This post contains affiliate links for which I may make a small commission to help keep the site running. You will not be charged extra for these items had you not clicked the links. Thank you for your help to keep the site running!
Check out this London Transport Museum Review for everything you need to know about this fantastic museum.
Before you decide to be a Londoner, you have to prove you can do two things: complain about the weather, and complain about public transport.
Whether your train was 3 minutes late or the person next to you on the bus was sneezing on you the whole ride, you have to practice being thoroughly unsatisfied with your journey at the risk of being found out as a foreigner (or a northerner, which is basically the same as a foreigner if you’re from the south).
In reality, London’s transport system is one of the oldest in the world and has also won multiple awards.
The tube itself is the oldest underground railway, full stop, and London transport is far more efficient and reliable than many cities are used to.
The London Transport Museum celebrates this history and innovation in public transport in its Covent Garden location.
GET A FREE LONDON INTRO GUIDE and ACCESS TO MY FB GROUP
Start your planning with this “Intro to London” guide and access to my London planning Facebook group!
The museum is divided into three floors.
You start in the 1800s and work your way through the history of London transport, from riverboats to trolley buses to the first underground line to current trains to an imagined transportation future.
To go into every detail of London Transport Museum and London’s history would take ages, but we spent a solid two hours there and could have spent two more.
Now, I unapologetically love museums and also have a fascination with public transportation after living in “if you don’t have a car, you’re out of luck” Florida my entire life, but I genuinely think the London Transport Museum is one of the best museums in the city.
It strikes the perfect balance between “a bunch of boring historic items in glass cases” and “so many screens I could have just stayed home and watched a documentary.”
The result is a really engaging space where you can sit on old trains and listen to the conversations of the past, learn about the effects of pressure on the tube, and explore the designs of the past and future London Transport maps.
My boyfriend and I enjoy museums differently: he likes to read all of the signs and captions and make sure he’s really absorbed all of the information, while I like to climb on every interactive display and watch the videos and hop from picture to picture.
We both had plenty to keep us occupied.
Because of the “past to future” layout, it’s also a fun outing for anyone who enjoys history.
The story of London is undeniably connected to its transport system.
As the city grew, so did its train networks.
Once the city was overcrowded, extensions of the tube began to encourage people to live outside of the city and the London suburbs were born.
The tube stations also acted as shelters in WWI & II and the museum has tons of old posters and photographs from that period.
If you have children (or have the attention span of a child), the London Transport Museum has plenty of spaces for kids to play and many of the exhibits are kid-friendly.
There’s also a giant gift shop with plenty of options because obviously your dad needs a pair of socks with the Northern Line sign on them.
The only downside is the price.
At £21 per adult and 20 pounds per student (as of March 2020), it’s significantly more expensive than the free museums we are spoiled with in London, but there are some, like the Clink Prison and the Old Operating Theatre Museum that do charge.
However, your day pass will get you in for the rest of the year for free if you’d like to visit again, so that’s a perk.
Also anyone under 18 goes completely free, so it could definitely be a good value for a family day out.
The final room in the museum before you leave is one of the future and shows the ways we may travel as human progress continues.
There’s also a nifty quote to remind us that time marches on and that innovation should never stop.
Can you say most inspirational museum exit ever.
I left with a new passion for building ALL THE HOVERBOARDS and will not stop until my flat is connected by air-rail to America.
Well, actually, I might settle for air-conditioning on every tube line.
Let’s start small.
The London Transport Museum provided me with a free ticket for this London Transport Museum review, but the review is entirely my own opinion and this post is not sponsored. I just really love public transportation, what can I say.
What else should I not miss in London?
If you’re visiting London soon, here’s a very brief rundown of a few of my other favorites to make sure you don’t miss anything!
- Hidden London Walking Tour – this tour is the absolute best if you want to see London in a different light and uncover hidden nooks, crannies, and histories that you won’t get on your normal, run-of-the-mill London walking tour. Click here to check prices and book.
- Historical Westminster Walking Tour with Churchill War Rooms – if you’re a history buff or even mildly interested in all of the insane things that have happened in London, particular during the wars, you have to book this tour which is an absolute bargain for the tour + entry to the Churchill War Rooms (basically two must-dos in one). Click here to check prices and book.
UK Travel Planning Guide: the FAQs
🏥 Should I buy UK travel insurance?
Absolutely yes. Basic coverage is not expensive, and as a visitor you are NOT covered under the NHS. Compare policies and prices with Travel Insurance Master here, a big name in the travel insurance business, and cross that off your list.
🔌 Do I need travel adapters for the UK?
Yes, you do, otherwise you won’t be able to plug in your electronics/phone/lifelines. I recommend this one, which is all-in-one so you can use it in other countries.
🚗 What do I need to drive in the UK?
The first thing you need to check out if you’re planning on renting a car in the UK is this guide to driving in the UK for visitors – the roads, signs, and driving experience will likely not be what you’re used to and it’s essential to prepare yourself to stay safe and aware.
🛌 What’s the best way to book hotels in the UK?
📳 Will my phone work in the UK?
Yes – if you set it up right. Check out my guide on making your foreign phone work in the UK to ensure that you get the type of service you need.
🚿 Can I drink the water in the UK?
Yes, UK water is great and perfectly safe. But drink out of taps in any kitchen or use water fountains. Double check before drinking out of the taps in hotel bathrooms, though, as they may be on a different system.