Steam engines were once one of the most graceful yet powerful symbols of the industrial age. Powerful locomotive engines with a winning combination of speed and beauty. So it's no wonder they still fascinate us now but if you visit the National Railway Museum in York you can add in an opportunity to see over 100 engines including the world's fastest steam train (The Mallard), the Shinkansen Bullet Train or even a replica of Stephenson's Rocket.
But visit this October half term (21 Oct to 5 Nov) and you'll be treated to an even bigger 'roadschooling opportunity'. Our girls loved the chance to experience the 'Future Engineers' programme that's full of fun and fascinating workshops for the whole family and interactive activities to ignite imaginations.
Even better is the fact that the whole day's visit costs nothing as the National Railway Museum is still free to enter. Great news for us as it allowed us the chance to take the girls for a new Caribbean food experience at Turtle Bay in Stonegate.
From their first glimpse of steam railways at a young age (when the girl's grandparents took them on replica railways like Bekonscot, Herts , or the Santa Special at Wansford) the girls have loved the smell, sounds and sights of steam trains..... so York's National Rail Museum seemed the obvious choice to find out more and add to our Science Roadschooling !
So where do you start in the Great Hall? Well there's over 100+ locomotives to choose from, but the chance to sit inside the cab of the famous Mallard was just to good to pass up.... whilst the new 'Mallard Experience' provides a chance to feel what the Mallard's world steam speed record attempt must have felt like as you rushed towards the Collyweston Bends (see here).
There's well over 300 years of fascinating history here . So you can grab the chance to explore other railway legends including the impressive Duchess of Hamilton, sit inside the only Japanese Bullet Train outside of Japan or be flabbergasted by the luxury of the Royal Trains.
But there's also plenty of opportunities to learn too... from the working displays of a turntable to the interesting exhibits that explain how steam engines work (see here for a great animated explanation on steam engines).
If that's not enough, it's added to during half term with the activities in the Future Engineers that include : Expressive Forces, Streamlined Design or Under Pressure... or you can even hang around to chat to real-life engineers in the Engineering Hub or Engineer Like Me. (see full programme here)
Located next to the working York Station (only a 10mins walk from the centre of York) there's a chance to discover just how signals work on the railways or understand more on engineers and their drawings... you can even see a realtime plan for trains currently inside York station...
But for us, the variety on offer has ensured both girls were kept enthused and engaged throughout the day seeing model railways in action, through to opportunities to see how the railways were used in the World Wars.
Perhaps the best way to finish any visit is to soak up the nostalgic atmosphere in the renovated Station Hall which tells the story of over a century of station life. Seeing just what it must have been like to be a Sedbergh schoolboy or the first class passenger aboard the trains..... it certainly offers an opportunity to travel back in time to experience station life from yesteryear...
For those who've followed our journeys across the last 2 years, you'll know the girls loved experimenting with new foods like our fresh fish meal on our Croatian Scuba Adventure ... so where better to relive those memories than 'Turtle Bay'..... a colourful taste of the Caribbean with uber-friendly staff!
Our girls absolutely loved the Caribbean spirit not to mention the chance to try Caribbean classics such as jerk BBQ or curried beef cheeks with coconut rice and peas. All surrounded by a restaurant that resembles a colourful shack with graffiti-laden walls, reggae beats, copious amounts of Limeade and Red Stripe, and great passion pie to finish!
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