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  • 10 Best Train Sets UK 2023 | LEGO, Hornby, BRIO World, and More 1
  • 10 Best Train Sets UK 2023 | LEGO, Hornby, BRIO World, and More 2
  • 10 Best Train Sets UK 2023 | LEGO, Hornby, BRIO World, and More 3
  • 10 Best Train Sets UK 2023 | LEGO, Hornby, BRIO World, and More 4
  • 10 Best Train Sets UK 2023 | LEGO, Hornby, BRIO World, and More 5

10 Best Train Sets UK 2023 | LEGO, Hornby, BRIO World, and More

Even in this modern age of electronics, a train set is one of the most popular hobby products you can buy and they're popular with people of all generations. From toddlers waiting for their first Thomas the Tank Engine themed set to young-at-heart adults who prefer replica models of real locomotives, there's a set out there for everyone. But with so many types available, how do you go about choosing one to buy?


If you’re in the market for a toy train set then you’ve come to the right place, as we’ve done all the hard work for you. We’ve checked out all the major online retailers in the UK, including Amazon, eBay, John Lewis, and Argos, to bring you the best ones. No matter who you’re buying for (even if it’s yourself!), there are options for kids and adults of all ages. So all aboard, and let’s get going on your train set shopping adventure!

Last updated 14/07/2023
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Table of Contents

How to Choose a Train Set in the UK - Buying Guide

To make sure you buy the perfect train set, there are a few different factors you should consider. Don't worry, there's light at the end of the tunnel! We've put together a comprehensive guide to help you make your purchase with confidence. 

1

Select a Train Set That's Age Appropriate

Select a Train Set That's Age Appropriate

Train sets for older children and adults will often require a fair bit of skill to put together and are designed to be visually accurate replicas of their full-sized counterparts. These sets also tend to contain very small parts which make them unsuitable for smaller children, as they could be a choking hazard.


Manufacturers will normally provide age-related information on the packaging of their train sets, so you know which age range they have been designed for and you can select the most suitable one for your child.

2

Consider How the Train Set Is Powered

Many sets will have some form of electrical power to simulate the train moving along the track. There are a couple of different options, so here we’ll take a look at what they are and how they work.

Train Sets for Younger Children Tend to Lack a Power Source

Train Sets for Younger Children Tend to Lack a Power Source

Train sets for toddlers and young children often don’t have any means of power, for two important reasons. Firstly, little ones tend to explore by putting things in their mouths, so if a train has a battery in it then this could pose a safety risk.


Secondly, as toys that are aimed at younger kids are mainly designed to promote the development of their fine motor skills, physically pushing the train around the track means that they're subconsciously learning how to use their hands and arms - as well as enjoying an exciting play session!

While Batteries Are Convenient, They Need to Be Replaced Frequently

While Batteries Are Convenient, They Need to Be Replaced Frequently

Some sets use batteries as a power source, which is convenient because this means the train is super quick to set up and doesn't involve any trailing cables or leads on the floor.


However, the battery housing can add bulk to the train, which may affect how accurate its appearance is. You’ll also need to have a ready supply of batteries to hand because they can run out of power quickly - especially if the set is in constant use! 

Mains Power Is Great for Regular Use but May Leave Trailing Cables

Mains Power Is Great for Regular Use but May Leave Trailing Cables

Some of the larger and more complicated train sets use the mains (usually with an associated transformer or power pack) for their power, which is typically connected to the metal track.


The transformer changes the power supply into a lower, safer voltage so there’s a reduced risk of shocks, while the model train has electrical contacts that, when placed on the track, complete the circuit and make it move.


This is a good choice if the train set will be used regularly, as it means you’re not constantly running out of batteries. However, you’ll need to make sure the toy is located within easy reach of a power socket, and that the cables are moved or secured so they won't trip anyone up! 

3

Check What the Parts Are Made From

Check What the Parts Are Made From

A lot of train sets are made using plastic, often with metal components too. Plastic is inexpensive and can be moulded into an infinite amount of shapes - it provides a fantastic level of detail, meaning that very accurate replicas can be made using it. 


Unfortunately though, some kinds of plastic can break easily so they won’t stand up to rigorous play. Plastic also isn't an environmentally conscious choice, unless it can be recycled.

4

Think About How Many Pieces Are Included and Whether You Can Buy Extra Items for the Set

Think About How Many Pieces Are Included and Whether You Can Buy Extra Items for the Set

The amount of track included will also vary from set to set - the more that’s supplied, the more scope there is for producing interesting layouts for the train to run on. If you dream of creating huge, sprawling tracks, make sure you pay attention to how many pieces are included so that you’re not disappointed!


Lastly, some manufacturers make their pieces and accessories universal, meaning that you can connect multiple sets to create one large train track. Some will also give you the option of purchasing extra parts so that you can design a much more detailed layout than the original set would allow for. Look out for this feature if you fancy building your own railway empire! 

