“ Address: The London Pavilion / 1 Piccadilly Circus / London W1J 0DA / England „
About Ripley's Believe It Or Not
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Robert L. Ripley was a cartoonish, collector, explorer, reporter and adventurer who travelled to 201 countries in 35 years seeking the odd, the unusual and the unexplained. He was nicknamed 'The Modern Marco Polo' and in his endless search for unbelievable stories to draw his immensely popular newspaper cartoon feature, he acquired hundreds of exotic artifacts from around the world. In time, Ripley opened seven different 'Odditoriums', typically associated with World Fairs, to house his huge collection. Today the daily cartoon is seen in nearly 200 newspapers worldwide, in 42 countries and 17 languages. Ripley led an incredible life of adventure and excitement and forever will be remembered for coining one of the most recognized and used phrases in the English language 'Believe It or Not!' Today there are over 30 Ripley's Believe It or Not museums in 10 different countries, dozens of Ripley books, a huge internet web presence, and hundreds of television videos in the company's archive vaults. Ripley's Believe It or Not in London opened on August 20th 2008 and is the world's largest of Ripley's famed Odditoriums. Located in Piccadilly Circus, the attraction contains over 700 exhibits and artefacts from around the world including a life-size Ferrari made from over 12 miles of wool to a collection of authentic Ecuadorian shrunken heads. Ripley's Believe It or Not in London showcases the weird and wonderful in all its forms.
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You can purchase tickets on the door and you can buy them online and save 15%. When you purchase online you can also pay a little extra for queue jump as well which is handy if you think the venue is going to be busy. Prices for various tickets are shown below. Please note that these are the prices on the door not online.
* Adult - £26.95
* Senior/Student - £24.95
* Child (4-15) - £21.95
* Family - £87.95
* Under 4 - Free
All Prices include the Mirror maze and Laser Race.
Inside Ripley's Believe It Or Not
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Ripley's Believe It Or Not is spread over 6 floors and includes a range of different things to look at read about including Animals Oddities, Gallery of the Greats, Ripley's Dungeon, Olympic Torches, Cosmic Mysteries, Microscopic Miracles, Black hole Tunnel, Mirror Maze, Shrunken Heads, Transformer, Gift Shop and more. I have gone into a bit more detail about the different floors which includes the huge range of Believe It Or Not items and information.
The entrance to Ripley's is eye catching with the world's tallest man outside along with a policeman making a gurning face. There were lots of people having their photo taken with these figures. Just inside the entrance is a huge transformer in red which looks amazing. There was also an area where some of their performance artists stand and perform various different things. The performance artists include a contortionist, a former Cirque De Soleil acrobat, and the man of danger who lies on two beds of nails, and human blockheads who can hammer an 8 inch nail into their noses. When me and my boyfriend walked in there was a human blockhead who was just about to hammer a nail into his nose. This is bound to make a lot of people cringe, how-ever I didn't find it that bad as I actually have a friend who can do this and performs it regularly as he is a magician. After seeing the performer which lasted a few minutes we went to the till to pay for our tickets. There was surprisingly no queue to get into the venue and we paid for our tickets straight away. We came via Train so we have a 2 for 1 voucher which meant we only paid £30 to get into the venue. This included a guide book and also entry to the Mirror Maze and Laser Race. We were told to get the lift to level 5 which was the very top floor. Before we got into the lift we looked at some of the things that were near the lifts such as a real-life model of the Lizard Man and a statue made from toys. After this we got into the lift and went up to level 5. As the lift went up different coloured lights lit up in the lift and a recorded male voice told up to enjoy our visit here. This felt a little futuristic which I loved.
5th Floor - This floor includes Animal Oddities which is a range of different animals and bizarre pet. You will get to see a three-legged horse, multi legged sheep, and two headed cows and even a one eyed dog owned by Ripley himself. All of these animals were once real and were all born like it. The Upside down room is a little strange to look at with a table and chair mounted onto the ceiling and it makes you turn your head slightly in order to get a good look at it. On this floor was also various other things such as a Ferrari made from 12 miles of yarn. You can also see the world's smallest production car and sit in the biggest ever rocking chair. Next to each thing is some information about that item. There were also small televisions on this floor as well showing you videos of bizarre accidents that people have had. Hear you can clean more about Mr Ripley himself.
