Postal Museum Review in London: 13 Tips for Visitors

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London is chock full of museums – there’s no denying that.

From Tate Britain to the British Museum to the V&A, you have tons of choices when it comes to deciding what museum to visit on your day out, but in this guide to the Postal Museum, we’re going over why this is one of the best museums in London for kids and for anyone with an interest in the history of iconic letterboxes, Royal Mail, and of course, the Mail Rail!

Now I, much like a child, do not enjoy a museum with a bunch of old artifacts and some dusty plaques on the walls.

I get bored easily.

I need some moving images, some interactive experiences, and lots of bright colors to keep me engaged, and honestly that’s exactly what the Postal Museum offered and why I’m so wholeheartedly recommending it to you.

Here are my top tips for visiting so you can make the most of your experience!

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The Absolute Must-Knows (from a Londoner)

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1. Book Tickets in Advance

Because of the way the Postal Museum works in also offering a ride on the historic London “Mail Rail” (essentially a tiny train that used to carry mail beneath London, but now carries humans who come to visit the museum!), you will want to book tickets in advance and choose a time slot.

It’s also cheaper to book online, saving you a little bit of money.

If you forget to book line, you can book on the day by showing up to the museum, but be aware that you are not guaranteed entry to the museum unless you have prebooked so during busy times like weekends and holidays, you may not be let in – so book!

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2. Ride the Mail Rail First

The first part of your journey in the Postal Museum is by riding the Mail Rail and visiting the Mail Rail exhibition.

This is in a separate building to the main museum, just a few steps down the street, and you’ll begin here.

You will need to line up and the train runs about every 15 minutes, so there is a queue and you wait your turn until you can climb aboard and off you go, whizzing beneath the streets of London and seeing the tunnels and working areas that used to be used to transport millions of pieces of mail throughout the city.

This is a real highlight to the museum – there is a wonderful range of audio and visual explanations as you make your way around, stopping at various places to either watch a display or to listen to the guide voice explain to you what went on in the tunnels during different parts of the past century.

The Mail Rail did used to be used for…mail, though, not people, so it is incredibly tight in there and 2 adults will just about squeeze next to each other so plan to get a bit cozy during your journey.

3. All Families with Kids Should Go

This is truly one of the best museums in London for kids, in addition to the London Transport Museum.

In fact, most of the visitors we saw to the museum were families with children of all ages.

The sheer amount of interactive exhibits and audio and visual experiences made it completely enthralling for the kids.

From dress up areas to a mail sorting simulator to telephone boxes that you can step inside and pick up the phone and call various numbers, there are just so many things to do and you won’t be left dragging a bored 10-year old around a museum he or she doesn’t want to be in.

4. Pick Up One of the Paper Trails

To make the museum even more interactive, there are paper trails you can follow through the Mail Rail exhibition and the main exhibition to keep everyone engaged in the museum exhibits and feel like you’re solving clues at the same time.

5. Plan for About 3 Hours

This isn’t an in-and-out-in-an hour kind of museum.

The Mail Rail ride itself takes 15 minutes, plus you need to wait in the queue to ride, and then all of the other exhibitions and things to do tally up to about 2 and a half to 3 hours worth of museum time – and can be even more if you are eating in the café or booked into the play space.

6. Don’t Skip the Interactive Experiences

As mentioned, the Postal Museum is full of interactive things to do. Buttons to press, videos to watch, games to play.

Don’t skip over these experiences, particularly if you have kids, as these are all well thought-out learning experiences that are both fun and educational and entertaining enough that the whole family can usually get involved.

7. Eat Lunch in the Postal Museum Cafe

There is a wonderful cafe on site, in the main building, that offers up snack and lunch foods.

This is a great option so you don’t need to leave the museum and go get lunch somewhere.

You can also bring a packed lunch if you would like and enjoy it in the outdoor area, but unless you have specific dietary requirements, it’ll make your day a lot easier if you get food on-site.

8. Check the Opening Schedule as It’s Closed on Some Weekdays

The Postal Museum is open from Wednesdays to Sundays, which means that you can’t visit on a Monday or Tuesday.

Make sure to check the schedule in advance to make sure that the museum is open and offering tickets on the day you’re wanting to visit, as it is also briefly closed around Christmas (standard for most London museums).

9. Walk from the Tube Station

The easiest way to get the Postal Museum is by using the tube.

There are also plenty of buses that stop in the local area, but most visitors will want to arrive by tube to either King’s Cross Station, Farringdon Station, or Russell Square Station depending on which line is easiest for you to get to from your home or hotel.

The museum is a short walk from all 3 of these and located in a very central and safe area so you can feel comfortable walking around and to the museum at all hours of the day.

10. Book Tickets for Kids under 8 for the Sorted! Play Space

Got little ones under the age of 8?

It is a separate entrance fee of a few pounds, but the Sorted! Play Space is a fantastic idea, particularly for the toddler and young schoolchildren crowd.

You get 45 minutes in a booked slot in the room (with other visiting kids) and it’s a fun world of play that revolves around the postal system.

You don’t actually need to be booked into the museum to attend – you can book this ticket separately if you want something to do in London in the rain or in the winter with the kids.

11. Start Your Day at Opening Time for Less Mail Rail Queue

There is a queue for the Mail Rail, so even if you arrive at your allotted time, you may have to wait in line for a bit during busy times.

Because of this (the line obviously grows as the day goes on), I would recommend booking a ticket for opening time at the museum so you can do the Mail Rail with the shortest wait and then move on to the other exhibition spaces.

12. Don’t Pack Your Valuables

While on the Mail Rail, you leave your bags in a locked area off to the side, but there is no system of saying whose bag was whose, so obviously don’t bring any valuables to the museum if you can help it, but if you can’t, keep them with you while on the Mail Rail as ultimately the museum cannot be responsible for items that you leave.

13. Take a Tunnel Walk

Want an even closer look at the tunnels underground London?

You can book onto a tunnel walk through the Postal Museum website which is a separate experience and charge.

This is a great way to learn more and to support the museum.

The Postal Museum and Mail Rail are closed during the tunnel walks, so you will want to book those separately if you want to do all 3 experiences.

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