We spent parts of two separate days at the National Railway Museum — an incredible museum, with something for everyone. And it’s free! On our first day in York, we stumbled across the “road train” that the museum runs to the center of town and back, and figured it would be a good destination for getting out of the wind.
The museum opened in 1975, across the tracks from the York train station in a former steam locomotive depot. The main hall still has its working turntable (the largest working turntable in Britain), and an inspection bay where you can walk underneath the locomotive parked on the tracks above. On our first visit, we spent most of our time wandering about this hall. (In the photos below, note the Hogwarts Express and the engine that’s been cut away so you can see the internals.)
Here’s a short video of the turntable in action:
On our return visit, we explored the adjoining building containing an incredible variety of historic railway paraphenalia as well as “the works” — the restoration facility. There’s yet another building, the “station hall”, where even more old steam locomotives and passenger carriages are lined up in an old terminal building. We strolled along and looked in the windows, and stopped at the cafe for a bite to eat.
Out behind the display halls was the real highlight as far as the kids were concerned: The playground and miniature railway!