A True Relic Of British History
If you want to explore the dark recesses of the ancient London underground, touring the London Transport Museum is a perfect day out. This is a place that will force you to revisit an old transport system that has miraculously survived an era gone by, by peering into its gloomy tunnels and discovering a hidden London, one which saw thousands of people pass through its subterranean shelters. Based in attractive Covent Garden, the museum seeks to preserve and explain the story of Britain’s transport heritage.
With sold out tours as breathtaking as they are educational, this is a museum that is incomparable in many ways. The links between transport in the past and the concepts and ideas for transportation in the future is explored in this beautifully designed space.
Originating in the 1920’s with the preservation of two Victorian horse buses and an early style motorbus, The Museum of British Transport began in the humble environment of an old bus garage in Clapham, South London during the 1960’s. In 1973, the museum relocated to Syon Park in West London before finally settling in the Victorian Flower Market building, in Covent Garden.
Guided Tours Will Leave You Spoilt For Choice
There are a number of guided tours open to the public, which are geared towards an adult audience. These fantastic, and greatly educational expeditions showcase some truly wondrous sights including rare rail and road vehicles spanning over 100 years, rail and bus sheds, ceramic tiles, signs, ticket machines, and ephemera. The museum offers five different types of guided tour at the depot, as well and there is even the option of booking your very own private group tour!
The Five Guided Tours In A Nutshell
Cab It Tours- Signing up to this treat will ensure you spend a day climbing into the driver’s seat and experiencing London Undergrounds train from a new and exciting angle.
Johnston Journeys Tours- This special tour was created to mark the 100th anniversary of the ‘Johnston’ typeface, which was designed by Edward Johnston in 1916.
Family Tours- This tour has all the excitement of a behind the scene tour but is family friendly and suitable for children aged 5-15.
Depot Discovery Tours- This adventurous tour will see you view all the engineering collections, historic vehicles and signage collections.
Art and Poster Store Tours- This tour will offer you a special glimpse at the Museums poster collection and some of the ideas and artwork behind the posters.
Private Group Tours- Everything is experienced better in groups- if you want to take your friends along, then this tour is for you!
Another section of the museum, The Museum Depot, resides in Acton, West London and was first opened in 1999. This depot preserves the remainder of the museum’s collections and is used to store many of the much larger items, too substantial to be kept at the Covent Garden site. There are over 370,000 items of all types, which include many authentic works of art used for the majority of the museum’s collections. This former underground facility holds both large and small objects from the history of British transport, which are catalogued, preserved and displayed. Amidst the dust and the smell of an old precious warehouse weighted in history are vehicles, signage, engineering objects, uniforms, posters art and more from every aspect and era of London transport network. All relics are cared for by staff and volunteers at the depot who share their expertise and enthusiasm with researchers and visitors from around the world. Currently the Museum has an exhibition running called Designology, which takes a look at the designs that surround us in our everyday lives and in the fabric of London’s moving metropolis. This fascinating exhibition is just another example of this museums ability to captivate and educate, all at once.
If you’re out at the transport museum and have the intention to stay in London for the night, The Piccadilly London West End is a great choice. Its perfect location means that you can easily reach many of London best attractions, including the London Transport Museum which is just a 10 minute walk via Charing Cross road.