Tuesday 8 January 2013

Ripleys Believe It Or Not

To be honest, I'd never heard of Ripley’s Believe It Or Not  Which is strange, because I have lived in London all my life and I am the mother of two children aged 8 and 11, and it is situated in the middle of Piccadilly Circus. It is  the largest of the 33 Ripley's around the world and has houses a collection of  more than 700 weird, wonderful and chilling artefacts. Piccadilly Circus, is however, one of my least favourite places in London- a tacky tourist mecca, complete with Macdonalds and brightly-lit advertising, and stalls selling extortionate mini Red London buses, and the ubiquitous Union Jack Tee-shirts, but Ripley's is  easy to find, right outside one of the Picadilly Tube Exits. Once you enter the lobby, and find the model of the tallest man in the world playing in a band, alongside a model of a three legged man, and a tiny man in a birdcage (who was apparently held captive in a birdcage after he'd been arrested for stealing something) you will have forgotten the tack of Piccadilly anyway.

My 11-year-old  son had read the Ripley annual at a friends' house and loved it. He and his friend (who we bought along) are the absolute ideal visitors to Ripley's. My eight-year-old daughter had decided that visiting Ripley's was going to be really boring, (rather like going to a museum) but her conclusion was that it was 'awesome.' My sons's favourite exhibit was a life size knitted Ferrari and all three children loved the holagram of Mr Ripley talking about his collection.

Mr Robert Ripley was born in 1890 in Santa Rosa California, and was apparently one of the most famous people in the world during the first half of the 20th Century. He was  a cartoonist, explorer,  reporter, adventurer, illustrator, collector and seeker of the odd and unusual. He explored India, but his favorite destination was China, and for several months after he first traveled to the Orient, Ripley signed his cartoons Rip Li. It was also during these travels that he picked up many strange souvenirs that were the first of his huge collection.


My son has asked me to add that the collection is not for the squeamish - there are some shrunken heads and a two headed lamb and a 'scary' man with crocodile teeth, who starts talking as you pass by (which made me jump and scream) and a model of  man being electrocuted - push the button and watch him fizz.  There are also models of the tallest man and the fattest  and one of the smallest road-worthy cars ever produced. The experience is like a kind of 3D Guinness Book of Records .

After looking at the exhibits, we all loved running and screaming through the Mirror Maze, which is a series of columns and arches surrounded by hundreds of mirrored reflections in every direction. The floor lighting enhances the "infinity effect" by giving the illusion of continuing hallways. It was fun  to be excited and silly, all too often I have watched on the sidelines as the children have a rip roaring time, so it was good to join in. They  found getting lost in the maze hysterically funny.

The absolute highlight for the children was the laser game on the ground floor. They had to race against  the clock, one at a time, ducking and diving so as not to touch the lazer beams.

For a family ticket you would normally pay over £80 for a ticket to Ripley's but if you go to the moneysupermarket site, you can find discounted vouchers for all sorts of experiences, including Ripleys. We were lucky enough to be given a family ticket to review it for you.



Opening Times Open 365 days a year from 10:00 AM –  midnight
Last entry at 10:30 PM

Address: The London Pavillion
1 Piccadilly Circus
Telephone: +44 (0)20 3238 0022
Email: info@ripleyslondon.com

Prices for Ripley's Believe It or Not! London
(Ultimate Explorer tickets – includes Mirror Maze and Laser Race)
15% off price when booking online at www.ripleyslondon.com
Adult Ticket: £26.95 per ticket
Child Ticket: £21.95  per ticket
Family Ticket: £87.95 per ticket (2 adults, 2 children)
Concession Ticket: £24.95 per ticket

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