Travelling with children

If you’re planning a trip with the family, we want to make your train journey as simple as possible.

Here we let you know what to expect when travelling with children, help you to plan ahead, share our top tips on saving money on your travel and offer our advice on keeping the kids entertained on the journey.

On board facilities

Bringing pushchairs on the train

You are welcome to bring your pushchairs or prams on board an East Midlands Railway service. Pushchairs and prams need to be folded and stored safely in the luggage compartments on board. We recommend bringing one that is easy to fold and doing so before you board the train. You may want to consider bringing a sling or baby carrier on board for the little ones to make this easier. Pushchairs and prams should not be stored in wheelchair spaces, as these are reserved for wheelchair users.

Baby changing facilities on the train

We are happy to offer accessible toilets and baby changing facilities on board all our trains.

At station facilities

Baby changing facilities at the station

We know how important it is to have access to toilets when you need them, most of our stations have baby changing facilities. Find out more about our stations.

Top tips for travelling with children

Whether you’re off on a family adventure for a day trip, a holiday or are visiting family, we want to make your journey easy and stress-free. Here are some of our top tips for travelling with children on the train.

Plan your journey

Any parent will know that planning ahead will help things to run smoothly, and you can relax as soon as you’re on board. Travelling by train takes away the worry of knowing where to park and stops you hitting any traffic on route.

If you can, travelling during off-peak would help for a quieter, more relaxing journey. If you’re travelling Monday to Friday, try to avoid peak times in the morning and evenings.

We have some great destinations to visit along our route, so you can enjoy the perfect family day out. See our blog where we share travel inspiration for some of the UK’s best-known attractions and locations.

Arrive at the station early

To make your journey as stress free as possible, make sure that you arrive at the station early so you have time to find your platform, hop on the train and find your seats.

If you are travelling with children under 5, arriving early will be helpful as they won’t have a seat reservation.

Childrens discounts

Did you know that under 5’s can travel for free on our services and children aged 5 to 15 can save 50% on their train tickets? Plus, you could benefit from purchasing a railcard to make even more savings for your next family trip. The Family and Friends Railcard offers a third off for up to four adults and 60% off for up to four kids. Find out more about children's tickets.

Book in advance

When you plan ahead you can save money, especially when travelling with the whole family. You can save up to 30% when you book in advance and tickets can be purchased up to 12 weeks ahead until the day before your journey. Find out more about Advance tickets.

With Advance tickets you can take advantage of Railcard discounts to make further savings. Find out more about Railcards.

Keep the kids entertained

Looking out of a train window, enjoying the views may only keep the kids entertained for so long, so make sure that you have plenty to keep them distracted during the journey. You could bring your children’s favourite books, jigsaws, colouring books or toys to keep them occupied. If you’re bringing your phone or tablet on board to keep the kids entertained, you can make use of our free Wi-Fi on our intercity services to and from London St Pancras. Find out more about WiFi available at our stations and on board.

If you’re stuck for ideas to keep your little ones entertained on their next train trip, check out some of our favourites below:

  • Animal spotting – This is similar to eye-spy, but instead the aim is to spot as many animals as possible during the train journey. Whether that be sheep in an open field or dogs waiting on the platform. Extra points can be awarded for kids who spot less obvious animals like a fly zooming by the window.
  • The yes/no game – Another really simple one which requires nothing but a bit of imagination. The only rule for this game is to not say yes or no at any point! Players just need to take turns asking each other questions and they must answer without using the ‘forbidden’ words.
  • “I packed my suitcase”– Take it in turns to say what is in the ‘suitcase’. As this list goes around the group, each player adds one thing to the quickly expanding list (encourage kids to be as silly as they like, meaning each round can be more entertaining than the last). The challenge is to remember everything each player has said as the list gets longer and longer.
  • Activity and colouring books – Many of our stations have a newsagent, meaning you can pick up a magazine or activity book for your child if you left home without one.

Pack some snacks for the journey

We understand how important snacks are when travelling with children of all ages. Most of our train services offer a trolley service where you will find a selection of healthy snacks for your little one. Alternatively, you will find a selection of hot and cold food at our stations before you board the train.

