Disclosure: We were invited on this day out for the purpose of this post however all opinions are my own.
We love a visit to the London Transport Museum in Covent Garden Piazza and it’s always a day out that the children really enjoy. There’s so much for children to do and so much to keep them entertained that I thought I’d share with you just some of the reasons why the London Transport Museum is a great day out for the whole family – and a must in the school holidays!
If you’re looking for a straightforward London Transport Museum review, you can read about our first London Transport Museum visit here.
What is the London Transport Museum?
The London Transport Museum is one of our favourite museums in London. It’s an educational but fun day out – a place to discover the history of London transport, immersing yourself in the heritage of London and its public transport system. The museum is full of stories of the people who have travelled and worked in the city over the last 200 years and includes a look at how future technologies might impact London and how we travel through it.
Things to do at London Transport Museum for Kids
19th Century London and Victorian Transport
The museum begins with the very start of London transport, back in the 19th century when London was compact but busy, with narrow streets and only two bridges crossing the river. You get to see what it was like to travel by boat on the Thames and then by cabriolet and the omnibus – horse drawn cabs.
You get to learn about the first hail and ride bus services, horse trams and the start of the railway system that formed a circle around the heart of London and see so many vehicles from the London Transport Museum collection too.
World’s First Underground
London Transport Museum introduces you to the world’s first underground system which was created to try and ease congestion on London’s streets. This early London underground system in the 1860s was a huge engineering achievement and very well used, but meant the end of steam locomotives along the lines as they created a permanent fug in the stations and tunnels. You can see the only surviving steam engine from the 1860s, Metropolitan number 23, on display in the Museum.
London Transport at War
The London Transport Museum features so much about the role the transport system played during the wars, including the London Transport at War gallery. Transport vehicles had many different uses during the war, and many transport workers volunteered for the armed forces too. The gallery is really educational and teaches so much about changing life throughout the wars.
The Hidden London exhibition transports you to an abandoned tube station underworld, showing you secrets that lay hidden beneath the busy streets of London. It shows you a little of Britain’s wartime past, giving you a glimpse into the factories that ran from underground during the Second World War and how Churchill took shelter deep underground at Down Street station.
It features rare archive photos, objects, vintage posters, secret diagrams and decorative tiles from disused stations and shows you how people sheltered at Clapham South, where they slept and how they kept entertained.
The Future Engineers section is somewhere the children could easily spend all day. You can test your skills, solve transport conundrums faced by engineers and get stuck in to so many fun interactive exhibits. Drive a modern Elizabeth line train, star on the cover of The Engineer magazine, scan your palm with the latest ticket technology, fix a train and even plan a greener, happier city.
London Transport Vehicles Through the Years
One of the biggest attractions at the London Transport Museum is seeing London Transport vehicles from years gone by. The first electric trams in London, the introduction of motor taxis, motor buses and electric trolleybuses which eventually replaced trams and not forgetting Routemaster buses. There are so many vehicles to see and climb aboard too!
The children absolutely love the Poster Parade! Celebrating London Transport’s most iconic poster designs and designers, with a changing theme every few months, the display features a selection of posters that from over 100 years of graphic art history and the children loved seeing the posters fly across the walls and floor!
All Aboard Playzone
A favourite area for young children, the All Aboard family playzone is aimed at under sevens and gives children a chance to play on interactive mini vehicles, drive a real bus, dress up in uniform and have so much fun! There’s also a Baby DLR area dedicated to babies.
Spot the Sights of London
The children loved seeing a giant 3D map of London in the middle of the museum and they spent so much time spotting all the famous sights of London and pointing to where we live – just a little way off the edge of the map!
Drive the Half Bus
There’s nothing quite like a bit of imaginative play and every child loves being a bus driver, even just for a few minutes. The cut in half bus at London Transport Museum is quirky and fun, allowing children to sit in the driver’s seat and pretend to drive the bus without the hassle of passengers in the back!
Build a Tunnel Ring
There are so many interactive exhibits at the London Transport Museum and one of the children’s favourites was building a tunnel ring. With two sides, the children could compete to see who could finish their ring the quickest. It’s great fun!
Legacies: London Transport’s Caribbean Workforce
There’s a new exhibition at the end of the London Transport Museum celebrating the contribution Caribbean people have made to transport in London and British culture. It explores the struggles and triumphs many individuals and their families experienced as they moved halfway across the world from the Caribbean to the UK. The exhibition includes stories from first, second and third generation Caribbean people who worked for London Transport or still work for Transport for London today.
How long does it take to go around the London Transport Museum?
Our visit to the London Transport Museum took around three hours with the children using many of the interactive exhibits and have a quick play in the play area. However, you could spend just an hour at the museum if you whizz round and don’t stop very much or, if you take your time, take part in activities and spend time playing it could be a full day out. You can spend as long or as short a time at the London Transport Museum as you want to.
As you can see, there’s so much to do at the Transport Museum London and it’s a great day out for the whole family. There are stamper trails to follow and collect, plenty of events throughout the year and constantly updating exhibitions. We can’t wait to go back!
Children go free and adult entry gives free return for 12 months. Find out more, check opening times and book your tickets over on the London Transport Museum website.
Here’s a little Reel we made of our trip: