Tuesday 12 October 2021

Visiting the York National Railway Museum

If you find yourself in the city of York and have some time on your hands I would definitely recommend a visit to the National Railway Museum. In fact, I'd say if it is within easy travelling distance go ahead and plan a specific trip to go and visit, as my family all really enjoyed it when we went there in early August this year.

The museum is free to enter but they do ask that you make a donation if you can as they have a vision for improvement that needs funding. We spent about three hours at the museum and that was doing it quite casually with a relaxed cuppa, but if you are particularly interested or if you have younger children who'll want to enjoy the outside play area you could be there much longer.

You have to book in advance currently but there seem to be tickets readily available and even for the next day, but obviously, book a bit ahead for weekends and school holidays as York can be a really busy cit. 

What is at the National Railway Museum?

Station Hall - There are two main halls as part of the museum, first there's the Station Hall which feels like a big old railway station and has numerous carriages situated along platforms for you to be able to browse into. You'll get a glimpse of 100 years of railway life with royal carriages, locomotives. a postal sorting van, magnificent artwork and platform and railway memorabilia. 


You'll also find the genuine Stephenson's Rocket currently at the National Railways Museum, which confused us as we'd seen it at the London Science Museum previously.

South Yard - Then you can head outside to the South Yard where there is miniture railway that you can book to take a ride on. Train rides cost £3 per person with under 2's going free. There is also an outdoor play area, picnic area and the restored Borough signal box that you can take a look in.

Great Hall - Next is the Great Hall where there are more trains but these ones feel as if they are n a vast open space, like an aeroplane hanger. But actually, it is York Stations engine shed number 4 that was used as part of the station and for storage until 1975 when the museum opened. 

Normally you can go into various parts of different engines but at the moment due to Covid most are still closed which seems a real shame. However, it's still very interesting to walk around and you can see a Japamese Bullet Train as well as the famous Mallard. There is a Mallard simulator you can book to go on for an additional cost. 

The WWI ambulance train was interesting to see and this was a carriage that you could go inside and have a walk around.

Warehouse - Next to the Great Hall is the warehouse and in there you can find all sorts of objects and artefacts to do with the railways over the last couple of hundred years. From dinner services used on the trains, to signals, signs and chmaber pots! Its certainly interesting to have a walk around and see all the different objects. 

Eating and Drinking

There is a cafe in both of the halls. We visited the one in the Station Hall and really enjoyed a lazy cuppa there as we were sat in old style train carriage seats and this was fun. 

The food looked nice quality but so it should be for the price; soup is £5.50, sandwiches started at £6.55 and a hot main was upwards of £9.50. We just had a drink and cake. Yorkshire tea was £2.10, a hot chocolate with marshmallows and cream was £3.95 and brownies, scones and other cakes were around £3.25 each. 

There was plenty of seating and it felt very airy. It was also nice and clean,

The Road Train

There is a road train that you can get from York Minster to the museum, running every 30 minutes between approximately 11am and 4pm. It costs £3 for an adult and £2 for a child one way. It looked really popular when we were there and if you have younger children I bet they'll love riding the train through the city. We found you could walk between the two points just as fast and we chose to save our money. 

Useful Information

Address: National Railway Museum, Leeman Road, York YO26 4XJ 
Telephone: 033 0058 0058 (Monday–Friday, 09.00–17.00) 
Email: info@ScienceMuseumGroup.ac.uk 
Opening Tines: 10.00–17.00 Wednesday–Sunday
Admission Price:  Free
Book your tickets: here 
Accessibility: There appears to be really good access and provision for those with disabilities. There is step-free access to all areas, wheelchairs to loan, parking right outside the main entrance, accessible toilets and a hearing loop installed.  
Storage Lockers: There are a small number of large and small lockers available at the cost of £3 or £4 for the duration of your stay if you have bags to stow. 
Food and Drink: There is a cafe in both the Station and the Great Halls, or you're welcome to bring your own food and drink and there are picnic areas. 

Why not pin this for later?

Review of our visit with teenagers to the National Railway Museum in York. It's a fabulous free day out.

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