Welcome to the Didcot Railway Centre entry in the Trains For Kids Days Out Guide. Below you will find everything you need to know about this railway attraction. This includes what to expect during a visit, what facilities there are to make the day with the family run smoothly and what special activities and shopping can be found there.
About Didcot Railway Centre
While steam and other trains run on the demonstration line at Didcot Railway Centre, there is so much more to do there. The centre describes itself as a living museum. Within the site (which on a map looks like a great big smile) there are engines and carriages on display in sheds, a turntable and picnic areas. Then inside the buildings, there are exhibits focussed on railways and science.
What you will see
Families with kids can enjoy unlimited train rides on two demonstration lines when Didcot Railway Centre is running the trains. The main demonstration line (about three quarters of a mile) runs past the engine shed and picnic area and parallel to the main line that runs past the centre itself. A second, brand line (about a third of a mile) runs from the 1930s Branch Line Station to the Victorian transfer shed, past two signal boxes and Brunel’s broad gauge.
The train rides are about 10 minutes and run every 15 minutes so if you miss a train there is always another along quickly. As well as watching the trains, there are plenty of chances to get up close and personal with the engines.
The Archie Trail is specifically designed to ensure that while kids get to see the range of things outdoors, they also get to use the interactive exhibits in the Science, Learning & Railways Exhibition. There is also an air raid shelter with an audio display here.
A video to get the kids excited
Special train events for kids
Didcot Railway Centre has Day Out With Thomas twice a year, typically in March & October, as well as a special Day Out With Thomas to meet Father Christmas in December. There is also a Teddy Bears’ Picnic in July.
As Didcot Railway Centre does not have a covered area or carriages that would be suitable for children’s parties, the best suggestion is to have a picnic within the grounds.
The Refreshment Room serves hot and cold food, including children’s meals. There is also the picnic area.
There are two lots of baby change facilities, both located near The Refreshment Room.
Buggies and pushchairs can be left on the stations or carried in the luggage van of the train, space permitting. However, as the site is not overly large the latter may not be needed.
There is a small shop for gifts and souvenirs.
When to go
The museum is typically open everyday from mid-May until mid-September, and then on selected dates around Christmas and other school holidays. It is worth checking when trains will start running on the day you visit as hours are limited to 10.30-16.00 in winter and 10.30-17.00 in summer (except on special days like Thomas visiiting).
Didcot Railway Centre’s prices vary depending on whether the trains are running and type of event. Days Out with Thomas are about £3-4 per person more than Steam days.
|Non-running days||Steam days|
Getting to Didcot Railway Centre
Aim for Didcot Parkway station car park and then walk through the subway to the museum (OX11 7NJ). Alternatively go to the car park near the Prince of Wales pub just over the road from the station.
Key links and contacts
Didcot Railway Centre
Tel: 01235 817200
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