The Montcalm Blog

Vivienne Westwood: Cut from the Past

“The 18thcentury is the high point of art and culture” – British fashion designer legend Vivienne Westwood has long drawn inspiration from 18th century design and aesthetics. In the 1990s a series of designs that combined traditional cloth cutting techniques … Continue reading

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Spend Your Weekend with the Animals

Most of us city dwellers aren’t able to keep a pet around and it can be very depressing not having a happy dog or cat to come home to. The dogs you do get to see going for walks around … Continue reading

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Fun in the Sun this London Summer

Sun in London can seem like a rare thing when you are buried in the grey heart of winter. When Spring and Summer roll around and the light finally breaks through it is a truly beautiful thing. Where before there … Continue reading

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Your guide to the London Transport Museum

When it comes to defining features of London there is one common theme that runs deep – transport.

New York has its yellow taxis, Venice has its gondolas and London has its black cabs and red buses. For years, people from all over the world have come to the English capital to jump on one of these famous modes of transport. This is not forgetting the Tube network which has been the backbone of the city since 1863.

Many Londoners may take these aspects for granted but for tourists it can be worth a picture for the collection. The famous London bus has undergone a huge transformation over the years but the latest version of the Routemaster includes a rear entrance complete with pole to give it that authentic feel.

Like the London taxi, they have become famous in their own right with visitors knowing that their British driver will be able to have the entire map of London memorised. It is small aspects such as this that makes London one of the most popular destinations on the planet and why millions flock there every year.

Since 1980, the London Transport Museum has been celebrating the various vehicles that patrol the capital's streets on a daily basis. The museum aims to converse and explain the transport heritage of the city and is a huge favourite with tourists and locals alike. So if you're in London, the museum is an absolute must.

So what is there to know about the London Transport Museum? Here is our in-depth guide to this popular attraction.

About the museum

Opening its doors in 1980, the London Transport Museum charts the history of public transport and other vehicles that have populated the capital in the past 200 years. It highlights the key link between transport and the growth of modern London culture and society since 1800. Everything from the humble black cab to the numerous trains that serviced the likes of King's Cross and Waterloo are on show here.

It is not just a case of taking a walk down memory lane, the museum also looks at developments in present-day transport. Whether this is the urban transformations that have been going on in recent years to the government-led projects such as HS2, HS3 and Crossrail, the latter of which is designed to improve travel across London.

The collection of vehicles currently displayed by the museum originates from the 1920s when the London General Omnibus Company decided it would preserve two Victorian horse buses and an early motorbus. The first Museum of British Transport opened its doors in the 1960s in an old bus garage in Clapham, south London.

As it grew in popularity by 1973, the museum was on the move once again when it relocated to the west London area of Syon Park where it was renamed as the London Transport Collection. In 1980, it moved once again, this time to the Victorian Flower Market building in Covent Garden and assumed the name London Transport Museum. It has been here ever since.

Over the years it has grown hugely popular with visitors coming from all over the world to marvel at some of the great vehicles that have been regularly used in London.

What to expect

The London Transport Museum has a huge range of famous vehicles that are mainstays of the attraction but there is also the added bonus of temporary exhibitions. Launching on April 19th is the 'Goodbye Piccadilly: From Home Front to Western Front' which explains how transport played a key role in war effort.

It tells the untold story of the role of London's Home Front during World War I. Whether it be drivers taking their buses to the Front to support British troops heading abroad to fight or how women were advanced in the transport workforce for the first time while war raged. Goodbye Piccadilly paints a picture of Britain at wartime.

There are a number of vehicles set to be on display from this era. For the first time the 'Ole' Bill', a 1911 B-type bus No. B43, will be shown at the museum thanks to a partnership with the Imperial War Museum. There will also be a host of wartime artefacts which document Britain's transport role when it came to fighting the war.

Over the next couple of months, there are a number of temporary art displays which all carry a transport theme, including a retro look at the displays which would once don the walls of train and bus stations in the capital.

