4 10 2010

My desire to do everything touristy in London today brought me to The London Transport Museum in Covent Garden. The reason I had not yet been here is that I loathe the area of Covent Garden so much but, trying to walk off a hangover, I stumbled into the square. It cost £6 for a student (normally £10) and my first impression, having bought my ticket and left a bag in the cloakroom, was of how friendly the staff are.

The museum is designed over three floors and, starting at the top you work your way down in a chronological tour of transporting in our wonderful capital. Having exited the elevator at the top I found myself confronted by trams from the 1800s presented “in action” with life size wax models to give one a taste of what it felt to have these horse drawn carriages trundling through the streets.

The information is presented in easy to digest pictures, audio and texts; there is also a large amount of interactive displays designed for children but also quite entertaining to a 31 year-old man. The place is immediately engaging and very open, you are encouraged to go into the old carriages, sit down, try and get a feel for it. Though there is a recommended route to follow, it is very much a space for wandering. If you live in London this museum makes you want to find out more about your local line or station.

There are no airs or graces; it’s not like a trip to The National Gallery or The British Museum where you must only enter if you’re terrifically aloof and terribly intellectual. The Transport Museum’s main concern for their visitor is that they enjoy their visit and you will enjoy your visit and learn quite a lot without realising it. For example how much horse poo had to cleaned of the streets back in the early days.

The highlight must be the very well thought out exhibit concerning the Blitz. Not only does it deal with London but also Coventry and Dresden. There is a book where visitors are asked to write their thoughts on that period and some of the stories people have written  in are humbling. This is the last exhibit before reaching the ground floor which is a fantastic menagerie of old and new, try your hand at being a tube driver or wander through the fleet of old and new buses and carriages.

This is a fantastic place to visit, well worth the money (even if you pay full whack) and I shall recommend it to any and all.

P.s. their toilets are also very clean.



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