Saturday, 22 October 2011

Big Fun with Little Trains at the National Railway Museum

My little boy loves Chuggington, Thomas the Tank Engine and any other 'Choo Choo Train' he comes across.  There is something about trains that children simply adore! So when we were invited to the National Railway Museum in York to visit their Big Fun with Little Trains event, we knew Freddy would love it!

Big Fun with Little Trains
From the 22nd to the 30th of October for half term, the National Railway Museum is hosting a free 9 day celebration of toys and model trains.  Visitors of all ages will be enthralled by the range of trains, both big and small that are on display.  The event is bringing together the biggest names in toy and model trains with hands on workshops and play sessions hosted by Chuggington, Meccano, Big Jigs and Tomica.  There are also dynamic displays from Bachmann, the Gauge 1 Society and from event sponsors Hornby.

From the moment we arrived, Freddy's face lit up at the sight of so many trains!   Ella and Kizzy were also awestruck by the Great Hall and all the exhibits.  It is an impressive display that greets you as you step into the museum!

"I like trains!!"
There is a vast array of models and toys around the museum alongside the full size steam trains and locomotives on display.  Everything is very hands on.  There are interactive story-telling sessions throughout the day.  My children enjoyed "Quick!  The Queen is Coming!" which was a story about Queen Victoria arriving at York Station on her way to the races in 1853.  They waved their Union Flags and joined in with the audience participation!  There are also talks, demonstrations and a fun science show for everyone to enjoy.

"Quick!  The Queen is Coming!!"
Other attractions included Pedal Trains, Big Jigs play tables, Meccano workshops, a "Meet the Author" experience with Chris Vine who wrote the Peter's Railway books, craft sessions to make a Halloween diorama and a Chuggington play area.  There are lots of impressive model train sets on display including one featuring Thomas and his friends.

Big Jigs train play tables.
Meccano Display
Caledonian Loco Model
Model Railway
In addition to the fabulous Toy Train event attractions, the museum boasts some 200 years of railway history and the collection includes over 100 locomotives, 250 items of rolling stock and thousands of other items of memorabilia.  We had a fabulous family day out. We rode both the indoor and outdoor miniature railways.  We also had a go on the train Simulator where you can do a London to Brighton rail journey at breakneck speed.  We had a ride in a steam locomotive which was incredible. Freddy was trying to grab the plumes of steam which billowed past the train carriage.  It was really magical for him!

Teddy the Steam Train
Indoor Miniature Railway
Outdoor Miniature Railway

One thing I really loved was the fact that we were able to ride the Land Train from the museum into York.  It is a beautiful city.  We spent an hour exploring the Olde Worlde streets, enjoying street entertainers, specialist shops and the stunning architecture before catching the train back.

Land Train
York Cathedral
On the Land Train from York.
We returned to the museum and the children enjoyed the hands on educational exhibits including bridge building, public announcement making, shape puzzles and moving miniature cargo with miniature cranes!!

Loading the Cargo
Shape Puzzle
We enjoyed a meal in the restaurant dining next to some very fancy train carriages.  The food was very impressive!  There is also a cafe and other food and refreshment vendors on site, along with lots of picnic areas.  The toilet facilities are clean and modern.  There are good baby changing facilities and a buggy friendly toilet cubicle!  Families are very well catered for.

Good veggie meals!!
The National Railway Museum is an excellent attraction, perfect for a half term visit.  Admission to the museum is absolutely free of charge!*  Kids and adults will have a great day out exploring all the exhibits and enjoying all the fun of the toy trains!  My girls were just as enthralled as their little brother.

A Great Day Out
The Mallard
The National Railway Museum currently has a competition to win a £150 toy voucher by identifying whether three close up photographs are of big trains or little trains.  Take a look at the NRM Facebook page to find out more!

*A small charge is applied to some attractions such as the Simulator and train rides.
** We were treated to a VIP Day Out by NRM including lunch and rides, but we genuinely loved our day out and I adore York.


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