A train table can make a great difference to how your child plays with their trains. At their best train tables can keep the railway track stable, allow toddlers and small children to play with the engines at their level and be a top way of stopping wooden railways or other sets from sprawling across the house. So what is the best train table for your kid? This train table guide will take you first through some things to think about before buying, before taking a look at the pick of the train tables available in the UK.
First decisions when buying a train table
The first question has to be, do you already have a train set or not? If not, it is often cheaper to buy a train table that comes with track, trains and accessories. They typically come with instructions on how to make one or more layouts – layouts that also sometimes fit with the designs on the tabletops. By contrast, if you have a wooden train set then you need to consider what track you have and especially whether you have enough tight curves, bridges and points to fit it on the train table you choose.
Probably second most important is, how much space do you have? Don’t forget that your child will want to get all the way around the train table and so it will either need to stay in a room away from walls (ideal) or be somewhere it can be pulled into the centre of the room. If you’re not already using the space under a child’s cot or bed, some underbed options are available (see later in the review) but remember to check the height available and consider whether it will always be possible to be pulled out and put away.
Next, consider whether you’re likely to want to use the train table just for railway tracks or if it might be multipurpose. This will not only determine whether you want one with a specific design but whether you will keep the train set on the table or store it elsewhere. Again later in this review some reversible train tables are shown. A train table with drawers is also a good option to consider if space is at a premium but you want it to be multi-purpose.
In the following section, 20 top train tables are compared and reviewed so you can make the right choice. All of these can be ordered from the top UK retailers via the Trains For Kids Store or using the links below.
Train table options if you have a wooden railway set
Brio Consumer Play Table
A famous name in wooden trains, the Brio Consumer Play Table is high quality and real wood. While expensive at full price, it can come in as low as £80 if on offer. There is a simple land and sea design which makes it really versatile. True to Brio’s child-friendly design approach it has nicely sanded and rounded corners finished off with chip-resistant (and non-toxic) paint. Size-wise a decent 116cm by 76cm and just over 45cm in height, making it good for toddlers. Note also the raised sidewalls that can contain tracks.
Bigjigs Rail Table With Drawers
Another heavyweight brand in the UK, Bigjigs, sells a similarly-priced (£90) train table to the Brio one with the addition of drawers at each end. While the pictures show a complex countryside theme, it is worth noting that the other side is plain green if that would be your preference. It is, however, smaller at basically 100cm by 73cm and 32cm high. I’d avoid being swayed by the brand, though, given that the same table is sold (albeit presently for £125) under the Train Play Table by The Letteroom at Not On The High Street.
Toys For Play Table with Fabric Storage Boxes
Toys For Play sells a whole range of train toys on Amazon and its table looks to be a good budget choice. It comes with two fabric storage boxes which may be of questionable value (especially compared with integrated drawers) but at least you know they fit under the table. The table has a busy, countryside and road design. At 116cm by 84cm and 40cm height, the table is on the larger side.
Melissa and Doug Multi Activity Table
Also known as the Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Multi-Activity Table, this best seller has a double-sided play board and storage in the form of a large drawer. It is a large table (127cm x 82.5cm) so make sure you have the space, while height-wise it is just over 40cm which is good for toddlers upwards. Moreover, bear in mind this is not a table that chairs can pull under if you want them to. This table would look particularly good if you have white furniture in the room it will be in or don’t want a more traditional wooden table (this one is actually made of wooden particle board, which has the benefit of it being lightweight and thus relatively easily moved). There is also room under the table for boxes of toys if needed. The RRP is £100 but is presently at £90 and can be snapped up for as low as £60 on special offer.
Under-My-Bed Play Table
If space is at a premium in your child’s bedroom, then consider the Under-My-Bed Play Table at Great Little Trading Company. Lightweight due to being made of MDF and just 18cm high, it means it can easily roll in and and out from under a bed. Yet, really, at 90cm by 80cm, with no sides to retain tracks and trains, better train tables are available if you have the space. Typically priced at £125, GLTC often does discounts when spending over £100.
Other play tables
GLTC also sells the Eden Play Table – Large in natural or white finish. Given that it is only 60cm deep and has a RRP of £245 it appears most suitable if you need the massive storage space underneath.
Likewise, Not On The High Street sells a turni-table called The Big Play Table For Small Spaces. It turns from being a small table of 80cm by 55cm to one that is 80cm by 110cm. Priced at over £200 with benches £135 each more, it is much more than just a train table.
Train Table Guide continues below but you may also like to read the Wooden Train Set Guide
Train table options if you need a railway set
Bigjigs Rail City Train Set and Table
Starting out again with a big brand, Bigjigs is noticeable for its range of train sets and tables. The pick for me is the wooden City Train Set and Table, which comes not only with tracks, bridges and a metro style train, but a heli-pad, buildings, road signs, a boat and vehicles. Add in a few trees and people and you’ve got a bustling city. The table itself is the same as the Bigjigs one sold by itself and so that’s a lot of railway for just £30 more (£62 pieces in fact, which would probably be in the £50-70 range alone). As a reminder, height 32cm, width 102.5cm and depth 73cm. Drawers can be bought separately but only from Bigjigs directly it appears.
Bigjigs Wooden Services Train Set & Table
The same table can come with a more countryside set. There’s little between them but I just feel there is a little more action going on in the city version above.
Bigjigs Rail Magical Train Set and Table
Again, the very same table is available in white. The train set has a magical theme aimed at girls, with pastel coloured engine, toadstools, fairies and a unicorn.
