Tag Archives: Museums

Make Tracks to the National Railway Museum This Half Term!

Make Tracks to the National Railway Museum This Half Term!


The National Railway Museum is hosting nine days of Big Fun with Little Trains this February half term.

From 16- 24th February, the National Railway Museum is hosting a free nine day celebration of toys and model trains.  Visitors of all ages will be enthralled  by the range of little locos from children’s pedal trains, to rides on indoor and outdoor miniature railways* that the whole family can enjoy.

miniature trains

Children will be able to get hands-on in the museum play areas and enjoy rides of all shapes and sizes.  Meccano and Lego workshops and the G-Wizz garden railway (complete with grass, plants and its own water feature) will add to the fun.  Family friendly model layouts will be on display and visitors can take part in a Chuggington(C) challenge to stack your track as high as possible.  As well as the toy train fun, visitors can enjoy the regular school holiday activities including explosive science shows, turntable demonstrations and rides behind a real steam engine*.  The 100 year old signal school, used to train would-be signallers, will also be open for visitors to marvel at.


As well as taking part in the wide range of activities on offer across the museum’s enormous site, visitors can also explore the Warehouse to discover an intriguing array of model railway objects including a model railway that is so small it fits into a banjo case, and a collection of model railway vehicles which boast a Guinness World Record for being the largest collection made by one person.

Trains again

Zoe Roberts, Public Programme Developer said:  ‘With this February set to be freezing, parents who are desperate to get out of the house with the kids should make tracks to the National Railway Museum!  We have a range of fun activities to keep children and their parents entertained throughout half term and all under one roof!  Big Fun with Little Trains opens on 16th February.’

* Small charge may apply.

  • The Museum houses a Guinness world record holding collection – the largest collection of model railway vehicles built by one man.  James Peel Richards’ dedication to model building led him to construct 610  model railway vehicles during his lifetime.  His aim was to build the entire LNWR fleet of locomotives, carriages and wagons as they would have appeared on one day on the railway.
  • The National Railway Museum in York has the largest collection of railway objects in the world and attracts over 700,000 visitors per year.
  • The National Railway Museum’s collection includes over 300  locomotives and rolling stock, 628 coins and medals, 4899 pieces of railway uniform and costume, railway equipment, documents, records, artwork and railway photographs.
  • The National Railway (I feel like a parrot here….) houses a world class collection of Royal trains, which includes a collection of Royal carriages, from those used by Queen Victoria to Queen Elizabeth II.
  • The National Railway Museum’s (Squark!) vast art collection comprises of 11,270 posters, 2,358 prints and drawings, 1052 paintings, and 1,750,000 photographs, many of which have never been on public display.
  • The National Railway Museum (flaps wings a bit) forms part of the Science Museum Group along with the Science Museum in London, the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) in Manchester, the National Media Museum in Bradford and the National Railway Museum in Shildon.
  • Admission to the National Railway Museum is free.
  • For more information visit nrm.org.uk
  • Follow them on Twitter HERE.
  • Join them on Facebook HERE. 
  • This is a sponsored post.  Can you tell?

Paddington Bear at the National Railway Museum!

Paddington Bear at the

National Railway Museum!

This is a press release I received from the National Railway Museum which outlines some brilliant October half term events.  They look fab and I think we may be going along, if only to meet Paddington Bear!  I’ll be honest and say the kids aren’t sure who he is, but I certainly do!  He’s a really messy bear and I lurve him!  Forget Iggle-Irritating-Piggle and Upsy-Squeaksy-Daisy, I want to meet one of my childhood heros!  I’m selfish I am!

I thought it was a great excuse to include one of the episodes, a classic!  Enjoy!  And if you want to go to the National Railway Museum and take part in more Paddington Bear activities (and look at trains of course) you can find the press release below the video clip.

National Railway Museum Makes Half Term Bearable!

Paddington Bear (TM) will be popping in to the National Railway Museum from the 27th October to 4th November for a week of half term fun.

