This weekend we are off to the Model Engineering Exhibition at Ally Pally. We try and go every year. You may not think it sounds like a fun day out but we all enjoy it, especially the children.
My son has always loved trains. When he was a toddler he had a wooden toy Thomas and Gordon that he took everywhere. He had a wooden train set he loved and we used to go on a lot of trains with him! We’re lucky that we’re surrounded by miniature railways and heritage lines where we live which we can visit. I thought it would be fun to do a round up of 9 days out in London for train-mad kids
11 days out in London for train mad kids
The easiest place to take children in London is, of course, the London Underground. At first I travelled with my children in a sling then a lightweight buggy. We used to go all over London until they started school and our trips were limited to the weekend. I never found travelling on the Underground too bad, and people always seemed to give me a hand with the buggy if I needed help.
If you love trains you’ll probably love the London Transport Museum. For many years we had seasons tickets to the London Transport Museum. It’s a great place to visit with children. We always pick up the tickets to stamp as you walk around the museum and there is a fantastic play area too.
If you’ve been to the London Transport Museum then I would also recommend the London Transport Museum Depot in Acton. This is only open a few times a year but they have brilliant Open Days. You can see their reserve collection and some of their trains, as well as lots of gorgeous vintage signs and destination boards.
Further out of London is the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre which we visited last year. We had a great day out as there is so much to see and do – a small heritage line, miniature railway and museum.
Have you heard of The London Necropolis Railway? Based from Waterloo Station this took corpses and mourners between London and Brookwood Cemetery in Brookwood, Surrey (at the time the largest cemetery in the world). Although the line is no longer in use you can still see the old buildings at Waterloo.
Last year the Mail Rail and Postal Museum opened and we couldn’t wait to go for a ride on it. The Post Office Railway, known as Mail Rail, was a narrow gauge, driverless underground railway, moving mail between sorting offices. The train goes on a loop for about 20 minutes and stops to show you film clips where you learn more about the history of the Mail Rail. We all loved it, although it was a very squashy experience!
I can’t resist a miniature railway and Ickenham Model Railway is one of my favourites. The Ickenham Miniature Railway is open to the public on the first Saturday of the month from April to December.
Harrow & Wembley Society of Model Engineers at Roxbourne Park, Eastcote. Steam and diesel trains run every Sunday between 2.30pm to 5pm during British Summer time, they also have a special Halloween run.
Our local miniature railway is the Ruislip Lido Railway which runs through woodland around part of Ruislip Lido. Ruislip Lido Railway is Britain’s longest 12″ gauge railway. It’s a really lovely ride and we make all our friends take a ride on it when they come to visit. They run a really good Santa Express which we go on quite often.
Lastly we have the annual London Model Engineering Exhibition at Ally Pally. This features a miniature railway, as well as model planes, boats and vehicles. I can’t wait to go this weekend, and hopefully fit in a walk through Ally Pally too.
Finally, any train mad kids would love a visit to any of the mainline London stations. Paddington Station holds a special place in our heart as that’s where we pick the grandparents up from. Who can resist posing for a photo next to the statue of Paddington?! We visited Kings Cross last weekend to have our photo taken at Platform 9 3/4 but have also visited Euston, Marylebone and Waterloo.
Do your children love trains? If so I would love to hear your recommendations of places to visit with train mad kids in London.