4th Floor - This floor includes the dungeon (not suitable for children) and you can actually skip this part. This shows various devices of torture for humans including the Fiendish Iron Maiden and Brank Masks. This area is a little dark and slightly creepy as you see full size models in the torture devices including someone in an electric chair. My boyfriend actually pulled a lever which made the person in the electric chair shake as if he was being electrocuted . . . I didn't like this at all and left the area very quickly. This floor also shows beauty items such as tight corsets that used to be worn in the olden days to make your waist a lot smaller. There is also the theatre where you can sit down and watch a movie about Ripley and the items that are on show. This seemed really interesting but I unfortunately didn't have my glasses on me so we skipped this part. This area has a small water filled area with some lovely statues and figures in. You can throw a penny into the water to make a wish. There is also a large area on this floor dedicated to all the Olympic torches. Some people especially tourists may find this area very interesting seeing as the Olympics was held in London last year.
3rd Floor - This includes Ripley's Remarkables which is all about different people whom had strange features or could do things with their bodies. All the figures are made from wax and show a man who can pop his eyeballs out, The Unicorn Man of China, The Gurner, Mule Faced Woman and more. This area was a little bizarre but at the same time very interesting. There is a walk through section called underwater mysteries which includes Albino and Leucistic Animals. These animals are rare and are very different to look at. This area also tells the story of a man who survived a shark attack after it attacked him. The Microscopic Miracles area was really interesting and to see the sculptures which have been carved inside the eyes of needles you need to use their magnifying glass. These are truly amazing and I spent a good 5 minutes looking into the big magnifying glass to see the different carvings which included the Royal Family. This floor also includes Shrunken Heads which is something that the Shuar Indians used to do. I won't go into detail as you can probably find out this information on Google of if you visit Ripley yourself. It's very interesting but at the same time not very pleasant to read. There is also a Black hole tunnel here which you must walk through. This gives the feel that the platform you walk across is moving but in fact the black tube around you which is decorated with lights to make it look like stars is moving around you. Your picture will automatically be taken in this bit as you walk through and you can have the chance to purchase it if you wish.
2nd Floor - This floor has the mirror maze on it, you don't have to do this and can skip this part if you wish. Our entrance fee included the Mirror Maze which me and my boyfriend couldn't wait to try (big kids). The maze was down at least 4 sets of stairs and it felt like we were down at least 3 floors in order to get to the maze. There are white footprints on the floor to guide you this area. When approaching the room you could see that it was quite dark and it had a few circus type mirrors in the room which made you appear short and fat or thinner that what you actually are. There was a man at a stand who let you into the mirror maze. He told us that we had to keep our hands in front of us at all times and to also wear the gloves that he was going to give us. One by one a few of us went through the black curtain into the maze. There were at least 6 of us in the maze during our time here. I think they ask you to wear gloves to avoid the mirrors getting fingerprints all over them as this would then make it obvious where the mirrors actually are. The maze is slightly dark but does have some dim lights so it's not completely dark in there. I have to admit that it took a while for any of us to find the exit as we all kept walking around in circles. In the end my boyfriend came up with an idea to get out the maze which was to just use your hands to follow the walls around the maze. This led us to the exit and everyone followed us. A few of us were beginning to think that it was a trick and that there was no exit.
1st Floor - On the floor plan it says that this floor has Beatlemania, Hubcap Gorilla, Transformer and more Animal Oddities. Although I didn't see any Beatle mania objects there were other various pictures of famous people that had been made out of different things. Think included Michael Jackson made out of sweets and other celebrities made out of cassette tape ribbon. There was no transformer here that we could see. There was the world's tallest man which my and my boyfriend stood by to have our picture taken and there was also the world's fattest man as well. There was a small café on this floor where you could purchase drinks and light snacks. You had the chance to step on a large scale to see how you measured up compared to the world's fattest man. You can also have a go at making your own gurning face in the large mirror (Little do people know that the people on the other side of the mirror can see you making faces).
These are just a few of the things to see in Ripley's but more is included and some of it is truly fascinating and it's definitely well worth taking your time to look at the different exhibits and read the information that goes along with them. Ripley's is suitable for wheelchair users as there is plenty of space around the venue and lifts also go to every floor as well. Although you can take children and pushchairs with you I'm not sure younger children would find it very interesting. There is a gift shop when exiting Ripley's which sells a range of souvenirs and lots of different sweets.
