The London Transport Museum at first seems innocuous and small from the outside, and perhaps you might think it’s aimed only at children. But once you step past the entry area, you find it’s bigger on the inside because of how it’s situated in the building.
The museum is packed across multiple floors with social history, geography, urban planning, politics, and graphic design. It also displays a broad array of history about one of the best-known cities for its variety and extent of transportation.
The museum has historic, restored vehicles from throughout the history of London’s transportation network, some of which you can step inside and even sit within. The extensive use of original maps, signs, and other elements helps root you in the different eras of development. You can chart an evolution of the famous schematic London Underground maps, too.
A substantial section on World War II is particularly moving, explaining how the London Underground tunnels were used as shelters during the Blitz.
Many know of the famous typeface used for over 100 years for London’s transportation network, Johnston Sans, and the museum devotes an entire room to celebrating both that typeface and other graphical elements that have long branded the network. This includes extensive displays of the promotional posters produced for well over a century to encourage people to travel through London and into the country.
There’s plenty to keep younger children occupied, but parents and those with a historical bent could spend a day working their way through multiple floors and hundreds of exhibits, obtaining a keen insight into how London became a city of transit.
Know Before You Go
Adult tickets seem expensive, but are cheaper if purchased in advance online, and are valid for re-entry for one year. Children and teenagers 17 and younger receive free admission.
Go late in the day during term time to avoid the dozens of school patties running around.