Harry Potter Experience at Oakfield Park 2023

We are delighted to announce, and very much looking forward to the return of our popular Harry Potter Experience throughout two weekends this October. The Harry Potter Experience is a part of this year’s Wainfest and runs from 12-6pm on Saturday 7th & Sunday 8th and Saturday 14th & Sunday 15th. Take a trip on the Hogwarts Express Steam Train through the Forbidden Forest before stopping off at Platform 9 ¾. Keep an eye out for the Basilisk, Dobbie, and others – and enjoy a game of quidditch on a real quidditch pitch! All witches and wizards are encouraged to dress up in their finest house robes. All Muggles are welcome. Enter the Triwizard Tournament by challenging yourself to solve the Enchanted Maze and test your Harry Potter knowledge by completing the champion’s quiz with a prize for every successful wizarding student at Honeydukes. Have your photo taken with The Weasley’s Enchanted Ford Anglia and sit under the sorting hat to decide which house you belong to.  Test your knowledge with our Harry Potter Geo-Quiz and finish of your magical day by popping into the Three Broomsticks to sample some Butterbeer, your favourite Cauldron Cake or choose from a special themed hot food menu.

THERE IS NO REQUIREMENT TO PRE-BOOK. Normal entry and train fees apply – there is no extra charge for this event, and it is free for 2023 Seasonal and Gold Pass holders.

Harry Potter Experience – Schools Day (arranged by teachers) On Friday 13th October, The Ministry of Magic invites your school to enjoy a wizardly day out at the Harry Potter Experience in Oakfield Park. Give your students a day they will never forget, from rambling through our hedge maze, to sampling Butterbeer and pitting their skills against each other in a game of quidditch. Standard entry is €12 per student. Lunch can also be provided; this option covers the entry fee and a delicious Harry Potter themed Al Fresco lunch and costs €17 per student.

Contact us on 074 9173922  or [email protected] to arrange a bespoke package for your group.

The Santa Express 2023

The Santa Express is the most magical time of year at Oakfield Park and this special event sells out very quickly each year. Tickets go on sale on Monday 28th August at 10am, with a new ticketing provider and queuing system so that everyone can get a suitable slot.

This year, The Santa Express runs from November 29th to December 23rd.
Again, the event is better than ever before with more props and features each year. Aside from the train ride to meet the man himself, these are just some of the new attractions being added for 2023:

Did you know that the Elf Olympics happen every 100 years? This Christmas, we are excited to announce that Oakfield Park has the honour of hosting The Elf Olympic Games 2023! In our freshly designed cabins, you can take part in the Elf Olympic Games before you go into Santa’s grotto! There are games to suit everyone from present stacking, stocking races to basket-bauble. Play in your family group to try and beat the North Pole Record and win a gold medal.

Enter through the magical portal where you’ll travel thousands of miles to the North Pole in seconds. Step into the buzzing Christmas village where The Santa Express train awaits to take you through a winter wonderland of lights and enchanted forest to meet Santa himself. Warm your hands around delicious hot chocolate or mulled wine and explore everything the North Pole has to offer. Mrs Claus is working in the Post Office and can’t wait to meet you and help write your Christmas letters. Tootsie’s Toyshop is back with a huge selection of beautiful gifts and toys, The Holly Hut is serving it’s world-famous Christmas donuts and pretzels and The Treat Truck is fully stocked with treats. Meet the Elves of the North Pole like Mo in the Ice Palace and take photos with the giant teddy or the polar bears. Then you can spend some time in Chestnut Cottage making incredible Christmas crafts and cards or getting your face painted as your favourite reindeer.

