From the British Museum to the Tate, the Natural History Museum to the V&A, London is home to some of the greatest museums anywhere on earth. Yet there’s much more to London’s museum landscape than just these big hitters – the city is also home to a wealth of wonderful smaller museum collections. Every month we’ll be highlighting one of our favourite lesser-known museums within easy reach of Strand Palace Hotel.
This month… London Transport Museum.
The 19th century iron-and-glass building on the corner of Covent Garden was originally built as a dedicated flower market, but has been home to the London Transport Museum since 1980. The museum’s collection began to take shape in the early 20th century, when the London General Omnibus Company preserved the buses that were retired from service; after the LGOC was taken over by the London Electric Railway, trains were added to the collection. The London Transport Museum, which is located near to Strand Palace Hotel, was closed for a major £22 million refurbishment between September 2005 and November 2007, and since reopening it has earned a reputation among Londoners as one of the capital’s most fascinating museums.
The London Transport Museum is designed to explore the strong link between transport and the growth of London culture and society since 1800. The museum’s permanent collection includes several examples of buses, trams, trolleybuses, underground trains and standard rail vehicles from the 19th and 20th centuries, as well as thousands of artefacts related to the world of transport (from ground-breaking maps to wartime posters). The museum also puts on a range of temporary exhibitions, and the big event at the beginning of 2015 is ‘Goodbye Piccadilly: From Home Front to Western Front’. This exhibition explores the extraordinary changes to London’s transport system during the First World War, from drivers deciding to take their buses to the Front Line to fight the enemy, to the great advance of women in the transport workforce in wartime.
How to visit
Located just a three minute walk from Strand Palace Hotel, the London Transport Museum is at the tourism heart of the city. The museum is open every day from 10am to 6pm (apart from on Fridays when it opens at 11am), with the museum shop and Upper Deck cafe staying open 30 minutes after this. Entry costs £16 for individual adults and £13.50 for senior citizens and students, although there are discounts for groups of 10 or more. If you have a national rail ticket, you may be eligible for 2 for 1 tickets. If possible, we recommend going early on a weekday to enjoy the wealth of fascinating exhibits without the oppressive tourist crowds.
Strand Palace Hotel is not only a hotel near to the London Transport Museum – it is convenient for many of the capital’s best lesser-known museums. And next month we’ll feature another: The Design Museum.
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