THERE are two words which can bring a smile to any parent’s face - ‘free admission’.
That’s just one of the surprises you will find at the National Railway Museum in York, a great day out for all ages, and a mix of the old and the new.
While the free entry has the adults smiling, the appearance of guests such as Paddington made it a day to remember for the children.
Not only did they get to meet him and have a picture with him, there was a charming opportunity to dress up like the marmalade-loving bear, with wellies, blue duffle coats and red hats waiting on the platform.
Paddington is not the only special guest popping to the museum, Father Christmas is due to stop off several times in the next few weeks.
It really is a full day out. You could battle through the city centre traffic, or better still make it a train-filled day because York railway station is next door to the attraction.
And you don’t have to be a train-buff to enjoy yourself. Of course, there is plenty for enthusiasts to lose themselves in the golden age, but youngsters of all ages will be thrilled.
There is a miniature outdoor railway, a steam ride, a simulator with speeded up rides of some classic routes and lots of hands-on experiences.
Even better a road train, similar to the land trains which operate along Bridlington’s seasfront, run regularly from the museum to York Minster if you want to combine a museum visit with a browse around the city.
Back inside (and most of the attraction is indoors), there are Royal trains, a Japenese bullet train and all sorts of famous names from history to explore.
The children will also have a whale of a time welly-wanging and making a medal to celebrate their achievements, with the staff friendly and really informative at all times.
Admittedly, some of the activities have a small charge, but the best things in life are free and adults can easily wander around for hours without dipping into their wallet.
The food is excellent and sitting on a platform and tucking in is a lovely experience, and the money you saved on admission will soon be swallowed up at the impressive gift shop.
A lovely family day out, and a wonderful venue which will have added sparkle when Santa arrives soon.
For more details, visit www.nrm.org.uk