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Top 5 Unusual Museums in England

Museum of Brands, via their Facebook page

If you're after a slightly more alternative take on history and culture, you’re in luck. Whether you are consumed by consumerism, have lost your marbles, or you just get gas, there's plenty of weird and wonderful stuff for you to learn about in England's museums.


The House of Marbles, Devon

You may remember them as a thing from your childhood – or stories from your grandparents' childhoods – but trust us, marbles are pretty mesmerising at any age. Watch these perfect globs of glass appear before your very eyes! The House of Marbles features an on-site working glassworks, alongside marble runs (think Wallace and Gromit) and exhibitions on glass, pottery, and games from across the centuries.

Image credit: The House of Marbles via Facebook

The House of Marbles is (appropriately) located on Pottery Road, Bovey Tracey, Devon TQ13 9DS


Museum of Brands, London

London is teeming with strange and unique museums, but for one of the most unusual, look no further than the Museum of Brands. Home to the Robert Opie collection – the world's largest collection of packaging and related materials – there are over 12,000 items here, 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, like toys and fashion, which provide a fascinating look at the history of consumer culture and changing life in Britain over the past 150 years.

Image credit: Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising via Facebook

Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising can be found at 111-117 Lancaster Road, Notting Hill, London W11 1QT


Derwent Pencil Museum, Cumbria

Celebrate pointy pencil perfection at the Derwent Pencil Museum. Located in Keswick, where graphite was discovered qnd eventually used for pencils (after marking sheep), the museum traces the history of this nostalgic writing tool from the 17th century 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 the world’s largest coloured pencil! Children and adults can both take part in art workshops, while the Derwent Fine Art retail shop is the perfect spot to pick up their eponymous pencils – renowned for their quality, and a draw for children, adults and professional artists alike.

Image credit: Derwent Pencil Museum via Facebook

Derwent Pencil Museum can be found at Southey Works, Keswick CA 125NG


National Gas Museum, Leicester

Er, no – thankfully we don't mean that kind of gas... this is the world’s largest and most significant gas history collection, don't you know. Here you can see vintage working gas lights, learn how gas became one of the world’s most important energy systems, illuminating Victorian Britain, and discover gas gadgets like the gas radio and – believe it! – the gas hair-dryer.

Image credit: National Gas Museum via Flickr

The National Gas Museum is located at 195 Aylestone Road, Leicester LE2 7QH


Dog Collar Museum, West Yorkshire

Love museums? Love dogs, and possibly S&M? Well, this could be the place for you! Tucked inside Leeds Castle, the diminutive Dog Collar Museum is easily one of the country’s most eccentric museums, and a testament to our obsession with those four-legged fellas. 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.

Image credit: leeds-castle via Facebook

Dog Collar Museum can be found at 2 Broomfield Rd, Broomfield, Maidstone ME17 1PL

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