Opening times and prices

Opening times at the museum differ throughout the week for the different exhibitions. For the museum galleries, between Monday and Thursday, Saturday and Sunday it opens its doors at 10:00 BST and closes at 18:00 BST with the last entry being at 17:15 BST . However, on Fridays it opens at the slightly later time of 11:00 BST but retains that closing time.

The museum shop is open Sunday to Tuesday (10:00 to 18:30), Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday (10:00 to 19:00) and Friday (11:00 to 19:00). For the Upper Deck cafe bar, this opens its doors on Sunday to Tuesday (10:00 to 18:30), Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday (10:00 to 19:00) and Fridays (11:00 to 19:00).

Individual tickets are priced at £16 for adults and £13.50 for concessions (senior citizens, students with a valid ID card and those in receipt of state benefit assistance). Each individual ticket allows you unlimited admission to the museum for a 12-month period from the date of purchase.

If you are travelling with ten or more people then you can purchase a group ticket which will reduce the price to £11.50 for adults and £10 for concessions. However, this ticket can only be used on the day of purchase.

You can also buy fast-track tickets which will help you beat the queues at this popular tourist attraction.

How to get to London Transport Museum

Situated in the heart of Covent Garden, the London Transport Museum is fairly accessible by the Tube, as you would expect. Hop on the Piccadilly line and get off at Covent Garden Underground station and the museum is only a short walk from here. Depending on which direction you are coming from you can also use Leicester Square, Holborn, Embankment or Charing Cross.

If travelling by bus use the RV1, 9, 11, 13, 15, 23 or 139 services and alight at Strand or Aldwych. These stops are just a stone's throw from the museum. If you're feeling a little more adventurous you can take the Thames Clipper boat route and get off at Embankment Pier which is just a ten-minute walk from the museum.

You can of course drive to the museum but it is advisable to just use the multiple transport links in the city. However, if you need to drive there are a limited number of parking spaces available near the museum and charge £4.40 an hour with a maximum stay of around four hours.

Grab a memento of the day

You can't leave the London Transport Museum without grabbing yourself a souvenir of the day. The museum has you covered with a variety of gifts and mementos of your visit to this piece of London history.

Situated in what was once the entrance to Covent Garden's Victorian flower market, the stylish gift shop has a range of designer gifts, books, toys, limited edition models, furniture and exclusive moquette accessories. Among the most popular items are iconic posters which chart the history of transport design.

The museum boasts an incredible array of posters with one of the largest archives in the world. Over 5,000 posters and 700 original poster artworks are housed in this Covent Garden attraction featuring shots taken from when the London Underground was first in operation. There are also some done by world famous artists and designers

Purchasing one of these prints could be a real treasure to frame and place on the wall back home.

Things to do around the London Transport Museum

Since its move to Covent Garden, the London Transport Museum has become an all-day event with an abundance of things to do around it. Covent Garden boasts some of the best restaurants and bars London has to offer and all within a short walk of the museum itself. Base yourself at the Underground station and there is so much to see and do.

Fancy taking in a show after a day at the museum? Well, the London Royal Opera House is only a stone's throw away and listings can be found on its website. How about unwinding with a spot of retail therapy? Well, you're in luck as Covent Garden has a multitude of high street and designer outlets to suit all your shopping needs.

Whether you want a sit-down meal or something to snack on while on the go, then you can not go wrong in the huge amount of restaurants that populate Covent Garden. You can also stay up long into the night at one of the many late licence bars catering to all your needs.

At the end of the night you can jump on the Tube to wherever you are staying as Covent Garden's Underground station provides key links to the rest of the capital. You can then relax at any one of the London boutique hotels you have booked for yourself.

If you are thinking of activities to do in London make sure the London Transport Museum is at the very top of the list, it is an attraction simply not to be missed.

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London Fine Dining

Food tourism is one of the most satisfying kinds of tourism for many reasons. Discovering the many varied tastes of London and all the different cultures represented is satisfying for both the soul and, of course, the stomach. It’s easy … Continue reading

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How to stay healthy on your travels

When constantly travelling around, one of the hardest things to do is keeping on top of your eating habits.

