Back when we took Oscar to the aquarium before Xmas, we decided we would bring him back up to London for his birthday. We thought maybe the zoo, but it depended on the weather, and Paul suggested the natural history museum, but I didn’t know if he’d be too young for it. Then I remembered the transport museum in Covent Garden, I’d been twice before but that was over 10 years ago, and Oscar is partial to the odd train and bus. It was also on a 2 for 1 as well which meant we only had to pay £15 for the both of us.
So last week, the day before Oscar’s birthday, we jumped on train ready for a London adventure. It was no mean feat let me tell you, those of you who know me or read my twitter will know I am not a morning person and getting on the train for 9.20am was not easy. I kept thinking about the mcdonalds breakfast I had promised myself, only to realise that I had completely misjudged how long we had to walk between the 2 stations. We tried to console ourselves with subway breakfast and train station coffee but it just wasn’t the same. It also didn’t help that I had got it into my head that the train was at 10, when it was actually 10.07, so we would’ve had time for a maccy’s breakfast.
It was just under 2 hours into Charing Cross and Oscar was in his element looking at the other trains, the stations and tunnels. I love coming into London on the train, seeing it get more and more built up the nearer you get, and all the landmarks like St Pauls, London Eye, Big Ben etc. We planned to get some lunch first but none of us were hungry, so we walked straight to Covent Garden via The Savoy so I could get a picture.
The transport museum is tucked away in the corner of Covent Garden, and once inside I was delighted to find a buggy park and a cloakroom so we didn’t have to lug our coats or the pushchair around with us. We were also given a stamp card for Oscar to complete during his visit which I thought was a nice touch.
You start off upstairs in 18th century London, telling you all about how transport has evolved from the single seat carriages that people were carried around in and boats on the thames, to the development of the railway into London and buses and omnibuses. There was an original restored Victorian omnibus, one from the 1920s I think and then a replica one which you could go on and sit inside.
Once you finished that section you went down in the lift, to the good stuff, the development of the underground. Now my inner geek was starting to come out and I kept getting told off by Paul for spending too much time looking at the exhibits and taking pictures.
They had a restored train that was pulling some restored carriages from the 1920s and 30s, which you could go and sit in. I loved this and imagined I was in an episode of Poirot or House of Elliot. I think it was at this point Paul and Oscar just gave up on me.
They also had loads, and I mean loads of old underground posters which I loved and just couldn’t resist.
I also wanted to steal this whole living room set up, but I don’t think I could’ve smuggled it out without being noticed.
Back downstairs and there was more on this history of the tube and how it evolved into what we have today.
There was also a few simulators dotted so you could have a go at driving a tube train. None of us were very good at this, either overshooting the stations or going through red lights. Its definitely harder than it looks.
Next it was on to buses. There wasn’t as much about the buses as there were trains, which suited me to be honest as I find the underground much more interesting. Paul took lots of pictures though so I shall try and add them at a later date. I did snap this picture though for my mums husband, as he is a bus driver.
After a wander round the shop where I could’ve spent a fortune, we then left the museum to go get some lunch. I was really looking forward to it as we went to Tgi Fridays, but Oscar refused to eat his lunch and fell asleep instead. Typical! His lunch didn’t go to waste though as me and Paul picked at it.
Before we knew it it was time to go and fight with the crowds on the way home. We stupidly decided to leave Charing Cross at 5.30, right in the middle of rush hour. Oscar refused to nap all the way home as looking out the window was far more interesting.
I think we finally got home about 8.30, Oscar was absolutely exhausted and went straight to sleep, dreaming about trains and buses. He’s asks every day pretty much to go back to London, my ticket for the transport museum is valid for a year, so I could take him again while Paul is at work, but I’m not sure I’m brave enough to do it on my own!