It’s funny because I actually started writing this blog about our visit to National Railway Museum in August but never got it finished… I kept pushing it back and back until I wondered if I had left it too long… and now I’m re-starting this blog because we have just got back from yet another visit to the museum! So, that must be saying something! We went to York yesterday and stayed overnight, today before heading home the museum filled up a good 3 hours and I have to say we had a much better time than back in August. 6 Top Tips for making the most out of your visit to National Railway Museum, York
You can find National Railway Museum, York at:
York, YO26 4XJ
Only five minutes walk from York train station & entry is free. YAY!
Our trip to the National Railway Museum in York in August (which never made it to the blog!) wasn’t our first visit, even with Eric… we have been a few times in previous years. I think we have been about 5 times now. There’s no excuse as we are only an hour away by train from Sheffield. The museum is great fun, it’s always impressive to see all the trains and you can’t go wrong with it being free!
The last time, though, I have to admit I found it quite stressful. I think it just boiled down to the fact that was it was busy (it was school holidays), we rushed and tried to cram in seeing the entire museum which we shouldn’t have done, Eric was still relying on naps back then so it was a nightmare getting it all done before nap time, and I put a lot of pressure on myself to see it all and take photos of everything for a blog post. C’mon, though, I would have to be there all day for that to happen!
Instead, today when we went, we had just decided to “pop in” but we actually ended up being there most of the afternoon and had a really lovely time. There is so much to see at this museum it is very much worth a visit, it is one of the best free museums in the UK and all ages will love it. From my experience going here a number of times both with and without kids, here’s some tips to how I think you can make the most out of your visit.
6 Top Tips for making the most out of your visit to National Railway Museum, York
- Don’t make any promises to yourself that you’ll see EVERYTHING and just take it as it comes. It is a very big museum and there is a lot to see, it can be overwhelming for adults so imagine what it’s like for little kids. Today, we chose only one hall (The Great Hall) to really explore and it was really enjoyable to take our time and look at everything thoroughly as opposed to trying to cram it all in. And, because we hadn’t got the pressure on us of getting through the whole museum, we were able to take full advantage of what there was to see in the Great Hall and take time for photos.
If you are visiting this museum and it is your only chance, or you aren’t sure when you will be back, I do recommend taking a whole day to see this museum and splitting it into two. Plan what rooms you are going to first and factor in a good lunch. If you have kids, I recommend getting there early and plan!! Keep in mind that there is a lot to see so if your family get bored/tired you might not end up seeing everything. Don’t worry, though, it’s free so there’s always the opportunity to come back again.
- Don’t go when it’s expected to be busy. Sometimes this can’t be avoided, but when it can, don’t visit when it school holidays or a weekend… especially if you have a toddler because although the museum is very big so there’s lots of space, it can get busy. This is overwhelming for little toddlers and means the play areas (inside and outside) can get too busy to enjoy. When we were at the museum in August there was a lot of tears and frustrated toddlers in the play area all fighting for a space to play on the wooden train track. It was so stressful!
- Take LOTS of photos! Please, don’t forget a camera! You can pass a lot of time by just taking lots of photos. The Great Hall is fabulous for this. Eric loves having a photo taken and the huge trains make the best photo opportunity… there’s actually so many trains you can climb on (look for the signs of the ones which are too fragile!), so take a seat and pose! Some trains you can actually go inside and pretend to ride on, too, which is so fun for kids… and adults… 😀
- Save money & take a picnic. Your options for eating and drinking aren’t limited at the museum but can pricey and busy. One of the easiest ways to save money on any trip is to take a packed lunch. Picnics at the National Railway Museum are so fun, too, because who doesn’t love a picnic next to a huge train?!
- Ride on the road train. The museum has it’s own road train and a ride on this is a must! You can catch the train outside the museum and it takes you on a a short journey to Duncombe Place – York Minster. It leaves the museum every 30 minutes from 11am–4pm, it’s £3 adult each way and £2 child.
- Have a look in the Warehouse. Access the Warehouse from an entrance in the Great Hall next to the Flying Scotsman. The warehouse is not an exhibition or museum but a working warehouse open for visits to explore at no extra cost. There are hundreds and thousands of museum artefacts, bits and pieces to see, cabinates floor to ceiling with vintage trains, a workhouse and a viewing balcony. It is packed full to the brim Aladdin’s cave of objects which have not made it on an exhibition in the main museum and it was so impressive… Eric was in awe at it all and all we could hear from him was “ooh” and “wowwwww”!
Have you been to the National Railway Museum or are you thinking of going? It’s definitely one of our favourite places to visit for free!
Kids will love the little play station play area indoors, and don’t forget the playground and miniature railway outside.
If you love museums, find more top tips and reviews of our favourite museums here.
I really hope this was helpful and do comment to let me know down below! Thank you for reading <3