Hidden London tours to return

Explore the secret world beneath London’s streets in the capable hands of the London Transport Museum at one of this autumn's Hidden London tours. Peter Gray reports.

The London Transport Museum have today announced that their in real life Hidden London tours are to return this autumn. The events offer Londoners a chance to explore a secret world beneath London’s streets in the capable hands of LTM’s expert guides.

The tours were suspended during the pandemic with the London Transport Museum launching a series of online Hidden London tours instead. However, following an 18-month break, the in person tours are back this October with Piccadilly Circus And Charing Cross stations first up for the Hidden London treatment.

On the Piccadilly Circus: The Heart of London tour, visitors will be able to experience hidden areas of the station that have been closed to the public since 1929, as well as uncover the history of this iconic Grade II listed building and the famous architects responsible for its creation. Located directly underneath the celebrated landmark, Piccadilly Circus station opened in 1906 but was extensively modernised between 1925 and 1928 to meet passenger demands. This station is an engineering marvel and boasts one of the finest examples of subterranean architecture on London Underground.

Guests will be led behind secret doors to eerie passageways and disused lift shafts as they listen to stories of wartime-sheltering and the top-secret storage of priceless museum artefacts.

In-person tour – Piccadilly Circus: The Heart of London

Selected dates between 20 October and 14 November inclusive. Tickets: Adult £41.50, Concessions £36.50.

On the Charing Cross: Access All Areas tour, visitors will go behind the scenes to exclusive disused areas off-limits to the public. Walk under Trafalgar Square and see London Underground in a different light. Closed to the public since 1999, the Jubilee line platforms at Charing Cross are now synonymous with movie and TV filming. This is a unique opportunity to get a glimpse of the sites where blockbuster movies such as Skyfall (2011/12), Paddington Bear (2013), Thor: The Dark World (2014) and TV’s 24 (2014) and Killing Eve (2019) were filmed.

In-person tour – Charing Cross: Access All Areas

Selected dates between 17 November and 19 December inclusive. Tickets: Adult £41.50; Concession £36.50.

However, if you are too wedded to your sofa right now to even contemplate leaving the house, the London Transport Museum are also offering a range of virtual Hidden London tours this winter. Running from October to December, these tours give visitors from anywhere in the world the opportunity to get up close to out-of-bounds areas on the network from the comfort of home.

Guests will be walked through a gallery of contemporary photos, videos, never-before-seen footage as well as archival images from London Transport Museum’s collection while their expert guide shares the history of these mysterious parts of London’s transport system. Access to many sites on the virtual tour roster is so restricted that in-person Hidden London tours will never be possible, making these virtual experiences particularly special.

  • Virtual tour – York Road

Selected dates between 19 October and 29 November inclusive. Tickets: Adult £20, Concession £17.50

An unusual Leslie Green designed station located on the Piccadilly line between King’s Cross St Pancras and Caledonian Road, York Road had a short working life between 1906 and 1932. Situated in a relatively poor area of London at the time, the station never had much custom and was eventually closed. The station building has been dormant ever since. This virtual tour explores unique surviving features such as a tiled lift lobby and signal cabin as well as modifications to the station with never-before seen footage.

  • Virtual tour – Brompton Road

Selected dates between 1 November and 14 December inclusive. Tickets: Adult £20, Concession £17.50

Located between Knightsbridge and South Kensington stations on the Piccadilly line, Brompton Road station was closed in 1934 after the Piccadilly line was extended. It was closed along with stations such as Down Street and York Road as they were only lightly used – with some services passing through without stopping. Zoom in for this special behind the scenes digital tour to learn about its time as a Second World War bunker and see what the disused station looks like today.

  • Virtual Tour – King William Street

Selected dates between 1 November and 14 December inclusive. Tickets: Adult £20, Concession £17.50

King William Street station has the honour of being the first disused deep-level Tube station. Closed in 1900, King William Street was the original but short-lived northern terminus of the City and South London Railway (CSLR), which was the first deep-level underground railway in the world. On this special behind-the-scenes virtual tour, see what the disused station looks like today and find out how it is being used during the Bank station extension project.

  • Virtual Tour – Holborn (Kingsway)

Selected dates between 26 October and 6 December inclusive. Tickets: Adult £20, Concession £17.50

In 1898 the London County Council (LCC) decided to completely redevelop the area in London we now know as Kingsway and Aldwych. This required new public transport to bring people to and from work and in response the LCC built a tram subway underneath Kingsway itself, to facilitate interchange between South and North London trams.  This tour explores how public transport unlocked parts of London previously inaccessible at the turn of the 20th Century and how these spaces adapted and changed when they were no longer required to serve their original purpose, often in very unusual ways.

  • Virtual tour – Euston

Selected dates between 19 October and 29 November inclusive. Tickets: Adult £20, Concession £17.50

In 1907 two separate Underground stations opened at Euston running the lines which would ultimately become the two branches of the Northern line. This virtual tour explores the remains of these two original structures that have been closed for over a century, taking you to places the public have not seen before. See the passageways, emergency stairs and lift shaft of the Hampstead tube as well as getting a last look inside the iconic Leslie Green station building before it is demolished. New and never-before-seen footage makes this the ultimate tour of Euston’s Underground.

  • Virtual tour – Aldwych

Selected dates between 26 October and 6 December inclusive. Tickets: Adult £20, Concession £17.50

Aldwych station is one of London’s little-known relics, holding myths and memories of times gone by. This exclusive virtual tour of one of the most popular Hidden London sites allows virtual visitors a glimpse of places that aren’t accessible in person such as the ladies toilets – with some fascinating original features that have long since disappeared in modern Underground station – and the upper ticket hall with its original ticket windows and telephone booths – some dating back to the station’s opening in 1907.

And for those of us who like to keep their exploring confined to above ground locations, LTM also have a range of upcoming walking tours.

  • Walking Tour – Secrets of Central London

Selected dates from 22 October to 19 December inclusive. Tickets: Adult £20, Concession £17.50

Discover the secrets of London on a walking tour of Covent Garden, Kingsway, Lincoln’s Inn Fields, and Victoria Embankment. Join our expert guides and tour off the beaten path, down hidden back streets and find hidden secrets you’ve never even noticed. Find out how the area has transformed over the last 200 years and see abandoned transport infrastructure and remarkable feats of engineering that have shaped London.

The London Transport Museum explores the history of London’s Transport network from the 18th century right up to the present day. Situated in bustling Covent Garden, the museum is a treasure trove of historic vehicles, world class exhibits and fascinating stories.  

The museum highlights the link between the growth of the city and the development of the transport network that served it. No other capital city is defined and shaped so much by its transport as London yet the scale of influence of transport can be invisible to those who use it every day.

The Museum’s collections, together with its lively events and learning programme provide a window into the past, present, and future of how transport keeps London moving, working, and growing, and makes life in our city better.

More information about the London Transport Museum’s Hidden London tours can be found here.

For information on other outdoor events in London, please click here.

-London's Best Events-
What: walking tours
When: From Oct 21
Where: various locations
Website: Hidden London