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Travel bucket list idea:

Last updated: 27 May, 2023
Expert travel writer: Will Hide

York was one of the original centres of the rail industry in Britain, so it’s fitting that the country’s premier train museum is here, housed in the city’s former train depot.

The National Railway Museum is the UK’s largest collection of trains and rail-related memorabilia, with over 100 historic locomotives and rolling stock (the earliest dating from around 1815), alongside model railways and experimental technologies, including a gyroscopic mono-rail car.

Steam enthusiasts will love the 200-year-old Colliery Railway locomotive, and the chance to experience riding on the footplate of the steam train Mallard – the fastest of its type in the world. The museum is also home to the royal carriage that carried Queen Victoria to Balmoral each year, while more contemporary travel is represented by the only bullet train outside of Japan.

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 4+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

The museum is located slightly outside the centre of town, but it’s an easy fifteen-minute walk, or you can take the Museum’s own road train, which leaves from Duncombe Place – next to York Minster – every half hour.

The miniature railway is one of the biggest draws at the museum, but separate tickets are needed; enquire as soon as you arrive (not bookable online).

Entry is free but check the website before you come to see if pre-booking is required.

When to do it

The museum is open on Wednesdays to Sundays. Closed Monday and Tuesday. The museum does get extremely busy in school holidays and weekends, especially if it’s raining.

Destination guides including or relevant to this experience


Yorkshire, United Kingdom (UK)

Medieval, turreted gate with car passing underneath

York’s dramatic past – from Roman settlements to Viking invasions – has created one of Britain’s most beautiful historic cities, home to the world-famous York Minster and the most complete medieval walls in the country.