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Please be aware of government guidelines before setting off.Government Guidelines
When thinking of London museums, places like the Natural History Museum or the Museum of London instantly spring to mind. However, hidden away in Acton is an incredible museum for family fun only open on special occasions: The London Transport Museum Depot. While its famous Covent Garden-based counterpart displays London transport heritage items, the Depot holds most of the collection not on display in the main museum, making it well worth a visit.
The London Transport Museum, or LTM, was opened in 1980 as an offshoot of the British Transport Museum and now resides in Covent Gardeen. However, in 1999, the London Transport Museum Depot in Acton was opened in order to hold the huge collection not being displayed within its 6,000-square-metre walls. Its main use is for the museum's curators and conservators, and it houses more than 370,000 items of all types, including posters and clothing related to transport. The museum is not typically open to the public, so it’s a rare treat to be able to explore everything it has to offer.
A family-friendly trail will lead you through the Depot to discover the historic vehicles that have been used over the last 200 years, such as a yellow Victorian horse-drawn ‘garden seat’ bus dating from 1881 to a shiny red 1938 Stock Tube train. Children will get a special, sealed pack including a fun craft kit to make during your visit and a take-home activity.
You will also get the chance to see and potentially ride the incredible miniature railway. This railway is based on real London Underground locomotives, carriages, signals and signs, so is a brilliant way to understand how the Underground works. The main locomotives are models of no. 12 ‘Sarah Siddons’ and no. 18 ‘Michael Faraday’ which were used on the Metropolitan Railway for 39 years, up until 1961. The passenger coaches are models of the dining carriages, when you could get a full meal service on the Underground!
If the thought of food has made you hungry, not to worry. There’s a great selection of hot and cold drinks and light snacks available to purchase right in the Depot.
Once you’ve had your fun, why not pop into the shop to get a keepsake of your day, or order online if you’d rather not carry it home. With everything from the patterns on train seats on picnic sets, to limited edition vintage prints, postcards and magnets it’s a great way to remember this very special museum.
If you enjoy learning about transport, you could then travel over to St James's Park to explore some royal ways of getting around at the Royal Mews, as you go from train carriages to horses and carriages. See if you can spot the differences!
Please follow the latest government guidelines if travelling by public transport.Government Guidelines