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The Laser Race is located in the basement of Ripley's. The aim of this is to get out of the room as quick as you can avoiding the lasers that are all around the room. This does mean crawling on the floor and climbing over lasers. The queue for this was only short and you could watch other people in front of you in the room sliding under and climbing over various different lasers. I had to admit that it looked rather hard but me and my boyfriend wanted to do it for a laugh. They only allow 2 people in here at a time and your time is displayed on the TV as you come out of the room. There is a girl on the desk near the entrance and she tells you how to choose the level of difficulty and what to do. We chose medium level and once we were inside we have to hi five the yellow handprint that was in the room. At the exit was another button which we needed to hit on the way out which I presume re-sets the lasers for the next people. As soon as we got into the room all you can see is green lasers criss crossing across the room. There were also some moving lasers as well. We slid on our front to the first corner of the room and then had to climb over 2 lasers as they were too low to slide over. My boyfriend got caught on one of the moving lasers which sound a small alarm but you can continue as normal. The room is only small so we got around the room quite quickly after watching how various other people went round the room to avoid the lasers. This only took a few minutes to do but as it was free we though we may as well give it a go.
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Me and my boyfriend visited here on a Friday afternoon and we were surprised at how quiet it was. As it was quiet we could read about every item in the venue and we could spend time having a good look at the different things there and taking pictures. I believe they do change the items around in here every few years or so, so it may be worth going back here again another time. I really enjoyed looking at the various different things and the bizarre things from around the world and what people can do with their bodies. Some of the things in here is truly fascinating and some of it you aren't sure whether to believe it or not. In terms of value I think its average price as I would expect this kind of price as the venue is in London and it's also quite big. I would visit here again for another look round as it was interesting and I would like to spend a little bit more time reading about everything and the things in the venue. I would definitely recommend others going here as it is truly fascinating and interesting.
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Ripley's Believe It Or Not, London, The London Pavilion, 1 Piccadilly Circus, London, W1J 0DA
Tel: 020 3238 0022
Opening Hours: Mon - Sun 10:00am - 12:00am
(review may also appear on ciao)
On a recent visit to London visiting my son and having Little Miss with us, we needed to find an attraction which would appeal for all.
WHY "BELIEVE IT OR NOT?"
Robert Ripley who was a cartoonist, explorer and collector of the odd and the unusual visited more than 200 countries. He collected odd and unusual items from all over the world and is responsible for the phrase "believe it or not". The attraction
Ripleys is at Picaddily Circus close to the tube station and is in a large imposing building with a great big sign on the roof so its hard to miss. Outside the building is a life size model of the tallest man so a suggestion of things to come and plenty of photograph opportunities! Once inside there is the desk where visitors pay and still more odd exhibits including a rather unpleasant model of The Lizardman with his forked tongue, Teflon implants and pointed teeth.
The exhibits are on I believe three floors and visitors take the lift between floors. The journey on the lift certainly gave us a taste of things to come with a voice over telling us what was in store for us.
The first room we came to consisted of several odd and quite bizarre animals such as a cow with two heads and a six legged bison, set out as though they are in pen together There were also unusual cars and a large chair which plenty of people were climbing onto for a photo opportunity. The room was nice and open and there weren't too many people so it was easy to get a good look around.
It's quite easy to get round the attraction and wherever we went there were artefacts to interest and appal us in equal measure. The Extreme people exhibition had a lot of pictures as well as some interactive activities. One of the ones which had a lot of people having a go was the weigh in. This had a model of the heaviest man ever and scales; whole families could get on the scales and still not weigh as much as he did. There were strange pictures including the Crucifixion of Christ on Toast and pictures made of driftwood. It made me wonder how people got the ideas from!
The Shrunken Heads exhibition was quite gruesome and consisted of lots of information about how the heads are shrunk and examples of the actual heads. Another horrific area was the Torture area, which was all dark and from entering it we could see the graveyard. In here there were some awful methods of torture but nothing gave us more of a shock than the electric chair- pull down a lever and the thing goes forward really quickly with an explosion of smoke- really not expected.
We had paid for the mirror maze which looked really easy but there were moments when we were inside that I thought we would never find our way out!
Not the cheapest attraction I have ever been to although the price includes entry to the mirror maze and if you book online there is a 20% discount. There are also several people wandering around the area giving out discount vouchers.