As well as getting up close and personal to the museum’s stunning collection of locomotives, wagons and carriages, the week long event will see children on a teddy bear treasure hunt, ‘Wang a Welly’, take part in craft events and stroytelling, follow an interactive family trail and enjoy science shows.  The nation’s favourite bear will also be making appearances throughout the week whilst mums and dads can feast on home-made marmalade sandwiches, tea and cakes.  The event is ideal for children aged 3-8.

Zoe Roberts, Public Programme Developer said: ‘We are delighted to have Paddington pop in to visit us over half-term!  Having the nation’s favourite travelling bear (he was after all, found in a railways station) come to visit us is a real privelege.   So don your duffle coats and join us for a week of family fun.’

Paddington Fact File:

  • Paddington Bear loves marmalade and keeps spare sandwiches under his hat.
  • Famous fans of Paddington Bear include Stephen Fry, Jeremy Clarkson and Suri Cruise.
  • There is a life size bronze statue of Paddington Bear at London’s Paddington Station.
  • Do you know what Paddington Bear’s suitcase contains?  A photo of his beloved Aunty Lucy and a secret compartment.
  • Paddington Bear is named after Paddington Station near to where Michael Bond, his creator lived.
  • A Bear Called Paddington was published in October in 1958.

Notes to Editors: Paddington Bear (TM) (C) Paddington ad Company Limited 2012. Paddington Bear (TM), Paddington (TM) and PB(TM) are trademarks of Paddington and Company Limited.  Licensed by Copyrights Group.

  • The National Railway Museum in York has the largest collection of railway objects in the world and attracts over 700,000 visitors per year.
  • The National Railway Museum’s collection includes over 300 locomotives and rolling stock, 628 coins and medals, 4899 pieces of railway uniform and costume, railway equipment, documents, records, artwork and railway related photographs.


  • The National Railway Museum houses a world class collection of Royal trains, which includes a collection of Royal carriages, from those used by Queen Victoria to Queen Elizabeth II.
  • The National Railway Museum’s vast art collection comprises of 11,270 posters, 2.358 prints and drawings, 1052 paintings and 1, 750,000 photographs, many of which have never been on public display.

As this is a press release I feel bound to write this as it has been typed on the sheet of paper I have in front of me, so I shall go against all my natural inclination to start a new paragraph with a new phrase dammit, and repeat yet again:

  • The National Railway Museum….. forms part of the Science Museum Group, along with the Science Museum in London, the Museum of Science and Industry (Mosi) in Manchester, the National Media Museum in Bradford and Locomotion – the National Railway Museum in Shildon.

Faster than fairies, faster than witches,
Bridges and houses, hedges and ditches;
And charging along like troops in a battle
All through the meadows the horses and cattle:
All of the sights of the hill and the plain
Fly as thick as driving rain;
And ever again, in the wink of an eye,
Painted stations whistle by. RL Stevenson. Any excuse to include a bit of poetry!

  • Admission to the National Railway Museum is free!

For more information visit nrm.org.uk which is HERE!

Follow us at twitter.com/railwaymuseum.

Join us at Facebook.com/nationalrailwaymuseum.

If I have to write the phrase ‘The National Railway Museum’ one more time I may just go mad.

This is a sponsored post and I was sent a very cute little Paddington Bear in a miniature suitcase in return for my time – no other financial reward was given.

National Railway Museum – Wizard Week!

National Railway Museum

Wizard Week 11- 19th February.

Firstly, I need to apologise profusely for a much overdue review of a lovely day out.  Sorry, National Railway Museum in York.  I am a bad blogger.

Choo choo!

Right, so beginning at the beginning…..Sis and my two nephews, plus my two little munchkins, all went to the National Railway Museum to see what Wizard Week had in store for us.

We piled into the car at about 9.30am and drove over the hills and fields, through Harrogate and on to York.  Very pretty scenery, although the kids were too busy babbling to each other to notice I suspect.  My eldest nephew threw up in a plastic bag which was lovely, and my daughter started complaining of feeling pukey shortly afterwards.  Luckily Darlek didn’t chuck after all, and miraculously the car didn’t reek of horrible stuff, so the journey was in fact quite pleasant.

