Postal Museum review
In a nutshell
There are loads of fun, interactive things to at this post-themed London museum, including exhibitions and a popular play area. Brilliantly family-friendly throughout, although it’s not a cheap outing
What we tested
- Fun for kids
5.0A star rating of 5.0 out of 5.
- Fun for parents
4.0A star rating of 4.0 out of 5.
- Worth the money
3.5A star rating of 3.5 out of 5.
5.0A star rating of 5.0 out of 5.
- Family friendliness
5.0A star rating of 5.0 out of 5.
- Great fun for children, especially the Postal Play Space, baby and child friendly throughout, educational, pushchair friendly
- A little on the pricey side, unavoidable gift shop at both entrances
COVID-19 safety update
Some facilities and attractions may be closed or restricted this year, due to COVID-19 – and there may be extra safety rules, pre-booking requirements or one-way systems in place. Please check the Postal Museum's website before travelling or booking.
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When we visited:
We visited on a swelteringly hot Monday afternoon in July, during the school holidays. The museum wasn’t very busy that day, (possibly as most people had gone to the park or beach)
What’s The Postal Museum like since Covid-19?
- Hand sanitisers are available before visitors enter the museum and throughout
- It is expected that visitors wear a face covering
- Visitors are asked to stay 1-2 metres apart from those not in their household
- It is now contactless payments only and visitors are recommended to book in advance
- There is extra cleaning in place, to make the museum as safe as possible
- Staff will be wearing face coverings
What age is The Postal Museum best for:
Best for: Children age 4-8 years
Still good fun for: Children aged 9-14 years
How much does it cost?
- Adult 25+: £16, on the day £17
- young person (16-24): £11, on the day £12
- Children (3-15): £9, on the day £10
Are there discounts or cheap tickets available for The Postal Museum?
Check the museum’s website for special offers, like the Summer Family Ticket – 4 people (max 2 adults) for £44.
Any extra charges once I’m there?
If you’re going with younger children you definitely wouldn’t want to miss out on ‘Sorted’, so for a family of 2 adults and 2 children you’re looking at around £58.
That’s before you’ve succumbed to the kids’ pestering you for something in the gift shop. Here, as seems to be increasingly the norm with attractions these days, they are cunningly situated at the entrance to both parts of the museum, thereby forcing you to walk through them.
However, I should add that the gift shops are actually great and full of things both you and your kids are bound to want – from lovely books and toys for all ages, to great gifts for anyone who happens to like anything rail or postal related.
So with buying drinks, coffees, ice creams etc in the café, this is not a cheap outing and definitely being more of a special occasion/treat type outing.
Alternatively, you can buy a separate ticket to the ‘Sorted – Postal Play Space’ for £5 but sessions are only 45 minutes’ long.
How long will we spend at The Postal Museum?
The kids on our visit could easily have spent hours in the Sorted Postal Play Area but that’s restricted to 45 minutes. They’d also have spent longer in the rest of the museum (we just spent an afternoon there) so if you include lunch, either in the café or by bringing your own, you could happily stretch this to a full day out.
What does The Postal Museum offer for families?
The Postal Museum is split into two different sections – Mail Rail and the main building, with two different entrances, more or less opposite each other.
Our kids loved it and I think they were actually pleasantly surprised as the website didn’t quite do it justice.
What shouldn’t be missed?
Highlights for us were:
- The Mail Rail building, where you take a short 15-minute train ride on a recreation of one of the old trains used to transport mail around the huge Mount Pleasant Sorting office
- It’s very well done with a voice-over narrator telling you the history of the postal service and how it worked as the train takes you through the tunnels
- There are also quite impressive projections of images and films on the tunnel walls, taking you on a colourful journey in time from the early part of the 20th century to the present day including London during the WWII Blitz and seeing postmen in different eras
- There’s an exhibition area once you come off the Mail Rail – my daughter and her cousin especially loved the interactive parts
- In particular, a small train compartment with a moving floor (to recreate the sensation of being on a moving train) where children can sort the mail i.e. matching soft squidgy letters with colour-coded place names to the pigeon holes they need to be ‘sorted’ into. If they place the toy letters into the correct pigeonholes eg matching ‘Darlington’ with the corresponding pigeonhole, the slot lights up in green. Genius!
- Towards the end there are interactive screens and also a space where you write your own postcard telling your happiest postal memories e.g. receiving a Christmas card or present through the post
- The model train line, where you could control the movement of the trains by steering a wheel (conveniently placed at low, child-appropriate height)
- There are other exhibits showing the history of the mail rail as well as lots of space to run around in, which the kids seem to enjoy at one point almost as much as the exhibits
- The kids also loved the ‘pneumatic’ postal system whereby you write your own note, roll it up and post it up a tube, then run across to the other end of the exhibition hall and see it come out of the tube at the other end
- This building also has the ‘Sorted – Postal Play Area’ – you need a separate ticket for the 45 minute sessions and this was definitely the highlight for my daughter and her cousin
- There was dressing up so they could put on Postman’s hats, capes or high visibility jackets, as well as a row of toy (low level) houses whose doors could be opened, some of which had barking dogs
- They could pick up soft, squashy parcels or letters and then put them in small wheelbarrows before delivering them
- They loved the separate area where they could put the post in a bag which needed to be hoisted up to a mezzanine via a pulley and they could then come down on a slide
- ‘Sorted’ also has a soft play corner for babies and toddlers with soft bricks and a ‘quiet corner’ with books
Is the Sorted Postal Play Space worth playing extra for?
Definitely. The only complaint about this was that the 45 minutes flew by too quickly and both kids were very sorry to have to leave.
We went on the Mail Rail and visited the ‘Sorted’ area first, so initially the children were a bit upset to have to leave the Postal Play Area.