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10 Best Train Sets in the UK

Now you know what to take into account when browsing train sets, it’s full steam ahead into our top 10 recommendations. It’s not quite the end of the line, but you’re on the fast track to finding your perfect product!
Popularity
Products
Image
Click to purchase
Key features
1

LEGO

City Cargo Train Set 60198

LEGO City Cargo Train Set  1枚目

A Bluetooth-Powered Set That Puts You in the Driver's Seat

2

BRIO World

Deluxe Train Set

BRIO World Deluxe Train Set 1枚目

The Ultimate BRIO Set for Small Train Fans!

3

BRIO World

Travel Switching Train Set

BRIO World Travel Switching Train Set 1枚目

A Fun, Immersive Set With Plenty of Accessories

4

Hornby

Highland Rambler Train SetR1220

Hornby Highland Rambler Train Set 1枚目

The Ideal Starter Set for Locomotive Purists

5

Hornby

Harry Potter Hogwarts Express Train SetR1234

Hornby Harry Potter Hogwarts Express Train Set 1枚目

Perfect for Potterheads of All Ages

6

Chad Valley

60 Piece Train Set

Chad Valley 60 Piece Train Set 1枚目

A Great Wooden Set for Youngsters

7

Traditional Wooden Toys

Wooden Train Set

Traditional Wooden Toys Wooden Train Set 1枚目

Affordable and Extremely Expandable

8

Hornby

Flying Scotsman Train SetR1255M

Hornby Flying Scotsman Train Set 1枚目

An Iconic Locomotive With a Vibrant Design

9

Fisher-Price

Thomas & Friends Mad Dash On Sodor Train Set

Fisher-Price Thomas & Friends Mad Dash On Sodor Train Set 1枚目

Play Along With Thomas & Friends

10

Hornby

Junior Paddington Bear Train Set

Hornby Junior Paddington Bear Train Set 1枚目

A Simple Set Featuring the Railway's Most Famous Bear

If you don't see the product you're looking for, you can request that it be listed.
No.1

LEGOCity Cargo Train Set 60198

City Cargo Train Set  Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
City Cargo Train Set  Image 2
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£169.99
Reference price
£169.99

A Bluetooth-Powered Set That Puts You in the Driver's Seat

This fantastic train set from LEGO features a motorised engine with a 10-speed Bluetooth remote control and an accessible driver’s cabin, as well as a crane wagon with rotating and extendable boom arm for loading and unloading. It's supplied with a 32 piece circular track that can easily be added onto other LEGO items to create one huge set.


We absolutely love the level of detail that's gone into the items in this set. From the pantograph that can be raised and lowered using the controls to the crane and the forklift, no detail has been left out. This makes it a superb toy not only to build but to play with too. We love it so much that it just had to take our number 1 spot! 

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No.2

BRIO WorldDeluxe Train Set

Deluxe Train Set Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Deluxe Train Set Image 2
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£218.99
Reference price
£218.99

The Ultimate BRIO Set for Small Train Fans!

This truly is an amazing train set from well-respected brand BRIO World, including accessories such as a harbour, a station, and a roadway - so your tiny train lover can let their imagination run wild! The set includes plenty of pieces to keep kids occupied, but it can also be added to other sets to create their very own BRIO city.


The only thing to bear in mind is that you'll need a steady supply of batteries on hand so that a lack of power doesn't stop play for too long! While this set is expensive, it's well worth the investment and is sure to be a firm favourite in your home!

No.3

BRIO WorldTravel Switching Train Set

Travel Switching Train Set Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Travel Switching Train Set Image 2
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£64.90
Reference price
£64.90

A Fun, Immersive Set With Plenty of Accessories

This set from BRIO World consists of two lines that run on tracks from the same station, so budding train drivers can get involved with changing points and avoiding collisions! It also features a bridge and an elevated track section, plus a lift in the station to help passengers get to the right platform.


Two relatively minor points have come to our attention though. The first is that the battery power in the locomotives is barely enough to get them up the hill, which is a real shame. The other is that if a figure is placed in the driver's seat of the train, there isn't enough clearance to go under the bridge. Despite these flaws, this is a fun set that can teach kids a lot about trains!

No.4

HornbyHighland Rambler Train SetR1220

Highland Rambler Train Set Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Highland Rambler Train Set Image 2
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£60.96
Reference price
£60.96

The Ideal Starter Set for Locomotive Purists

Harking back to a time when the Highlands of Scotland were served by a variety of railways, this vintage-style set includes a 0-4-0 tank engine, a plank wagon, and a small passenger coach


Unfortunately, the controller provided is quite flimsy and can on occasion trip out, although this can be fixed by resetting it. Also, it's a fairly basic set for the price, but the oval track circuit can be extended and made more exciting if you purchase additional track and accessory packs from Hornby. 

