National Railway Museum

A proper Dads Day Out at the National Railway Museum with a Toddler. At 9 months old we explore the Worlds greatest Railway Museum in York.

The National Railway Museum with a Toddler – York

I can’t believe it has taken us so long to get to the National Railway Museum. Little M is now almost 9 months old and it is our first trip to the greatest railway museum in the world!


Based next to York Railway Station, the museum hosts over 300 locomotives and rolling stock as part of their collection of 1,000,000 objects covering 300 years of steam history.

We arrived by car, meeting friends who arrived from Leeds on the train at York Station. For the perfect rail experience, this has to be considered. The museum is just a short walk away although it was challenging with a pram. The choice of car was made to satisfy the complex naptime routines of Little M.

Entry to York NRM is free, although we did make a donation. The carpark was £9 which was a surprise, but arriving at 10am it was almost empty, so very easy. Other activities such as the miniature ride-on train were reasonable at £8 for the four of us and the food was sensibly priced with good child-friendly options.

We didn’t try any of the experience rides – but these are around £3/£4 per person.


The great hall is the main attraction at the museum, where you can walk amongst the engines which are spaced around an impressive turntable.

This is what I remember the most from my trips as a child. All the steam engines standing imposingly in all their glory. My favourites being the deep blue Mallard engineered by Nigel Gresley, intimidating art deco Duchess of Hamilton and the quirky Diesel Shunter.


From arrival there are things to educate, show, touch or admire at the NRM. There are also interactive activities, a model railway, miniature railway, outdoor play area, workshops and play area.

The outdoor miniature railway was a highlight of the day for Little M. Whilst he was excited, intimidated and curious about the locomotive on display, he really did enjoy the speedy journey through the garden landscape, which also satisfied our train journey requirement for the day.

We also enjoyed a short story in an old railway truck and several other festival type activities dotted around the large museum.


The events, themes and exhibitions are always changing at the NRM and with a toddler’s attention span, we didn’t visit the photograph exhibition or attempt the viewing platform to spot passing mainline trains.

Watching work being carried out on the Flying Scotsman didn’t keep Little M interested for very long either, but that is what is so appealing about the NRM. There is something for everyone and all ages. This is probably why I remember it so vividly from growing up. It always manages to impress and has something for all phases a child is going through.

From a ‘dad days out’ perspective it also benefits from all the facilities you and your toddler may need for a full day out. There were no problems with Changing rooms, food and drink, space and of course lots of things to do.

We could have stayed much longer and look forward to returning soon.

Visit for the latest event information and activities.


A Great Day Out for All Ages!
  • Adventure Rating
  • Value for Money
  • Child Friendly
  • Adult Experience


York National Railway Museum is a FREE child-friendly adventure which is perfectly located with all the facilities a Dad on a day out could require.

Whilst parking does cost and there are paid activities you might want to undertake once inside, for an impressive memorable day out, the NRM is exceptional value for money.

It will be at least an annual family excursion however, i think Little M will want to come again and again once he is old enough to fully appreciate the impressive locomotives and range of activities available.

This is a child must see!


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