A Day Out at the National Railway Museum

In March we took a trip to the National Railway Museum in York, and I thought I would share our experience with you.
At the time of our visit our eldest was three years, and our youngest was just five months so this review might help you if you are a parent to littles!

Our eldest is obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine, talks about him all the time, colours are in reference to trains, phrases like “i fell off the tracks” “I screech and stop” “bust my buffers” are a common occurrence throughout my household.
With all this in mind we thought time spent at the Railway Museum would be great.

Nate and I at NRM

A trip to York isn’t too far from where we live and you could make a visit absolutely free by not using the museums car park. I think if the boys were older we could have gotten to York by train but at their ages the convenience of having a car is essential. I simply saw the £9 car park charge as a ticket to get in as it goes to the upkeep of the museum.

We headed straight downstairs to begin looking at all the trains and Nathanael was wowed by how many there were, and the fact that he could look inside so many!
At the time of our visit as it was during term time on a miserable March day, I was surprised to see how busy it was, there were 3 or 4 school groups going around and a lot of other visitors too.

circle trains

In the main section there is a coffee shop which is in the middle of where all the trains are, this was perfect for me as I could grab a drink and feed my youngest, while Nathanael and his Daddy were off exploring. More often than not with littles you are trying to manage the expectations of each one and especially when out and about this can be difficult. I thought the open cafe area was a great idea.

They also have other restaurants available in another area of the museum which is laid out as if you are dining in a train carriage. I am sure if my two boys were a little older they would have loved this, at the time there were plenty of adults taking pictures of their experience!


Not all of the trains are open to see, and this for my oldest was where the fun stopped for him, his attention span isn’t the greatest so if he couldn’t look in all the trains this is where he wanted to move onto the next. There was plenty of information to read about the trains and railways scattered all over, and I was impressed to see on quite a few of the trains employees of the museum sharing what they were all about.
I explained to one lady how much Nathanael loved Thomas the Tank Engine and she dove straight in and told Nathanael how that train was exactly like Emily. I really appreciated how they went out of their way for Nate to have the best possible experience.

Nate and I looking at trains

There is a play area “Little Play Station”  for younger children which is a new addition, Nathanael loved exploring this area, however we went in March during term time and it was quite busy. I perhaps would have made this area a little bigger I can imagine this are during the summer months would be very crowded.

Luke and Nate bridge

Overall we had a great morning at the museum, I perhaps think our eldest would have got more out of the experience if he was a little older or had the weather been a little better and we could have gone on the small train or he could have played in their outdoor area.
This isn’t any slight on the museum obviously as they can’t help the weather or my son’s love of the outdoors.



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