Mountain Rock Train Table
Exclusive to Toys R Us, the Mountain Rock Train Table gets rave reviews. The table includes a drawer and looks to be very sturdy. The set is on a mountain theme and includes 100 pieces (ranging from trains and track, through people, cars and lorries, to bridges, cranes and stations. It’s worth noting that the train set itself has lights and sounds, which many similar set don’t. Recommended to be priced at £250, it can often be found at half that. It is a large table at 121.3cm by 82.5cm and 40cm in height – it has to be to fit seven metres of track on it.
KidKraft Waterfall Mountain Train Set and Table
If you have the space for a larger table and are willing to compromise just a touch on quality, the KidKraft Waterfall Mountain Train Set and Table is excellent if bought on a deal. Occasionally priced as low as £130 (RRP of £230 is heady), the table is a sturdy 124cm x 87cn x 41cm one with three drawers. Those drawers are needed to store the 120 pieces of track, buildings, bridges, people, cars, level crossings and trains.
KidKraft Airport Express Espresso Table and Set
While this train set up looks amazing on the table, I would venture that it’s best for older children as I cannot imagine a 3 year old managing to push the train around such a complicated 100-piece set. The spiral does look like a lot of fun and definitely a winner for train-loving kids who also like aeroplanes.
Kidkraft City Explorer’s Train Set and Table (100 Pieces)
The only round table in this collection comes from Kidkraft. It is 102cm wide. Putting the 80 piece set with all its bridges, twists and turns is an engineering challenge in its own right. There are moving cranes, three-level bridges and much excitement. This for me means it is pitched at older children: a three-year old would demolish this quicker than it would take to set it up. The reviews on Amazon are highly varied, but more positive more recently and so potentially some quality issues have been ironed out.
100 Pieces Wooden Train Set with Table
For under £100, this 100 piece train set and table from Smyths is quite a narrow option at 62cm by 126cm (40cm height). The train set that comes with it also includes a helicopter, bridge, crane, animals and buildings. The table has an integrated drawer and colourful top.
ELC Big City Wooden Rail Train Table
This table and train set comes with a deep storage draw, colourful artwok on the table top and 100 pieces of track, accessories and trains. One great thing about it for transport-mad kids is that there is a road on the reverse of the play mat. In terms of dimensions, a width of 119cm and depth of 83cm make this one of the larger train tables on the market. It is 40cm high.
Wooden Toys Train Table Set
An option if you have limited space is sold by Wooden Toys. The table measures 64.4cm by 47cm. Clearly there would be limitations on how much more track could be added onto this but at £50 (and sometimes discounted into the £30s) it could be a good stop gap for younger children, placed where there is not a lot of room, or a second table at a grandparents for train crazy kid. It is blue, making it stand out from more traditional finishes.
Chad Valley Wooden Table and 90 Piece Train Set
Sticking with wooden train tables with blue finishes, the next is for a famous name: Chad Valley. It comes with 90 pieces of track, figures, accessories etc. It measures 95cm by 55cm which is a middle of the road table. Likewise, my limited experience of Chad Valley track and engines would suggest this is middle of the road too.
Everearth Train Table and Farm Set
At £110, having few pieces in terms of train set and only measuring 83cm by 60cm it is hard to recommend the Everearth Train Table and Farm Set for anything other than their eco-credentials (and even then its not as if the other major brands don’t do their bit here). Indeed, if this is important to you the next product from Everearth is better.
Everearth Double-sided Road Map/Farm Play Table And Figure Of 8 Train And Track Railway Set
The same Everearth train table is offered in a £70 deal with a free figure of eight track. It is a nicely finished table and a more palatable price. Even then, though, the figure of eight track does not actually properly fit on (it’s 101cm long) so it is hard to recommend beyond those eco-credentials mentioned above. Alternatively just buy the table towards the top of this review.
Plum Train and Track Wooden Activity Table with Accessories
There are things to like about this train table. First, it is large at 125cm by 80cm, with a height of 45 cm. Second, it has a reversible table with a town on one side and a countryside village on the other. Third, it has a drawer for storage. On the face of it 140 wooden pieces should be great. However, many of those are very basic people, signs, road lights and trees etc. This might be great for a child who’s interested in trains as well as very imaginative play with more transport types and people. For a train fanatic though, there are better options above in the price bracket. It has a RRP of £250 but is usually around £160.
Butternut Construction Wooden Train Set and Table
This is one of the biggest wooden train tables on the UK market, measuring 126cm by 62cm. It features a large storage drawer for the 100 pieces of railway track, construction vehicles and trains that come with it. The set features a wooden crane that can lift cargo off a boat, lorries and the train.
Point-kids Wooden Train Set Table Game 100 or 70 Parts Wood Complete Set
And finally a train table that would really stand out! Point-kids has the most colourful table available, with a train motif around the whole outside of the table. It measures 87cm x 46cm and can come with either 100 pieces or 70 pieces. Typically this is heavily discounted from the RRP at under £100 for the larger set and under £60 for the smaller one. It looks to me worth paying the extra for the larger set if you are taken by this table.
(Update 14/11/2015 – the above appears out of stock but please try just in case)
I hope this review helps you find the best train table for your child.
Certain links above take you to Amazon.co.uk or other retailers should you wish to buy one of the products. I earn a small commission without any cost to you for my work if you use these links – which will be used to take two train-loving boys to Japan.
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Thanks for reading the Train Table Guide. You may also like to read the Wooden Train Set Guide