The ultimate day out for any bus and train enthusiast (commuters aside) is to hop on the rail service from St Albans to St Pancras, pick up the Piccadilly Line to Covent Garden and spend a couple of hours exploring the wonders of the London Transport Museum housed in a former Victorian flower market in Covent Garden.
Newly reopened after a two year £22 million refurbishment, the museum's interactive galleries tell the story of London's changing transport systems and the people who travelled and worked on them during the last 200 years.
Entering through the dazzling World Cities gallery, you ascend in a lift that time-travels you back to the 19th century. From Victorian omnibuses, trams and the early steam-powered Metropolitan Line, you journey through three fascinating and fun-packed floors charting the development of electric underground trains, the growth of 'Metroland', the popularity contest between buses and trams, the importance of London Transport during two World Wars and the way in which iconic designs of artwork and vehicles have become part of our heritage before returning to the present to contemplate the future of public transport.
- the innovative design gallery showcasing the much loved maps, signs and posters
- the fascinating details of what the world''s first underground railway entailed
- the unexpected… we encountered a 'fluffer' (track cleaner) – one of the museum's actors that brings exhibits to life
- for adults – all the nostalgia of the wood-panelled tube carriage from the 70s and the routemasters we used to hop on and off before trendy bendy buses arrived
- for children – lots of interactive displays, a gallery trail (with stamps to collect), the chance to dress up and drive a bus or tube train, a compact but fun play area for the under-6's and special activities during school holidays
- free entry for children and reasonable prices (£10 for 2 sandwiches, 2 coffees and a muffin when we visited – although we bought these from the self-service picnic area on the ground floor - the Upper Deck café is table service and more expensive).