We visited The Hornby Centre and Emily loved the trains!

Last month, Sam, Emily and I visited The Hornby Centre in Margate. For those who are unfamiliar, Hornby are a huge part of toy history in the U.K. and worldwide. Producing some of the most iconic train toys and collectibles, the Hornby Centre is a fan favourite for anyone who has interest in trains.

It was the perfect day for it, with hurricane winds outside, we could casually get the bus to Westwood Cross, where the Centre is. A few friends have been here and said how their little ones have enjoyed it here and with Emily being a little train fan too, it seemed like the perfect idea.

Featuring products of all ages from the Hornby, Scalextric, Airfix and Corgi archives as well as iconic model trains from Frank Hornby’s early home-made toys in sheet metal, through the development of Hornby ‘O’ gauge and Hornby-Dublo. It’s a train enthusiasts wet dream. The model railways are a delight to watch the attention to detail, is rather amazing.

There’s a shop catering for even the youngest of fans to serious train fans. Offering a range of train accessories, tracks, trains and more.

Don’t miss the spectacular Model Railway and Scalextric layouts, plus grab the latest products in the Shop which offers an extensive range of Hornby, Scalextric, Airfix, Humbrol and Corgi products.

The Hornby Hobbies Visitor Centre is open every day, from 10am – 4pm and The ‘Just the Ticket’ Café is now open 10am – 3.30pm every day.

Admittedly, I thought it was going to be bigger. Emily was free to get in and it was a fiver a ticket for adults. We were in and out within 30 minutes which was a little disappointing, so if you are looking for a day trip, you won’t find that here.

The history of how the company started, with model trains zooming around tracks, fun interactive parts for little ones to get stuck into, a mention of Harry Potter and some other famous toys, were definitely interesting, but whilst Emily enjoyed herself, she was a little too young to really get stuck in. There was a lot of pointing, a few oohs and ahs, but the overall trip flew mostly over her head. Sam was bored for the first 10-15 minutes, but got into it when the historical side of Hornby came to light.

Hornby is a household name and is famous as the UK brand leader in the model railway hobby.  The company’s founder was Frank Hornby (1863 – 1936) who applied for a patent in 1901 to protect an invention he called ‘Improvements in Toy or Educational Devices for Children and Young People’.  Nobody then could have imagined how this product would influence the model railway hobby that we know today.

What you need to know:

Local transport:


Hornby Hobbies Ltd

Enterprise Road

Westwood Industrial Estate


Kent CT9 4JX


Contact info: Tel: 01843 233524 | Email: visitorcentre@hornby.com

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