Monday, 12 June 2017

Exploring Euston's Lost Tunnels with Hidden London

 Last month, we were given the very last minute offer by a friend to take up his place on a Hidden London tour. He'd booked the tour many many months in advance and then forgotten all about it - until the day before when he was packing to go on holiday and suddenly remembered. Which worked out well for us, as it meant we ended up with his tickets!

 Hidden London is operated by the London Transport Museum, and offer tours of disused underground stations and areas. The most well known tour that they offer is the rather famous Aldwych, with Churchill's secret station of Down Street fast approaching in second place. Me and Chris both work in the transport industry and as such have both been quite interested on taking one of these tours as we already know quite a bit about some of the locations -helped along by a conveniently timed trip to the museum itself a couple of days before we knew we'd ended up with tickets!

The tour we went on was that of Euston's lost tunnels. It begins with a presentation about the history of Euston - most of this we knew already from our visit to the museum, but we did see some interesting pictures of how Euston used to look. Who knew that one of the most dull stations once had such beautiful entrances to it! The talk lasted quite a while, and then took us in to look at the current ventilation system of Euston. This was a bit confusing to everyone on the tour as by this point it had already taken a fair chunk of time and we hadn't really seen anything we actually wanted to!

 After a while, we were finally into the tunnels themselves. Unsurprisingly, this is where it all got more interesting! First of all, it's always nice to pull aside a door that you'd never quite noticed before on an in-use platform and then suddenly find yourself exploring areas that you had absolutely no idea were there.

  As you can probably tell from most of the pictures I've included here, what interested me most was all the old posters. I love looking at bits of history like this and the tunnels were absolutely layered with posters and advertisements, with lighting strategically placed around ones that we were most likely to be interested in.

We also enjoyed looking at an old ticket window, and looking upwards to see just how high the tunnels reached. We both enjoy walking around and exploring dark places, and it was interesting to see how the tunnels slot into the currently used ones.

 Overall though, the tour isn't something that either of us would do it again. I got a little bit bored during the first half, and Chris enjoyed it but stated that he didn't really think it was worth how much we paid.

  However, we do have to be fair with this review and there are some reasons why we may not have enjoyed it quite as much as we expected to. As already mentioned, we had very recently gone to the LTM and as such a lot of the opening presentation was very recent knowledge to us already. We're both also track safety trained and have been for a few years, which means the novelty of being within the underground itself isn't quite so high for us as we've both done track walks etc. And finally, if we were to purchase a tour ourselves, Euston wouldn't have been the main choice for either of us anyway. If you are interested in this sort of thing and don't have the backgrounds that we do, you'll probably get a lot more out of it than we did.

 I am not entirely sure whether or not we would do another tour with Hidden London. I am very tempted by the thought of Down Street - but it's also £77 each and I don't honestly see myself paying that any time soon.

If you'd like to book a tour for yourself, keep checking the Hidden London page here as they do book out very in advance and you'll need to be quite forward thinking with it. Prices vary, but the price for the Euston tour shown here was £36.50 each. You also get free or half price admission to the museum itself depending on which ticket you buy!

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