No.5

HornbyHarry Potter Hogwarts Express Train SetR1234

Reference price
£167.99

Perfect for Potterheads of All Ages

Get ready to go back to the wizarding world with this Hornby Hogwarts Express Train Set! The magical train features a working headlight plus two coaches, plus there are additional Harry Potter items that can be purchased from the same brand to embellish it.


This is a decent starter set, but you'll need to invest in extra accessories to make the most of it. Also, the controller that's supplied could be much better quality given the high price of the set. Still, it's a brilliant buy if you know a Potterhead!

No.6

Chad Valley60 Piece Train Set

Reference price
£16.91

A Great Wooden Set for Youngsters

This set from Chad Valley has over 60 pieces, making it a wonderful first set for little train fans with big imaginations. They can design their own unique tracks over and over again and have loads of adventures with accessories like roadblocks, vehicles, and traffic lights. 


As this is one of the cheaper products on our list, the parts aren't of the highest quality - in fact, pieces sometimes have paint missing, which is a real shame! As with other wooden train sets, the track pieces can be hard to put together to begin with, but this improves with use. 

No.7

Traditional Wooden ToysWooden Train Set

Wooden Train Set Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Wooden Train Set Image 2
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£53.99
Reference price
£53.99

Affordable and Extremely Expandable

Bright young minds will love this imaginative set - the sheer number of accessories included means there are endless play scenarios available. The set is also compatible with most other wooden train sets such as those by BRIO, BigJigs, and IKEA so you can easily expand on it to create your own little metropolis! 


Sadly, some items such as the bridge and trees can be fairly unsteady when set up on a carpet, so they fall over easily. We therefore recommend playing with this set on a hard floor instead.

No.8

HornbyFlying Scotsman Train SetR1255M

Reference price
£159.99

An Iconic Locomotive With a Vibrant Design

The Flying Scotsman, the most famous locomotive in the world, can be built in the comfort of your own home thanks to this fab Hornby set. The striking green design evokes the golden age of rail travel, and the track circuit in this set can be extended with additional packs to create a fully functioning model railway. 


While this is understandably a hugely popular set, some customers have found that the wheels of the locomotive occasionally lock and prevent it from moving. Hornby usually offers to replace the product if this is the case, but this isn't something you would expect to happen when buying such an expensive set!

No.9

Fisher-PriceThomas & Friends Mad Dash On Sodor Train Set

Thomas & Friends Mad Dash On Sodor Train Set Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Thomas & Friends Mad Dash On Sodor Train Set Image 2
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£69.99
Reference price
£69.99

Play Along With Thomas & Friends

This Thomas & Friends train set features multiple Sodor locations, a remote-controlled Thomas engine, a spinning Cranky the crane, and a bonus cart with cargo for loading and unloading. The extra-large track is over 3 feet wide and 5 feet long (over 91 cm wide and 152 cm long).


Due to its large size, this product can take a fair bit of time to set up - which could be tricky if you're child isn't patricularly patient! The remote control and the motorised locomotive also require lots of batteries, so you'll need to make sure you have a decent supply on hand to avoid disappointing your little train driver.

No.10

HornbyJunior Paddington Bear Train Set

Junior Paddington Bear Train Set Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Junior Paddington Bear Train Set Image 2
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£30.39
Reference price
£30.39

A Simple Set Featuring the Railway's Most Famous Bear

This Paddington Bear themed train set is the ideal introduction to Hornby for young train fans. The plastic track is easy to clip together (great for small hands!) and the battery-operated locomotive features a simple start/stop button, plus working lights.


Despite the age range being described as 4+, some parents have found that it's very fiddly for younger children. The train also has a habit of falling off the track quite easily, which can be frustrating as you have to spend time putting it back on rather than playing! 

More Toys and Games to Keep the Whole Family Entertained

More Toys and Games to Keep the Whole Family Entertained

Activities and games that you can do as a family will always be popular as they can be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of age or ability. They also help younger participants develop key skills, both mentally and physically. We've got plenty of product recommendations for puzzles, LEGO sets, and jigsaws that you can do together at home, whatever the weather - check them out below! 

Summary

We've come to the end of the line - that concludes our list of the top 10 favourite train sets to buy online in the UK this year. We hope that you found it useful and we wish you many happy hours on the rails! 


Author: Catherine Torrance

Top 5 Train Sets

No. 1: LEGOCity Cargo Train Set 60198

No. 2: BRIO WorldDeluxe Train Set

No. 3: BRIO WorldTravel Switching Train Set

No. 4: HornbyHighland Rambler Train SetR1220

No. 5: HornbyHarry Potter Hogwarts Express Train SetR1234

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The descriptions of each product are referenced from content available on manufacturer, brand, and e-commerce sites.
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