Child [4 - 15] £19.95
10.00 - midnight (last entry 22.30)
It is open 7 days a week
Address: The London Pavilion, 1 Piccadilly Circus, London W1J 0DA
Telephone: + 44 (0)20 3238 0022
I have just touched briefly on some of the exhibits, but the whole place is really interesting and gave us lots to talk about. There are lots of wax figures, and authentic tribal artefacts as well as models and pictures. Even the curtains on the round windows are bizarre- they look like curtains but are part of the wall.
For anyone in the area and wanting a different kind of museum/attraction I would recommend this place.
Thanks for reading
It should be called Rip Off rather than Ripleys!.
Right in the heart of London at Piccadilly Circus you expect to pay a bit more but the list of prices were exorbitant. My son really wanted to go and we had been given leaflets for a free guide and I had found that we could go in using our Tescos Clubcard vouchers. This was the only thing that saved the visit.
The queue was long and slow and a lot of people dropped out due to the wait or because they worked out how much it would be. As we were paying using Tesco vouchers they would not honour the free guide voucher despite us having three vouchers and only wanting one guide which was £1.95. We had to pay an extra £5 a person for the mirror maze. I would recommend that you only pay for the children as it is not very big or difficult to get round but our son was allowed in 4 times as it was so quiet.
There are a variety of interesting exhibits but no where as many as I expected. We were able to get quite close to the exhibits as there were very few people in there; I assume because a lot of people had dropped out of the queue or felt it too expensive. We had expected it to be very busy as it was the last friday afternoon in July and in Piccadilly Circus it self it was so busy you had trouble getting round!
The staff were all rude and seemed not to understand English. I do not expect to find all English staff in the centre of London but do expect the foreign staff to understand basic English to deal with the home visitors.
The gift shop was full of expensive tacky gifts none that could be called Souvenirs. They then direct you to the basement only to find that this is an area you need to pay extra for so we came back up only to be directed back down again by the non English speaking staff. We finally managed to escape via a fire exit.
It is not very user friendly as there are stairs everywhere except ot the front entrance where you go up in a lift to the top floor and work your way down. There were a few lifts for push chairs or the disabled but a few were out of order so we saw most families 'bouncing' the push chair down the stairs
My recommendation is to avoid this like the plague and save your money for something a bit more entertaining. I suggest the Tower Bridge Experience, the Globe Theatre or even the Tate Modern but do not waste your time and money on this!
was looking forward to the strange and wonderful things at ripleys in london as soon as we steped in the door the staff were rude. the exhibits were ok but not fantastic i loved the marilyn monroe exhibit as i am a big fan of marilyn there was supposed to be over 500 exhibits but when we got there they seemed less . when we arrived at the mirror maze the girl was so rude and you had to wear gloves which was a bit strange . we could not find are way out so we when up to the 5th floor to look around and take some pictures we were asked by a mamber of staff what we were doing we told her we were having one last look around and she asked us to leave for no reason and we were takern to the gift shop i will never go to ripleys london again it was hell
Many years ago, on a hot dusty day in Los Angeles, I stood on the pavement outside the Ripley's Museum to have my photo taken next to a waxwork of the world's tallest man. Looking up at the posters of what was inside, I was filled with wonder at the idea of seeing the skull of Wang, the Unicorn Man. This building, with its promise of two headed animals and other curiosities, seemed to cross the line between reality and fairytale with a promise of magic.
Keen to see if my childhood expectations had been right, I changed up our Clubcard vouchers for the new Ripley's Odditorium in London when the offer appeared. Seeing the horrific weekend queues, we bided our time until a wet Monday morning straight after the February half term holiday, when the streets were quiet and only the occasional tourist braved the cold and drizzle.
Shaking my umbrella off, I bounced into the foyer, eventually followed by The Boyfriend, who was lurking outside to finish his cigarette. We had the Clubcard vouchers to cover admission, a leaflet from outside to give us a free souvenir guidebook (normally at least another fiver), but we still paid £10 to do the mirror maze on the second floor. Shocked at the cost of just the mirror maze, I looked at the board. Full adult price was £24.50, so with the mirror maze at another £5, entry was just short of £30. Each. Considerably more than an entire day at, for example, Thorpe Park.
Through the turnstile was a small lobby, with lifts on one wall and a few bits and pieces in glass cases. The only thing of interest here (unless you like plastic animals in crates) was the selection of Olympic Torches. I stopped to look at the torch from the Nazi Olympics and the Boomerang underwater one from Australia. The signs weren't that clear, but this was the lobby and we were anxious to get on. Onward and upward.