When we arrived, the kids were so excited!  In fact Sausage was so excited he walked at full pelt into a lamp-post and cried for a while.  No harm done though, and we got into the museum fairly promptly.  I was a bit unnerved to see people queueing out of the door, but the museum itself didn’t look too jammers.  You could still easily wander around without bumping into people, but the queues for some of the activities were a little lengthy.  That’s only because the place is so popular though I have to add, obviously word has got around that this museum is excellent.  And I say that completely seriously too, it is.  If you want a good all round family day out, I don’t think you can do much better than this!

Wave! We're off on the mini steam engine!

The star of the show was definitely the ‘Wizard Express’ – this was the steam train that was used in the Harry Potter films and you could even ride on it if you could cope with standing in the rain at the end of a substantial queue.  We were getting wet and the kids were getting fractious so we made do with a go on the mini-steam train above which they loved!

Used for transporting Muggles for a change.

There was so much to do, and so much to see, it was hard to fit it all in, doubly hard because of the volume of visitors.   We didn’t manage to find the Owl Display at all, I think it might have been in one of the halls we didn’t find time to fit in, but then again I didn’t see any signs pointing to the display either?  Maybe it was just me being blind or something though.

The kids made their own ‘Wizard ID Badges’ which was a great idea in principle, although I have to say they were bog standard ID badges that you added your own wizard pics and comments to.  It would have been nice if they’d been more customized with the wizard theme I think.

Derek the Dragon puppet chatted happily with the fascinated kids, and our four loved listening to him telling tales about the steam engines.  I gave up trying to watch or listen to the Wizard Duelling performance though,  simply because the crowd was just too big.  I couldn’t see or hear properly what was happening, although my nephews and my two shuffled as close to the front as they could to see what was going on and seemed to enjoy it.  We didn’t see the The Magic Hatter at all, not sure how we missed him, and we also missed out on the Science Behind Harry Potter talk because that was on a different day which was a shame.

It’s all sounding slightly negative, in fact it isn’t.  It’s just the National Railway Museum has obviously got so popular that the numbers of visitors has become an issue. The main draw was probably the Wizard Express, I should think that attracted many, many more visitors than usual.  The last time we came here as a family there wasn’t as many people, and so it was quicker and easier to get around and see the sights.   But then, I guess, the NRM would like as many visitors as possible to see their beautifully maintained steam trains, and who can blame them!  The weather didn’t help either.  Usually our kids would have spent a while playing outside in their very well maintained, safe and up to date playground.  As it was, it was tipping it down so we came inside as soon as we could.

Lastly we had our photo taken by these lovely people!  I would appreciate it if you could blank the slap headed woman in the background here. Dunno who she is! (honest…cringes)


I’d definitely recommend a day out at the museum, but I’d certainly arrive earlier to get there before the masses if this visit was anything to go by.   I think this week was the victim of its own success.  It was so well publicised, and had so many top class attractions it attracted too many people I think.  I wonder how many people left with the same impressions as me.  Having said that, the museum is free entry, it’s fun filled, chocca with things to do, the staff are unfailingly helpful and friendly, and of course it has fabulous trains there!  I feel terrible even mentioning anything slightly negative.  We are so lucky to have free access to museums like this.  I say go if you can!  You will enjoy it I’m sure.

Please do have a look at their website to see if there are future events you’d be interested in going to.  They are obviously working very hard to cater for all ages, steam enthusiasts and families. National Railway Museum – York. <<<  Click here.

We were given free passes to all the activities on offer, and had lunch provided.  No other financial reward was given.  This is a sponsored post.  We had a lovely day out, many thanks to the National Railway Museum! :O)

A Drizzly Day Out at Cliff Castle!

A Drizzly Day Out at Cliffe Castle!

This is going to be a quick blog full of photos because my poor ikkle fingers are too tired for typing and my brain is giving up on me.   ‘Flibble.’  There’s the proof.

Today the kids and I went for a day out to Cliffe Castle in Keighley.  I have to say it was an ‘interesting’ day out.  If I look at it from one angle, it was lovely.  Quality time with the kids, running around in the castle grounds with flowers everywhere, looking at cute bunnies and guineapigs in their enclosure, ice-creams and laughs.