As soon as the plane touches the tarmac and you venture into a new city, the first thing you want to do is taste the local cuisine. Whether this is a hearty bratwurst, a portion of British fish and chips or some tapas, getting acclimatised and immersed in your destination's culture is a main priority.

There is then the sightseeing. Being constantly on your feet throughout the day you will no doubt be working up an appetite. You can get into a habit of grabbing a bit of fast food to get you through the day and then opting for a heavy meal when it comes to nighttime. However, you can go travelling across the world and still remain healthy.

It is all about planning and a few simple steps can ensure that you are getting all your daily vitamins and minerals despite being thousands of miles from your home. It is also pretty simple and could even save you a bit of money along the way. Fear not, however, there is always time to have that evening meal as a treat, you are on your holidays, after all.

When it comes to your stay in one of the many luxury suites in London, it can be tempting to keep ordering room service, but there is a better way to enjoy your break in a healthier manner. Here are our tips to staying trim while on your break.

Keep hydrated

Whether you are about to step on a long-haul flight or embarking on a whistle-stop tour of a major city, water is an absolute vital component. If you are heading to London, unless it is the height of summer, it is unlikely to be scorching hot, but this does not mean you should neglect your hydration.

Pick up a bottle of water from a local shop, even two-litre bottles can be purchased for virtually pennies, and take it with you on your travels. This will mean that you not only have hydration on hand, but it also means you don't feel the need to sit down at a cafe or bar for a quick drink.

Shop local

When you arrive in a new city have a look around to find the nearest supermarket or grocery store. Even if you are only staying for a couple of days, you can stock up on some healthy treats and keep them in your hotel room. Many hotels will have fridges already set up in the room to house the mini bar so simply keep your food in here, be careful though as some mini bars can charge if something is moved.

Sometimes it can be difficult in getting a healthy meal when you are rushing around a major city so if you have a few goodies in your room it will make all the difference. Fill the fridge with fruit, hummus, yoghurts and turkey to ensure you have a little snack before heading out for your day of adventure.

Snack on the go

Since you have stocked your fridge up with goodies for your trip, you have no excuse to get snacking on the go. Having a tub of carrot sticks or celery along with various fruits and nuts will help you to avoid the temptation of nipping into a fast food joint for a burger or bag of chips. This will also be kind on your wallet as well.

A real benefit of this is that you will have only lightly snacked during the day so when it comes to the evening you are ready to enjoy a proper meal at one of the many restaurants available to you. Alongside the fruit, vegetables and nuts you can also stick some granola or protein bars in your backpack as a little sweet treat along the way.

Plan your meals

At the end of a long day either travelling or trying to cram in as many sights you can, you will no doubt be craving a filling meal. Since if you have been snacking on healthy treats, you will be ready to have a wholesome meal but at the same time you want to keep up that healthy vibe. This is why it is important to plan.

Before starting each day look at what restaurants you can visit on the evening. Look up the menu and decide there and then what you will want to eat. This is beneficial in two ways. Firstly it makes you look forward to said dinner but also means you will not be tempted to a less healthier option when it comes to sitting down.

Also, you won't be surprised by the list of options that comes when you look up the menu at the restaurant. A healthy evening meal will also keep you energised for the next day.

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The Wedding Fair 2015

Brides, grooms, and hopefuls rejoice;the Wedding Fair is almost upon us. Whether you’re planning for the big day, or are just love an opportunity to check out some options for the future, the Wedding Fair is the place for you. … Continue reading

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Shopping for the kids in London

Travelling with the kids can be both fun and challenging.

Voyaging over vast distances can really take it out of them, never mind yourself. Keeping them entertained is another thing entirely, you need to carefully pick activities that will be both stimulating and interesting for your little one's. London is a perfect destination for this and has a host of family-friendly attractions for you to visit.