We got into the small lift, with flashing colours and a cheesy voiceover and got out, as instructed, on Floor 5. Here, the room was divided into two by a barrier. One half had items such as Hailie Selassie's throne pinned up to the wall and a rotating mini covered in Swarovski Crystals, the rest was a holding pen to view them from. There were also a moving dinosaur and a rickety bamboo chair to have your picture taken with, but this was the limit of the interaction here. We peered into the glass cabinets in the middle. These had a novel display, arranged on shelves with mirrors at the back to mimic a dusty museum archive or a curiosity shop. Unfortunately, we struggled to match the numbers on the content list to the actual item. Some, like the rattlesnake skin weren't in the case at all, while others were ambiguous.
We went on to look at the other floors, which although nicely arranged, were missing something. A lot of the items wee pleasantly ornamental, but lacked interest. Some of the cases were at adult eye level, which must be a bit frustrating for kids. Ripley's missed a trick by blocking the windows over Piccadilly Circus, though most people tried to take a photo through the speckled portals on the fourth floor.
The Mirror Maze:
We soon got to the mirror maze. Again, we were lucky regarding the low turnout that day as the small maze wasn't too crowded and there were times when we felt like it was just us. The darkness and red floor lights added to the atmosphere and we edged around bumping into things and taking pictures of our eerie glowing faces. On finding the way out, you get to walk back up the four flights of stairs you came down and therefore end up in the same place in the museum from which you entered. Worth a fiver each? Not really, but if you're here you may as well do it.
Not so good:
I didn't rate the lengthy video of unusual circus type tricks such as sword swallowing, or the posters of 'believe it or not' information in awkward locations on the stairs. Wang The Unicorn Man was indeed there after all this time, but only in the form of a second rate waxwork head. Overall, the feeling was like all the action was somewhere else. Although there were only a handful of people there on the day of our visit, there were still occasions when we were shuffling through bottlenecks or queuing to look at things; if the 2000 plus visitors they get at peak times had turned up, it would have been unbearable.
Not so Bad:
So what did I like about Ripley's? I had a look in Marilyn Monroe's makeup case (a bit disappointed about the lack of labelling here and not entirely convinced of the authenticity) and I enjoyed the toilet paper wedding dresses. The interactive fishpond floor was a bit of fun and The Boyfriend loved the under-the-sea section with its stuffed shark and Titanic 'cold water' to put your hands in. Some exhibits, such as the chunk of the Berlin Wall were genuine pieces of history and made up for the general fakery that surrounded them.
I liked 'Ripley's ghost', a projection of the founder that chatted to the audience and 'moved' the real objects as it knocked against them. Reading about Ripley as we walked round, I discovered that his Chinese girlfriend had been the influence behind the large number of Chinese artifacts.
At the end of the museum is one of those spinning tunnels, much like the ones on many rides and ghost trains. The difference here is that you can walk down the middle, wobbling as the spin and the lights confuse your brain. This is fun both to walk through yourself and to watch other people stagger out of.
Just over halfway round is a little café area, with crisps and cups of tea at almost reasonable prices. On such a cold day, this was cosy and comfortable and if you're not in a rush it would be nice to take a break here.
A word of warning here; due to narrow passages and a lot of stairs, Ripley's would be unsuitable for anyone with mobility issues despite the lift at the entrance and exit.
Also worth noting that there are no toilets on the way out, so before you go down in the lift, make a trip to the third floor to use the ones there. (We, amongst other visitors, had to wait and be escorted back up after searching the gift shop for toilets.) These were warm and clean, perfectly acceptable.
Ripley's doesn't use more than a few hours; we were in there for around three and looked at everything. However, you could spend a much more interesting day in Madame Tussards and the Planetarium for a lot less money. As I mentioned earlier, £30 is more than the price of an entire day and limitless rides at one of London's nearby theme parks and certainly in excess of other half day entertainments, such as the Tower of London. The majority of visitors on the day we went were confused tourists, photographing each other with the waxworks and brightening up the place with their holiday spirit. If you're visiting London and are not blessed with limitless time and money, I wouldn't suggest Ripley's. There are so many places to choose from, it's kind of lost in the mire.
