British Queen celebrates

The London Transport Museum has announced that bookings are now open for this year's exclusive Hidden London tours, which provide access to locations that are normally off-limits to the

public. These tours offer visitors a unique glimpse into the subterranean world beneath London's streets and reveal the fascinating history and secrets of some of the city's most iconic transport locations.

One of the most popular tours is the Kingsway Tram Tunnel tour, which takes visitors on a journey through the remaining tunnels of the once most important stretch of tram track in London. Closed in 1952, over half of the subway still exists with original features. The tour explores the history of the former Holborn tram station, which served London's extensive tram networks in north and south London.

Another popular tour is the Piccadilly Circus tour, where visitors will explore secret doors to deserted passageways, original Edwardian design features and lift shafts, and learn about successive renovations that have taken place over the last century. The tour takes visitors under Trafalgar Square to exclusive areas of Charing Cross station, where disused parts of the station will be visited, including the Jubilee line platforms that have featured in many famous movies and TV productions, including Skyfall, Paddington Bear, TV's Killing Eve, and A Spy Among Friends.

The Aldwych tour takes visitors through abandoned ticket halls, original lifts, tunnels, abandoned platforms, and inter-connecting walkways, while learning about its varied history, from providing shelter to Londoners during the Blitz to being used for film and TV productions, including The ABC Murders, Darkest Hour, Sherlock, and Atonement.

The Down Street station tour takes visitors to the Piccadilly line's short-lived working station from 1907 to 1932, which became critical to winning the Second World War when it was covertly transformed into the Railway Executive Committee's bomb-proof headquarters. Visitors can experience the maze of narrow tunnels where the nation's railways were coordinated, and where Prime Minister Winston Churchill secretly took refuge at the height of the Blitz.

The Shepherd's Bush tour explores the original western terminus of the Central London Railway, today's Central line. Visitors will learn how the station has changed since it opened in 1900, how a then-new ticketing system became an ancestor to the present-day Oyster card; and view original Central line design features that remain frozen in time.

The Moorgate tour relives the early days of the Tube's construction when the first tunnels were dug, and visitors can see Moorgate's original glass tiles, abandoned tracks, and a complete Greathead shield from 1904 still in situ.

The Euston tour takes visitors through a labyrinth of dark and dusty passageways where they can view a gallery of vintage advertising poster fragments that have been concealed for over 50 years and learn about the newest innovations to the station that serves over 42 million passengers each year.

The Clapham South tour takes visitors to a secret subterranean shelter from the dark days of the Second World War, where south Londoners found refuge during the Blitz. These underground passages were built to accommodate over 8,000 people and had several canteens, medical stations, and sleeping quarters. It was also a temporary home for the first Caribbean migrants after having arrived in Britain on the HMT Empire Windrush.

In addition to these tours, visitors can also discover hidden parts and little-known facts about Covent Garden, Kingsway, Lincoln's Inn Fields, and Victoria Embankment. Tours of Holborn, York Road, and Elizabeth line stations at Tottenham Court Road and Liverpool Street are also available. Photo by Tiia Monto, Wikimedia commons.