The most eccentric attractions in the UK

Branxton Cement Menagerie, photo by Andrew Curtis

The UK is a place of classical beauty, lavish architecture, and dignified daily rituals (think 5 o’clock tea), but there is a wilder side to this country that walks hand in hand with subcultural styles and attractions ranging from the quaint to the downright bizarre. Such a varied country cannot be explore only one way if you want to get the full UK experience, so between visits to museums, castles or shopping arcades there’s place for some more unusual sights too. The most eccentric attractions in the UK are often off the beaten track, but they will most certainly not disappoint any traveler.

Royston Cave, Hertfordshire

Royston Cave, photo by Sizbut

Royston Cave is a small man-made cave that hosts some of the most intricate and astounding carvings you will see anywhere. The cave is believed to date back to the 14th century, and it is speculated that it was used by the Knights Templar who founded the nearby town of Bandock. Although the origins of the cave are disputed, the medieval carvings on the wall, depicting strange Christian imagery are indisputably interesting.

Devon Worm Charming Festival, Blackawton, Devon

World charming is definitely an unusual hobby, but more widespread than one would imagine. Such a quaint sport fits with the UK’s rainy weather – it’s easier to charm earthworms out of wet ground. World charming is a competitive sport, and an international festival takes place in May in Devon, where children and adults try to extract as many worms as possible from a patch of ground.

Branxton Cement Menagerie, Branxton, Northumberland

Branxton Cement Menagerie  is possibly the most imaginative sculpture garden in the UK. These formerly popular tea-rooms have closed, but the garden filled with cement animals is still open to the public. There are few things stranger than walking through an empty garden populated with concrete giraffes, cattle, Lawrence of Arabia on his camel and Winston Churchill complete with his cigar, so this is definitely one of the most eccentric attractions in the UK.

Mother Shipton’s Cave, Knaresborough

Mother Shipton's Cave, photo by Rob Farrow

Mother Shipton was a famous prophet who lived in Elizabethan times, and her birthplace is the site of one of the few known petrified springs in the UK. The mineral content of the water is so high that it turns everything in its way to stone. You can make a wish at the spring, or touch various petrified objects hanging from the cliff wall.

The Kinema in the Woods, Woodhall Spa

The scenic resort village of Woodhall Spa has an attraction that no real cinephile should miss. The Kinema in the Woods is a 20’s style cinema where entry tickets are made of paper, there are intermissions during the films, a Compton organ that plays music in the intervals. Plus, there’s also a mouth watering old-fashioned sweets stall.

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