Rediscovering the splendid age of the steam train in York.

York makes an excellent weekend getaway destination, with its Roman relics, Viking remains and the fabulous York Minster (yorkminster.org) one of the world's great cathedrals.

But if you’ve already visited its historic sites, don’t forget that the National Railway Museum (nrm.org.uk), a few yards from York station, displays some brilliantly preserved engines that will delight all the family.

Reminiscent of days gone by when rail travel was very much an event to be enjoyed, the Duchess of Hamilton, the Mallard, the world's fastest steam locomotive, and the Evening Star, the last steam train built by British Railways, all shine out Britain’s past glories, reports the Daily Mail.

In contrast, the kids will love the Japanese bullet train, a Chinese contribution and the famous swanky Royal Trains. Exhibitions on the Steam Age and Dr Beeching's axing of rural services in the Sixties, complete the picture.

If you really want to make it a theme weekend, you can stay in the luxurious five-star Cedar Court Grand Hotel and Spa (cedarcourtgrand.co.uk), one of the finest hotels in Yorkshire. It’s housed in the former North Eastern Railways headquarters and dates back to 1906. Doubles start from £125 per night.

Travel to York (by train, of course) with East Coast (08457 225225, eastcoast.co.uk) from London and Edinburgh from £13 one way. There’s a saving of a third of the price if you travel in a group of three or more.

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