In an industrial patch of Central London no tourist usually wanders into, you can now find two new, well-done attractions in one, and both are perfect for kids. The first holds exhibits about the social history of mail delivery in the country, from origins (Henry VIII was once the only guy allowed to get mail) to antique vehicles to old “pillar” post boxes to Arnold Machin’s sculptures of the young Queen Elizabeth II photographed to make stamps. There are lots of things for kids to press and bang, including a pneumatic tube that sends messages whizzing in an overhead tube across the hall, and there’s a mail-themed play space, which costs a little extra. But the most memorable aspect of a visit will be a 20-min. loop on the Mail Rail, a little-seen 22-mile underground line that from 1927 to 2003 was used to deliver millions of letters a year. A short portion (with recorded narration and a plastic dome over the carriages, which are as tiny as the train in the kiddie section of a carnival, so please refrain from being tall) now carries curious tourists on a 1-mile looping journey 70 feet below the streets. (Claustrophobes can see what riders do by getting an Exhibitions Only ticket and watching what they missed on screens near the boarding platform.)
Postal Museum & Mail Rail
15–20 Phoenix Place, WC1
Our Rating Hours Daily 10am–5pm Transportation Tube: Farringdon or Chancery Lane Phone 0300/0300-700 Prices Full admission £15.50 adults, £14 seniors and students, £9.50 kids age 1–15; exhibition only £10 adult, £8 seniors and students, free kids age 1–15; higher posted prices include a “voluntary donation.” Web site Postal Museum & Mail Rail
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.