A field full of wild flowers!

Humungous Bunnies and Squeaky Guinea-pigs!

Looking at the trip from another angle – we spent rather a lot of time in the loos dealing with awful, sometimes very smelly, accidents – why, oh why will my son not be toilet trained!  Sausage refused to put his coat on and when I tried to make him put it on, he hit me several times with the stick he was carrying (which was nice).  It rained intermittently and I had the headache from hell for a while.  I have resolved to A) Toilet train Sausage NOW, B) Ban all sticks, C) Carry paracetamol at all times and D) Adhere to points AB & C or risk admittance to the funny farm by the end of the summer hols.

I have no idea about the names of these plants, but they carpeted some of the flower beds and looked so pretty!

But at least we were out!  I don’t want to get to the end of the summer hols and feel like we’ve wasted the time.  Even if it was pretty stressful every now and then, we were out of the house and doing something interesting and different.  I think Darlek learnt a bit about bees (they have a bee-hive there you can see into), and about history.  Sausage learnt that if he hits the rabbit enclosure railings too much mummy yells at him.  I learnt that I need to take more pairs of pants for Sausage out with me or suffer the consequences.

The see through bee hive! I thought the reflections looked amazing with the bee backdrop.

A lion hide preserved at the museum. Looked like it would still bite given half a chance.

Darlek was an absolute angel in comparison.  If I didn’t have her to back me up sometimes I think I’d go mad.  Often I’ll end up in stupid yelling matches with Sausage – yes I know that’s not an ideal parenting method -and she’ll just calmly go up to him and persuade him to give up his daft, ‘I will not move’ or ‘I’m just going to stand here and wet myself’ campaign by cuddling him or making him laugh.  My daughter has a knack that I do not have I think.  I should learn from her example I think.  Six years old and she’s already got so much sussed about life. I have a lump in my throat now.

A velcro nature scene, the kids could stick the bees and other animals on the scene wherever they liked. Brilliantly tactile!

Anyway! They had an an ‘Ancient Wisdom’ (2nd July to the 5th September) activity thing set up in the main hall which was perfect for kids.  Lots of interactive displays describing about how the Egyptians developed the use of keys and locks, about how the screw principle can be used for drainage, how aquaducts are made and many more topics were covered too.  Sausage and Darlek loved it and threw themselves into the activities.   I suspect Sausage was a bit puzzled though, at one point he looked up at me and said ‘What is this place, I don’t know what it is?’.  I think he expected a castle with ramparts and stone staircases etc.  To be honest, I’ve never really understood this either, it’s called a ‘Castle’ but is most definitely a museum. (entrance is free by the way if anyone is thinking of going)  and if you’d like info on the place, please click HERE.  (this is not a sponsored post by the way)

An example of two of the stuffed birds they have in their display cabinets. Just imagine the skill that went into preserving them and presenting them in such a life-like manner!

This was only one part of a huge embroidered vista of life from the beginning to the current day. Really amazingly detailed!

Here’s a few pictures of the day’s activities.  It’s funny how much nicer and calmer it all looks in retrospective!  It was actually fun when I think about it.  I think I’m just too tired to think about it too much.  In fact I may fall asleep before I finish posting this.  Maybe I’ll just curl up in this chair and…..

So, a drowsy conclusion.  I don’t think I’m cut out for this parenting marlarkey sometimes, but I’m/we’re in it for the long haul.  I reckon the summer hols are a challenge for most mums so I’m not on my own I hope in feeling a bit over-wrought with it all.   I tried my best, there’s not much more I can do.  I hope my little trouble bubbles enjoyed the day out, despite the occassional bit of bickering.

A sunny Sunflower in the gardens!

I bought Darlek a ring at the gift shop, a beautiful little silver coloured ring shaped like a flower with what I think is called a Moodstone (probably a completely different official name) in the centre of it.  She said she will keep it forever and ever because she loves it so much.  We agreed that it would always remind her of her day out at Cliffe Castle and I said that I hoped that every time she looked at it, she’d remember that I bought it for her because I love her so much.  Is that a silly sentimental thing to say?  Probably, ah well.