If you have children in tow, go to the Science Museum instead - it's free, it's far more interactive and it's educational without being boring. Despite it not being a school holiday, we were passed a couple of times by groups of children. From the running, screaming race to the mirror maze, I'd suggest they weren't that engaged in the concept of the museum and although some things (the talking heads and so on) are aimed at the younger visitor, a lot of pieces are out of context and won't be understood without adult explanation. If you're visiting with just one quiet child, then you might manage to get something from this.
So, who do I recommend it for? If you've got vouchers (we had) and are in Soho anyway (we were), then it's okay for a morning's entertainment, but only if you pick a quiet day. On leaving we agreed that it wasn't total rubbish, but we wouldn't have paid to get in. It seems this tries to appeal to everyone, but doesn't quite hit the mark.
It hasn't killed my childhood dream entirely; part of me still believes that the Ripley's in California has the original exhibits that are copied here and that this is just a tacky plasticky cash-in version of something special, dimmed by its newness.
I had been past Ripley's Believe it or Not several times in London and always wanted to go in so I was delighted to finally get the chance last year. The museum is a fantastic eclectic collections of all things odd, wierd, large, small.
Ripley was a collector and for many years wrote his "believe it or not" column for a newspaper in America. He was fascinated by the odd and unusal and his museum shows that.
The London site is spread over five floors and has pieces of natural curiosity - such as two headed animals, snake skins, to foreign and exotic collections from Africa, China and South America. There is also a more modern collection of celebrities, such as an exhibition on Marilyn Monroe and then onto a selection of artistic pieces made out of jelly beans, match sticks or sweet wrappers.
The nice thing about the musuem is it is user friendly. Most of the exhibits can be touched, played with, photos taken and there are some particular bits where you can take your picture next to a model of the world's tallest man. Or you can weigh yourself in comparison to the fattest man. Kids and adults alike will love the opportunity to become part of the museum in every way.
I was really excited at the prospect of getting a Ripley's in London as I'd heard about the NYC one and had always fancied going. Ripley's is a collection of weird, wonderful and downright freakish objects. Anything from stuffed, deformed animals to a diamond-encrusted Mini Cooper to Marilyn Monroe's shoes to the shrunken heads (my personal favourite). If you are a fan of the strange and bizarre then you will enjoy yourself here. There are several different floors loaded with stuff, so you can easily spend a couple of hours here. Each 'thing' also has a small amount of writing telling you what it is (in case it's not obvious) or where it came from. All very educational, I'm sure.
In hindsight, I suppose I came out of Ripley's feeling a bit disappointed. In some ways the things weren't freakish enough! Much of it was drawings or wax models of freaky things that used to exist, which I could've seen on the internet. I suppose the best stuff must be in the NYC branch.
Like other reviewers on here I also have an issue with the price. Paying over £20 per person for this is a disgrace. I imagine they justify it to themselves because it's based in Piccadilly Circus, but having been there I would be really disappointed if I'd paid £20-25 to get in. I had 2-4-1 vouchers when I went so I only paid half that and I felt that was a much more reasonable price for what you get.
If you go once then you won't ever need to go again (unless they get some new stuff in, of course) so my advice would be to hunt around for 2-4-1 vouchers online and then go. If you have to pay full price entry then it's really not worth it.
Ripleys Museum London
I had waited with excitement for the new Ripleys to open in London, as I had always wanted to go to the US ones but never actually got there.
On the day we went, it had only been opened a few weeks, so we were expecting a queue. However when we arrived 15 minutes before opening, there wasn't one other person outside! Eventually after a boring wait we were let in the front doors.
This isn't a cheap place to visit (although where in London is?) we had 2 for 1 vouchers but the usual price is £21.95 each. After paying our money we went through the turnstile and into a lift (with a very annoying and tacky lighting display) to the top floor-where you start and work your way back down.
It was spookily quiet and like we had the whole place to ourselves (which we nearly did!!) and there were more staff then visitors. One of the 1st rooms you go into has a Mini covered in gems, which is pretty impressive to see, there is also an T Rex very similar although perhaps smaller than the one at the Natural History Museum. (The one which moves etc.) There is a collection of abnormal animals, such as a two headed lamb and a few other things. Our 1st impressions were not too good.
Upon walking around the various floors you see various weird sights, but a lot of the displays are wax works, such as the hairiest man and the man with the longest nose, and not particularly good wax works at that.
