Open Weekend at London Transport Museum’s Depot, Acton – 21 and 22 April

For one weekend this April, London Transport Museum’s Depot in Acton, west London, will throw open its doors, giving visitors a rare opportunity to explore a treasure-trove of over 320,000 artefacts from London’s transport history.

Celebrating London’s unique transport design heritage and its internationally recognised branding, Capital Design will showcase a fascinating and fun design-themed programme of talks, tours, interactive displays, and family activities.


From guided tours of the Museum’s stunning poster collection and quirky object handling, to a talk from writer, broadcaster and cartography expert Mark Ovenden on 150 years of London Underground Design; transport enthusiasts, families, design fans, and people interested in London’s history can enjoy a bustling weekend discovering the great design elements that make the Capital’s transport network iconic.


Highlights include a talk from historian Oliver Green on the legacy of Frank Pick – the man responsible for commissioning some of the most recognisable icons of London Underground’s identity, a postcard design workshop inspired by the famous London Underground logo, nostalgic heritage bus rides through the Depot’s scenic surrounding area and interactive displays and activities for all ages, such as a signalling demonstration area, where visitors can watch the operation of the vintage frames.


Visitors can also browse for transport inspired gifts at the Museum’s pop-up shop and enjoy street-food and drinks from vintage vehicles.


At Capital Design Open Weekend visitors can:


  • Discover 90 years of world class design with London Transport Museum research fellow Oliver Green in his talk, ‘Pick, Posters and Piccadilly,’ on Frank Pick and his design vision for the Underground
  • Travel back in time with broadcaster Mark Ovenden as he talks 150 years of design on London Underground, charting the evolution of architecture, map design, textiles, posters, signage and graphic design, and examining their significance in shaping the character of London
  • Create their own Capital Design postcard, taking inspiration from the many representations of the iconic roundel to customise a personal final piece to take home or send to friends or family
  • Sit back and watch a screening of the BBC’s ‘Two Types: The Faces of Britain’, to learn about Britain’s most famous typefaces – Johnston Sans (the font created by Edward Johnston for The Underground Group in 1916) and Gill Sans
  • Take a special highlights tour of the Museum’s Poster Store with knowledgeable guides, and discover some of the hidden gems in one of the world’s finest and most comprehensive collections of transport posters, rarely seen by the public
  • Step in to the shoes of a Train Operator in a Victoria Line driving cab and learn how the trains on the world’s first automatic railway worked
  • Watch demonstrations of original Underground signalling equipment
  • Visit the pop-up food village for teas, coffee and a bar, as well as delicious hot and cold food, all served from a variety of vintage vehicles brought to you by StreetDots
  • Shop for unique transport related products and gifts in our Depot shop
  • Hop on a vintage bus to take a scenic tour of Acton and the surrounding area


With lots of activities for families, visitors can also:

  • Get crafty in a tile-tastic make and take activity where children can design and decorate their own tile inspired by the multi coloured designs in London underground stations
  • Join a bitesize family tour called My Favourite Vehicle and listen to highlights about the Depot’s collection
  • Try out the Gibson Ticket machine and learn how it dispensed tickets used on all London Transport buses between 1953 and 1993
  • Take part in interactive workshop Send the Right Signals, and learn how to build a track and sequence of signals
  • Explore the underneath of a vintage bus on a guided bus pit tour


Visit for the full programme of activities.


Rarely open to the public, the Museum Depot is a treasure trove of the capital’s transport history, housing a range of objects including posters, vehicles, maps, signs and models.  Other activities include:


  • Viewing the largest collection of London transport signage in the world, which includes samples spanning over 150 years, with examples of different font prototypes, layouts and design styles on display
  • Meeting the costumed character Edward Johnston who will be recounting the story behind his creation of the iconic Johnston Font
  • Discovering vintage vehicles out the back, such as a Routemaster RM 2208 painted in the green, red & gold livery to commemorate the 150th anniversary of London’s buses in 1979 (Saturday 21 April only)
  • Visiting the original 1930s District Line Q stock train cars and checking out the progress being made on this current restoration project
  • Seeing the beautiful yellow Garden seat horse bus built c1881 and the fully operational red and cream 1920s K type motor bus


From 2018, the Museum’s Depot Open Weekends will take place three times a year, in spring, summer and autumn. To buy advance tickets for the Open Weekends Capital Design, Family Fun and Moving London go to:


Tickets cost £12 for adults and £10 for concessions and are valid for one day only. Open from 11:00-17:00.  Last admission 16:00. Children and young people aged 17 and under go free (under 16s must be accompanied by an adult).


Upcoming Depot Open Weekends:


Acton Depot Open Weekend: Family Fun

Saturday and Sunday 7-8 July 2018
Join the Museum for the launch of the first ever Open Weekend dedicated to young visitors and their families. Meet costumed characters from the past, listen to stories from the underground and join special family activities. Discover, learn and do and have fun surrounded by a marvellous collection of vintage vehicles, quirky objects and fascinating interactivities.


Acton Depot Open Weekend: Moving London

Saturday and Sunday 22-23 September 2018

In celebration of the Year of Engineering 2018, London Transport Museum will be highlighting some of the innovations, engineering marvels and people behind the story of transport in London; past, present and future. Hear how the capital and transport network have evolved together, from forgotten routes to pioneering new opportunities. See how vehicles have changed and adapted over time, and what is in store for the future.