The sun shone down all day on the annual Cliff Railway Day Victorian & Steampunk Celebration at Lynton and Lynmouth, and the crowds were out in force to help celebrate and party like it was 1888. The unique Cliff Railway, the highest and steepest fully water powered Cliff Railway in the world, has been carrying locals and visitors between the two towns for almost one hundred and thirty years, since the reign of Queen Victoria. And a right royal time was had by all, as Queen Victoria and other members of her family attended and greeted visitors within the town before retiring to a Victorian high tea at The Bath Hotel. Once refreshed, Queen Victoria honoured some local characters with a knighting ceremony to add an extra touch of elegance to the proceedings.
A whole day of Victorian, Steampunk and family events included entertainment by the ever popular Exmoor Border Morris dancers as well as an original street theatre drama written by John Frankish, the towns’ mayor and performed by cliff railway staff and local residents. The day included a Beach Clean provided by BeachCareSW and support from the National Park Centre and other attractions including Exmoor Zoo, Combe Martin Wildlife Park and Quince Honey Farm. Traditional Victorian organ music, ponies and other activities provided a fun packed day which was closed with music provided by local Ilfracombe band, ‘Such and Vincent’, at the Ancient Mariner. General Manager Ashley Clarke commented that almost 2000 people had travelled on the Cliff Railway during the day, including visitors from Europe and America and said “It’s good news for the whole area to see that visitor numbers are growing, and I believe local businesses can look forward to a busy summer”
Cliff Railway Day is scheduled annually on the 2nd Saturday in May and is designed to showcase UK, and International, funicular railways. The first Cliff Railway Day was launched by Lynton & Lynmouth Cliff Railway in 2018 and 2019 saw the return of Cliff Railway Day for the second year with support and involvement from Babbacombe, Scarborough Central Tramway, Bridgnorth, Clifton Rocks and Southend Cliff Lift who all hosted their own individual events.
Cliff Railway Day is designed to raise the profile and the importance of funicular railways worldwide and to engage new generations with the heritage and ingenuity of these amazing engineering marvels.