We sat down in the small theatre (only people in there!!) and watched a short film on Ripley and various people that could do amazing and peculiar things. We found this quite interesting, but cannot imagine it keeping children very occupied.
There is one section set out like a graveyard and prison, which may be a little frightening for smaller children. This is where you will find various torture devices and a chilling and very lifelike electric chair demonstration, where you can be the one to pull the handle releasing the electric current. To be honest i just found this uncomfortable to watch as it was SO lifelike and not exactly entertainment.
There are various opportunities for photos, such as standing next to the worlds tallest man (waxwork!), or weighing yourself compared to the worlds heaviest man, which are always worth a laugh, but again not very interesting.
We did not through the mirror maze, for one you had to pay extra for this, and also I can get a bit claustrophobic. So cannot comment on whether this is worth the extra money.
Near to the end, there are some real shrunken human heads, that I'm sure most people would find interesting on some level. But at the same time seem abit morbid.
The last part is a revolving tunnel, which you walk through, this is great fun, although messes with your head for a while after, particularly as me and my boyfriend went though it about 10 times as there still wasn't anyone else in sight.
Our entire visit took between 1.5 and 2 hours and we saw and read everything (apart from the Maze). Although id guess it could take much longer to see everything if there were crowds, this seems like A LOT of money for not much time.
Overall, I'm glad I went, but don't think I'll be going back. It might be worth a look if you can get very good prices on tickets, but even 2 for 1 seemed like too much money.
My partner (Sue) enjoys watching this sort of thing on telly but I'm afraid Ripleys Believe It Or Not Museum in the heart of Piccadily Circus really did not do anything for either of us.
It was the second part of our whirlwind tour of London and despite being a little peckish we decided to go to the "Museum" first which by this stage was about 9pm on Monday night.
I had been getting e-mail alerts from lastminute.com and Sue got all excited when she saw this as a buy one get one free offer so we had no reservations in paying £19.95.
I have to admit that before we even got to London I had my reservations about this and the London Eye, I was wrong about the London Eye but Sue felt incredibly guilty about wasting our money on this.
I know there are some that appreciate seeing cows with 5 legs or other animals with 8, or seeing what was supposedly an alien like person that had spent his entire life as a freak show at a circus and rather than bury him when he died had turned him into an exhibition. It certainly wasn't my cup of tea. It was quite interesting to see portraits made out of bubble gum and many of the other exhibits but to me this was just sick.
I knew I was on a hiding to nothing when I handed over my e-mail confirming the booking for the assistant to say they only had one person on their list - despite it clearly stating 2 for 1, and the freaky light show in the lift was cheap and tatty. It is the only part of our tour that Sue genuinely felt we'd been ripped off by.
Like everything else its my opinion, but I certainly won't recommend this or go into any more details because I'm afraid this disgusted me. I have given this a 1* rating as its the lowest I can give. I know one thing for sure that this is one exhibition that neither of us will visit again.
Every so often I venture into London to do something 'touristy', and during my latest visit I found myself ending up in Piccadilly Circus; stood in front of the entrance to 'Ripley's Believe It Or Not!'
WHAT IS RIPLEY'S?
I initially thought that the character of 'Ripley' was a fictitious one, however it actually turns out that he was a real man.
In 1923 New York, he (Robert Ripley) was asked to create a 'Believe It Or Not' book, which involved him traveling around the world to discover all sorts of curiosities.
The book was a huge success, and this led to him continuing to collect and discover all manner of strange things.
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"Ripley's Believe It or Not!® is the largest, fastest growing and most successful chain of amusement museum-type attractions in the world! There are now 30 Ripley's Believe It or Not! Odditoriums in operation with more opening every year. The unique attractions feature exhibits that one must see to believe - exhibits that are so bizarre, so odd, so strange, that even the most worldly and knowledgeable guests will be awestruck!" - [www.ripleyslondon.com]
I felt the entrance was somewhat underwhelming, it looked like more of a strange gift shop when I stepped in, but then we came across (a rather miserable looking) staff member behind a small ticket desk & turn style.
By crikey, it certainly isn't the cheapest attraction ever, but I was hugely enticed by the promises of freaks, geeks, and chic!
Child [4 - 15] £17.90
Under 4 Free
Mirror Maze £4.95
* 2 Adults + 2 Children
After obtaining your tickets, you are guided to a lift, in which you are told to go to (if I remember correctly) floor 5 - this means you end up working your way down the museum.
