Reasons to take the train for a family day out

Last updated: Sunday, 27 March 2022

Once we become adults and life speeds up, it’s easy to always be looking for the quickest and simplest way to do things. Enjoyment is usually very much an afterthought!

For children, trains are a source of great excitement. Whether it be seeing them, riding them or getting a toot-toot from a train driver, they bring great pleasure to little ones. And while sometimes the thought of loading up the buggy and heading to the station for a day out can feel rather more stressful than just bunging everything into the car, there’s a lot to be said for choosing the train instead.


We know that on the surface travelling by car might seem like the best option, but when you consider rising fuel costs and parking charges, traffic jams and carbon emissions, swapping the car for the train might be better for your wallet and the planet.

Kids aged four and under travel on the train for free. And those five and over can travel for just £1 return with a Kids for a Quid ticket when travelling off-peak with a paying adult. Plus, these tickets are rather handy if you’re enjoying a day out because some attractions will give you one free child entry when you show your Kids for a Quid ticket. So, you end up saving a lot more than you maybe first expected.

Mother and son at aquarium

There are lots of ways to save money on your train fare, so we’ve popped them all together in one handy guide.

Read our 'How to save money on train travel' blog

The environment

Following COP26 there has been a lot more focus on how we can all make small everyday choices that will ultimately help lower our carbon footprint. Choosing a lower carbon form of transport is an easy one if you need to get around. Over 75% of ScotRail passengers travel on electric trains, which is great news for the environment. And on those routes where electrification just isn’t possible, we’re looking at other ways to fuel the trains such as bi-mode, battery and hydrogen.

Use our carbon calculator to compare your own carbon footprint when you use different modes of transport.


As we get older and busier, enjoyment is often overlooked as a deciding factor. A lot of choices are made out of necessity. But for children, they’re always looking for the most fun thing to do. And taking the train is definitely up there in the excitement stakes.

Travelling by train is a great talking point too. Before you travel you can get excited about the different trains you might see – it’s not just ScotRail trains out there. Perhaps you’ll see one of Transpennine Express’s colourful Nova 2 trains, or a sleek Avanti Pendolino arriving into Glasgow Central station, or an iconic LNER Azuma zipping through the east coast’s countryside? And if you’re out and about early, maybe even the Caledonian Sleeper.

Boy looking out train window at Glasgow Central station

Taking the train gives you and the kids a chance to slow down and gaze out of the window. Of course, not all routes are stunners but there’s always something fascinating to see. And when you pause and look out the window through a child’s eyes, you’ll always spot things you’ve never noticed before. If it’s a longer train journey you’re going on, we’ve got some fun activities to keep the kids entertained for part of the journey too.

Download kid’s activities

Preparing for your journey

If you’ve not travelled by train with your kids before and find it a little daunting, we have a blog filled with everything you need to know for a fun, stress-free trip. When you’re travelling, if you ever have a question, look out for a member of staff or use one of our Help Points. You’ll find them in every station and they’re in use from the beginning to the end of service every day. Just press the button and you’ll get connected to our customer service team. Our friendly social team are available to chat to on twitter too.

Read 'Our top tips for travelling with kids' blog

We’re looking forward to welcoming you on board soon.

Thinking of taking the family by train?
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