The word on the street is of cricket, and cricket only. There is little escaping the buzz of the ICC Cricket World Cup, especially if you are few of the lucky folks who have managed to travel to the UK to witness the thrill. But, when you aren’t engaged in the fervour of the sport, the country has much to keep you interested. Take this for instance: by estimation of the Museum Association, there are over 2500 of them in the country, all waiting to be explored. Here are seven of the most unique museums in the UK, just something to keep on the to-do list while you wait for India to whisk that trophy.
The Smallest House in Great Britain, Conwy
Painted in bright red, this quaint house is the smallest house in Great Britain. An infill building, the house is merely 72 inches across and 120 inches deep and yet boasts of a living area, cooking facilities and a bedroom. Though ideal for one person, many couples lived in it through the generations. The Smallest House was declared unfit for habitation in the 1900s but was converted into a tourist attraction. Visitors are allowed on all days, with a small fee, to experience this tiny living space.
Telephone Box Museum, Warley
It may not be the smallest house, but it is one of the world’s smallest museums. Fashioned out of a disused telephone booth, this museum in Warley, Yorkshire is filled with local artefacts and personal items. The exhibitions change frequently, and only one person is permitted to view at a time, given the constraints of space. With phone booths are running out of purpose, this is an interesting way of holding on to something so typically British.
Museum of Mental Health, Wakefield, West Yorkshire
Located in Fieldhead Hospital, the Museum of Mental Health in Wakefield is a homage to the West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum. The museum’s aim is to spread awareness, and the rooms have been carefully constructed to show how mental hospitals functioned before. The cluttered space shows medical instruments, uniforms, ECT equipment, a bath and a padded cell.
Museum of Witchcraft, Cornwall
This one might spook you out a bit. The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic explores the ancient beliefs of magic and its practice with reference to different cultures of the world. Some curious artefacts include skulls, cat charms and bottles for potions, voodoo dolls and ouija boards. If the spellbooks and ingredient lists aren’t enough to make you squirm, then perhaps you could join one of the night sessions hosted by the museum.
The Pierkarski brothers have been collecting cuckoo clocks for over forty years, presenting them in the Cuckooland Museum in Cheshire. The museum boasts of many rare pieces like the quail or trumpeter clocks. With over 600 cuckoo clocks, the brothers have displayed a history that stretches for 300 years. While your eyes feast on the sight, keep in mind that these clocks will chirp at odd hours, loudly and often.
Sheelin Lace Museum, Enniskillen
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Housing the most exquisite and delicate of treasures, Sheelin Lace Museum has a private collection of laces on display. Dating from 1850 to 1920, the collection boasts of veils, handkerchiefs, christening gowns and wedding gowns. The museum is located within the Irish lace shop, for customers to indulge in.
Beaumaris Gaol, Anglesey, Wales
From a disused phone booth to jail, the last item on our list is just as interesting. Beaumaris Gaol in Wales was a prison during the 1800s and is now converted into a museum that showcases the life of those who occupied it. The dark corridors, the cell and the places of punishment make for eerie but intriguing sights. There is also a cursed church tower that seldom keeps the right time. A good way to experience Victorian times.