20+ UK Days Out for Children who Love Trains

Top 10 train themed days out across North East England

Following on from the success of 20+ UK Days Out for Kids who Love Dinosaurs,  I am back with a round-up of the best days out featuring trains.

The first suggestions focus on train-themed days out across North East England before they move onto days out across the whole of the UK towards the end of the post.

Let me know if you have a favourite. Please check opening information and details before setting off and making plans as details may have changed since this post was first published and some of these attractions may not be open at this time. 

1 - Locomotion Shildon

The Locomotion Museum in Shildon is such a brilliant day out for train-enthusiasts of all ages (check out our Locomotion Shildon Review here). There are lots of trains from various stages in history to admire and read facts about, model railways to enjoy, exhibitions, hands-on interactive areas, the chance to ride a train on selected dates and a fab train-themed playground outside.

Top 10 train themed days out across North East England  - locomotion

  • Address: Locomotion. Dale Road Industrial Estate. Shildon. DL4 2RD
  • Parking: Plentiful free on-site parking
  • Public Transport: Arriva #1 Bus from Darlington or #5 Bus from Bishop Auckland. Bus stop is outside the museum entrance. Shildon Railway Station is a 3 minute walk away. 
  • Opening Hours: Daily 10am-4pm
  • Cafe/Picnic: On-site cafe plus indoor & outdoor picnic areas
  • Cost: Museum & park are FREE (donations welcome). £3 charge for train rides on selected dates. 
  • Accessibility: Fully accessible, see here for details. 
  • Website: https://www.locomotion.org.uk/

Top 10 train themed days out across North East England  - locomotion shildon

FREE Shildon Brick Show 

On 27 & 28 November, Locomotion Shildon will host the Shildon Brick Show 2021. Tickets are FREE but advance booking is recommended (find out more and book your free ticket here).

Activities include: 

  • Detailed LEGO models
  • Brick Pits 
  • Speed Build Challenges 
  • LEGO Mini Figure Trail 

2 - Stephenson Railway

George and Robert Stephenson spent 20 years in North Tyneside developing their ideas which helped to pioneer railways around the world. This museum celebrates this through trains you can view and hands-on exhibitions. Expect steam and diesel locomotives from as early as 1880, electric locomotives and passenger trains from the 1950s amongst other things. Heritage train rides are available on selected dates.

Address: Stephenson Railway Museum. Middle Engine Lane. North Shields. NE29 8DX
Parking: Free on-site parking
Public Transport: A variety of buses stop outside (Cobalt South Bus Stop) including the 310 from Haymarket Newcastle, the 42 from Wallsend and the 19 from Percy Main Metro.
Opening Hours: Open from 4 April. Exact dates and times available via their website.
Cafe/Picnic: Waggonway Tea Room plus indoor and outdoor picnic areas.
Cost: FREE (donations welcome). Small charge for Heritage Train Rides on selected dates.
Accessibility: See here for information. 

3 - Tanfield Railway

Tanfield Railway is one of our favourite days out in North East England. We have visited 10+ times over the years. It is a brilliant one to bring the grandparents along to and make a day of it. The railway is the world's oldest, so a little bit special I think. You can read our review of Tanfield Railway here. 

Top 10 train themed days out across North East England  - tanfield railway

You can hop on and hop off the trains throughout the day, enjoy the gorgeous scenery, take a walk around South Causey, enjoy a picnic, watch the engines in action and visit the train sheds where you will see trains being worked on and have a chance to play with train tables.

  • Address: Andrews House. NE16 5ET 
  • Parking: Plentiful free on-site parking.  
  • Public Transport: X30 and X31 from Newcastle, Gateshead and Stanley stop at St Andrews House. 
  • Opening Hours: Variable. Usually weekends and school holidays - check online calendar here for details. 
  • Cafe/Picnic: There are three cafes to choose from at Marley Hill Carriage Shed, East Tanfield Station and Andrews House. Picnic Areas are available throughout the site including South Causey and Andrews House. 
  • Cost: £27.50 for unlimited travel across the day for a family of 4. Under 5s are free and special offers are often available.  
  • Accessibility: See here for details. 
  • Website: https://www.tanfield-railway.co.uk/

4 - TSMEE at Exhibition Park, Newcastle  

On the first Sunday of every month from April throughout Summer, there is a FREE train that runs around a small track at Exhibition Park. It is super cute and the volunteers are lovely. When accompanied by a visit to Exhibition Park, it is a lovely way to spend a sunny Sunday in Newcastle.

Read our review of TSMEE here. 

Top 10 train themed days out across North East England  - exhibition park

  • Address: Exhibition Park (next to Wylam Brewery by the lake), Newcastle. NE2 4AA
  • Parking: Available on Claremont Road Car Park. 
  • Public Transport: Newcastle Haymarket is a short walk away and served by many buses and Metro trains. 
  • Opening Hours: First Sunday of every month from April to September. Check calendar for public running timings. Trains usually run from 11am - 3pm.  
  • Cafe/Picnic: Wylam Brewery is next door and serves lovely Sunday lunches (booking advised). There are lots of areas to enjoy a picnic in the surrounding park. 
  • Cost: FREE (donations welcome) 
  • Accessibility: Contact TSMEE for more info (details here
  • Website: https://www.tsmee.co.uk/

5 - Heatherslaw Light Railway 

Heatherslaw is a 15 gauge railway pulled by steam locomotives or a diesel engine between Heatherslaw and Etal Castle. The train runs along the River Till and offers wonderful views of the Northumbrian countryside. There is also a model railway room at Heatherslaw Station.

  • Address: Heatherslaw Light Railway. Ford Forge. Heatherslaw. Cornhill-on-Tweed. Northumberland. TD12 4TJ
  • Parking: Free on-site parking.  
  • Public Transport: Bus 237 from Bewick-Upon-Tweed from Woolder stops at Etal and Heatherslaw. 
  • Opening Hours: Trains run daily from 28 March - 1 November from 11am. Check website for timetable. 
  • Cafe/Picnic: Heatherslaw Tearoom or the Lavendar Tearooms in Etal. Picnic spots available in the village.  
  • Cost: £7.50 per adult / £3.50 - £4.50 per child for a return ticket. Babies under 12 months are free. 
  • Accessibility: Click here for details 
  • Website: https://www.heatherslawlightrailway.co.uk/

6 - Beamish (currently closed) 

Beamish is a transport-lovers paradise with trams, vintage buses and trains to enjoy at no additional charge. Steam trains run from Rowley Station over weekends and school holidays.  The station dates back to 1867 and visitors can look around the signal box, waiting rooms and goods yard with a variety of waggons on display.

Top 10 train themed days out across North East England  - beamish

  • Address: Beamish Museum. Beamish. County Durham. DH9 0RG
  • Parking: Plentiful free on-site parking. 
  • Public Transport: Waggonway 28/28A from Newcastle/Gateshead/Birtley/Ouston and Chester-le-Street. Coast * Country Service 8 runs from Sunderland. Travel via Go North East and receive a 25% discount on admission. 
  • Opening Hours: Daily from 10am. Trains run from Rowley Station during weekends and school holidays subject to availability. 
  • Cafe/Picnic: There are lots of picnic spots across the site plus multiple places to enjoy a bite to eat ranging from tea rooms and cafes to fish and chip shops. 
  • Cost: A family ticket (for 4) is £51 which entitles you to unlimited visits across the year. Under 5s can visit for free. Train rides are available at no additional charge. 
  • Accessibility: Click here for details 
  • Website: http://www.beamish.org.uk/

7 - Saltburn-by-the-Sea 

Enjoy a short run with this 15 gauge railway along the wooded valley by Skelton Beck. Journeys last around 15 minutes and there is a play area nearby.

  • Address: Saltburn Miniature Railway. Saltburn-by-the-Sea. TS12 1HA
  • Parking: Park along the seafront at Saltburn-by-the-Sea 
  • Public Transport: Buses and Trains serve Saltburn-by-the-Sea.  
  • Opening Hours: Various dates (trains always start at 1pm). They re-open on 10th April at 1pm. See website for timetables. 
  • Cafe/Picnic: Picnic areas and tearooms available. See here for details. 
  • Cost: £1 per adult, 50p per child (one way). Under 5s are free. 
  • Accessibility: See here for details. 
  • Website: https://www.saltburn-miniature-railway.org.uk/

8 - South Marine Park, South Shields 

The Minature Railway which runs around the lake at South Marine Park is the only public steam 9 1/2 inch railway in the UK. The train runs for just under 1/3 of a mile around the lake and by the park.

Top 10 train themed days out across North East England  - south marine park south shields

  • Address: Lakeshore Railway. South Marine Park. South Shields. NE33 2NN
  • Parking: Along the sea front - £1 per hour. 
  • Public Transport: South Shields is served by buses and Metro. 
  • Opening Hours: Every weekend, school holidays and daily mid-May - mid-September from 10:30am/11am/11:30am. 
  • Cafe/Picnic: There is a cafe in South Marine Park and multiple options around South Shields. You can enjoy a picnic in the park. 
  • Cost: £1.50 per person (under 3s free) 
  • Accessibility: Contact below for info. 
  • Website: https://www.lakeshorerailroad.co.uk/

9 - Aln Valley Railway 

A brand new train station has been built on the outskirts of Alnwick where the train can take you along the tracks towards Alnmouth. The site and train rides have won multiple awards over the years from Small Visitor Attraction of the Year and Gold at the Northumberland Tourism Awards.

Visitors can enjoy a museum, cafe, train rides and special events across the year.

