London Transport Museum

  • Museums
  • Transport
Critics' choice
2 Love It
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© Heike Bohnstengel / Time Out
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Main hall © Michelle Grant / Time Out
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The Trooping of the Colour by Margaret Calkin James, 1932© London Transport Museum
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© Michelle Grant

London Transport Museum

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Michelle Grant
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© Michelle Grant / Time Out
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Michelle Grant
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© London Transport Museum
Covent Garden

The history of our world-famous transport system is revealed in this interactive museum which is fun for vehicle (and London) enthusiasts of all ages

After the entertaining entrance, where audiovisual recordings of transport systems in New York, Tokyo, Paris, Shanghai and New Delhi, as well as London, are shown on screens, you are whisked by lift to the second floor – and back to 1800. The capital's first licensed public transport was the sedan chair, an example of which is on show, but the gorgeous horse-drawn omnibus, from 1805, its painted, flower-bordered designs announcing still-familiar routes, is a bigger draw. Progress leads you ever onwards, to the building of our first passenger railway – from London Bridge to Greenwich in 1833.

The first floor of the London Transport Museum holds perhaps the most exciting displays, including the first underground engine (steam-powered) and a wooden Metropolitan Railway coach (converted to electricity in 1901); one of several exhibits you can board. Frank Pick, the man responsible for rolling out the London Underground brand and giving each line its own character and ensuring the emblematic bar and circle logo became an intrinsic part of London's visual identity, to the extent it now signifies 'tube station' without the need for words, is the focus of the design display. London Transport's posters – by the likes of Abram Games, Graham Sutherland and Ivon Hitchens – are on show throughout museum. Many are design icons, though none is greater than Harry Beck's original tube map.

A new family play zone for children aged 0-7, All Aboard, features a fleet of mini vehicles to climb into and play on. Kids can repair a little tube train, sail the 'Thames Nipper', play in the lost property office and try musical instruments on busking spots. The Baby DLR features an interactive wall and building blocks to keep infants entertained. Visitors all get the chance to sit in the driver's cab of a red bus and guide a Northern Line simulator through tunnels and up to platforms, so big kids will have plenty of fun, too.

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Venue name: London Transport Museum
Contact:
Address: Covent Garden Piazza
London
WC2E 7BB
Opening hours: Mon-Thur, Sat, Sun 10am-6pm (last admission 5.15pm); Fri 11am-6pm (last admission 5.15pm)
Transport: Tube: Covent Garden
Price: £16, £13.50 concs, under-18s free; tickets valid for one year

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Average User Rating

4 / 5

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LiveReviews|7
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Martin C
Staff Writer

You don’t need to be a bus, train or tram nerd to get a kick out of visiting London Transport Museum. While there’s plenty of machinery on display – including the first, steam-powered underground engine and, of course, the iconic Routemaster bus – it’s as much about the urban history of the city, how it grew and evolved by getting stuff to and from the place and getting us around, as the hardware. And the integral role of design in that history is, rightly, given prominence. You’ll see classic posters and designs by the likes of Abram Games and Ivon Hitchens as well as Harry Beck’s original tube map. The shop’s surprisingly good, not just for models and memorabilia, but for cushions and rugs in some of London Transport’s classic fabric designs.

Daniele T
Staff Writer

My children love it, but it is quite expensive if you only go once (the ticket is yearly). Very interactive.

Sarah S

I took a 9 and a 7 year old and we had a lot of fun and really enjoyed this museum. Very hands on and interactive. Recommended!

Victoria A

Lovely to see some of the old transport in London. the display of the trams and the horse drawn carriages were lovely.

Flozz 1

This is a fantastic museum to take young children. I took my godson (age 5) and he was entertained by this museum for at least an hour and a half. Free entry for children under 16 I think is very fair, especially considering the location.  

Vicky

It is really lovely to look at some of the old London transport system. I really enjoy the visit. Lots of lovely of lovely exhibits.

Wendy

In this museum (in a very central location) you get an idea of London's (public) transport and how it has evolved over the many years. What I found particularly fun where the old tube carriages! As a Londoner, using the underground system daily, I really did wonder if the old carriages weren't more spacious than the ones we use today! You can get a 'stamp card' (I think its aimed at kids - but no less fun for adults!) and go around the museum getting a stamp at the different 'stations' / interesting points inside the museum. The evolution of the tube map is impressive! Going up and down the old buses is fun! :) Go check it out! (your ticket is valid for 1 year - great for Londoners, not so much for tourists..)