11 Transport Themed Museums In London (Plus Two Railways You Probably Haven't Ridden)

Laura Reynolds
By Laura Reynolds Last edited 59 months ago
11 Transport Themed Museums In London (Plus Two Railways You Probably Haven't Ridden)

If you've been to the fantastic London Transport Museum, you probably think you've seen everything London has to offer in the way of transport museums. Oh no, you're just getting started. Bet you didn't know London had this many transport museums. All aboard!

London Transport Museum

The big daddy of all transport museums, the Covent Garden stalwart

Plus, the cafe seats are made from moquette, and they'll put a roundel on top of your hot chocolate.

London Transport Museum, Covent Garden Piazza, WC2E 7BB

Acton Transport Depot

The Acton depot. Photo: Phil Amesbury

Exhausted everything the London Transport Museum has to offer? Head west to the Acton Transport Depot. It's owned and run by the London Transport Museum and is only open to the public on certain open days and for guided tours (keep an eye here). It's where the museums keeps items not currently on display, and things get really geeky with vehicles, signs, models, photographs and posters, covering all different aspects of London's transport.

London Transport Museum depot, more details here.

Whitewebbs, Enfield

A peek inside Whitewebbs. Photo: M@ Brown

We've dubbed Whitewebbs 'London's other transport museum'. It doesn't draw the crowds of its Covent Garden counterpart, partly due to its limited opening hours, and partly due to its location as the most northerly museum in London, in Enfield.

Find it open and you'll be treated to model aeroplanes, historic bikes — including one thought to be the oldest in the country — vintage fire engines, classic cars, century-old delivery vans and a charming miniature railway. Oh, and if they ask if you want to see the well? Just say 'yes'.

Whitewebbs Museum of Transport, Whitewebbs Road, Enfield, EN2 9HW

London Bus Museum

Inside the London Bus Museum. Photo: Laura Reynolds

Disclaimer: The London Bus Museum isn't actually in London, but it's well within the M25, and it's all about London, so we're claiming it as one of our own.

It's home to the largest collection of historic London buses in the world (take that, Covent Garden), dating back to the days of horse-drawn buses. Some of the vehicles have starred in films such as Nanny McPhee and Mary Poppins. If you time your visit right, you might even see some restoration work in progress.

As well as the buses themselves, there's plenty of paraphenalia to be seen — gorgeous vintage bus garage signs, a toolbox belonging to a London Bus worker, staff uniforms, historic tickets, bus maps....

London Bus Museum, Brooklands Road, Weybridge, Surrey, KT13 0QS.


Photo: Brooklands

The London Bus Museum is set within the grounds of the Brooklands Museum, the site of the former Brooklands race circuit, the first purpose-built motor racing track, as well as being the former home of Concorde, and the Vickers aeroplane factory.

Vickers and Concorde are long gone, leaving behind six rusting aeroplane carcasses — one which belonged to the Sultan of Oman — and a full-sized Concorde, all of which visitors can climb aboard.

For those who prefer land-based transport, many of the original buildings from Brooklands' glory days are still standing, including the Clubhouse, Press Hut and Racing Lockups. These tell the story of Brooklands, and of motor racing as a whole, with former racing cars on display. The Clubhouse is a bit of a time warp that fans of all things retro — think Goodwood Revival — will love.

Brooklands Museum, Brooklands Road, Weybridge, Surrey, KT13 0QN.

London Motor Museum

Photo: London Motor Museum

What is a car? So, ask many of London's resident tube dwellers. If you've ever got as far as the M25, you'll have seen them, lined up nose to bumper.

If you want to learn more about these four-wheeled wonder, London has its own motor museum, in Hayes.  See classic American and European cars dating from the 1930s to the present day, plus cars from films and TV, including the 1966 and 1989 Batmobiles. Vroom, vroom.

London Motor Museum, 3 Nestles Avenue, Hayes, UB3 4SB

RAF Museum

Lancaster Bomber at the RAF Museum. Photo: John Tiffin

Didn't get enough aeroplanes at Brooklands? The RAF Museum in Hendon is chock full of over 100 aircraft that have been used by the RAF throughout the years. Visitors can sit in the pilot's seat of a Spitfire, enter a whole hall of Bomber planes, and learn all about how aircraft have been used and developed through the years.

The RAF Museum, Grahame Park Way, NW9 5LL

Croydon Airport

The world's oldest air traffic control tower at Croydon Airport.

Another one for fans of all things aviation, Croydon Airport Visitor Centre opens to the public one day a month. Although you won't get up close to and planes, you can go inside the world's oldest air traffic control tower, and hear about the history of the airport, which used to be London's main international airport, and was used as a first world war airfield.

Croydon Airport Visitor Centre, Airport House, Purley Way, CR0 0XZ

Royal Mews

How's that for some royal bling?

Alright, it's not a form of transport that you personally are ever likely to take, but there's a working stable full of royal carriages just round the corner from Buckingham Palace.

The Royal Mews is a blingy experience, home to the gold state coach used to transport monarchs to their coronation, the one used for Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding, and plenty of other shiny sets of wheels.  If you're lamenting the fact that you'll never ride in one, you can at least have a go at harnessing up a model horse — it's harder than you'd think.

The Royal Mews, Buckingham Palace. Open February-November each year.

London Canal Museum

Inside the London Canal Museum. Photo: M@ Brown

Unsurprisingly, this little-known museum is all about the boats. See inside a narrowboat cabin and learn how London's canals have been used for transport, dating back to the days when horses used to pull the boats. In a bizarre twist, the museum is housed in a former ice warehouse.

London Canal Museum, 12-13 New Wharf Road, N1 9RT.

Mail Rail at The Postal Museum

Photo: The Postal Museum

A special train under the streets of London, never before opened to the public? Sign us up! Mail Rail was the underground train service used by the Post Office to ferry mail around London. It opened to the public for the first time in 2017 as part of the new Postal Museum, and while the museum itself is interesting, we're really here for Mail Rail. Take a 15 minute ride under the streets of London, through stalactite-filled tunnels. Bliss.

Mail Rail at The Postal Museum, 15-20 Phoenix Place, WC1X 0DA

Epping Ongar Railway

North Weald station on the Epping Ongar Railway.

This one's not a museum, but a working heritage railway, running just at the tip of London, running between Epping and North Weald stations. Heritage bus rides are run on some days to coincide with the railway's running times — more information here.

Ruislip Lido Railway

Another one for fans of all things train. Ruislip Lido Railway is a miniature gauge railway running through woodland and round the edge of Ruislip Lido. Back in 2016, we sent Tim Dunn down to have a ride:

Last Updated 03 January 2018