Not long ago we had the opportunity to visit and review Ripley’s Believe It or Not! London with my family. We hadn’t been there before so we were all pretty excited about visiting this well known London attraction. We don’t live too far from central London, so our journey was straight forward.
Before I start with my review. I would love if you could watch this video we filmed of the day. I hope that you like it! 🙂
I will start my post with a brief explanation of who Mr Ripley was and what he achieved so you can understand a little bit more about this fantastic attraction. Robert Ripley (1890–1949) was a cartoonist, explorer, reporter, adventurer, and collector, who travelled to 201 countries over 35 years seeking the odd, the unusual, and the unexplained.
He was nicknamed “The Modern Marco Polo”, and he acquired hundreds of exotic artefacts from around the world in his endless search for unbelievable stories to draw in his popular newspaper cartoon feature. Mr Ripley published lots of Believe It or Not! books and collections of his newspaper cartoon drawings. The success of the first book led to Ripley hosting a wildly successful live weekly radio show. After this he launched a weekly television show that was based on his successful radio show format. Ripley displayed some of his artefacts, drew cartoons on camera, and re-enacted fantastic unbelievable stories, followed by interviews with the actual “stars” of the stories.
Ripley’s television show was the first “reality” show and grew quickly in popularity until he had a heart attack while on stage. He will be remembered for creating one of the most recognised and used phrases in the English language: Believe It or Not!
In 1950, the first permanent Ripley’s Believe It or Not! attraction was launched in Florida. Today there are 32 Ripley’s Believe It or Not! attractions in ten countries, dozens of Ripley books, a huge internet web presence, and hundreds of television videos.
This attraction is ideal for family days out as your kids will be amazed with all the things that they can see and learn there. It is the ultimate home of the UNBELIEVABLE! Their imagination will run wild as they explore wonders from around the world all under one roof! They can see the Harry Potter Hungarian Horntail made from recycled bike parts, London’s Tower Bridge made from matchsticks and a transformer! The idea is for the whole family to experience a day out of the ordinary.
There are so many fantastic things to see there. Even my little Sienna who is only 2 years old had a great time walking around this amazing collection of very weird and wonderful things. You and the family get to step inside a world where the bizarre and the unbelievable come to life and amazement waits around every corner. Things I found particularly fascinating were an actual chunk of the Berlin Wall, Amazonian shrunken heads, a knitted Ferrari and a chewing gum sculpture! How fabulous is that?
There are lots of interesting areas within the whole exhibition, which include:
Gallery of Great – Here you can find a collection of amazing art created from unusual materials, including plastic cutlery, butterflies, laundry lint, toast, computer keys, matchsticks and even cow dung! I was amazed with this section
Famous Faces – Robert Ripley travelled the globe looking for the unusual and unexplained and was particularly fascinated by the Far East. We found many famous faces and icons here, including Michelle Obama made from bottle caps, Michael Jackson made out of sweets, The Duchess of Cambridge made from lipstick kisses on a canvas and even incredible art made from toast! This was fantastic!
Exotic Treasures – Here you will find rare objects such as decorated cannibal skulls, shrunken heads and intricately designed headdresses. We went through the Hall of Exotica in search of these rare relics and admired the Beauty Room to discover how beauty is perceived in different cultures around the globe. This was very interesting.
Mr Ripley was fascinated with people with amazing talents or could perform phenomenal feats. One such person was one of his friends, Robert Wadlow, a gentleman with a height of 8ft 11 inches making him the tallest man to have ever lived! Bella was very interested about the story of this man and I must admit we all were!
They have so many curious characters such as a Lizard man who has had a lot of body modifications in order to look like a real lizard! How odd is that? We also saw Johnny Eckhardt who was born with a truncated torso but went on to enjoy an extensive career in entertainment and the lighthouse man who is a Chinese street guide who drilled a candle into his head in order to give night tours of the city of Chongqing!
Ripley was intrigued with animal oddities, pre-historic discoveries, space-age souvenirs, curious creatures and much more.
The section also has prehistoric shark teeth, an albino alligator, whale harpoon and much more! This area was interesting but wasn’t my girls favourite though.
More interesting and fun activities to do with your kids:
Marvellous Mirror Maze
This “infinity effect” maze gives the illusion of continuing hallways, when in fact you are at a dead end! The challenge here is to find your way out again; It could be backwards or forwards. This was actually very fun but there was a moment when I felt scared because we couldn’t find our way back! Bella loved it!
This activity comes as part of your ticket fee, and can be found towards the end of the tour. Bella was really keen to give it a go. It’s a kind of ‘Mission Impossible’ style challenge set against the clock, in which you need to jump, crawl and twist your way between the various laser beams placed throughout this laser maze. Bella had a go at the LaseRace with Daddy whilst I stayed outside with little Sienna. You can choose various difficulty levels when playing which was a good idea. They thought it was great fun.
The black hole is a rotating vortex tunnel. As you enter it, you will feel that the walkway is moving beneath you but you soon realise that your eyes just might be deceiving you. Despite this, it still feels like the walkway is moving! This was a super experience which we all loved.
As you can see there is plenty to see at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! London. It is an attraction that can be visited not only during the summer holidays but at any time of the year. It is very interesting and I’m sure your kids will find it fascinating!
This attraction is located next to Piccadilly Circus Tube Station in Central London (Address: The London Pavilion, 1 Piccadilly Circus, London W1J 0DA) which is very easy to locate. Also it is always better to buy your tickets in advance as you can save about 15% compared to Ripley’s price on the door. It opens daily including Christmas Day and Bank Holidays from 10 am to Midnight. How fantastic is that?
They also have audio guides in different languages, a coffee shop and a gift shop. It is also a great option for schools and groups as it is a fun and educational visit! You can see their different ticket prices HERE. You can also find more about them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or on YouTube.
What do you think of Ripley’s Believe It or Not! London? Have you been there before? What area did you like the most? Will you take your kids to this attraction? Leave a comment below so I can read what you think about it.
*Disclosure: I was sent family tickets to go to Ripley’s Believe It or Not! London in exchange for a blog post. However all thoughts and opinions are my own.
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