A Quick Review of The Postal Museum In London
The Postal Museum is one of London’s newest museums giving visitors an insight into the fascinating way that post used to be moved around the capital. Due to road congestion, the Post Office built a small driverless railway under the streets of London to deliver post to sorting offices between Paddington and Whitechapel. The railway was 6.5 miles long with 8 stations, and was in operation between 1927 and 2003.
The tunnels lay empty until June 2017, when the new Postal Museum opened telling the story of the Mail Rail, and offering a unique 15 minute journey through the tunnels on the railway itself.
Review Of The Postal Museum In London
We pre booked our tickets to the Postal Museum a couple of weeks before our visit. This meant that we chose a time when we wanted to go on the Mail Rail, but we were free to look around the exhibitions before and after the train journey.
Ticket prices are as follows;
Adult – £17.05
Child (aged 0 upwards) – £10.45
These prices include a voluntary charity donation, which you can remove if you want through the booking process if you wish.
There is also ‘soft play’ area called Sorted! for children aged 0 – 8. Tickets for children who want to visit the play area cost £11.95 in advance (inc entry to the Mail Rail), but you can also upgrade your tickets on the day for an additional £1.50 per child. Basically, this gives the choice of deciding on the day if you want to visit the soft play. We didn’t as the weather was so nice, but it might be a handy option for a rainy day.
The Postal Museum is within walking distance of Farringdon, Chancery Lane, Kings Cross and Russell Square tube stations. You can download walking trails to the Postal Museum from the various tube stations beforehand. I’d recommend you do this (or have Google Maps ready!) because the Museum is located in a residential area and can be a bit tricky to find. When you spot loads of red Royal Mail vans belonging to the current Sorting Office, you know you have arrived!!
Things To See And Do At The Postal Museum
We started off looking around the exhibitions at the Postal Museum. The museum is fairly small in comparison to some of the large museums in London, but this means it is more manageable for smaller children.
My children were given a Jolly Postman activity sheet at the beginning, where they had to answer questions and do activities based on the things in the museum. If they completed this they would get a prize at the end.
There were some really interesting things do see and do, including learning Design Your Own Stamp, where you can take a picture of yourselves, choose the colour of the stamp, add in various shapes before sending a copy of it home via email.
There are also lots of different coloured letter boxes, a Royal Mail carriage and lots of things do to touch, look at and watch. The exhibition was very brightly coloured with lots of interactive parts to it.
After looking round this, it was time to head across the road for the next part of the visit – a trip back in time on the Mail Rail.
The Mail Rail
The first thing to say about the Mail Rail is that the train itself is quite small. The tunnels were designed for small trains carrying post, not people, which means that larger people may find them a bit cramped. It is fine for children though, and there is an accessible version of the Mail Rail if you don’t want to go in the carriages.
Bags aren’t allowed on the train, but there a lockers where you can store your things.
The Mail Rail journey is about 15 mins long and is loads of fun! The journey is really interactive with people who used to work on the railway telling their story. The carriages have see-through roofs so you can get a fully immersive view of the tunnels, and when it stops in stations videos are projected onto the station walls giving you more info about what used to go on in the tunnels.
And, at just 15 mins long it is a great length of time for young children. We were very impressed with the whole experience, and the children loved it too.
The train goes in a loop and takes you back to the beginning, where there are more things to see and do.
You can see the contents of the lockers of the last people who worked on the Mail Rail, and even learn more about how mail used to be sorted on train carriages travelling throughout the UK. Not an easy task when the train was moving! We spent lots of time exploring this exhibition too.
Would I recommend a trip to the Postal Museum in London?
Definitely! It is a really unique experience that you get to take part in anywhere else. There is plenty for young children, and it is something that they will remember for a long time.
There is also a café onsite, which we didn’t visit, but it looked very nice.