London Transport Museum

London and I don’t have the easiest of relationships. It’s loud, crowded and congested while also diverse, interesting and not a little bit wonderful. As a proud Scot, though, it ain’t my capital and despite being far from convinced about independence, I can get very nationalistic around the Palace of Westminster. I am also autistic and navigating around needs formidable fortitude. By the time I came home this time, after three days in the Smoke, I was majorly out of spoons. It was quite a ride, though, as I will write about here in the next few weeks, beginning with the sheer joy of the London Transport Museum.

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London Transport Museum: looking down into a museum gallery with a tram and a bus as well as a model train running in the foreground.
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Light up sign with Next Train at the top

The London Transport Museum sits by Covent Garden and before our trip I had never been. London has so many world-beating museums that there is absolutely no hope of me seeing them all in a day or even three days. Lured with the promise of a decent gift shop, plus a great love for all things transport, to Covent Garden we went. The London Transport Museum is on three levels, combining traditional exhibitions and more hands-on stuff, trains, buses and all sorts. As well as a green-man crossing, which I made sure I waited at despite all the traffic being static museum objects. It was very well done, with a wee bit of humour and pitched at a broad audience. As a design nerd, I loved the displays about posters on the Underground, the Tube map and the mighty Johnston typeface. The museum nerd came out in full flow during the excellent Hidden London exhibition all about disused Underground stations. It had been designed to resemble a disused station complete with bare grey walls, captions taped up with gaffer tape and wires going through walls. Hidden London is a very early contender for exhibition of the year. The contents were one thing but the design was something else.

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Entrance to the Hidden London exhibition, with a barrier, newspaper hoarding about ‘Aldwych Station’s Last Day’ and assorted barriers and signage.
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Exhibition gallery with wires on the left and two photographs of London Underground stations on the wall, the captions taped up with grey, gaffer tape

Transport museums are difficult to get right. They bring in enthusiasts and people who don’t know one end of a bus from another. The London Transport Museum is immense. It has a hefty admission fee but there are ways to cut that, not least with a 2 for 1 offer with a rail ticket. It does an excellent job in playing to a broad audience as much as the different parts of me which like design, museums, trains and climbing on buses like a bairn. We stepped into the museum barely an hour after our train arrived at King’s Cross so there’s plenty more to read from the sojourn down south.

 

11 thoughts on “London Transport Museum

  1. A little off your usual beaten track! Was down there myself last week for a brief visit for work. I find the big, hectic city intimidating myself sometimes and always glas to back on the train after a few days.

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  2. We went here once many years ago when my nieces were small (my sister and her family live in Harrow) but can’t remember much about it. I enjoy transport museums in a superficial way – a quick scan round before honing in on the one or two things that interest me, so I’m not quite your person who doesn’t know one end of a bus from the other, but at that end of the scale!

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    1. Thanks for your comment! It is definitely worth a visit and transport museums are very loveable. I have been to the National Railway Museum in York quite a few times but I am overdue a visit.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. We considered visiting this on a previous London trip, but we were a little put off by the admission price (to be fair, this was years ago when we were still skint students). We’re due to be in London at the end of the month, so maybe a visit is in order?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I do think it’s a fun museum, but it is just way too crowded and expensive! I know the passes are good for a year, but even though I live here, I only went the once. The Hidden London exhibition does look good though, and I think it was good planning coming down last week rather than this one – I’m sure it’s absolutely heaving this week because of half-term!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Digest: February 2020 – Walking Talking

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