What’s new for 2023:

  • Elf Olympic Games. Fun for all the family as all games are team games. We know the excitement is to see the big man himself but while you wait to see him – you have the chance to win a gold medal for your family. Clever games for all ages and abilities are run by our enthusiastic elves so you won’t feel like you’re waiting. The newly decorated cabins outside Santa’s grotto are fully equipped to keep you jolly entertained.
  • The Holly Hut – Hot treats will be available in the piazza
  • Craft at Chestnut Cottage. A brand-new hut in the Christmas village dedicated purely to arts and crafts where you can make beautiful Christmas tree decorations, personalised Christmas cards with all the trimmings and have your face painted by Rainbow Elf.
  • Igloo Ice Kingdom. Come in and meet Mo in the Ice Kingdom and have your photo with the polar bears and giant ice blocks. You may even learn something about ice fishing! The ice Kingdom is one of the many new photo opportunities this year.
  • New and Exciting Christmas menu in Buffers as well as indoor seating. No prebooking required. Buffers have created a delectable Christmas menu, with cosy indoor seating and festive favourites.
  • Year on year, we add ever more lights and features to captivate on the train journey More to see on your train journey. Watch as the elegant water lights dance off the lake or sparkle up and down the Longsleeper. In addition to Candyland, we have Toytown to see and glittering unicorns in the paddock as well as secret elf doors hidden all around the track. You can try to spot all the doors along your journey.

Join us for one of the country’s biggest Christmas events, and take a real train to meet the man himself by visiting www.oakfieldpark.com/santa or ticketmaster.ie

Photography Competition

Each month the team at Oakfield Park choose a winner who will receive a Family Pass with the overall annual winner receiving an Annual Pass for 2022.

To enter, visit the park and explore and send your best photographs of your visit to [email protected]. The winner is announced on social media at the end of each month. Good luck!


Our judges decision is final. By submitting a photo you will be giving permission to Oakfield Park to use your photos for future marketing purposes. Drone photography is not permitted.

Steam Sunday: the last one until 2023! – 25th September 2022

The last Steam Sunday of the season is here.

The grounds at Oakfield Park include a host of sites to explore, including walled gardens, ponds, lakes, an outdoor playground, a hedge maze, heritage trees and sculptures. Children can make a wish at Oakfield Park’s Faerie tree, while navigating their way through extensive walks and trails.

Weave your way through the park’s gardens along 4.5km of narrow-gauge track on Oakfield Park’s diesel and steam trains, the ‘Duchess of Difflin’ and ‘The Earl of Oakfield.’ The trains operate passenger trips around the grounds, which is a magical way to explore the park’s gardens as the train passes through flower meadows, beautiful woodlands, willow tunnels, oak circles, boardwalks, heritage trees, a wooden causeway and sparkling streams and lakes.

After a day exploring the parklands, visitors can refuel in Buffers Restaurant, which is open alongside park opening hours and is returning with a delicious new menu created with produce from the park’s gardens.

Jobs at The Santa Express

So you want to be an Elf? Santa has asked his Head Elf to form a new squad for Oakfield Park’s Santa Express 2022 and we want you. There are many roles that we need some bright new faces for. Please read through the job descriptions below and select the one(s) you feel you’d be best suited for. You need to be energetic, positive, enthusiastic with a sense of good old Christmas spirit. Performance experience is preferred but not necessary. You will probably do more than one role in your time at the Santa Express and will be trained to do all.

Applicants need to be 15 years old and above with a few roles only suitable to those over 18. The Santa Express Dates are 30th November to the 23rd of December. Weekday shifts start at 4pm and weekends at midday. Preference will be given to those who are available to work 3+ days a week.

Please submit your CV to [email protected] along with your reasons for wanting this role. Closing date for applications is Saturday 16th October. Successful applicants must be available to attend auditions 20th-22nd October & training 25th -27th November.

Job Roles:

The first face customers see. Happy and welcoming with good organisational skills.
Jobs: Greeting and information, ticket scanning, distribution of tickets and tokens, story-telling and communication with platform elves.

Part of a 5 elf team with Santa. Energetic and organised.
Jobs: Keeping Santa’s Grotto magical as well as clean and tiday! Helping customers safely board and disembark the train. Queue management, entertaining families while they wait by leading games, story-telling, running Christmas craft, singing and dancing. Organising and distributing presents for children, helping Santa. Full engagement with families.

Friendly and very organised. Café experience preferred.
Jobs: Running of the van. Making ice-creams & waffles. Selling drinks and snacks, cashing up. Keeping the van clean and tidy and stocked.

Friendly and very organised. Café experience preferred.
Jobs: Preparing and serving hot drinks, keeping the area incredibly clean. Giving information about train times, puppet shows etc.

A new role this year. Responsible and Confident.
Jobs: Running of the toy shop. Selling toys & decorations as well as talking to customers. Restocking and making sure the shop always looks its best.

Responsible and Hardworking.
Jobs: Helping Mrs Claus run the post office which includes helping children write their letters to Santa. Looking after Mrs Claus and running the post office in her absence.

Acting skills required.
Jobs: Story-telling and performing. Entertaining and interacting with families, performing set pieces.

Organised with good communication and performance skills.
Jobs: Getting passengers safely boarded and disembarked from the train. Keeping everything running on time, in charge of the clock and schedule. Cleaning in between trains. Entertaining the boarded passengers and hyping up the energy to get everyone excited to see Santa. Managing late families, ticket confusions, liaising with the Kiosk elf.

CAPTAIN (4-5 days a week. preference for 18+)
Management role. Organised, leadership skills.
Jobs: In control of the team at the Grotto. In charge of assigning daily roles, costumes for all the team, organising breaks, overseeing entire grottos clean routine as well as performing one of the Grotto roles. Making sure all elves are working and all customers are happy. Keeping daily reports of elves performances. Assisting the Head Elf with weekly rotas.

Part of a performance team; theatre experience preferred but not required
Jobs: Performing learned routine puppet show on the hour every hour. You will operate the hand puppets (training provided). Also in charge of keeping puppet theatre clean and tidy, helping seat audiences and support the main actor.

Theatre performance required. Children’s entertainment / Panto experience preferred.
Fun and energetic, confident performer.
Jobs: Performing a pre-scripted show on the hour for 25 mins every hour. (The Puppets will take up 10-15 minutes of this time). You will host the show and engage with the crowd and then perform for the audience along with the puppets this involves getting children to engage with you as well as performing a set piece. Will rehearse with puppeteers and director the week before opening.

Working on The Santa Express was so enjoyable. It is great on my CV and to have Oakfield Park as a referee has really helped me to get placement during my studies. I would recommend it to anyone.

Elf from The Class of 2020

Oakfest 2022: Frequently Asked Questions


• How do I get to Oakfest?
Oakfest takes place at Oakfield Park, Raphoe, County Donegal on Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th September 20. Please see directions to Oakfield Park on our website.

• Shuttle bus will be available to and from Letterkenny
Coach will leave McCafferty’s Bar Letterkenny and 1.30pm on Saturday 10th & Sunday 11th September. Bus will return from Oakfield Park at 10.30pm. Please confirm your name and how many people you would like to reserve a space for by emailing [email protected]. Bus is €7.50 return per person.

• Is Car Parking available? 
Please note Car parking is available on site. All vehicles to be removed by 10.45pm on Saturday and Sunday.

• Will the gardens be open as normal for non-ticketholders?
No, during ticketed events here in Oakfield Park, tickets must be presented on arrival to enter. The same applies during The Santa Express.

• What time does Oakfest start?
Gates open at 2pm on Saturday and Sunday, music begins at 2pm on Saturday and 2.20pm on Sunday.
Gates close at 10.30pm.

• Do I have to print my ticket?
Tickets will be scanned on arrival. Please print in advance or have available to scan from mobile phone. If you leave during the day please ensure your hand is stamped if re-entry is required. Weekend ticket holders will be issued with a wristband.

• Will the train be running at Oakfest?
The train will run on both days. Price is €7 for adults and €5 for children.

• Can I bring food or drink into the event?
No food or drink can be brought into the event. Please be aware that security will search everyone upon entry. There will be a fully licensed bar and food will be available onsite.

• Is there an ATM?
There will not be an ATM onsite. Card payment can be taken at every pay point.

• Are there baby changing facilities onsite?

• Can I bring a chair?
Yes folding chairs are permitted but cannot be used inside tents.

• Can I bring my dog to Oakfest?
No, dogs are not permitted with the exception of assistance dogs.

• Are camping/campervan/caravan facilities available?
Overnight camping is not available at Oakfest, it is a day festival only and all vehicles must be removed by 10.45pm.

• Are there any age limits?
No, there is no age limit and everyone is welcome. Oakfest offers a range of family focused activities over the course of the two days. ID may be requested for bar purchases. Under 16’s must be accompanied by an adult.

