All Aboard is a new ‘play zone’ for kids aged 0 to 7, designed specifically for young transport fans. Two separate areas offer children the chance to explore, climb, push and role-play their way around classic London transport characters: a real bus, mini tube train, Thames ‘Nipper’, lost property office, and cleaning and maintenance cupboards full of props.
A compact, colourful, interactive space on the ground floor gives babies space to play with squishy buses and building blocks, or pull themselves up on tactile flowers and push hand-shaped buttons for light-up screens. Two separate mini staircases offer toddlers the chance to explore a second level: to ‘drive’ a bus with steering wheels and loud ‘dinging’ bells for each seat (great for those in the pre-sharing development stage!), plus the chance to ‘sail’ a Thames Clipper complete with a café offering very tasty looking cakes and snacks.
For older children, a separate space upstairs offers the opportunity to sit in the driver’s seat of a real bus (an Optare Solo, fact fans) and mess with the indicators, the blinds and the CCTV. Here, there’s even more emphasis on role-play: you can mend a broken-down mini tube train wearing a high-vis vest, help out in a lost property office, and even shake some maracas in a busking spot.
It’s all beautifully designed and nicely age appropriate. It caught our Little Londonista’s attention immediately; as well as spotting the different London animals hidden around the zone (“Fox, fox!”), he really enjoyed pressing different buttons and watching screens light up and change direction as he ‘steered’. Other children also seemed thrilled by the space, dressing up in the costumes and playing in the different areas: we’re not sure LTM staff had planned for the cleaners’ brooms to be used as pugil sticks, but the kids were having fun nevertheless.
The new space isn’t huge, and we can imagine it getting packed out at popular times of the year. If that’s the case, there’s always the rest of this engaging, family-friendly museum to explore. Or perhaps it’s just good practice for little ‘uns to get ready for their hugely congested future commutes.