London Transport Museum Moves Visitors through 150 Years of History (and Beyond)

No trip to London with kids is complete without stopping off at the London Transport Museum.

Our London Holiday, March 31-through-April 9, 2013:
1. British Airways LAX-LHR
2. The Waldorf Hilton, London
3. Covent Garden Neighborhood
4. London Transport Museum TODAY’S POST
5. Day Out in London – Traditional Landmarks
6. Princess Diana Playground, Kensington Park, and Green Park/ Buckingham Palace
7. Harry Potter Connections
8. Family Remembrance and Celebration: Brookwood Cemetery and The Lion King at The Lyceum Theatre
9. Day Trip: Isle of Wight and Portsmouth, UK
10. Day Out: Greenwich, UK
11. Tower of London
12. London’s Shopping Meccas: Hamleys Toys and Harrods

Just a few of the double-decker buses on display and waiting for riders at the London Transport Museum.

Just a couple of the double-decker buses on display and waiting for riders at the London Transport Museum.

A wide view inside the London Transport Museum. High ceilings needed as there are many large vehicles on display.

A wide view inside the London Transport Museum. High ceilings needed as there are many large vehicles on display.

RMT’ers, if you have kids (um, duh?!) and you find yourselves in London, the London Transport Museum is a must-visit. Located in the cute and cultured Covent Garden neighborhood in the West End, the London Transport Museum is helping the city and its visitors not just get more acquainted with the rich history of the development of mass transit in Western civilization, but it’s also celebrating the Tube’s 150th year in operation (est. 9 January 1863!).

Archives on display at the London Transport Museum.

Archives on display at the London Transport Museum.

A real-scale diorama of how passengers might have looked on an old Tube car at the London Transport Museum.

A real-scale diorama of how passengers might have looked on an old Underground car at the London Transport Museum.

Advertisers wasted no space and placed their messages on the handles inside of the older Underground cars.

Advertisers eventually left no wasted space and placed their messages on the handles inside of the Underground cars.

One exhibit at the London Transport Museum was a poster installation showing what advertisements for the Underground might look like in another 50 years from now, or in 2063 during their 200th anniversary. This year (2013) marks the Underground's 150th year in operation.

One exhibit at the London Transport Museum was a poster installation showing what advertisements for the Underground might look like in another 50 years from now, or in 2063 during their 200th anniversary. This year (2013) marks the Underground’s 150th year in operation.

This poster was quite telling of how just one bus can clear congested areas of London.

This poster was quite telling of how just one bus helps clear the congested streets of London.

T stands inside of a former WWII bomb shelter. The London Transport Museum has quite the exhibit dedicated to its role during the War. Yes, buses and the Underground operated during most of the War. The tunnels also offered shelter during times of need.

T stands inside of a former WWII bomb shelter. The London Transport Museum has quite the eye-opening exhibit dedicated to mass transit’s role during the War. Yes, buses and the Underground kept operating during most of the War. Underground tunnels also offered shelter during times of need.

The London Transport Museum has an array of exhibits for everyone. There’s anything from original, restored subway cars and buses that visitors may board and climb (“please touch” is a huge motto at this museum) to more artistic displays and installations like old transit maps and posters. Old ticket stubs, marketing materials, and advertisements also adorn the museum walls and halls, and other corners pay homage to specific historical eras related to London transit, such as its World War II memorial and remembrance areas.

T loved going up and down the stairs of all the buses at the London Transport Museum.

T loved going up and down the stairs of all the buses at the London Transport Museum.

T barely boards this street car at the London Transport Museum. I think this is one of the cars that was formerly pulled by horses before buses came along.

T barely boards this street car at the London Transport Museum. I think this is one of the cars that was formerly pulled by horses before engine-operated buses came along.

T had so much fun at the London Transport Museum!

T had so much fun at the London Transport Museum!

T drives a more modern double-decker bus at the London Transport Museum.

T drives a more modern double-decker bus at the London Transport Museum.

C and T inside an old Tube car at the London Transport Museum.

C and T inside an old Tube car at the London Transport Museum.

This was one of the Underground driving simulators. T works the driving gears and brakes to get his train to stop at the Underground platform. He did great!

This was one of the Underground driving simulators. T works the driving gears and brake handles in an effort to stop his train just so at a passenger platform. He did great!

The boys working another of the driving simulation games at the London Transport Museum.

The boys working another of the driving simulation games at the London Transport Museum.

While there are plenty of traditional educational opportunities here at the London Transport Museum, the big draw with kids and adults alike are the Underground train cars and the double-decker Routemaster buses. Feel free to hop on board and take a look around. You’ll almost forget you’re not driving anywhere, but I’d be lying if I said these beautiful vehicles didn’t take you anywhere. The details and restoration work is state-of-the-art and really sets the mind in motion. There are also several stations with driving simulators and other interactive features related to Underground operations.

T in the London Transport Museum kids' corner, a play area for children under six-years-old.

T in the London Transport Museum kids’ corner, a play area designed for children under six-years-old.

T received various punch-cards and booklets upon entry so he could mark down what he visited along his way through the museum.

T received various punch-cards and booklets upon entry to the London Transport Museum so he could mark down what he visited along the way.

Train tables at the London Transport Museum keep little ones busy while parents can take a break from chasing them through the very active and informative London Transport Museum.

Train tables keep little ones busy while parents can take a break from chasing them through the very active and informative London Transport Museum.

Kids under six-years-old also have their very own Kids Corner of the museum. Here there are smaller-scale climbers and a model train table where kids can gather and play while the parents can sit back, relax, and have a coffee or snack in the museum’s cafe. The London Transport Museum also offers kids of all-ages a variety of projects and activities by way of punch-cards and booklets they receive upon entrance. They can reference these items during their visit through the museum and mark their stops along the way; they also make a great keepsake from their trip.

Our take-aways from the London Transport Museum. These all were included in the price of admission. The tickets in the lower left show the 2-for-1 we received and also how the paid admission was turned into the year-long pass. Brilliant deal!

Our take-aways from the London Transport Museum that were included in the price of admission. The green card in the top left was the punch card T marked as he wandered through the museum. The tickets in the lower left show the 2-for-1 we received and that the paid admission transferred into the year-long pass. Brilliant deal from the folks at Days Guide Out UK and National Rail!

This book is full of oragami-style projects for kids to do after their visit at the London Transport Museum. Each page correlates to an exhibit inside of the museum.

This book is full of origami (paper-folding) projects for kids to do after their visit at the London Transport Museum. Each page correlates to an exhibit inside of the museum.

An admission detail also worth mentioning is that the London Transport Museum currently offers a buy-one-get-the-whole-year-free (good for 12 months from the date of purchase and original admission; ID required for future visits as the ticket is non-transferable). While we used the 2-for-1 offered by the Days Out Guide UK, we were still permitted to turn the paid admission into the 12-month pass (the free admission was good for the day-of only). T’s admission was entirely free; kids under 16 enter free and children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

Please visit this link for more information on hours of operation, admission costs, and other special group rates or offers for the London Transport Museum.

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