My love-hate relationship with London underground started many years ago. Back in 2004, I was commuting from Sloane Square to Liverpool street. As glam as Sloane Avenue and Kings road are, as little bearable was Circle line back then. Mostly late, always crowded, very often stopping in between stations. Thereafter, I had the joy of many years on Central line from Oxford Circus & Bond Street to the City. And the latest icing on the cake, Central and/or Circle line followed by Jubilee line to Canary Wharf peak hours and me pregnant.
So after 12 years of developing such relationship with the underground, I am glad every time I find rehabilitating factors. On this occasion, London Transport Museum, Covent Garden.
The displays include the first steam-powered underground engine, a wooden Metropolitan Railway coach converted to electricity in 1901 and plenty of charming old posters, including Frank Pick’s – the man behind the London Underground brand. On the first floor, one could also board several exhibits. Ladies only carriages or one could stare at histories of lobby and smoking cigars in the polluted and smoky stations and carriages. So after all my contemporary life on Central, Circle and Jubilee squeezed in for hours not so bad???
If infrastructure wise TfL could use massive improvements, at least design wise, doing great. Transported by design has been looking for iconic transport designs and no wonder the black cab, Frank Pick’s famous bar and circle tube logo and Harry Beck’s original Tube map are in top 3, all intrinsically part of London’s visual identity.
Our toddler in absolute delight on all 3 floors of the Transport Museum, running around with much enthusiasm and joy. A fleet of mini vehicles to climb into and play, lost property office and musical instruments, DLR interactive wall and building blocks, driving a red bus and even a black cab, repairing a little tube train and experiencing a Northern Line simulator through tunnels and up to platforms. It is quite a challenge to get him out. Luckily, that’s Covent Garden and there’s no shortage of entertainment.
A delightful lunch at Sticks & Sushi next door, our latest preferred child friendly sushi place. And whilst our toddler gets to practice picking edamame beans with the sticks, we enjoy Ebi bites (tempura shrimps with miso aioli), hotate kataifi (scallops in kataif with trout roe), sashimi (that I’m not supposed to have!) and more crispy ebi rolls. And yes our son may have the kids pretty box, but he is voraciously consuming our stuff! The staff is delightful, the place is packed with little people and fashionable grown-ups alike, there are colouring pens and various other funny distractions – who needs an ipad in here ???
Again with difficulty we leave Sticks and Sushi and hang around staring at various gigs. R finds particularly entertaining one guy who manages to get coins out of my hat and coat so he doesn’t hesitate going in front of the crowd to get a bunny, shake his hand and so on.
London is finally blooming and sunny, all happy and amused, not a bad time to be stuck in here very pregnant afterall ! 🙂
Disclosure: Many thanks to the Transport Museum for the press passes. It balanced the parking fine I got as my maths seem to be irremediably contaminated by my pregnant brain. Views, photos & 38 weeks pregnancy hormones above are my own.