When Jo wrote the original review for this museum a couple of years back, she was totally enthusiastic about it. I’ve just returned from a family holiday in Yorkshire incorporating a visit here and can absolutely second her recommendation. It’s a wonderful place. Giant halls brimming with history, chock full of magnificent steam and diesel engines and railway legends including of course, Mallard, the world’s fastest steam locomotive.
I think one of the best bits for us was actually Station Hall; home to lots of the historical carriages, it was indeed just like stepping back in time. The glorious royal carriages were tremendous – looking at Queen Victoria’s lavish “palace on wheels” then King Edward VII’s smoking saloon amongst many others was quite extraordinary. Some (not the royal ones!) you could even climb on. In particular, we loved a glimpse into the past on the Travelling Post Office train where a video depicted exactly how our mail was sorted and delivered on the London Scotland route in the 1880’s-1930’s.
Over in The Great Hall, the aforementioned Mallard of course, but the Japanese Bullet was also a star attraction for our kids. You can then walk along and watch live engineering at The Workshop – including the latest conservation work on The Flying Scotsman, which is fascinating.
Not only does the NRM provide an impressive range in trains, it also serves up a tempting selection of food when it’s time for a pit-stop! There’s a few options – one in each of the Halls – so you’re kind of spoilt for choice in terms of grand setting! The Station Hall restaurant served more hot food and made to order sandwiches whilst the Great Hall restaurant had ready made sandwiches and quiches plus meal bags for the kids together with a few hot choices. There is a picnic area in the South Yard which has a railway-themed outdoor play area for children to let off steam, plus a miniature railway (due to open again this summer after an upgrade.) Also in the courtyard, there’s the opportunity to enjoy afternoon tea in a beautifully restored railway carriage.
Next to the Station Hall was the ‘Playing Trains’ area – a family exhibition created for this summer holiday with Brio, sounds and whistles, and a little “Ticket Office” amongst other things especially designed for younger visitors in mind. In the Great Hall, there’s another little playpen aimed at under 5s with dressing up and building toys.
And throughout summer 2015, there will be plenty of school holiday family fun with The Railway Children themed hands-on activities accompanying the super theatrical production of the E.Nesbit classic taking place once again at the NRM. Also, in the Learning Platform area, interactive science shows throughout the holidays.
Lots to go at. Great time guaranteed.
Daily 10am-5pm. Admission free, donations optional.
NRM York, Leeman Road, York YO26 4XJ
Tel: 08448 153139 nrm.org.uk