ParentView: Ripley's Believe It Or Not Exhibition

30/03/2011 13:26 | Updated 22 May 2015

With half term coming up, you may be gearing up to a day out in London. And right at the heart of the city in Piccadilly Circus, is an attraction that will get your family talking for days.

Ripley's Believe It Or Not bills itself as an "odditorium" – that is, it's a collection of some of the strangest things you'll ever see in your life. It's all based on the collections of Robert Ripley, who travelled the world in the first half of the last century collecting curiosities. His array of impossible things has been brought up to date and gathered together to astonish new generations.

You want a model of The Beatles made out of chewing gum? A picture of Princess Diana fashioned out of lint? Henry VIII's shoe? A spinning tunnel that will challenge your senses and make you think you're floating upside down? It's all here and more.

I went along with my ten-year-old daughter to see how strange it gets.

I should point out that some of this exhibition isn't suitable for those of a sensitive nature. Though those of you with a taste for the gory will love it. I had to shield my daughter's eyes as we passed through the gallery of shrunken heads. As we backed out of the torture chamber we noticed several pre-teen boys cheerfully enjoying working the electric chair. Although my daughter was scared at times, it was a thrilled kind of scared and not the sort to give her sleepless nights.

She much preferred the historical artefacts, including locks of several kings' hair and the model of Sir Winston Churchill. And the huge portrait made out of bubblegum. And we both enjoyed getting thoroughly lost in the mirror maze.

Going round the exhibition took us around two hours. There are lots of places for photo opportunities with the curiosities, and the cheerful staff were quick to step in and offer to help us out by taking our pictures.

We would have lingered longer if there had been a cafe, and a sign indicated that one is on its way. The attraction is spread over several floors, so wear some comfy walking shoes. The fact that it's so spread out meant that it didn't seem too busy, even on a Saturday afternoon in the heart of one of London's most crowded areas.

This would be a great half-term day out if you've got a child who likes Guinness Book of Records-style facts, history and/or gory stuff. My ten-year-old is still talking about it and gives it two thumbs up.

Entrance to Ripleys Believe It or Not costs £21.90 for adults and £17.90 for children (under fours are free). Tickets can be pre-booked on the website (which gets you a 10% discount) or bought on the door.

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