Surviving a long train journey with a child


Living in Brighton we don’t really need a car. I can’t actually drive, Jesse can but hasn’t since passing his test. This does mean we have to rely on public transport if we want to go anywhere. Having family that live in North Devon means we often get the train there. It is a journey that can sometimes take up to 6 hours or more if we encounter problems.

Until I had Clem the journey time didn’t really bother me. I would just put my headphones on and listen to music. But once you have a child you can’t do that.

So I have put together a list of my top tips when travelling by train with a child.

Snacks, snacks and more snacks. Pack a picnic, breakfast, lunch, dinner. Take more food than you think you might need. Always plan for delays. Obviously pack things that are suitable for trains, you could cut sandwiches into fun shapes or make a bento box.

An iPad/tablet and some headphones. Now I know what you are thinking, I’ve probably had the exact same thoughts. However it really is handy. You can download games, both play and educational ones. I also make sure that we have a few episodes of Clems favourite shows or films downloaded so she can watch those.

Books/magazines/stickers. If you have a big reader then books are always worth taking. Pictures books are great too. I usually pick up a magazine or two as well, usually something with an activity on the front. Sticker books are also good for keeping them amused. Especially if you can find one that has reusable ones and you can make multiple scenes. The Works or Wilkos are both good for getting these.

Colouring pad/pencils/crayons/notebook/pens. Depending on the age of your child depends on what you might want to take. When Clem was younger I used to take a colouring book and some colouring pens. Now I take a notebook and some pens so we can practice writing and maths.

Photo by Plush Design Studio on Unsplash

Games. Ispy is always a classic, although it can get a bit annoying after a while. We also have a few card games like snap, pairs that are great if you have a table. You can also get travel versions of connect4 and guesswho. Also if you happen to live near a Flying Tiger store they always have travel games in stock.

child looking out train window

Sleep. Now if you are lucky your child might nap, when Clem was younger she used to sleep for most of the journey. Not so much as she is getting older. I used to find the motion of the train would always send her off to sleep.

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


  1. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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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