The Ipswich Transport Museum
Before having children, I was quite sure that museums were exclusively for grown ups, a place where we can admire culture and become absorbed on our own thoughts. It was only when I had my son that I realised that museums go out of their way to become as child friendly as possible to encourage families to visit and offer a fantastic range of activities to enhance these experiences.
Suffolk Museums are no different, among my favourites is The Ipswich Transport Museum, a little gem for local families, suitable for all ages that will captivate the hearts of any young transport enthusiast. It is housed in a former Ipswich Trolleybus garage built in 1936 on the edge of town (a 10 minute car drive and easily accessible by bus from town). I would recommend spending a minimum 2 hours to be able to explore the museum, and a bit longer if you bring a packed lunch or would like to purchase a cup of tea. For a virtual tour please click here. All exhibits are static however, throughout the year they offer bus rides and special events.
I would highly recommend attending their events which often include a FREE ride on one of their vintage buses with the highlight of the trip being cruising over the Orwell Bridge. One of my favourite events are the Transport & Model Festival because it includes a visit to three great attractions; the Transport Museum, The Ipswich Railway Modellers Association HQ and the Ipswich Model Engineering Society.
At the Ipswich Transport Museum you can see buses and bicycles, prams and a police car, lawnmowers and lorries, fire engines and a funeral hearse. Staff are very friendly, knowledgeable and happy to answer any questions. Children love to hop on and off the vintage buses, ring the bell on the trams, steer the wheel in the police car, ring the bell on the very popular wooden bus and pretend they are riding around town.
Everyone wants to have a go at being the bus driver, pretending to give tickets away and taking the right fair. There are also a couple of wooden train track tables children can play with, but they have to bring their own trains as they are not provided. There is also a shop where you can treat your children to a selection of affordable model buses or trains and a small cafe that sells very reasonably priced coffees, teas, crisps and home-made cakes with tables inside and outside the café, where the children can eat their packed lunch.
Children are allowed to control the model train on the track which has been set up in a separate adjacent room.
Notes: The museum is disabled friendly being all located on ground floor level and wheelchair accessible WC and a baby change table. The tea room is not permanently staffed on quiet days but refreshments are normally available. There is Free parking on the road beside the museum. The Museum re-opened for the 2015 season on Sunday 29th March,
- Sundays and Bank Holidays 11-4 pm from March to November.
- Weekdays Monday to Friday 1pm-4pm during Easter, May, Summer and October School Holidays
- Wednesday afternoons 1-4pm in June, July and September
- Address: Old Trolleybus Depot, Cobham Road, Ipswich, IP3 9JD,
- Tel:(01473) 715666