Day trip ideas for the whole family

If you are a bit stuck for ideas as to where to take your little ones during the school holidays or the weekends. We've have pulled together some of our favourite destinations for the whole family.

National Space Centre

Leicester

Packed with plenty of attractions for younger kids and teenagers, Leicester is the perfect day out for family members of all ages. Boasting a selection of fun-filled activities such as laser tag, treetop mini-golf and indoor climbing just to name a few, a trip to Leicester is a must if you have children.

If you have any astronomy enthusiasts in your family, then a visit to the National Space Centre is a must for children of all ages. There are also plenty of great places to enjoy a family meal after a long day of activities in the city, allowing you to relax and enjoy even more quality time with your loved ones.

See more things to do in Leicester.

Nottingham Castle

Nottingham

With plenty of history to discover, Nottingham is a great place to take older kids who can are more likely to appreciate interesting buildings and a bit of culture. Nottingham boasts a stunning cathedral, a historic castle and a great shopping scene for adults and teenagers. Perfect for children of all ages (and adults too!) Nottingham is a great place to enjoy a day trip for the whole family.

It’s also worth noting that Nottingham is particularly easy to get to on the train, no matter where you’re travelling from. Its central location offers plenty of great transport links, so you’ll never be stuck for trains back home.

Find out more places to visit in Nottingham.

London eye

London

A destination that needs no introduction, London offers a wide variety of activities for children throughout the city. Whether you’re travelling with younger children or teenagers, you can rest assured there will be something suitable for children of all ages. We’d recommend a ride on the London Eye as a great starting point for your day out, as your little ones can take in the whole city whilst onboard. There’s also plenty of child friendly places to visit including the likes of SEA LIFE London Aquarium and Shrek’s Adventure! London inspired by the hit DreamWorks film.

London is perfect for a day trip, and with trains running regularly throughout the day, you can rest assure that you’ll have plenty of time to cram in plenty of activities during your trip to the capital.

See more places to explore in London.

National Emergency Services Museum

Sheffield

Sheffield offers your family a varied day out in a city packed with history and activities. There are museums that are suitable for kids, including the National Videogame Museum and National Emergency Services Museum – both of which offer a great insight into years gone by. If you are looking for a slightly more adventurous day out, then there’s a good chance they’ll want to tackle the Ninja Warrior UK Adventure Park and test themselves against a whole host of obstacles. If you have younger children with you, then you may want to consider Air Haus, the UK’s first inflatable indoor park; offering a huge collection of inflatable obstacles and tech games, Air Haus caters perfectly to children of all ages.

View more attractions in Sheffield.

Norwich Castle

Norwich

If you fancy a trip to East Anglia, Norwich should be at the top of your list. Norwich combines a bustling city centre with plenty of serene, quiet areas to enjoy with your family. With lots of open green spaces for the kids to run around, as well as great shops if you need to do a back-to-school shop.

If you’re looking to take in a little bit of history, then a visit to Norwich Castle comes highly recommended too. The train journey to Norwich heads through a particularly scenic part of the country, so it’s nice to sit back, relax and take in the views.

Find out more about Norwich.

Museum of Making

Derby

Derby has great attractions that are suitable for children in the heart of the city, including laser tag, bowling, roller-skating and even an indoor climbing wall. If you’re looking to enjoy a little bit of downtime after an action-packed morning, then there’s also plenty of history to take in when visiting Derby. We’d recommend a visit to the Museum of Making at Derby Silk Mill, boasting over 300 years of history, the attraction offers a child friendly journey through Derby’s industrial past, with hands on workshops suitable for all ages. When visiting Derby, you can rest assured your little ones will have a fun-filled day out to remember.

Find more places to visit in Derby.

FAQ's for travelling with children

Children under 5 travel for free on our services. Children aged 5 to 15 are entitled to half price train tickets. For more details visit our child tickets page.

No, we do not offer one-off family tickets. However, if you and your family take the train often, take a look at the Family and Friends Railcard options for great savings.

A three-year railcard costs £70 for the whole family. For a single year, it’s £30. Visit our dedicated Family and Friends Railcard page for further details.