Take a ride of the London Eye to get a great view over the city, while also giving them the excitement of going on a Ferris wheel, or head to London Zoo in Regent's Park, a guaranteed great day out. Maybe after a long day of walking around the street of the English capital, the kids deserve a little treat?

London has a wide range of children's clothes shops to suit all kinds of budgets. As they get a little bit tired, maybe a gift will perk them up so you can pick a new outfit from one of the various outlets across the city. So where should you head if you are looking for some children's fashion boutiques?

Here are our suggestions of the best retailers the London has to offer.

Igloo – St John's Wood High Street, Islington

Set in the north London area of Islington, Igloo is a quaint little boutique full of clothes, toys and accessories for your little ones. The shop specialises in inventive educational ideas such as ant and worm farms and even telescopes, although this might not be so practical if you are on a short break in the capital.

If you want your child to look their best then Igloo has you covered with a host of top designer names in the world of kids fashion. For girls you can pick from garments made by the likes of Paul Smith, Elizabeth Hurley or UGG while for the boys there is Barts, Finger In The Nose and Ver de Terre.

Igloo has other locations in Wimbledon and Chelsea.

Harrods – Brompton Road, Knightsbridge

Arguably the most famous department store in the world, Harrods has an extensive childrenswear range. This iconic shop, founded by Charles Henry Harrod in 1849, is a London institution and what better way to treat the kids by taking them this sprawling retail space and purchasing a garment or two?

From baby clothing to shirt and t-shirts for teens, here you will find all the very best names in fashion. Brands such as Armani, Burberry and Dolce & Gabbana all have their products stocked within the famous walls of Harrods. The best thing about this store when with children is that the huge toy section will keep them entertained.

The best thing about Harrods is that you can spend the entire day there simply wandering around and admiring the decor and sheer decadence of it all. If you are really feeling flush, combine the visit with a spot of dinner in the department store's many restaurants.

Oh Baby London – Brick Lane, Tower Hamlets

The east end should already be high up on the list of places to visit when you come to London. It gives you a feel of real life in the city and has a certain level of gritty charm often not seen in the majority of tourist attractions. If you are travelling with a newborn, you can commemorate your visit with a gift.

Oh Baby London is the perfect outlet if you wanting a present for your latest arrival. The company has a range of babygros with various witty slogans and is something a bit different than the traditional clothing offered by many High Street stores. Those on a budget can pick up a bib, towel and toy gift set for just £30.

Whatever gift you purchase will always be something to look back on reminisce about your time in London in years to come.

Trotters – various locations across London

Trotters is a well-known children's store across London. With stores in Kensington, Clapham, Turnham Green, Guildford and at the Westfield centre there are plenty of places to get your child a nice gift from. Catering for girls, boys and babies there is something for whatever you are looking for.

Unlike the more expensive end of the childrenswear spectrum, with the likes of Harrods catering in the designer brand names, Trotters is much more affordable and you can pick up a few items without breaking the bank. It has everything from formal shirts to casual t-shirts and skirts while also having a ballet section.

If you are looking for something more than just clothing then Trotters has you covered with various toys, books and other gifts. You can also kit you children out for going back to school, although this could put a bit of a dampener on the holiday vibe!

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A Crime Tour of London

Like all great and ancient cities London has a storied and fascinating history of crime. Criminals and the men who strive to stop them are writ large across the cultural identity of London. Even today the odd helmets of our … Continue reading

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Fun for the Family near Marble Arch

Travelling with your kids is extremely rewarding. The wonder and joy on their faces as you introduce them to all new sights and sounds is entirely worth the more exhaustingaspects of travel. Making your trip memorable and relaxing requires a … Continue reading

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Wash Away the Winter Stress

Spring has finally begun and winter is starting to release London from her tight grip. The grey days are fitfully dying out, the rain is lessened, and the daylight hours are lengthening. If you’re anything like me the winter months … Continue reading

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The Ultimate London Shopping Experience

We all know what the real reason to come to London is. Not the ancient architecture, not the historical landmarks, not the many museums and art galleries. No, the main reason to come to London is for the shopping. London … Continue reading

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