Once in the lift, it started flashing & talking to me. I did not appreciate this as it made me jump, and I felt like a plank.
Thankfully it was just myself and the Other Half in there; so I only had to put up with him sniggering.
This place is definitely a feast for the eyes. There were many, many attractions, which I will not list because not only will it be very boring to read; but I simply cannot remember all of them!
Things of note ~
A jewel encrusted Mini Cooper * Marilyn Monroe Gallery * instruments of Torture Gallery * shrunken human heads * the worlds smallest car (as seen on Top Gear) * statues of the worlds tallest man & worlds fattest man * a book bound in human skin... the list goes on!
As I mentioned, the layout means that you work your way downwards through the museum. It is laid out well in a way that pulls you through, with no wrong turns or false corridors to wander off down.
It is generally split into gallery style rooms, but in the corridors and walkways linking, you will find lots of nice quirky touches such as motion sensor exhibits; (I managed to keep my cool around all but one of these).
When you come to the end of the museum, you are naturally forced to exit through the gift shop (as most places cause you to do nowadays). All I will say with regards to the gift shop is that it was shocking. When I say shocking, I mean full of complete tat (more so than the usual you'd expect).
The shop sold very little Ripley's merchandise other than a couple of bags, a few pencils, and a mug (which incidentally is what the shop seems to take people for).
The rest seemed to be full of sweets (that can be found in ANY newsagents for half the price), and a few plastic animals, (I wasn't completely sure of how they linked to the contents of the museum).
MY OVERALL THOUGHTS:
There were parts of Ripley's I loved, but I also felt let down in a lot of ways. Unfortunately I do feel that the cons outweigh the pros in the case of this attraction.
*Lots of quirky exhibits, including things you wouldn't expect to find in a typical museum. It was nice to see original historical artifacts, such as clothing hundreds of years old, or part of the Berlin Wall (which incidentally, I felt was completely under-emphasised - see cons).
*Opportunity to interact with some of the exhibits (i.e. they talk to you/flash/move/film you); including silly things to make you giggle.
*Easy to find your way round, including plenty of toilet facilities (which were VERY clean).
*Easy to get to using buses or the underground.
*I felt there weren't enough of the interactive exhibits, and 2 of them were not working at the time of our visit.
Similarly, I did not feel there was enough information with some attractions (I found myself trying to search it out); whereas others offered far too much information for what it was. I think this would render Ripley's unsuitable for particularly young children, as I believe they would get bored quite quickly.
**[As an addition; I feel that some exhibits may have been a little distressing for younger children, and I couldn't see there being any parental advisory or warning prior to these].
*Ripley's (in my opinion) needs to have a more even spread of what they choose to exhibit. For example, although interesting, the Marilyn Monroe Gallery seemed to be a little excessive; whereas other things that I found more interesting (such as how the human heads were shrunk), were placed near the very end, and seemed to be somewhat underwhelming in their display and descriptions in comparison.
*I personally felt that the museum lacked a little coherence; it didn't appear to follow a format such as a time line, or cultural linkage.
I found it a little confusing to be studying a man with half a body, then to be dipping my hand in freezing water (the Titanic exhibit), and then to study Marilyn's make up bag!
*The nature of the building means that there are stairs. I did notice that you can use the lift to descend if needs be, but I'm not sure if it'd mean you'd miss some parts of the galleries. Thus, I wouldn't recommend to anyone with mobility difficulties.
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Although this was a fun touristy type thing to do, I don't think I would re-visit Ripley's.
It took us around an hour and a half to wander round, but I did find myself becoming a little bored in some of the rooms. This was partly due to me expecting to be 'wowed' and amazed by everything that I came into contact with. However, I did find some things quite tame, and having seen/read about these things before, the 'believe it or not' factor didn't even come into it.
As a one off, the entrance fee is fairly standard (and in some cases better value) than the usual London attraction fees.
The member of staff did try to up-sell me 'mirror maze' tickets, but I wasn't interested, and they gave me no explanation or incentive as to why I should part with additional funds. Thus meaning I can only assume that it was just a run-of-the-mill mirror maze!
It is a great concept for an attraction, but could do with a little more work going into it.
Address: The London Pavilion, 1 Piccadilly Circus, London W1J 0DA
Open: Open 7 days a week, 365 days of the year
10.00 - midnight (last entry 22.30)
Nearest Tube: Piccadilly Circus