Tuesday, 12 April 2016

A Day Trip To York With Virgin Trains East Coast

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.

my toddler looking out the train window

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.

view from the train window on Virgin east coast train near York

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).

York Rive Ouse

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.

York Shambles street

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.


First of all we headed to the station hall which is full of vintage trains, signs and props - it is like stepping back in time seeing them all. Then we headed to the Great hall which is just a huge room full of trains such as the iconic Flying Scotsman and The Rocket as well as so many other trains that you could explore. There was lots to see and do but we had two tired toddlers on are hands so we only stayed for an hour or two before heading back to the station to catch the next Virgin train home.

The Rocket train at York national railway museum

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. 

28 comments:

  1. Looks like you had a great day. Shame about the journey home, we had the same experience from Edinburgh to Manchester but luckily a few people gave up their seats for me and my lil one. Ive been to York once but would love to go back again. The Railway Museum was great fun!

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    1. We really did have a lovely day, oh you should visit York again I love it. Your little ones would love the railway museum - mine did. I know it was a shame about the journey home but I think we were just unlucky and picked a busy train as we travelled from York yesterday ( without the children) and the train was really quiet xx

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  2. It sounds like you had a wonderful day out. I haven't been to York for years. I must one day take my girls x

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    1. We really did have a lovely day, the weather was miserable but we still had a great day. Your girls would love it, my teen loved all the shops and was desperate to go the dungeons. You should go in the holidays, the tickets are so cheap if you book in advance xx

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  3. Sounds like such a lovely day out! I have visited both York and Edinburgh from Newcastle with Virgin East Coast this year, if you book in advance it's great value and the views along the way aren't bad either, especially along the coast up to Edinburgh!

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    1. We really did have a lovely day thanks Rachel. I have not visited Edinburgh for a few years now, I think I was sitting on the wrong side to see the coast last time. I loved the country views on the way to and from York xx

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  4. Oh, my home town! I now have a major case of homesickness! Only two months until i'm back for summer though :) It wasn't until I moved away that I realised how beautiful and special York is. So lovely you popped to the Railway Museum too - my great grandfather used to drive the big blue train! Glad you had a lovely time! x

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    1. You are so lucky having lived in York, I think it such beautiful place. Every time I visit I find new things to see and do, we had such a lovely time. Enjoy your trip home in the summer xx

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  5. Looks like a lovely day - I remember taking H&H to York on the train to York before Jack was born. We had a lovely day I think we went to Jorvik and a boat trip down the river. Parking is so expensive in York and I think it's much less stressful getting the train!

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    1. It really was a lovely day, if the weather had of been nicer we were going to go on the boat and a walk along the river. I totally agree visiting places like this on the train is so much easier then driving and finding a parking space as the station is so close to everything xx

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  6. I love day trips like this one, especially if it involves the train! I've never been to York but it's on my list of places to visit. Hopefully soon! :)

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    1. Oh you really should visit sometime it is such a beautiful city. xx

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  7. Looks like a lovely day out I've never been to York. Shame about getting home I've had that issue before getting home from London once with my son

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    1. It really was a lovely day out, York is a lovely city. I know it was a shame as we managed to get a seat on the way there no problem at all xx

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  8. I havent been to York for well over 10 years and I am yearning to go back, such a beautiful city x

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    1. It really is such a beautiful city. You really should return as it is still as nice as it was years ago xx

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  9. It looks like you had a lovely day out. We haven't been to York yet.

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    1. We really did have a lovely day out thank you. xx

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  10. What a lovely day out. I have always wanted to go to York especially because of its historical context.

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    1. You really should visit sometime Ana if you get the chance it is so beautiful and steeped in history with so much to see and do. It is only 2 hours on the train from London xx

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  11. We love visiting York and heading down the shambles and quirky streets. We love visit Betty's Tea Room too! What a great day trip!

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    1. I love the shambles and all the little streets, so charming. We never went to Bettys , I really need to visit soon xx

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  12. I was born and lived near York as a baby but have never been back. I would love to visit again and see what it has to offer

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    1. You really should visit again someday as it is lovely with so much to see and do. Such a beautiful city too. The children would love it , my little ones did xx

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  13. York looks beautifull. I've never been. Annoyingly there are no virgin train routes at all from where we live x

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    1. It really is so beautiful. That is a shame, I am quiet lucky with the trains from Newcastle xx

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  14. I haven't been to York in years, it is a lovely place to visit though! It looks like you had a great day - and virgin trains are always nice to travel on. Arriva Wales' answer to all complaints is if you don't like it, take the bus!

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    1. It really is a lovely place to visit. Virgin trains really are nice to travel on, we always travel on them if we are going somewhere. Gosh Arriva Wales don't sound very good xx

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