The Weirdest Museums in the Country
Published: Saturday 13th Feb 2016
Written by: The Original Cottages Team
Are you bored of dinosaur bones? Do you yawn at yet more Roman coins? And does the thought of seeing another sculpture send you into a slumber? Well, we’re here to rescue you from museum monotony with this selection of some of the oddest (and therefore most interesting) museums in the land.
The Pencil Museum
Of course, it’s only appropriate to ‘lead’ (that would be far funnier if those words sounded the same. Well, slightly funnier anyway) with the Pencil Museum in Keswick, Cumbria. Amongst other things, when you visit you can learn about the history of the pencil, discover the secret gadget pencil used by airmen in World War 2, and see the largest pencil IN THE WORLD! It’s anything but pointless!
Dog Collar Museum
Hmm, thinking about it this would have been the better place for the lead joke. Anyway, the confusingly named Leeds Castle in Kent has plenty to recommend, but for the purposes of this article we’re interested in the Dog Collar Museum that rests within. Over five hundred years of canine cravats are on display; from Teutonic spiked iron collars forged in the sixteenth century to finely chased nineteenth century collars fashioned from the finest silver. And no, you wouldn’t be the first person to think the ‘no dogs allowed’ rule is rather ironic.
Cumberland has its sausages, Melton Mowbray its pies, and Norwich has its mustard. You can’t help feel that there’s a twinning opportunity there somewhere. Wander down the ornate Victorian Royal Arcade in the centre of the city and you’ll find the Colman’s Mustard Museum. It’s built to resemble a Victorian emporium and inside you can discover everything there is to know about this little yellow Norfolk delicacy, as well as buy all manner of mustardy goodies to take home.
Is Teapot Island the most quintessentially British museum in the land? Found in the heart of Kent, this attraction has over 7,600 different teapots of all shapes and sizes. Want your tea poured from a Dalek’s eyestick? Or how about a Mexican bandit’s bath? Or even the Queen’s head, complete with crown? (The spout is tastefully hidden in her hair in case you were wondering) This is the place for you to see the weird and the wonderful of the teapot world. They even have a café where you can enjoy a wide range of meals or just have a nice cup of coffee.
Phone Box Museum
Not a museum of phone boxes, but a museum in a phone box. Located in the small village of Cilgerran, near Cardigan in Wales, this discontinued communications centre is a tribute to local photographer Tom Mathias who died over 75 years ago. His images are a fascinating look at bygone life in West Wales and can be seen literally wall to wall in this unique museum (coach parties not welcome).
We’re not sure what it is about Devon, but it seems to be the unofficial British capital of weird museums. Whether you want to visit the Lawnmower Museum, Barometer World, the Gnome Reserve or a round National Trust property that has a collection of thousands of seashells, then Devon’s most definitely your oyster. Our particular favourite is the House of Marbles where you can see a huge collection of vintage and traditional toys and games, plus explore the history of glass and pottery in the area. The main attraction is the world’s largest marble run, a hypnotic piece of engineering that could mesmerise Derren Brown from thirty paces.