Today I am very excited to launch Yorkshire week - a week dedicated to my favourite Yorkshire-based reviews and recommendations. Yorkshire is a place very close to my heart and I have many happy memories in this part of the world. This week I am off on a child-free short break to Acorn Glade and we will be spending part of our Summer holidays at Ready Camp in Scarborough so I will definitely be checking back on these reviews myself for recommendations. We start the week with this review of the National Rail Museum from Mandy who blogs over at Mammy Flynn Fun Times.
The last time I visited the The National Railway Museum I was probably about Eva's age so I don't remember that much about our trip. Our friends visited last year with their kids and told us it was a great day out so when I spotted that Paddington Bear was going to be there over half term, there was no stopping us putting the date in our diary.
We had left it too late to get bargain train tickets so decided just to drive. It is approximately 80 miles to York from our house and it took roughly an hour and a half with traffic. Having been to York many, many times over the years, I know it is an absolute nightmare to drive in and also to park. You can park at the museum which costs £9 per day but we decided against this with it being half term and also the special events that they had on, I had a feeling it would be super busy! Instead we opted for the brilliant Park and Ride scheme. We found this by accident 2 years ago and it was really good. There are six car parks to choose from, we chose the Rawcliffe Bar car park as this bus dropped us literally outside the museum. It was a bargain - an adult return ticket is £2.80 and that includes 2 children under 16. Much cheaper, quicker and less stressful than trying to find a space in the centre. The bus takes approximately 10 - 15 minutes to get into York.
The first thing that amazed us is that this wonderful museum is completely free to enter. Upon arrival they do ask for donations but of course you are not obligated to do this. We bought a couple of guide books for the children and were given a museum trail to do free of charge. Bargain! Armed with our map we set off to explore.
The first hall you come to is the Great Hall which is full of the most amazing trains including a replica of our very own George Stephenson's Rocket.
The children had great fun running around and exploring all of the engines. The whole place is very child friendly, although a lot of the older trains you are not allowed to touch, there are plenty that you can climb aboard, including a Japanese Bullet train and also a few engines to check out.
There are a few places in the museum to eat but I found it to be a little on the expensive side (£5.95 for a sandwich). Drinks prices were absolutely fine and the children's menu at the Dining Car in the Station Hall was good value and the food was of good quality - we didn't mind paying a little extra as our entrance to the museum was free.
The Station Hall was where all the Paddington themed activities were. There was a luggage label themed Paddington trail to do which was £1 per child. This was a big hit, our kids love finding things. They also coloured in a Paddington postcard and added it to a huge map of the world and dressed up in Paddington fancy dress, including wellington boots and red hat.
It was now time to meet the main man. He had been appearing at various intervals throughout the day and was proving to be very popular! The queue was large but it was very well managed. There were two members of staff keeping the queue moving and it went down before the children could get bored. I have to admit to being completely in love with Paddington, I have loved him since I was little and he was just as beautiful in real life as I expected him to be. Eva and Luca enjoyed cuddles and high fives before posing for the obligatory photograph.
Afterwards we went outside to the South Yard and we had a ride aboard a real-life miniature steam train, all the way from Wales, courtesy of the Ffestiniog Railway. The driver even allowed the children into the cab so they could see how the train worked.
The Station Hall is where all the Royal trains are housed where you will find some real beauties, including trains used by the Queen Mother and Queen Victoria. There is also a train station set up from times gone by. This was definitely a highlight for me.
I will end this blog here as I could go on and on filling you up with facts! But why not experience it for yourselves? We were here all day and still did not manage to see everything. We found all the staff to be charming and helpful and had a lovely time. An absolutely fantastic day out.
Thank you Mandy for a wonderful review - I can't wait to visit for myself! - Sam