However both of them were soon very excited by the dressing up box (for kids and adults). (Grown-ups can also dress up as smart 19th century postmen, complete with scarlet frock coat and top hat).
Is it a good rainy day option?
Yes. This would be a great place for a rainy or grey day as there’s lots to keep kids occupied for quite some time.
It was actually very hot when on the day visited, and it turned out to be a great place to get out of the blistering heat during London’s unusually hot summer.
What you need to know before you go to The Postal Museum:
- The website was ok as a taster, although the main photo of the Mail Rail looks quite dark and a little on the foreboding side for younger children
- My daughter was much more enthusiastic when I showed her the photos on the website of children dressing up as postmen and playing in the Postal Play Area
Did it cater well for different aged children?
The Sorted Postal Play Area is designed for children under 8 and is fantastic for most ages within that range. There’s a baby/toddler corner with soft blocks and books, as well as plenty of role play stuff to keep older children happy for much longer.
Overs 8s will enjoy the Mail Rail, as well as the wide range of interactive exhibits and costumes so this could definitely work for large family groups of different ages.
Early teens will enjoy the interactive parts of the exhibitions and Mail Rail.
Some toddlers may find the Mail Rail frightening as it’s quite dark while you go along the tunnels but they’d definitely love the ‘Sorted – Postal Play Space’.
There are several rooms with interesting displays showing postal systems over the years. Our children (4 and 5) were too young to really take this in though, and their other favourite part was towards the end of the main exhibition where you could ‘make your own postage stamp’. This was brilliant for small kids. They sit on stools and look at a screen which takes their photograph – you then see the image of yourself on a touch screen and choose whether you want a crown (as per the Queen Elizabeth II stamps) or earrings etc. You can then email yourself your stamp design.
MFM tip: Smaller children may find the stools are too low to sit on their own, so in order for it to work they’ll have to sit on an adult’s lap
Was it pushchair friendly?
There are ramps for buggies throughout and a special area to leave buggies during the Mail Rail (there are also lockers for larger bags you may happen to have with you).
What are the food and drink facilities like at The Postal Museum?
There’s a café at the main building with a nice outdoor terrace with a living garden. The indoor seating area is light, airy and pleasant whilst the outdoor patio has a very pretty, nicely designed living wall with old red postboxes inserted in between the greenery.
However, the indoor seating area is in the same hall as the main gift shop, so your little ones have no choice but to look across to more toys etc that they’re likely to want.
The food on offer isn’t bad. There’s a children’s menu at £5.25 for which you get a main course – e.g. ‘train pasta’, BBQ chicken drumsticks with coleslaw, served with a carrot and crudité pot, a piece of fresh fruit and a free babyccino. There are also children’s lunch boxes from the fridge.
For adults there are salads (chicken Caesar salad was £7.95) or grilled sandwiches (also £7.95) or soup of the day with flatbread and butter (£5.50). It’s all quite healthy and there are veggie options too.
What about ice creams?
Ice creams from the ‘postal’ van on the terrace are £2.50, which is average for prime locations or attractions but these were also good quality.
Can you take a picnic?
Yes - you can even use the café’s seating areas both indoors and outdoors for your own food.
What are the toilets like?
The toilets here were great. There weren’t loads of them but they were all very clean with baby-changing facilities, low level wash basins and soap dispensers and even stools for younger children to stand on to help them reach. They’re also conveniently situated next to the entrances so if you’re just using the café or have just arrived/are about to leave, you can get to them easily.
How well does it cater for disabled visitors?
- There are ramps for wheelchairs throughout
- For wheelchair users and anyone who can’t go on the Mail Rail, there’s a small cinema screening area where they show a film (everyone gets headphones) showing what you’ve seen on the train journey
- For more information visit The Postal Museum’s accessibility page
Opening dates and times:
The Postal Museum is open daily from 10am – 5pm apart from 24-26 December
How to get to The Postal Museum:
The Postal Museum is in central London’s Mount Pleasant
- Mount Pleasant is not that near to any particular tube station, but it’s a 5-minute bus ride from King’s Cross (tube and overground) and a 10-minute walk from Farringdon Station
- The 19 and 38 buses which go through the West End and The Angel also stop less than 5 minutes’ walk away
- There’s no carpark, but you can find local parking for a price
Worth a long car journey?
Probably not, unless your kids happen to be mad about trains, playing postmen or both. If you’re London-based however, or happen to be in the city for a few days and are looking for fun stuff to do, this is a great option.
Which hotels or holiday accommodation are near The Postal Museum?
The London location means there are plenty of accommodation options nearby, including:
- The Thistle Barbican Shoreditch Hotel has family rooms and a leisure centre with an indoor pool, 20 minutes away on foot
- For a home-away-from-home feel, look for deals on HomeAway.co.uk and Sykes Cottages
- Find family-friendly hotel deals near The Postal Museum on Booking.com
Nearby attractions for a longer day out:
London is crammed with family activities (take a look at our roundup of the best family days out in London), including free parks like Coram’s Fields (7 minutes on foot). The Charles Dickens Museum is a 5-minute walk away, while iconic establishments like The Science Museum, Natural History Museum and the British Museum are between 15-30 minutes on the tube. For a real slice of history, head to the Tower of London.
My daughter and her cousin really enjoyed this. Their favourite part was definitely the ‘Sorted’ play area but they also enjoyed the rest. There’s great stuff for older children too but the Mail Rail train ride could be a bit scary for toddlers. Overall however – I’d definitely recommend it.
See more reviews of The Postal Museum on TripAdvisor
Intro to me:
I visited with my 5 year old daughter Georgie, her 4-year-old cousin Alfie and his mum.