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London: A Weird Guide


The big smoke is a city of enormous historical and cultural significance, and a tourist trap for almost 20 million tourists per year. But while Big Ben, The Houses of Parliament and The Millennium Eye may certainly be adequate fare for neophyte tourists, those more familiar with old London town may hanker for something a little more off the beaten track, something a little more eccentric, something a little more... weird.

Cheap flights to London are easier to come by than ever, meaning that most people will get to experience this great city more than once. If the usual tourist destinations give you the hives then it may be worth delving into some of the lesser known nooks and crannies to see the weirder side of London.

Get creeped out in the clown gallery
With Stephen King’s terrifying masterpiece It, due a cinematic reimagining this year, what better time is there to visit London’s infamous Clown’s Gallery museum. Lurking in the shady corners of Cumberland Close, this nondescript little gallery (opening only on the first Friday of every month) displays photos, props, costumes and wigs used by some of the nation’s most famous clowns that will fascinate those with a morbid curiosity (or even a childhood fondness) with these greasepaint adorned jesters. Circus lore states that no two clowns can use the same makeup as this is the mark of each individual clown. To prevent plagiarism amongst the clown community, olden day clowns painted their unique look onto an egg (first real and then ceramic). This museum houses a comprehensive collection of over 200 such eggs.

Travel back in time through Dennis Severs’ house
Those who like to combine a taste for the theatrical with a love of history will appreciate the fragmented time capsule that is Dennis Severs’ house in the trendy area of Spitalfields. The ten rooms of this Huguenot house have been bedecked in period decorations and furnishings to create miniature snapshots of life in the area in bygone ages between 1724 and 1914. These snapshots of still-life drama are brought to life with a guided tour by a silent escort. Why silent? Because the rooms don’t just contain period objects and decor; they come alive with the sounds and smells of activities that render it a multisensory experience just like stepping back in time.  

Get bedazzled by the neon signs in God’s Own Junkyard
Veteran neon artist Chris Bracey has spent decades building lavish and provocative neon signs for everything from big budget Hollywood blockbusters to Soho sex clubs. You can see some prime examples of his robust body of work at his personal collection in his Walthamstow salvage yard. Famous examples of his pieces on show were used in films like Captain America: The First Avenger, Byzantium and Stanley Kubrick’s final film Eyes Wide Shut'. Among the gaudy neon you’ll also find more modest examples of his artwork, including a range of impressive commissions and gallery works.

London is a vast and sprawling metropolis with so much to see, there’s no harm in getting weird on your next visit.

Stay Gorgeous

(Collaboration Post)

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