The glamour of vintage travel posters


The simple elegant lines, graphical illustration and iconic use of typography of vintage travel posters tell a nostalgic and glamorous story. Evoking a true sense of their era, they were originally commissioned to celebrate the golden age of travel in the early twentieth century.  

During the time when transportation radically modernised, printed adverts situated in and around the public transport network were important to communicate these new travel opportunities and inspire the first generation of commuters and holiday makers. As electric railways connected cities to coastal resorts, package holidays were created. Tramways, double-decker buses and taxis helped us navigate city life and travel posters flourished as an art form. 

King & McGaw is proud to offer an extensive collection of some of the best travel posters of the last 100 years: 

London Metropolitan Archives

The alluring attractions, events and parks of London have often been captured at their finest through travel posters, advertised across the Transport for London network. During the 1920-30s, London Tramways designed captivating posters advertising the delights of London day trips, late night city travel, sporting venues and museum exhibitions. Many of the posters were designed by students of the former Central School of Arts and Crafts in London and are rich in their combination of elegant scenery and Art Deco typography.

Discover posters from our new partnership with the London Metropolitan Archives and our collection of London Transport Museum posters which showcase British illustrative design at its best.

P&O Heritage

The shipping and cruise company, P&O, boasts an archive of iconic travel posters that used the art of persuasion and design to advertise their services. From the consumer culture that developed in the twentieth century, companies like P&O began commissioning commercial designers such as Horace Taylor, to design powerful posters with block colours and impactful text. The medium of the lithographic poster offered smooth planes of exceptionally bright colours that made holiday destinations look even more inviting, like Taylor’s sunlit and secluded Constantinople.

From the 1950s, P&O posters depicted more family scenes, smiling faces and sunbathing tourists, emphasising the fun to be had by all on a P&O cruise. The colourful scene in Frederick Griffin’s For the Best at Sea Sail P&O, offers escapism from the two dark wars which had marred the first half of the twentieth century.

You can read more about the creative design of P&O travel posters on our blog.

The National Railway Museum

Standing on a windy platform waiting for your commuter train that’s been cancelled once again, it’s hard to imagine when travelling by rail was revered as a glamorous adventure. In special collaboration with the National Railway Museum, we’ve curated a collection of fabulous posters from their extensive archives, advertising British railways and the destinations they served.

Abram Games

Commissioned by major travel brands such as British Airways and London Transport, Abram Games produced a plethora of posters that supported the rise of the tourism industry in the decades following the Second World War. Near or far, travel, escapism and destination experiences become of annual importance in so many lives. Our collections includes posters produced for Horizon Travel who was the first company to offer package holidays and quicky graphic designs promoting British stay-cations.

A retrospective of the artist’s work is on show at the National Army Museum until 24th November. The exhibition will showcase more than 100 posters which demonstrate Games’s reductive design of airbrushing techniques and controlled colour palette.

Archive photography

For lovers of nostalgic memories of seaside holidays and summer pastimes, explore our collection of photographs from the Stilltime and Mirrorpix archives. Prints from the Stilltime collection offer a perfect picture of the way things were, including images of yacht racing, aviation and motor biking. The Mirrorpix archive documents everyday British social history including fun at the beach, street celebrations and community gatherings that will make you smile.

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