Lifestyle, Parenting

Surviving a long train journey with a toddler

We live quite far from most of our family, both of Clems grannys are in North Devon and we live in Surrey. I don’t drive, and although Jesse does we don’t currently own a car so we travel a lot by train. When we go and see family it can take anything between 2.5hrs and 5.5hrs depending on connections and where we are actually travelling to! It was definitely a lot easier when Clem was younger but now she’s at the stage where she doesn’t sleep for most of the journey I need to think of ways to keep her entertained.

train journey

Two weeks ago myself and Clem headed down to North Devon to visit my mum for the week. If anyone has ever travelled to North Devon by train before you will know that the line from Exeter is a single track in most places, meaning the trains don’t go very fast and there’s about one every hour. Luckily my mum and her partner picked us up from Exeter which saved a long wait for the connection to Barnstaple. In fact we arrived at hers just as we would have been getting on the next train! Here are just a few ideas of what you can pack to keep a toddler entertained on a long train journey.

· An iPad. Now I know what you are thinking, I’ve probably had the exact same thoughts. However it came in handy. Not only are there a few apps/games on there that can at least keep Clem amused for 5 minutes but I recently downloaded quite a few episodes of Peppa Pig for her to watch. We have an Amazon Prime account which lets you download episodes/films to watch offline. You get 48 hours to watch it, if you reconnect to wifi then that obviously resets. This is great, Clem absolutely loves Peppa Pig and it kept her amused for quite some time.


· Books/magazines/stickers. I packed a few of Clems favourite books to read. I found a really cool sticker book in Wilkos the other day for £1.50. It has over 500 stickers in it, and various different scenes  to create. We didn’t even get to using this so it will come in handy on the return journey.

· Colouring pad/pencils/crayons. Clem absolutely loves colouring/drawing and it can keep her busy for a while. Unfortunately this time our train was mega busy and we didn’t even get a proper seat so it made colouring a bit difficult. But if you are lucky to get space then this is great.

· Games. We played spot the cow/tree/field/train whilst looking out of the window. At the moment Clem is amazed and interested in literally everything so she enjoyed this. It’s also good because she gets to learn/practice words and see different things.

train window

· Sleep. Now if you are lucky your child might nap, when Clem was younger she slept for most of the journey. This time she didn’t actually sleep at all, there and back, and she was starting to get pretty grumpy by the end. I find the sometimes the movement of the train can help her to sleep.

· Pack a picnic. It makes lunch/dinner a bit more exciting. Obviously pack things that are suitable for trains, cut sandwiches into fun shapes, make a bento box.

Does anyone travel long distances by train? Do you have any other ideas on ways to keep a toddler amused on a long journey.


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  1. Sarah Rooftops

    May 30, 2016 at 7:49 pm

    It’s, at best, a four hour journey to my mum’s (up to five and a half, depending on trains) and I’ll admit: I’ve avoided making the trip with Matilda yet. But she’s 13 months now and I can’t put it off much longer; I think she’s going to love visiting Granny in the countryside when she’s a little bit older.

    1. Ky

      May 30, 2016 at 8:15 pm

      Oh she really will. My mum would go mad if I didn’t make the trip. Now I’ve done it a few times I don’t mind so much and it does get easier.

  2. Harriet @ Life With Mrs Lee

    May 30, 2016 at 8:33 pm

    Some great tips! I have never had to do a long train journey with Bella but we often visit my husbands grand parents which is about a three hour drive so I imagine the ipad would come in very handy for this! I’m also planning on taking it with us on the plane for our holiday this year too! Ps – I adore your daughters name!! xo

    1. Ky

      May 31, 2016 at 12:19 pm

      Aww thank you. Yes we went on our first family holiday last year on a plane, and although we took the iPad then as well she wasn’t really interested in it. She slept for most of the flight.x

  3. Sarah @ Mum & Mor

    May 30, 2016 at 8:50 pm

    I have no experience with toddlers yet but I find your tips useful and will definitely keep them in mind. My little one is growing so fast! #TribalLove

    1. Ky

      May 31, 2016 at 12:19 pm

      Oh tell me about it. I swear she was only 3 months old last week! She will be two in August and it’s gone so quickly!x

  4. Ohlucy

    May 30, 2016 at 9:23 pm

    We did a looooong train journey today and I was gonna write a similar post about how I survived but…well she was really good! Lu xx #triballove

    1. Ky

      May 31, 2016 at 12:20 pm

      Haha! Most of the time Clem is, if we don’t get a seat then that’s when it can all go wrong.x

  5. Sarah

    May 31, 2016 at 4:04 am

    This sounds like a great list to me. I love that the iPad is your number one. Would be mine too as we try to use it just for these kinds of occasions. I haven’t bought a sticker book though. Will have to try it. Thanks for sharing and hope you enjoy the ride home. #TribalLove

    1. Ky

      May 31, 2016 at 12:21 pm

      The only thing I would say with the sticker book is she tried to cover everything in stickers, not just the book! I try to limit the amount of screen time she has but sometimes on a long journey it’s ideal.x

  6. Kaye

    May 31, 2016 at 7:31 pm

    Fab ideas! We only took a 30 minute journey with A and he was a total nightmare, running up and down the train, could’ve definitely done with some of these. Thanks for linking up to #MarvMondays. Kaye xo

  7. Charlene

    May 31, 2016 at 7:58 pm

    Oh goodness I need to be more prepared. I just did a forty minute journey and barely survived with a whole packet of mini breadsticks, two packets of raisins and 344 ronds of The Sun Has Got HIs Hat On

  8. Tammymum

    June 1, 2016 at 8:35 pm

    I haven’t been brave enough to do a train journey but we did do a four hour flight with two babies! I too opted for the iPad…I don’t care it kept her quiet and happy and meant she didn’t annoy all the other passengers. Also food is a must, it definitely passes some time and keeps them quite and happy! Excellent tips here xx #marvmondays

  9. Bridie By The Sea

    June 3, 2016 at 11:37 am

    This is fab – I took Emma on the train from Brighton – London a while back and was pleasantly surprised how well it went. As she becomes more of a toddler, these tips will be so useful as it’s all about the entertainment 😉 xx #triballove

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