Oakfest will proceed regardless of weather conditions so come prepared!
PLEASE DO NOT BRING: alcohol, glass objects, umbrellas, blades/scissors, razors, any animals, drones, BBQs, fireworks, flares.
Security staff will be present at the event and reserve the right refuse entry and to search bags and confiscate food and drink where appropriate.

All sound and moving or still picture rights including, without limitation, on the Internet, vest exclusively with the organisers of Oakfest at Oakfield Park and any material filmed or recorded at the Event may only be used for the personal, non-profit making enjoyment of amateurs. By entering the venue, Ticket Holders consent to being photographed, filmed or recorded as visitors attending the Event, and consent to the image or recording of them being used in future marketing material for the Event, or their sponsors.

Santa Express 2023: Frequently Asked Questions

The Santa Express in Oakfield Park is the most famous festive event in the northwest that everyone will love, both young and old.

A Magical Christmas Experience on a Real Santa Train for all the Family. An experience that will create forever memories and the most precious moments to cherish with your family.

Prior to your arrival we are here to answer any questions you might have: 

How do I get to The Santa Express?

Please see directions to Oakfield Park on our website.

Is disabled car parking available?

Yes in the main carpark. State requirement on arrival and you will be directed to the correct parking area.

Please note that if you wish to make a booking for a person who uses a wheelchair, that we ask you to do so by emailing [email protected] and include your phone number so that we can call you back.

What age is the Santa Express suitable for?

The Santa Express is suitable for all ages and for all the family.

How long does the event last?

Please allow up to 2 hours to fit everything in. However once you purchase a particular date, you can come anytime during opening hours and stay for as long as you wish.

There are only 3 in my group – which compartment should I book?

You will need to book a compartment of 4 as this is our smallest compartment. However, we suggest that you bring someone along to fill your carriage as get maximum value. The same applies for a family of seven – you should book two four person compartments, and you can bring along up to eight people.

If myself or a member of my group can’t make it to the event, will I be refunded?

No unfortunately not, tickets are non-refundable. However, up to 24 hours prior to your arrival you can change the name on your booking via your universe login.

What happens if I am late and miss my train?

You must arrive AT LEAST 15 mins prior to train departure (15 mins earlier than your ticket start time). If you miss your train we cannot allow for late arrivals due to pre-booked schedules.

When is the event?

The event runs from 29th November until 23rd December 2023 although there are a few days off during December. Some days are longer than others with the first train either at 12.00 midday or 4.30pm.

What if I book an early time slot?

We recommend is that for early bookings, you arrive 15-30 minutes before your train time and do the other activities and get something to eat after at your leisure.

What if I book a later evening time slot?

For later evening bookings, we recommend that you arrive over an hour before your train time to fit in food and drink, fun and games before your train journey so that you’re ready to go after the train takes you back to the station.

Can I bring food or drink into the event?

No food or drink can be brought into the event, with the exception of baby food. There will be a fully licensed Bar and Restaurant, hot food stand and Ice Cream van onsite onsite.

Is there an ATM?

There will not be an ATM onsite. Card & €/£ cash payment accepted.

Are there baby changing facilities on site?

Yes, in the toilet block in the piazza.

We can’t wait for another magical Christmas experience at Oakfield Park. Set your reminders for Monday 28th August at 10am and get excited for the biggest Christmas event in the north west.


Teddy Bears’ Picnic – Tuesday 30th August 2022

On Tuesday August 30th our popular Teddy Bears’ Picnic returns. This famous event is one of most popular and we can’t wait to welcome you & your teddy bears!
Join us anytime between 12-5pm. Bring your teddy & meet the Oakfield bears, Peppa Pig, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, and friends.
There will be outdoor games, crafts, gummy bear hunts, nature walks, and train rides all day long.
You can bring your own picnic, eat in Buffers indoors and outdoors, enjoy treats from the Ice-cream van or purchase one of our pre-made picnic packs for €8 on the day.
The Teddy Bear Hospital is back again, where you can put your teddy through all our tests including the amazing TED-X scanner and receive a health certificate for your teddy!
No pre booking required. Normal gate fees apply.