Family fun and money saving with the Family and Friends Railcard

National Rail Trains

*Post sponsored by National Rail 

Our son Olly is at that age where he loves an adventure especially when train travel is a part of said adventure. Last week National Rail invited us to have an adventure on one of their trains down to London as part of their Fun-Tastic offer. National Rail and Merlin have partnered to offer families just like mine, huge savings on their day trips to London when using a Family and Friends Railcard, so armed with our digital railcard, train tickets and a picnic we hot footed it to the train station for a day out of family fun. 

National Rail Trains

We love travelling to London by train. It’s just much easier than driving and I cannot handle the stress of traffic and then finding somewhere suitable to park. The Family and Friends Railcard is a brilliant addition to any family’s armoury. It costs just £30 a year and helps you save 1/3 off adult train fares as well as up to 60% off children’s train fares. It covers up to four adults and four children aged between 5 and 15 (worth noting – a child of ticket bearing age must be travelling with you to take advantage of the savings on offer). We have got a digital railcard which we can access on our mobile phones or you can get a physical railcard.

Excited for his day out

Amazing savings

We caught the train from our local train station with a change of trains at Birmingham New Street to head down to London Euston. Our train tickets would have cost £181.80 without the railcard but using the railcard we saved £78.80, meaning we got the cost of the railcard back in just one return journey, and we still have another 12 months of the railcard to go! That’s some incredible savings. Find out more about the Family and Friends Railcard here.

National Rail and Merlin have partnered to offer some brilliant savings on days out in the capital. When travelling by train, you can get 2for1 entry at over 350 attractions via which saw us save up to £46 on our entry tickets to Madame Tussauds. As part of the Fun-Tastic offer there are huge savings to be had at Coca Cola London Eye, Madame Tussauds London, London Dungeon, Sea Life London and Shreks Adventure! London.

Madame Tussauds – what we thought

Mo Farah wax figure Madame Tussauds

Mo Farah at Madame Tussauds

We headed into London to visit one of Merlin’s most popular tourist attractions, Madame Tussauds. It’s somewhere we have never been before so we were all excited to have a look at the waxworks up close as we’ve only ever seen them on the telly.

Our first thoughts when we arrived at Madame Tussauds was how busy it was. There were people everywhere but thankfully we were in the queue for entry at 2pm and the queue went in quite rapidly. I didn’t do my research prior to the day and didn’t realise that I couldn’t take the pushchair in with us. There are loads of steps to navigate inside and so a pushchair isn’t feasible at all. If you’re taking a baby with you, take a carrier as you’ll need to carry them the whole time! You can leave pushchairs, suitcases and coats in the cloakroom in exchange for a small fee.

Once inside, we were greeted by a huge Donald Trump waxwork who was having an interview with a reporter. It was a heated interview which entertained everyone and it gave us a glimpse at what we could expect from the rest of the attraction.

Mohammed Ali Madame Tussauds

Mohammed Ali at Madame Tussauds

Madame Tussauds is split into several sections with famous characters from film, sport, politics, the British Monarchy and more on each level. We were in awe of how detailed the waxworks are and how close you could go up to them. Of course I had to touch a couple of them to feel what they were like and because I honestly thought Helen Mirren was standing there herself. Her waxwork was incredible!

Madame Tussauds Helen Mirren

Helen Mirren at Madame Tussauds

Both Olly and my husband Greg really enjoyed walking around the levels looking at all the wax figures. Olly’s favourite was British Athletics hero Mo Farah whilst Greg loved Morgan Freeman and England legend Sir Bobby Moore.

Madame Tussauds

Shrek at Madame Tussauds

One Direction Madame Tussauds

One Direction at Madame Tussauds

We had a fantastic couple of hours walking around the attraction and we didn’t realise how close we could get to the figures, it was brilliant. Unfortunately we didn’t get to experience the 4D movie as we had a tired and grumpy baby on our hands so we finished off our afternoon at Madame Tussauds with the Spirit of London ride which we all thought was very clever and Olly especially loved the taxi ride!

Madame Tussauds

Star Wars at Madame Tussauds

Barack Obama USA POTUS Madame Tussauds

Barack Obama at Madame Tussauds

As it was half-term we expected it to be busy but probably underestimated how busy it would be! It was very busy and you need to be rather patient as of course, everyone wants their photograph taken with the wax figures. We even spotted someone with her selfie stick so she could pose for insta-worthy photographs!

We finished off our day with a walk down Regents Street so Olly could spend his pocket money and then we dashed back to Euston to catch our train home. We had a wonderful day trip to London and can’t wait to go back again soon!

National Rail Family and Friends Railcard

Tired boys, all three of them!

London on the train

If you’re looking to enjoy some days out in the big smoke with the family then I would recommend jumping on the train with a Friends and Family Railcard. It has already paid for itself and we can’t wait to go back down to London to enjoy more of the sights and attractions.

Disclosure: We were given a Family and Friends Railcard, our train travel and our Merlin attraction tickets in exchange for this post. I have also been compensated for my time. All words and photographs are my own. 

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  • Reply Newcastle FamilyLife 07/11/2018 at 1:41 pm

    We have a family and friends railcard and we have saved so much money since having it, we normally just use it for trips to York or Edinburgh with the kids in the summer. I have never taken the little two to London, I really should as they would love it. It looks like you all had a great day xx

    • Reply Emma Shilton 07/11/2018 at 9:33 pm

      I can’t believe we haven’t had one before now! It’s really going to save us a lot of money x

  • Reply crazytots2018 09/11/2018 at 12:07 am

    Fab post! I’ve always thought to take the train down to London as it’s always on the radio how it only takes 1 hour 20 minutes. I drive and would say I’m a rather confident driver but the thought of driving down to London really does terrify me. I have never been and would love to go! Is Madame Tussaud’s within walking distance from the train station? Xx

  • Reply traceycwilliams 13/11/2018 at 4:03 pm

    We got a railcard for the first time in the summer when we went to Birmingham for the day, and we covered the cost of the card with the saving on our first trip x

  • Reply thietkenha111 21/02/2019 at 6:54 am

    I have never taken the little two to London, I really should as they would love it

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