The York-based museum is among the best free days out in Britain, according to a Which? Survey.
The Museum, which boasts over 100 locomotives on display, including the Mallard and the only Shinkansen bullet train outside of Japan, is totally free to visitors. It achieved a customer score of 91 percent, putting it in joint second alongside the Royal Air Force Museum in Cosford.
First place went to St Fagans National Museum of History in Cardiff, with a score of 94 percent.
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Which? asked almost 7,000 people to rank their favourite attractions based on a number of factors, including engagement and entertainment factor, food and drink, and lack of crowds.
Other highly-rated free museums and galleries include the National Museum of Scotland (90%), the Cardiff National Museum (87%), Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow (87%), Royal Air Force Museum, London (87%), Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool (87%), Oxford University Museum of Natural History (86%) and the Scottish National Galleries (86%).
Which? Travel editor Rory Boland said: “As the cost of living crisis continues to be a strain on household budgets, finding cheap or free days out has never been more important. Fortunately the UK has a number of fantastic museums, galleries and other attractions which offer free entry and hours of fun.
“From the world’s largest railway museum, to the Houses of Parliament, Which?’s rankings of the UK’s best free days out has plenty to inspire you as the summer holidays approach.”
The National Railway Museum is currently undergoing a £50 million upgrade, set be completed in 2025.