The National Railway Museum is one of the most interesting things that you can choose to visit when you head to York. You will find a lot to do here, and you can easily spend hours immersed in learning about the rail history of York and the rest of the UK.
The Railway Museum is a fitting addendum to your day of travel since you will undoubtedly use the train to get to York from other places in the UK. You will have just emerged from York Station, and you can head to the museum with a five-minute walk to learn more about how that station has come to be such a big part of the history of the UK.
Before entering the museum, make sure you drop off your larger bags at a York Station luggage storage location. That way you can explore more freely.
Exploring the National Railway Museum
There are many cool things to see in this museum. There is no wrong way to explore the museum, but there are some key things that you will probably want to check out while you are visiting. Train enthusiasts will be in heaven due to all of the big and old locomotives that are part of the collection.
George Stephenson’s Rocket Train
This train is considered the first true steam locomotive. When you consider the importance of steam power to the railway system, this makes it essential that you visit this exhibit. The Flying Scotsman is also located near this train. This was the first steam engine to top 100mph, which was a very daring and impressive feat at the time that it was in use.
Many of these different exhibits feature additional cool things to interact with, like a train that has been cut in half so that you can see how the locomotive and other parts of the train structure work. The various kinds of engine functions are unique and interesting and are well-discussed in all of the exhibit halls.
The Royal Carriage Exhibit
This area is dedicated to Queen Victoria’s royal carriage and some discussion about the history of royalty using the railway system. The miniature railway is also located here, and kids love to see this part of the museum. Since the museum is made up of many large sheds, make sure that you highlight the specific things that you want to check out so you don’t accidentally miss anything.
The Great Hall
This is the largest of the railway sheds, and it is home to The Mallard. This is the train that set a world speed record for a locomotive in 1938. This record has never been broken. You can also see the Shinkansen, which is a Japanese bullet train that is housed in the same building.
There are many trains and many different historical discussions that you can take part in within this hall, and many people spend most of their time here checking out all the things to see and engage with. Make sure that you consider heading here first if you want to avoid crowds and if you have arrived early in the day. This is one of the places in the museum that can get very busy later in the day, which can make it hard to get up close.
The Signal School is a cool experience that allows you to learn to signal trains using flags. This was the way that trains were directed for years until more modern solutions replaced this old-fashioned yet effective signaling method. Kids enjoy this part of the museum, and it is a great option if you love immersive learning.
How to get to the National Railway Museum
You will be able to hop off at York Station and just head over to the museum. If you are driving by car to York, you should think about parking outside the city center and using Park and Ride to come into the city. York is very walkable, and you will have no trouble getting to the museum on foot once you have arrived in the city center.
There is a bus that comes by the museum as well, so you can jump onto bus 10 to be dropped off right at the museum’s entrance. One of the most pleasant ways to enjoy the museum is to get on the mini road train that picks people up outside York Minster. This is a neat experience and the ideal way to get to the train museum.
How much does the museum cost?
The National Railway Museum is free, but you should still book in advance to be sure that you can get in. The museum does sometimes cap the number of visitors, and you might have to wait for some people to clear out if you show up without a ticket. The mornings are the best time to enjoy this museum when there are fewer crowds in the way of your view. Reserving your tickets online is easy, and you will have no trouble getting in to see the exhibits.
The National Railway Museum is a treasure
There are so many lovely things to say about the National Railway Museum. It is a must-visit location for those who are heading to York for a day trip, and you should not miss out on this intriguing museum that is chock-full of history. Kids and adults will have a great time here, and you can easily spend the better part of a morning or afternoon wandering through all the sheds on site.
Make sure that you do get a ticket so that you won’t have to wait until the museum clears out to get in. The interactive exhibits are always the most popular, so head there first. Just have a wander around, and you’re bound to encounter something that piques your interest.
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