Travelling with Children | Is it Better by Train?

Travelling with Children | Is it Better by Train?

For most the 6 Week Summer Holidays start tomorrow, Friday 21st July.  The end of school term and the start of the school holidays always sees increased traffic on our already congested roads as thousands of us make a break for the seaside, the airport, our childhood homes, or simply make a break from work to get home early to see the family.

New research released today by Virgin Trains, in a study of over 2000 parents, reveals the biggest “cargument” triggers for British parents ahead of the much-anticipated busiest weekend on the roads are:

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Who gets to sit where!

Music Choices!

Whether the window should be up or down!

Having experienced the music choices, who got to sit in the front seat and whether the roof should be up or down on a very short journey home from a friends house the other night. I couldn’t agree with these ‘cargument’ triggers more! Mine always want to be the Captain of the Ship so to speak.

Travelling with Children | Is it Better by Train?

So whilst our family of 5 are pretty good at travelling by car (and like 50% of those surveyed use the car most of the time for long journeys) we ALWAYS opt to travel to London from Liverpool by train. ALWAYS!  I wouldn’t now do it any other way.

In fact if we can get to the location of choice by train we tend to choose it.  We fall (unhappily) into the quarter of parents who believe their family have more arguments in the car than in any other form of transport.  Statements such as

“I told you to go that way, No not that way, down that road

Slow down,  Speed up

Turn the air conditioning off, Put the heating on

Do you have to drive all the way round the car park to find a space

Really, you need to stop again for a coffee – again”

are sadly commonplace in our car and I completely understand why the survey reveals that “A third of parents have had to abandon their family trips altogether due to arguments” and  that “Almost two thirds admit arguments could be avoided by using the train”.

Travelling with Children | Is it Better by Train?


The main reasons that we as a family love taking the train over driving are easy to explain

  1. It’s less stressful. No-one has to be in charge of directions, no-one has to stay awake and no-one has to concentrate for hours on end.
  2. You can have a wee whenever you like!  Even every half an hour.
  3. You can have as many drinks as you like as you don’t have to stop for a wee at every services on the M6 (yes really)
  4. You can make great savings if you book in advance and avoid commuter times. On the west coast, Virgin Trains’ family ticket is a super flexible, anytime Standard return that can be booked for as little as £99 for a journey from London to Manchester or Liverpool for a family of four.
  5. There is WIFI! Which is great for streaming films and music to keep kids and grown ups entertained.
  6. It’s quicker than queueing on the M6 on the bank holiday even if you experience any short delays.
  7. You can read a book (or a comic or three) as well as access movies and games via Virgin Trains’ Beam app.
  8. You can charge your iPads if you book a table seat with power points.
  9. There is plenty of room (especially when you are 5 and 6) and you can stretch your legs out without being restricted by the car seat.

NB: This post has been created in collaboration with Virgin Trains on the West Coast.

Travelling with Children | Is it Better by Train?



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Karen Beddow founded Mini Travellers in 2014 while doing what she loves most...going on holiday!

Mini Travellers is for parents looking for holiday ideas, destination reviews, days out and things to do with the kids. We also have family travel tips, activity ideas and all other things family holiday related. Take a look at some of our latest reviews for holidays and day trips in the UK.

9 thoughts on “Travelling with Children | Is it Better by Train?”

  1. I couldn’t agree with you more. The arguments over the music is a daily occurrence on the school run 🙂 or you have a five hour journey with two songs on repeat! Ha ! Trains journeys are great and part of the adventure, especially to London and it is such a quick journey time!

  2. A few weeks ago Hannah did Norfolk to London by train with our 3 kids on her own… Very brave if you ask me! She said whilst London was stressful itself with the kids the journey was not because the kids saw the train as an adventure… For this reason we will be using the train more often, more than anything as the kids love going on a train 🙂

  3. Spot on. I always take my son by train when travelling home to visit grandma, since he was 12months old. Its 6 hours in the car, 3 by train. If i book in advance its less than the petrol!

  4. Not only is it often quicker and cheaper but it’s also exciting! Hugh loved riding on the choo choo from a very young age x

  5. Living in Manchester virgin trains have been our lifeline to central London. Dorothy (toddler) loves the train and prefers the choo choo to the car for long journeys. We should defo get out more.

  6. We love a train ride too… I know many parents that regulary get a suburban train a few stops for no other reason than the excitement of getting a train! The children would be besides themselves if they got to go inter-city 😉 X

  7. Couldn’t agree more with you, especially as I write tggis after being stuck on the M25 for over 2 hours… we love the ease of train travel as a family, and often do so on international travel too!


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