Tickets to visit The Postal Museum in London go on sale on July 13, ahead of its opening on July 28.
The new heritage attraction in Clerkenwell will explore five centuries of the British postal service, alongside the country’s wider social and communications history.
As well as permanent exhibition galleries and a temporary exhibition space, Mail Rail (pictured) – London’s Post Office Underground Railway – will be opened to the public for the first time in its 100-year history.
Tickets also go on sale on July 13 for the 20-minute subterranean Mail Rail rides, which start operating on September 4.
Visitors will travel on a miniature train through tunnels beneath the Mount Pleasant sorting office and see audio-visual displays showing how the railway kept the post moving through London for 22 hours a day.
Adrian Steel, The Postal Museum director, said: “The Mail Rail ride offers a once-in-a-lifetime chance for people to experience a slice of London’s subterranean history, while the museum’s galleries on the other side of the street offer the chance to explore Britain’s social history; the history of the post and how it has been involved in many of the world’s major events.”
Exhibits include a growling lioness telling the story of the time when an escaped circus lioness attacked a Mail Coach, and an interactive game where visitors take on the role of a Mail Coach guard.
Other items on display include the sculpture of Queen Elizabeth II used to produce the image replicated more than 220 billion times on stamps and a priceless sheet of the world’s first stamps, the Penny Black – one of just a few sheets left in the world.
The attraction will mark its opening with a “family extravaganza” throughout the summer holidays.
Aimed at children aged up to 11, the extravaganza includes activities such as face-painting, storytelling, arts and crafts and costumed actors.
There is also a kids’ play area called Sorted!, aimed at youngsters up to the age of eight.
The Postal Museum is supported by National Lottery players through the Heritage Lottery Fund, Royal Mail and Post Office Limited.