12 of the best toy train sets

Wooden, electric, plastic and magnetic trains and tracks for toddlers and preschoolers to build and enjoy...

best toy train sets

A train set is the ultimate classic children’s toy – whether they’re teeny, tiny or 10. Perfect for letting their imaginations run wild, practising hand eye co-ordination, and enjoying building the track piece by piece.

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Over the years, some have gone tech with motorisation and electronic features, or cool designs based on characters like Thomas The Tank Engine – but there’s still plenty of old-school wooden train sets to choose from, too.

Check out 12 of the best, top-rated train sets for children aged 12 months and up…

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1. Carousel Wooden Train Set, £10

Age: 3+

What it is: A 60-piece wooden train set, with straight and curved track pieces that you can flip over to make into a road, too. Includes trees, people, animals and traditional village buildings, such as a sweet shop, fire station and hospital. Made from FSC-approved wood.

Why we love it: It looks lovely, the pieces are chunky and nicely detailed, the set is durable, there’s lots of options for moving the track lay out – and it’s amazing value for money!

We love that it allows for a little wiggle room for kids to try and make their own track, so creative! Our child toy testers reckon all this makes it a perfect first train set – also awarding it GOLD in the Best Wooden Toy category at the 2018 MadeForMums Toy Awards.

Available from: Large Tesco stores, countrywide (but not online).

my first thomas bear cub set

2. My First Thomas & Friends Bear Cub Set, £19.99

Age: 12 months+

What it is: A 6cm x 33cm x 41cm 15-piece train set, with a push-along Thomas engine, a little carriage, a bear cub passenger, a drawbridge you can raise and lower, and a ‘snack station’ for the bear cub.

Why we love it: It’s a sweet little starter set for a small Thomas fan – and our child testers were particularly taken by the bright orange drawbridge.

Available from: Asda, Smyths Toys and Amazon

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3. Magformers Sky Track Play Set, £69.99

Age: 3+

What it is: A set of 44 construction pieces that can be connected to make lots of different monorail tracks. Includes a sky shuttle, a lift, a 360 degree shuttle spinner. Requires 2 AA batteries.

Why we love it: This looks very cool and it’s super-easy for kids to create a track without adult help. The shuttle spinner that makes the train go upside down had a real ‘wow’ factor for our child testers, who gave it Silver in our MadeForMums Toy Awards.

Available from: Amazon

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4. Brio Deluxe Railway Set, £224.99

Age: 3+

What it is: A 36-piece wooden track (measures 113.5cm x 73cm when set up), with 87 play pieces, including ramps, level crossings, 3 stations, a crane, suspension bridges, 5 figures, assorted accessories (including ticket machine and luggage) and, of course, trains with wagons or carriages.

Why we love it: Brio train sets are (worthily) renowned for their quality, attention to detail and longevity. This set is not exactly cheap (Brio sets rarely are) but it’s beautifully designed and made, and is absolutely jam-packed with features to thrill a small train lover (there’s even a ferry crossing). An investment buy, for sure.

Available from: Amazon

ikea lillabo train set

5. Ikea Lillabo 20-piece basic train, £8

Age: 3 +

What it is: A 20-piece set that includes 3 differently coloured trains and a little bridge.

Why we love it: It’s a simple, basic wooden track – at an amazingly good price. You can add on lots more bits and pieces from the same Lillabo range (there’s a very cool turntable for £3.50, for example) and they’re all compatible with pieces from the more expensive Brio and Bigjigs sets, too.

Available from: Ikea

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6. Thomas & Friends TURBO Jump Double Train Set, £37.49

Age: 3+

What it is: A Thomas-themed track with a jungle twist, inspired by his adventures in South America (if your child loves the Thomas movies, you’ll know what we mean). It comes with a full track layout – including a big bank and 2 booster tracks – palm trees and a motorised Thomas train. Requires  2 AAA batteries for the track to work,

Why we love it: It’s fast, fun and high energy: as well as switching Thomas to Turbo mode, you can – thrills! – launch him in the air and even make the booster tracks change colour. Fortunately, the set is sturdy and easy to set up. You may find it works best on a hard surface, rather than a carpet.

Available from: Smyths Toys

bigjigs fairy figures train set

7. BigJigs Fairy Figure of Eight Train Set, £25.99

Age: 3+

What it is: A 40-piece wooden set, with engine and carriages, wooden houses, trees, a fairy and (obvs) a spotty pink mushroom.

Why we love it: We love the fairy/train mash-up vibe! It’s good value for a quality wooden set, with chunky wooden pieces, and is compatible with Brio, Ikea and most other branded wooden track pieces, should you wish to extend it. Extra points for being made from responsibly sourced materials.

Available from: BigJigs

lego duplo number train

8. Lego Duplo Number Train, £12.99

Age: 18 months +

What it is: A brightly coloured 23-piece train (but no track) with 3 carriages and bricks, numbered 0 to 9 to stack on top. Comes with 2 figures and a cat.

Why we love it: It’s bright, chunky, cheerful: the perfect first train for a toddler. The counting theme is a nicely incorporated – and the cat is a lovely, toddler-pleasing touch.

Available from: Amazon

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9. KidKraft Adventure Town Railway Set & Table, £184.65

Age: 3+

What is it: A large (110cm x 79cm x 53cm) wooden play table with moulded edges, a landscape design on top and 2 collapsible storage bins underneath. Comes with a whopping 120-piece accessory set, including train track, vehicles, people, trees, a crane and a helicopter.

Why we love it: Astonishingly, this big sturdy table can be assembled or packed away in under 1 minute – without a screwdriver or allen key! We also love its kid-friendly height (ideal for standing and kneeling) and the detail in the accessories. It won Silver in the 2018 MadeForMums Toy Awards, because our child testers’ parents felt you get a lot for your money.

Available from: Amazon

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10. Wooden Magnetic Garden Friends Train, £16

Age: 18 months +

What it is: A 12-piece coloured wooden track, with 4 magnetic animal ‘trains’ (bird, bee, butterfly and ladybird) and a rainbow bridge.

Why we love it: It’s a beautifully simple – and well-priced – starter train set, with cute gender-neutral styling. The ‘trains’ are just the right size for toddler hands.

Available from: Mothercare and Amazon

Squirrel Play Wooden Rainbow Train Set

11. Squirrel Play Wooden Rainbow Train Set, £19.99

Age: 18 months+

What it is: A 25-piece train set with coloured tracks that include a bridge, a bead chaser and a xylophone that chimes as the train goes over it. Comes with 3 trees, 2 houses, an engine and 2 carriages.

Why we love it: This is nicely made, and our child testers absolutely loved playing with a track that has a xylophone in it. It fits together with most competitor sets and is really great value for money.

Available from: Smyths Toys

Green Toys train

12. Green Toys Train, £34.49

Age: 2+

What it is: A sturdy, eco-friendly blue and red steam engine with 2 linking carriages, all made from recycled plastic milk bottles. Contains no BPA, PVC, phthalates or external coatings. Comes with 2 ‘conductor bear’ figures.

Why we love it: It’s not just green; it’s well made and beautifully chunkily toddler-sized. The wheels roll easily on both carpet and a wooden floor, and the roof of the covered carriage lifts off. Oh, and you can put it all in the dishwasher for a quick clean!

Available from: Green Toys and Amazon

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This article contains affiliate links, which means MadeForMums may earn a small amount of money if you click through and buy. All our toy content is written independently (we’ll include the best toys whether we can include an affiliate link or not) and pretty much all of the toys are tested and rated by our child toy testers, as well as our editorial team. 

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