Things to do in London

Ripley’s Believe It Or Not attraction is London’s weirdest day out

19:47 27 May 2012

As soon as you enter the Ripley

As soon as you enter the Ripley's Believe It Or Not attraction you know know you're in for a bizarre time when you see this freaky cow

Archant

A day out at the Ripley's Believe It Or Not attraction in Piccadilly Circus. Weird and wonderful, or just weird?

Most museums cater for a particular field of interest. At the Science Museum a strong interest in space or medicine is recommended. At the Natural History Museum its all about animals and Earth sciences. The Victoria and Albert is a Mecca for devotees of art and design.

While all of these things are obviously very broad subjects, they are still not going to be to everyone's tastes. Ripley's Believe It Or Not at Piccadilly Circus is different.

Even though it does showcase weird and wonderful exhibits from around the world, it can't be thought of as a traditional museum. It's not so much as a place of learning as an interactive house of the bizarre where you can see - and experience - some very odd things.

It also doesn't cater for any one particular subject. It's a museum that should interest people with an interest in the, well, interesting. It's a palace of oddities, a celebration of the unbelievable, paying homage to crazy human feats, strange records and all-round madness.

Ripley’s Believe It Or Not factbox

Address: The London Pavillion, 1 Piccadilly Circus, W1J 0DA

Opening times: Open 365 days a year, 10am-midnight, last entry at 10.30pm

Tel: 020 3238 0022

Email: info@ripleyslondon.com

Website: www.ripleyslondon.com

Prices: Adult ticket £26.95, child £21.95, family ticket £87.95 (2 adults, 2 children), concession £24.95

Located in the London Pavilion building where the now defunct Madame Tussaud's Rock Circus was based, Ripley's features more than 700 exhibits spread over five floors.

I will go into more detail on individual exhibits in a forthcoming look at the weirdest things to see at Ripley's but suffice to say, if you go in expecting to be amused, bemused and astounded then you won't be disappointed.

You will see everything from the longest human nose in history to a Chinese man with a candle inserted into his skull which he used as a lamp. There is also a life-size knitted Ferrari, a man born with a blue face like a Smurf, the tallest man ever known to exist - and so on and so on.

Obviously, because of the nature of what they represent, not all the exhibits are not the original items. In many cases they are models or mannequins, but this doesn't take anything away from the museum - it is still fascinating seeing everything it has to offer.

As well as the main collection of exhibits to gawp at, there are also several other highlights of Ripley's.

My favourite was the spinning tunnel, a walkthrough vortex surrounded by whirling lights. The effect is dizzying and you'll do well not to fall over when you exit. You enter this section after a funny blacklight space-themed area where you and your friends will be able to laugh as one another as you glow in the dark.

There is also a maze of mirrors, a confusing labyrinth within a dimly lit space which is a challenge to successfully get through, to say the least.

LaseRace, meanwhile, challenges visitors to jump, crawl and twist their way through a network of laser beams - good fun for the short time it lasts, a bit like something out of Mission Impossible.

Visitor facilities within Ripley's include a small cafe (reasonably priced for this kind of attraction) and the inevitable gift shop (rather a disappointment at the end of the tour).

Overall, Ripley's is a great experience and my wife, nine-year-old daughter and I had a fun time during our time there - about three hours to see everything, including a snack break.

There are a couple of things to be aware of when visiting, however.

One of the floors contains a dungeon zone which younger children may find disturbing. In fact, some adults may find it a little unnerving too.

One of the exhibits is an electric chair. A dummy sits upon it, his head covered by a bag. The chair can be activated with a pull of a lever, sending the 'condemned' into quivers and spasms as he 'fries'. It'll be fun for some with a dark mind while others will find it rather unsettling.

The other thing to be conscious of when visiting is the entrance price. My family and I were fortunate enough to get in gratis. And we had a fantastic visit. However, if we were to go back it would cost around £75 for the three of us.

I would heartily recommend Ripley's as a special place to visit for a one-off treat. I'm not convinced the entrance fee justifies a return visit, though.

Ripley's is a unique attraction in London, packed with some of the weirdest things you'll ever see. If you've not been before, it's definitely one to bear in mind for a family day out during the summer.

Related articles

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Things to do in London

Thursday, July 16, 2015
Freerunning summer camps will run in July and August (Picture: Kelly Reeves Photography)

London24 got an exclusive interview with Sebastien Foucan, freerunning founder and James Bond movie star, on his daredevil experiences and why he has brought London its first trampoline park.

Monday, July 13, 2015
The Minerva Bath at Thermae Btah Spa

Hampered by building delays, soaring costs and rows over peeling paint, Bath’s Thermae Spa was in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015
You can run as nature intended or get messy with tiger-themed body paint (Photo: Johnny Green

)

London Zoo is asking people to swap their clothes for tigerstripe body paint in a naked charity jog around the wildlife park.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015
(Picture by Olivier Ouadah)

The masked superheroes of Mexico will do battle in Bethnal Green’s York Hall next weekend in a three-day extravaganza.

Sunday, June 28, 2015
Secret Cinema disappointed fans again

Secret Cinema organisers had yet another marred opening night at one of their events this evening which resulted in them offering compensation to fans.

Thursday, June 25, 2015
Last year's London Pride Parade was record-breaking but organisers want this year to be even better

Pride in London, the capital’s biggest one-day event, is approaching, and after more than 750,000 people came out to celebrate in the rain last year, the organisers expect gay Pride in London 2015 to be even bigger!

Don't Miss...

What is this?

Near You Now

Competitions

Get your hands on some fresh trainers!

Need some new shoes to head to work or some new heels for a night on the cobbles? London24 has teamed up with online retailer Sole Trader to offer £100 worth of shoes to one lucky reader.

Read more
Take in the stunning sites of London from the summit of the O2!

Up at The O2 has teamed up with London24 to give one lucky reader the chance to experience urban mountaineering this summer with an exhilarating 90-minute climb across the roof of one of London’s most iconic landmarks.

Read more
Terrific tea, creamy cakes and splendid sandwiches at Mews of Mayfair.

Celebrate a truly quintessentially British tradition with the chance of winning a luxurious Afternoon Tea for two people at Mews of Mayfair, complete with a glass of Veuve Clicquot champagne.

Read more