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This review originally appeared in his London blog
This one should be tucked away under ‘a big waste of money’. Don’t even think about going here because it’s a tourist trap. Whilst it’s a decent enough way to wile away a couple of hours, I certainly wouldn’t encourage people to pay thirty quid to see it. If you take a family of four then you’ll need the best part of 100 quid, which is totally ridiculous.
The idea behind Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! museum is that all the exhibits are weird, strange and freaky things that shouldn’t exist – like a five-legged sheep, for example. Apparently this Ripley guy toured the world collecting all the oddities he could lay his hands on, so he could luzz them into his little freaky museum. It’s a bit like the Sir John Soane’s Museum, I suppose – but instead of collecting important artworks and classical sculptures he picked up pictures made out of chewing gum and matchstick models of Tower Bridge.
The problem is that most of the stuff is not wierd at all – like Charles II’s gloves, or Henry VIII’s shoe. Nothing wierd about those. And he’s nabbed a little piece of a meteorite as well, which sits alongside some signed photos of the astronauts. What’s wierd about those?
Other exhibits are just ridiculous, like a bowl of normal water chilled down to minus 10 degrees. The idea is that you can put your hand inside and feel how cold the ocean was when the Titanic sank. Wow! (I paid thirty quid for this?)
A lot of the paintings on display are truly awful: portraits created out of burnt toast and hamburger grease, and a portrait of the Queen made out of pennies. Yawn. Zzzzz.
One section of the museum is devoted to torture (in case you’re getting bored and feel like doing yourself in?). They’ve got an Iron Maiden and ball and chain etc., and a poor old geezer sitting in an electric chair waiting for you to press the button and fry him. Take my advice: if you want to see some torture exhibits then go to the Clink Prison or the London Dungeon or – even better – the Bloody Tower at the Tower of London. Don’t go to this place.
One of the most disappointing things about the museum is that a lot of the truly weird exhibits just consist of a photo. Take the Elephant Man, for example. He is certainly weird enough to be in the Ripley Museum, but all you get is a black and white photo and a little placard to tell you who he was. That’s it.
It gets better when they bring out the waxworks. They’ve got waxwork models of the world’s ugliest woman, the world’s hairest man, and some freaky looking geezer who can pop his eyeballs out of their sockets. They’ve got a life-size model of the world’s tallest man as well, and the world’s tiniest midget. They’ve also got a little zoo of freaky animals like a sheep with five legs, and a chicken with a couple of extra drumsticks. None of them are real though. They’re not stuffed – they’re just models.
There’s also a very exciting ‘Mirror Maze’ to finish. This is basically the same as the one they’ve got in the London Dungeon, only it’s nowhere near as good because there’s none of the scary stuff alongside it. It’s not themed. It’s just a load of mirrored walls, so it looks like the room stretches out for a million miles. They make you put on some plastic gloves beforehand so you don’t smudge all the mirrors, and then you just stroll around trying to find the exit. It took me about two minutes.
So, to sum it all up… if the entry fee was ten quid then I might have recommended it, but charging thirty pounds for this is a total joke. The only reason they can get away with charging that amount is because it’s at Piccadilly Circus and all the tourists are awash with spending money and haven’t worked out the exchange rate yet.
> Read Craig’s latest review of Ripley’s Believe It or Not “This is a tourist trap. Don’t get trapped. End of review. It exists for one purpose only: to suck the money out of your wallet. Your kids will see it, want to go, want to visit, yeah yeah yeah, take us mum! take us dad! They’ll badger you until you relent… and two hours later they’ll come out sighing ‘that was rubbish’ and you’ll be ninety quid worse off and still have half a day of sightseeing ahead of you. And I’m not exaggerating about that price, either – if you buy your tickets on the door then you’ll be going home broke’s… continued.”
> Read Craig’s review of Madame Tussauds “Madame Tussauds reminds me a little bit of the Natural History Museum. That place is full of stuffed animals and this one is full of stuffed humans. They’ve basically just taken a load of famous people and embalmed them like you do with dead dogs, and put them on display for everyone to gawp at. The queues outside are totally nuts. Every time I go past on the bus the line is stretching for miles and miles as far as the eye can see. There are more people in this queue than there… continued.”
> Read Craig’s review of the London Dungeon “I hate the London Dungeon. I actually hate it, in the same way that cats hate dogs. I know that is a very strong word to use about something that is supposed to be fun, but there you go – that is the truth. The scariest thing about the Dungeons, to me, is the thought of having to visit it. I went there a couple of years ago and the best bit was walking out the exit. So when they announced that they were going to move it from London Bridge and rebuild it at the County Hall, I knew that meant I was going to have to visit it… continued.”
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The most popular family attractions in London are the waxworks at Madame Tussauds, dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum, followed by space rockets at the Science Museum and London Zoo. Shrek’s Adventure is great for little kids, and the Harry Potter Studios Tour is great for older ones. We also have a list of upcoming events for children in London.
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