A SPECIAL festive steam train trip is to set off from Southend later this week as it heads on a journey to “one of the best Christmas markets in Europe”.

Steam Dreams Rail Co is hosting a magical trip to Winchester, setting off from Southend on Friday.

Steam train enthusiasts will be able to see the scheduled Sherwood Forester locomotive as it departs Southend Central at 8:34am.

It will stop at Leigh station at 8:41am, Barking at 9:45am, before arriving at Winchester at 1:11pm.

The enchanting locomotive will then arrive back at Shoebury at 9:51pm.

Since its construction nearly 90 years ago, 45231 Sherwood Forester has worked across the UK, from routes in Wales and Northern England during its "working life" prior to preservation, to the beautiful Mallaig line in Scotland, where Harry Potter was filmed.

It will make its way through Essex towards the outskirts of East London and crossing through the heart of the capital before emerging on the far side in Surrey.

After the break in Winchester, day-trippers will make their homeward journey once again hauled by the steam locomotive before it is switched to a diesel locomotive at West London for a swift run back to Shoebury.