Last week during the Easter half term holidays we travelled to York for the day thanks to Virgin Trains East Coast, who wanted to show us how easy it is for a family to travel by train during half term. We were travelling from Newcastle Central station and popular routes from Newcastle include places such as London, Edinburgh, York, Leeds and Aberdeen, among many other routes.
As it was our two toddlers (Jacob aged 1 and Sophia aged 2) first time on a train we decided that we did not want to travel far and opted to visit York for the day, which is only around an hours train journey from Newcastle. I adore York, it is a city that I have visited many times as a child myself and also as an adult, but is somewhere I have never taken my own three children before.
We got the 8.59am train from Newcastle, which was fairly busy but we still managed to get seats together and store two folded down pushchairs on. I was nervous how my toddlers would be on the train but I need not have been as they happily sat looking out of the window for the whole journey which was only 56 minutes long, with just the one stop at Darlington on route.
We arrived in York at 9.55 am and headed into the beautiful historic town centre, which is only a short 5 minute walk from the train station. I loved stepping back in time walking down the old cobbled streets of the Shambles, looking in the quirky shops. Be warned though that if you have a pushchair you wont be able to get into some of the old buildings as they are very narrow and have steps, myself and my teen enjoyed looking in them though whilst the other half stood outside with the little two. We brought some old fashioned sweets from a charming old fashioned sweet shops and brought some delicious but very expensive fudge from a local fudge makers (£8.30 for four squares).
After a few hours wandering the streets and looking in the shops we headed to a pizza hut for lunch as it was cheap (just under £40 for five of us) and quick and filling for the children, as lets face it there is nothing worse then waiting for food with impatient toddlers in tow. I wish the weather had of been nicer as I would have brought one of the delicious smelling roast pork sandwiches from the hog roast shops that were dotted around the town centre to eat outdoors, as there was plenty of green space and benches near the town centre.
After lunch we headed back to the town centre to do some shopping visiting stores such as Browns, The Disney Store, Lush and Marks & Spencers. I love how in York there is a real mix of the traditional old fashioned shops and buildings of the Shambles and the more modern buildings and shops around the outside of the town centre.
We had plans to explore the city more with a walk along the river and city walls but the weather had other ideas so we headed to the National Railway museum as Sophia & Jacob are both train crazy. The railway museum is located right next to the train station so is close to the city centre and it is free to enter, although a donation is welcome. The national railway museum is perfect for visiting on rainy days as it is mostly indoors and there is lots to see and do, even for toddlers.
Trains from York to Newcastle are fairly regular and we only had to wait around 15 minutes for a train home. However we must have picked the wrong time to travel home (4 pm) as the train was packed, we could not find a seat and had to stand all the way back to Newcastle which is not ideal when you have a one and two year old and two buggy's with nowhere to store them. In the end we ended up putting the little two in there buggy's and standing near the doors so they were safe.
Despite the slightly stressful train journey home we really enjoyed are trip to York, it was so quick and easy to get there and my teen and both my toddlers loved travelling by train. It was a really lovely family day out that I am sure we will remember for many years to come. We enjoyed the day out so much that we have actually already booked are next Virgin train journey for the May half term, we are off to Edinburgh to visit the Zoo for the day. I have made sure I have pre booked are seats so we don't have to stand on the way home again, they were super cheap too only around £15 each return.
A family day trip to York from Newcastle is so convenient as we left the house at 8am and we were home by 5.30pm, making it the perfect family day out. York is such a beautiful city that I will never tire of visiting ( I was actually back there for a few hours yesterday without the children) it is great for a family day out. I also could not believe how easy it was travelling via train with two toddlers and a teen in tow as I found it much easier then I imagined, it was also a lot more affordable then I thought as under fives travel for free and with advanced bookings you can travel fairly inexpensive too. If you are looking for ideas for a family day out during half term you really should check out Virgin trains East Coast as I bet you will have just as fun an adventure as we had.
Disclosure We received complimentary tickets from Virgin Trains East Coast for the purpose of this review, all opinions are my own.