If you fancy dressing up as an old-fashioned postman and riding on London’s secret underground mail network, then pay a visit to The Postal Museum and ride the Mail Rail railway.
This is one of those London museums we’ve meaning to visit since it opened, but never quite got round to (because, well…).
We were enticed in this summer after seeing a tube ad for the museum’s Mail Rail, where visitors get to ride on a train through the tunnels of London’s old underground mail delivery network.
What can I say? We just love public transport.
What Is There To Do At The Postal Museum?
The Main Museum
The Post Museum is on the smaller side of the bigger London museums and galleries (think Florence Nightingale Museum rather than Natural History or the Tate Modern). However, it packs a lot in and my two tween-ish aged kids were entertained for a good while.
There’s a medium amount of postal history, and a good amount of hands-on activities, from post person dress-up to a stamp designing computer, and rotary dial phones. That made me feel about 100 years old.
There’s also Postman Pat (of course!) And I really loved the vintage post posters and retro stamp designs.
The Mail Rail At The Postal Museum
Included in the ticket price is a ride on the Mail Rail, where you take a trip on a tiny train through underground tunnels that were used to deliver mail around London.
There’s an audio / visual guide told from the perspective of an old employee, with video projections on the wall of the tunnel. You go past old equipment and even see the old staff dartboard. Once the trip ends, you exit through a section of the museum section that explains a bit more about the background and mechanics of the railway, with a couple of switching and sorting games.
We loved the train, and found it all pretty fascinating. It was probably our favourite part of the museum. But be warned, the train compartment is tiny and pretty squashed. Probably not great if you’re claustrophobic!
The Mail Rail is located in a separate building to the main museum, and you’re given a time slot on your ticket (however, no-one checked our ticket).
Sorted! At The Postal Museum – Mail-Themed Soft Play
Sorted! Is the postal place space, in the same building as the Mail Rail. It’s a postal-themed soft play area of the museum, set up as a mini soft-play town children can deliver post around. Sorted! is for ages 8 and under, and you’ll need a separate ticket (you can visit Sorted without buying a ticket to the main museum).
Mine are sadly too big and far too tall for this bit, but it looked fun. On the day we visited there was a big queue, but if you go out of school holidays I suspect it will be less busy.
Where Is The Postal Museum?
The Postal Museum is at 15-20 Phoenix Place, London, WC1X 0DA.
The Mail Rail and Sorted! the soft play area, are both in a separate building to the main museum.
What’s The Nearest Tube To The Postal Museum?
The nearest tubes to the Postal Museum are Farringdon and Russell Square. We walked from King’s Cross, which took around 20 minutes.
How Much Are Tickets To The Postal Museum?
Postal Museum tickets cost £17 for adults and £12 for children aged 3-15. It is on the expensive side compared to the bigger, free museums. However, you save £1 (!) on each tickets by booking online in advance.
Tickets to the main museum include a ride on the Mail Rail and unlimited visits to the museum for a year.
You need to buy a separate ticket for the Sorted! soft play area, which is £5 (adults don’t need a ticket).
What Are The Postal Museum Opening Times?
The Postal Museum opening times are Wednesday to Sunday 10:00 – 17:00.
Is There A Café?
Yes, there is a café at the postal museum. There’s also an small indoor and outdoor seating area. And there’s a gift shop in both buildings.
Do You Need To Book Tickets To The Postal Museum In Advance?
The website advises that you book in advance, and you do save £1 from each ticket. However, I’m pretty sure you can just turn up and you’ll be OK.
How Much Time Do You Need At The Postal Museum?
If you’re heading to the Sorted! soft play, then you’ll be given a 45 minute play slot. The Mail Rail takes about 30 minutes in total if you hang out after. The main museum kept mine occupied for a while (however, it’s quite small, so if you zip through museums you can probably do it quicker),