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Britain’s Most Unusual Museums

Britain’s Most Unusual Museums

11 October 2017 | Nicola Freedman

Britain is home to some of the world’s most impressive museums, which justifiably attract hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. However, for those after a slightly more alternative look into British history and culture, you’re in luck. Whether you’re spellbound by witchcraft or fascinated by consumer culture, it’s very likely that there is an entire museum dedicated to it. Explore the most bizarre, with our guide to the country’s must-visit unusual museums.

Museum of Witchcraft and Magic


Image credit: Ellie Smart

Harry Potter isn’t the only source of magic in the UK. Located in the picturesque village of Boscastle, along the dramatic North Cornwall Coast, the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic is home to the world’s largest, and oldest, collection of witchcraft related artefacts and regalia. With numerous exhibitions and events, as well as over 3,000 objects (including voodoo dolls and Ouija boards), visitors can discover the history of magical practice in Britain, from past to present.

Museum of Witchcraft and Magic can be found at The Harbour, Boscastle, Cornwall PL35 0HD


Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising
 

Image credit: Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising/ via Facebook
 
London is teeming with strange and unique museums, but for one of the most unusual, look no further than the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising. Home to the Robert Opie collection – the world's largest collection of packaging and related materials - the museum exhibits over 12,000 items documenting the evolution of well-loved brands, from 1890s Rimmel cosmetics to 1930s Mars Bars, Rolos and KitKats. Artefacts of daily life are also on display, including household appliances, games, toys and fashion, which provide a fascinating look at the history of consumer culture and changing life in Britain over the past 150 years.
 
Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising can be found at 111-117 Lancaster Road, Notting Hill, London W11 1QT


Derwent Pencil Museum
 

Image credit: Derwent Pencil Museum/ via Facebook
 
Celebrate pencil perfection at the Derwent Pencil Museum. Located in Keswick, where graphite was first mined for pencils, the museum traces the history of the writing tool from the 17th century through to present day. Among the museum’s displays is a collection of secret WW2 pencils with hidden maps, the Queen’s diamond Jubilee pencil and, most notably, the world’s largest coloured pencil! Various art workshops are also run for both children and adults, while the Derwent Fine Art retail shop is the perfect spot to pick up the renowned brand’s high quality pencils - a favourite of children, adults and professional artists alike.
 
Derwent Pencil Museum can be found at Southey Works, Keswick CA 125NG
 

Colman's Mustard Shop and Museum


Image credit: Colman's Mustard Shop and Museum/ via Facebook

While Heinz Tomato Ketchup is a firm fixture of British mealtimes, and the perfect addition to your bacon sandwich, many overlook Colman’s mustard - an English delicacy and one of the country’s most iconic brands. Originally opened in 1973 to commemorate 150 years of J&J Colman making mustard, the museum celebrates Colman’s Mustard and its history as one of Norfolk’s most successful and long-running businesses. On your way out, don’t forget to purchase a bottle or two. After all, what is a proper Sunday roast without a pot of the glorious, yellowish condiment on the table?

Colman's Mustard Shop and Museum is currently closed, but is set to reopen in Norwich city centre by the end of the year.
 

Dog Collar Museum
 

Image credit: leeds-castle/ via Facebook
 
Love museums and dogs? Tucked inside Leeds Castle, the diminutive Dog Collar Museum is easily one of the country’s most eccentric museums, and a testament to mankind’s obsession with dogs. The museum’s collection includes an eclectic array of over 130 rare and valuable collars, with pieces that span history from medieval to Victorian times, revealing how people have treated, and often spoiled, their pets for over 500 years. Visited by more than 500,000 locals and tourists each year, this is a must-visit for dog lovers or anyone with a penchant for collars.
 
Dog Collar Museum can be found at 2 Broomfield Rd, Broomfield, Maidstone ME17 1PL
 

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