Monday, 15 April 2013

The UK's weirdest museums for an alternative day out

From lawnmowers to dog collars, Britain is home to some of the quirkiest exhibitions you will ever see! If you are looking for something a little more off-the-wall for an alternative day out then here is a selection of Britain's most bizarre and unique museums:

1. Dog Collar Museum at Leeds Castle, Kent
Dog fans will love this unique collection of historic and fascinating dog collars. The collection which spans 400 years has been built up over time and is now the largest collection of dog collars in the world. Dogs have always been present at Leeds Castle: hounds for hunting, gundogs, huge mastiffs to guard the gates, and lap dogs to grace the apartments of widowed queens. Olive, Lady Baillie, the last private owner of the castle always had several dogs and it is therefore fitting that Leeds Castle should be home to this unique museum. 

Most of the collars were generously presented to the Leeds Castle Foundation by Mrs John Hunt in memory of her husband, a distinguished Irish scholar.

After closing for refurbishment the museum will be open to visitors daily so make sure you pop in on your next visit to Leeds Castle!

Visit the Leeds Castle website for more information.

2. British Lawnmower Museum in Southport, Merseyside
If you are a bit of a lawn perfectionist then this showcase of lawnmowers could be right up your garden path. Set up by former racing champion and lawnmower enthusiast Brian Radam, the museum houses an astounding number of exhibits, from Victorian-era garden machinery to lawnmowers of the rich and famous including; Brian May and Prince Charles.

For more information visit the website.
3. The Gnome Reserve in Devon
If you are looking for a completely unique and fun experience for all the family then throw yourself into the magical world of gnomes at The Gnome Reserve.  Set within 4 acres of rural countryside comprising of a woodland, stream, 30 yard pond, meadow and garden the Reserve is home to over a thousand gnomes and woodland creatures, and hundreds of species of wild flowers, herbs, grasses and ferns.

As not to embarrass the gnomes, guests are loaned free red caps and fishing rods. Don’t forget to take your camera to get lots of photographic evidence and memorable photo album material.

For more information visit the website.

4. Lock Museum in Willenhall
Are you fascinated by the mechanical forces behind the everyday lock and key? The Lock Museum boasts a great variety of locks, bolts and keys, and their materials and finishes. The museum is located in a typical Victorian locksmith’s house and workshop in Willenhall which is the heart of the lock making industry since the industrial revolution. Visitors not only experience the living and working conditions of a locksmith’s family around the turn of the last century but get to see demonstrations of lock making on original blacksmith’s hearths, flypresses and belt driven machinery. 

Visit the website for more information.

5. The Pencil Museum in Cumbria
Perhaps the quirkiest of all the museums mentioned is The Pencil Museum which shows the journey of the pencil from its invention by shepherds in the 17th Century to modern day art equipment.
The museum was set up in the canteen building of the UK’s first pencil factory. The pencil factory has been producing pencils for 180 years and is the only graphite mine in the country. As well as telling the history of pencils, the museum offers a wide range of workshops for everyone to enjoy!
Visit their website for more information. 
If you know of any more unusual museums that should feature on our list then please let us know by commenting below.

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