Take a walk on the weird side with Ripley’s gallery of curious artworks, amazing facts and mind-boggling challenges
Before the days of Google, YouTube, Wiki and the like, the only way for people to find out about stuff was by books and word of mouth. Unthinkable, huh? Well, in the early twentieth century Robert Ripley was one of the most experienced mouthpieces out there. He made a name for himself as a cartoonist, creating regular illustrations depicting exotic and unusual cultures from around the world for the New York Globe and later the New York Post. These led to a run of books, a radio slot that lasted 14 years and was broadcast from weird and wonderful places, including underwater, in the air and in a snake pit. Ripley also landed a TV show in 1948, shortly before his fatal heart attack a year later.
The late, great adventurer’s legacy lives on in Ripley’s Believe it or Not! These museums of oddities – the largest of which is here in the capital and first opened its doors in Piccadilly Circus in 2008 – are still delighting and disgusting viewers today (because who doesn’t want to gawp at a two-headed cow?).
As you embark on this self-guided tour through the five-storey building, you’ll encounter seven zones: Amazing Art, Curious Cultures, Remarkable People, Incredible Nature, History Rediscovered, Weird But Wonderful and Amazing Microsculptures by Willard Wigan.
Particularly bizarre exhibits include a picture of Michelle Obama made out of bottle tops, Jo Jo the dog-faced man, a gorilla made out of car bumpers, the man who had his body reshaped to look like a lizard, the tallest man on earth (8ft 11in) and so on. There’s also an outpost of the Hard Rock Café here – a fashion collection with garb charting musical icons from Elvis Presley to Lady Gaga.
If you get a little restless just looking at objects, see if you can twist and turn through the Impossible LaseRace, trying to avoid the laser beams and getting through the challenge in the fastest time. There’s also mind-boggling, ‘spinning’ Black Hole walk-through, a Mirror Maze and a digital graffiti wall – it’s all brilliantly silly, offbeat fun.
Basically, if you could imagine the opposite of the British Museum, this would be it. Here the humdrum is remarkable because it’s just plain weird, not because it’s thousands of years old – right down to the wedding dress made from toilet paper. Besides, just like the British Museum’s Hans Sloane, Ripley was ultimately an obsessive collector and an enthusiast for new discoveries. He just happened to take himself slightly less seriously.
|Venue name:||Ripley's Believe It or Not!||Contact:|
The London Pavilion
1 Piccadilly Circus
|Opening hours:||Open daily 10am–10.30pm. (Open 365 days a year)|
|Transport:||Tube: Piccadilly Circus|
|Price:||From £20.21 five-plus days in adv, £14.96 under-16s, family from £59.96|
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Average User Rating
2.9 / 5
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IMHO ... If it was free, I am not sure I would recommend it.
£26.95 an adult, £19.95 per child. This include the (seemingly compulsory) purchase of a mirror maze @£3 and Lazer race @£2. The maze was mildly entertaining, the Lazer race had a huge queue (as did the lifts when trying to get between floors).
A lot of the exhibits were very obviously replicas and some looked a bit knackered.
The 'art' work was OK but not that good.
My son thought the view out of the windows was better than most of the exhibits, so did I.
The cafe, force photo session, sweet shop, gift shop and attached arcade game centre made the experience difficult of parent's contributing to a very expensive, low value day. I think they should have used the space to find more exhibits.
In my 15 years in London, this is the worst place I have been to, sorry f that offends anyone, just trying to be honest.
My boyfriend and I visited Ripley's on Valentines Day at an after hours event. We got a free box of chocolates and a glass of champagne included in the ticket price which got our night off to a great start. We began by measuring ourselves up against the tallest man in the world, then jumped on some scales to see how our weight compared to the heaviest. We had lots of fun exploring the weird and wonderful exhibitions Ripley's had to offer. Ripley's wasn't all fun and games though, as we came across some pretty thought-provoking items in the museum. One of the most interesting was a tank of water which was as cold as the Atlantic when the Titanic went down. Feeling the icy water made this historic event all the more haunting. We finished up with a game downstairs, where we had to weave and duck over and above some laser beams in a James Bond style mission. We had loads of fun and got pretty competitive against the other couples racing to beat the clock. I would recommend Ripley's to everyone- all the people we bumped in to seemed to be enjoying the museum as much as we were! Look out for great deals on ticket prices or use a Time Out card.
Great attraction to spend couple of hours. A lot interesting exhibitions, very educational, if you like to read and explore and broad your horizons- that's the place to be. A lot of photo opportunities, you can take pictures everywhere. Cafe is located in the middle of a huge library, very competitive prices. Welcoming, funny staff, everyone was very friendly.