London Transport Museum is a great classic among London’s most child-friendly museums. In addition to admiring all the shiny vehicles, there are plenty of interactive areas. Who wouldn’t want to sit behind the wheels of a London bus! Here are some highlights from our multiple visits throughout the years.
Visiting London as a child, the city’s iconic transportation is what I was most fascinated by and remember the most. Jumping off the Routemaster from the open platform in the back at a red light, was just so much more fun than taking a regular bus. The underground was sensory heaven for a child, with all its people, smells and sounds. And the iconic black cab of course, which was just so different and fun than any other car.
London’s transportation is a very important part of the city’s fabric and an experience in itself. So make sure you take the kids on at least one tube-ride, double-decker bus-ride and black-cab ride before giving in to the temptation of ordering yourself an Uber! Once your kids have experienced the real transportation of London, I think they will benefit a lot more from the museum as well.
The “All Aboard” play zones at London Transport Museum
The big attraction for our toddler has always been the indoor play area. There are two main areas to explore:
Here kids can drive a real London bus, repair a mini Tube train with lots of tools available and dress up in uniforms to become a mechanic. This is probably our favourite part and the area where we spend the most time. This play zone is not particularly large, so we try to go here early morning just after the museum opening to avoid the crowds.
This is the biggest play-zone and is just next to the cafe. Among other things, kids can be riverboat captain, station announcer or driver. There is also a big wooden train track that our boy got very much engaged in. It’s a really fun area, but with age-groups mixed up from babies and toddlers to older kids. We found the area quite chaotic at peak visiting hours in the early afternoon.
For school-age children
For kids age 5 and above, we would recommend following the recommended trail. Starting on Level 2, you can participate in the stamper trail and follow the history of transportation from the beginning until today. Most of the exhibition is hands-on, with real historic vehicles that you can sit inside and there are lots of buttons to press and screens to touch everywhere.
Another museum great for school-age children, the British Museum is ~20 min walking away.
The museum has a busy schedule with child-friendly activities for babies and toddlers as well for older children. We recommend that you check out their website or twitter account before going to make the most out of your visit. Also, check our tips for how to plan a great family day at London’s museums.
As opposed to many of the big national museums in Central London, there is an entrance fee. Children under 17 go free. The good news is the ticket valid for a full year, which means you can visit time and time again. Included in the price is a guide and for children, an activity booklet.