National Railway Museum, York: A review

I don’t normally write about our days out as a family. It’s hard enough getting two small children out of the house for ‘fun’ without having to relive the whole debacle by writing about it. But we went and we all survived so here’s my review.

The National Railway Museum in York is an ideal day out for any of the following:

1. People who really like trains.

2. Parents of children who really like trains.

3. People who like wearing cagoules.

I probably wouldn’t recommend it for:

1. People who don’t like trains.

2. People who like to spend their Saturdays watching The West Wing with a nice cup of coffee.

3. Anyone with a phobia of middle aged men wearing sensible clothes.

Annoyingly I fall into 2 opposing categories People who like to spend their Saturdays watching The West Wing with a nice cup of coffee AND Parents of children who really like trains. Turns out that being a parent is more important than the political wranglings of the President Of The United States, in our house at least.

Getting there

With York station next door you could catch the train to the museum but we didn’t do that, instead we decided to drive there so we could argue in the comfort of our own car.  On arrival we parked in the car park which costs £9 but the museum itself is free.

The museum is literally just across the road from the car park. I mean just there. You can see it. There. Why won’t you just walk! Yes despite the proximity of the museum to the car park we still had to carry our 2 year old son across the road because he point blank refuses to walk anywhere – even into a museum full of trains which we have driven to expressly for him to enjoy. Ungrateful little shit.

Hey ho! At least this gave Mummy and Daddy the opportunity to have a bit of an argument about who forgot to bring the pram. Fun times!

What’s There?

Onto the good stuff – we’re going to see some trains! I love trains! I literally cannot think of anything better to do with my Saturday afternoon than driving to a museum full of trains! (I hope those exclamation marks don’t make me look sarcastic.)

Essentially the museum is a massive room full of trains.  Some of which are quite famous although none of them have been in Celebrity Big Brother or fathered any of Katie Price’s babies so really how famous are they? As well as trains of dubious celebrity status there’s a room full of trainy shiz, a café serving acceptable coffee, a bridge for spotting/ avoiding lost members of your family, a model train set, a decent play area and a turntable.

If you don’t know what a turntable is that’s the round bit of Brio train track that is a total lifesaver, even better than those short double ended bits which you never have enough of. When we arrived there was a demonstration about the turntable but as I’m already an expert due to my extensive Brio track building we bypassed it and headed straight for the café. Because cake.

If you’re not that into trains and do end up visiting the museum don’t despair, I can highly recommend watching people who do like trains look at trains – it’s fascinating. Seriously some people really like trains. I mean my son really likes trains but he’s two he also really likes playing with toilet roll. But there are actual adults out there who get equally excited. (About trains not toilet roll.)

I overheard one man exclaiming  ‘I can’t believe this is all free! I’d pay at least £20 to come here’.

£20! To look at trains? Men are weird.

The museum is actually a fantastic day out for small children – a big open space they can run around in shouting ‘Look! Train!’ every 10 seconds. And if there’s one thing I like better than listening in on other people’s conversations it’s seeing my son’s happy little shouty face.

I’m awarding top family friendly points for the fact that you don’t have to walk through a gift shop on your way out avoiding the traditional post museum wrestle with a 4 year old over a bendy rainbow pencil. Yay!

Basically if you like trains and you are near York you should definitely go. If you don’t and you aren’t then why are you reading a review about a place you have no interest in visiting?

Don’t you people have work to do?

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