Going on the tube is probably the least inspiring part of your day, but there’s something about an abandoned underground station that’s seriously intriguing.
Filled with faded movie posters, mysterious passageways and vintage signs, these tunnels and ticket halls have lain undisturbed and closed off to the public for decades.
And now the London Transport Museum has restored good service to these lines with their Hidden London tours; pulling back the gates on these stations and leading a lucky few down into the subterranean warrens that once bustled with commuters.
Tickets are on sale for tours of several Underground stations, which are:
- Clapham South, where a mile of bricked-off tunnels once housed Londoners sheltering from air raids, whose memories you can hear first-hand in exclusive film clips;
- Shepherd’s Bush – barely recognisable now from its original incarnation in 1900, but behind the scenes there are old tunnels and lift shafts that haven’t changed in 120 years;
- Euston, home to even more tunnels than you might realise, and whose Edwardian ticket hall (closed off for over a century) is about to be knocked down;
- Moorgate, which has a maze of secret tunnels tucked away from public view and a huge tunnelling shield kept in place from its time burrowing below ground;
- Down Street, a forgotten station that was only in use for 25 years, but sheltered Winston Churchill at the height of the Blitz; and
- Baker Street, one of the very oldest parts of the world’s oldest underground;
- Charing Cross, which ran on the Jubilee Line until 1999 and whose disused platforms have since provided the set for Skyfall and Killing Eve;
- Piccadilly Circus, where you can slip behind closed doors to explore abandoned passageways, lift shafts and bomb shelters; and
- Aldwych, which, after dwindling passenger numbers, officially closed in 1994 and is filled with stories spanning WWII to Sherlock.
Each tour is led by a guide well-versed in the tunnels’ mysteries, from unexpected anecdotes to architectural quirks, and every station is filled with hints of history, with scraps of old advertising, art deco tiling and bomb shelter signs adorning their walls.
Tickets for Hidden London tours sell out very quickly after they’re released, so it’s worth choosing your station (and even creating an account) in advance.
After all, you don’t want to miss the bus on this one.
NOTE: You can find out more about the Hidden London tours, and book tickets, right HERE.
Like exploring hidden London? Then you’ll want to tackle these unusual things to do in London