Address: Lionheart Station. Alnwick. Northumberland. NE66 2HT
Parking: Plentiful free parking on-site.
Public Transport: Arriva X15 from Alnwick/Berwick/Newcastle ot PCL Travel 15 from Thropton/Rothbury or Travelsure TO1 from Alnwick / Amble all stop outside of Lionheart Enterprise Park which is a short walk away.
Opening Hours: From April - check website below for timetable.
Cafe/Picnic: Lionheart Cafe on-site.
Cost: 2020 prices coming soon.....
Accessibility: See here
Website: https://www.alnvalleyrailway.co.uk/

10 - Trainmaster Tyne & Wear Events 

Top 10 train themed days out across North East England  - trainmaster

Trainmaster run special events across venues in North Tyneside featuring train tracks, toy trains, ride-on trains, dress-up and lots of train-themed fun. 

  • Address: Multiple locations. 
  • Parking: See venues for info.
  • Public Transport: See venues for info. 
  • Opening Hours: Various events across the year, see here for details. 
  • Cafe/Picnic: See venues for info. 
  • Cost: £6.50 per child (babies and adults are free).
  • Accessibility: See venues for info.
  • Website: https://www.facebook.com/TrainmasterTyneandWear

11 - Roker Park

This multiple gauge railway runs at Roker Park on most weekends. As well as train rides you can enjoy a model boating lake.

  • Address: Roker Park. Roker Park Road. Sunderland. SR6 9NB. 
  • Parking: Park along Roker Beach. 
  • Public Transport: Roker is served by bus/Metro. 
  • Opening Hours: Trains run on Saturdays & Sundays (weather permitting).
  • Cafe/Picnic: Picnic areas in the park and lots of cafes nearby. 
  • Cost: FREE (donations welcome).
  • Accessibility: Contact below for info. 
  • Website: http://www.csmes.co.uk/index.html?

12 - National Rail Museum York 

National Rail Museum York is a lovely free attraction with lots of hands-on fun. Expect carriages to climb aboard, interactive exhibitions, train rides, galleries and more.

Read our review of National Rail Museum York here. 

20+ UK Days Out for Children who Love Trains  - national rail museum

  • Address: National Railway Museum. Leeman Road. York. YO26 4XJ
  • Parking: Rawcliffe Park & Ride Bus Stops Outside. 
  • Public Transport: Bus 10 stops outside and York Train Station is next door. 
  • Opening Hours: Daily from 10am - 5/6pm.  
  • Cafe/Picnic: 2 cafes on-site.
  • Cost: FREE (donations welcome).
  • Accessibility: See here for details. 
  • Websitehttps://www.railwaymuseum.org.uk/

13 - Ormesby Hall, Teesside 

As well as lots of usual National Trust fun, there are three model railways inside of the hall which include a Thomas the Tank Engine which children can interact with and control themselves.

20+ UK Days Out for Children who Love Trains  - ormesby hall

Read our full review of Ormesby Hall here. 

  • Address:  Ormesby Hall. Church Lane. Ormesby. Redcar & Cleveland. TS7 9AS
  • Parking: Free on-site parking
  • Public Transport: 63 / 28 bus from Middlesbrough. Marton Train Station is a 15 minute walk. 
  • Opening Hours: Various. Check website below for details. 
  • Cafe/Picnic: On-site cafe and picnic areas. 
  • Cost: £14 for a family of 4 (or free for National Trust Members). 
  • Accessibility: See here for info. 
  • Website: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ormesby-hall

14 - GLMR Portable Miniature Railway Hire 

This 7 1/2" mini railway travels around the North East and pops up at various events (is also available for private hire). Fares are usually around £2 per person. Please check their FB page and events for changes, timings and more info before setting off. 

In 2021, their confirmed events are as follows: 

15 - Head of Steam, Darlington 

Head of Steam is a lovely train museum with lots of interactive exhibitions and activities for children. It is much smaller than Locomotion but still worth a visit. Find out more about visiting here. 

16 - Thomas land 

Thomas Land at Drayton Manor has to be an ultimate day out for train lovers. There are train-themed rides, Train-themed play areas (indoor and outdoor), a Thomas Exhibition, Thomas Train Rides and more.

Read our review of Thomas Land here. 

20+ UK Days Out for Children who Love Trains  - thomas land

  • Address: Drayton Manor Park. Tamworth. Staffordshire. B78 3TW. 
  • Parking: On-site parking is £6 per car. 
  • Public Transport: Arriva 110 from Birmingham / Sutton Coldfield / Tamworth. Tamworth Train Station is 3 miles away. 
  • Opening Hours: From 10am - check dates online. 
  • Cafe/Picnic: Food outlets and picnic areas available. 
  • Cost: Various prices. Look out for Adult/Toddler Specials for £24. 
  • Accessibility: See here for info. 
  • Websitehttps://www.draytonmanor.co.uk/thomas-land

Looking for other train-themed days out across the UK? Check out these reviews:

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20+ UK Days Out for Children who Love Trains

Top 10 train themed days out across North East England


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