children loved the ride.
We didn’t manage to get on all the rides and did go on some such as the Ghost Train but didn’t take photos. I couldn’t believe that the gentleman in the above pictures was actually powering this particular ride by hand – amazing!
We had a wonderful time trying out the rides and also checking out the sidestalls, especially the Hook-A-Duck where both kids left with a little prize. There are a number of side stalls including a coconut shy, arcade and shooting salon.
Steve and I also found the living wagons absolutely beautiful – I’m sad I didn’t actually take photos of any but you can see just how beautiful some of them are here. There are also a number of beautiful vehicles to check out. I mentioned early on in the post that I find vintage funfairs so beautiful and this funfair was both a pleasure to the eyes and to the soul, my kids had an amazing time as did we.
If you find that Carters is coming to your area, please do consider visiting. You won’t be disappointed.