Are they ever so slightly train obsessed?
Yep? Well you’ve come to the right place. I’m a railwayman’s daughter. I loved my train set as a kid and … shh don’t tell! … I might occasionally have actually been train spotting when I was little.
So where in London – you want to know – are the best places for kids to enjoy steam trains?
Well you don’t need me to tell you about the London Transport Museum.
If your kids are train mad, you’ve been. More than once.
But don’t worry there are loads of other ways to keep train mad kids entertained in London itself.
So here goes … the best places to see and ride steam trains in London …
1. The Real Thing
Starting with the real thing. That being a big proper old steam engine.
You can actually see real steam engines almost every week in London pulling a genuine train!
Because each month 4 or 5 steam train excursions leave from Victoria, Kings Cross or Paddington.
You can find the details here of which trains are leaving which station at what time.
And officially you are allowed by Network Rail to go on the platform and have a look and take as many pics of your little angel next to that beautiful big steam engine as you like!
Just get there early and have a word with whoever’s on the platform gate or at the ticket office.
How good is that?
You’ll see the engine. You’ll see the steam. And you’ll see it pull a train out of the station! Wow!
2. The Orient Express
Now the Orient Express is obviously the most glamorous of all the old trains.
And the Orient Express does leave every Thursday from Victoria at 10.45 for Venice.
And the carriages look mighty glamorous. But it’s pulled by a diesel.
If your kids are happy with diesels, be at Victoria for 10.45 on a Thursday.
If they’ll feel short changed by anything less than a steam engine give it a miss.
3. Epping and Ongar Railway
The Epping and Ongar Railway is not quite so grand but is a full size steam railway running on an old branch line, so perfect for Thomas enthusiasts.
Even better you can get there on a lovely old Routemaster from Epping tube or Shenfield station.
Trains run every Saturday and Sunday plus more days in the holidays.
The railway has 3 steam engines – kind of Thomas or Edward sized – and some guests.
Plus old diesel trains. If your kids will really want to travel by steam call ahead to check.
A family ticket for the whole day for up to 3 kids is £34.
4. Acton Museum Depot & Miniature Railway
If you’ve got real train junkies check out the London Transport Museum Depot at Acton.
It’s not open the whole time but there are open days in the holidays.
And you get to see all sorts of secret stuff not in the main museum.
Plus there’s a ride on Miniature Railway.
5. Ruislip Lido Railway
The Ruislip Lido Railway is worth a trip wherever you are in London.
As it runs around the Ruislip reservoir which has a little sandy beach and through the Ruislip woods. The woods are seriously brilliant for tree climbing.
The railway has a lovely steam engine “Mad Bess”. Unfortunately, she doesn’t run the whole time.
But there is a turn table that kept my little train fan happy even on a diesel day.
The journey only takes about 20 minutes and is £10 for a family of 4.
6. Hampton & Kempton Waterworks Railway
The Hampton & Kempton Waterworks Railway is a similar size to Ruislip Lido.
It’s built on an old railway that served the waterworks and is by the Kempton Steam Museum.
If your little train fan is into BIG BIG BIG engines, this is one for them.
7. Malden and Thames Ditton Model Railway
The Malden Model Railway is a must for train afficiandos.
There is a both a ride on model railway and a miniature railway. Plus junctions, signal boxes, a locomotive shed and a turn table!
So enough to keep train mad kids entertained for the afternoon. It’s open Sundays and bank holidays and does get busy.
The railway is about 15 minutes walk from Thames Ditton station.
8. Brockwell Park
The Brockwell Park Railway is our little local train at the end of our road.
It’s a tiny ride on, that only runs Sundays but is fun for littlies.
And even if we say it ourselves, Brockwell Park is a lovely place to idle away a sunny Sunday.
You can visit the Herne Hill farmers market, ride the train and then explore the lovely ponds, playground, paddling pool, walled garden, community garden, BMX track and fab Lido.
9. Swanley New Barn Railway
The Swanley New Barn Railway is a ride on miniature railway in Swanley Park.
A bit fancier than Brockwell. It has both steam and diesel ride ons.
The park has a boating lake, paddling pool, playground, bouncy castle and more.
10. Barking Park Railway
Barking Park Railway is another little railway a bit like Brockwell’s.
The ride on the train will only entertain for 10 or 15 minutes but there’s plenty to do in the park.
Including a playground, boat hire on the lake, a splash park in the summer and some cool pond dipping platforms for exploring the wildlife in the ponds.
11. Roxbourne Park Railway
Roxbourne Park Railway is a similar small park railway good for north west Londoners.
12. Ridgeway Park Railway
And Ridgeway Park Railway in the Ridgeway Park in Chingford is another popular local littlie.
Just outside London there are also several miniature railways good for a half day trip including …
13. East Herts Miniature Railway
The East Herts Miniature Railway has a good handful of very Thomas like trains.
It’s close by a lovely part of the Lee Valley Park so you could combine a trip to the trains with a wander by the River Lee.
14. Great Cockrow Railway
The Great Cockrow Railway is down near Cherstey. So good for south west Londoners. It has some very smart little engines.
So there you go. A big old list of London steam trains and railways and the best places to enjoy both steam train rides and model trains in London with your train mad kids. I hope they keep your little train spotters happy.
Do bookmark or save the list for quick reference and for more fun things to do in London with your kids check out these other posts: