As long-term residents of London, it is surprising how many of the big attractions we have not done. We are always keen to explore new things in our city and also to share just how many great things there are to do for families in London. Therefore, when 365 tickets contacted us to see if we could visit and review not only one main attraction, but two in one day, we were more than up for the challenge. Due to their proximity on the Bakerloo line, we opted to visit Ripley’s I Can’t Believe It! in Piccadilly, and Madame Tussaud’s in Baker Street.
Booking with 365 tickets makes the day easy: You book online and print the tickets at home, so you are ready to go!
Ripley’s I can’t Believe it!
This has been on my daughter’s ‘places to go’ list for a fair while. Wedged into a corner of busy Piccadilly, it looks quite small, but it’s actually a spacious place with the exhibitions spanning over six floors. My preconception of the place, was that it was full of record breaking facts, like the tallest man and so forth, but it is so much more.
The attraction is based around the collection of serial traveller, Robert Ripley who found the fascination in oddity and curiosity. What surprised me most about the attraction was the amount of interesting exhibits from around the globe – it was actually hugely educational, but presented in a very palatable form that the kids just thought it was fun. For instance, being able to show them part of the Berlin Wall, and talking about the history of this artefact was a brilliant way to introduce this topic. This was, however, juxtaposed with debated whether ‘that dress’ which almost broke the internet last year was blue / gold or white and gold!
As we oohed and ahhed at the art made just from sweets, toast or even dog hair and marvelled at the wonders of being different as a human, and stared at the oddities of our natural world. We were constantly interacting with the exhibitions. The huge range of artefacts on display, means that everyone finds something of interest there.
But, it’s not all about the collections. There is a huge interactive element: The Mirror Maze caused much amusement, and the laser race was unbelievable fun and the kids and I tried to tackle the laser obstacle course as quick as possible (it wasn’t pretty on my part!). But the most funny part was the Black Hole, a rotating vortex, which challenges your perception of balance. I’m not ashamed to say it totally foxed me, and I was the one clinging to the side for dear life.
We took about an hour an half to go round this attraction and although we covered it all, I am sure there are many oddities we didn’t spend enough time looking at. You could easily spend longer there.
We then jumped on the tube at Piccadilly Circus and went a couple of stops to Baker Street to visit the next attraction.
Madame Tussauds is one of those ‘tick list’ attractions. You have to do it at least once. This means one bad thing: crowds. We queued to get in (thankfully, our pre-printed tickets meant we joined a shorter queue), and it was very busy. However, the crowds are very well managed and you easily get to see the figures and get those required selfie shots.
I tried to be the ‘cool one’ who nodded appreciatively at the wax figures, but no, the kids and I squealed at delight as we spotted another celebrity. The waxworks are complete works of art, they are just so realistic. As I’ve mentioned already, it is selfie heaven, and I’m afraid we joined in with that game …
Again, the experience has been optimised with a few other attractions. This includes, the newly-opened Sherlock Holmes experience. This has a lot of potential: A promenade-style theatre experience. However, I felt the group was too big and the plot line not quite thought out, so it quickly lost its momentum and purpose. I have high hopes that this will be revamped as it could be brilliant.
The kids favourite parts were the Spirit of London ride, where we nipped into black cabs to be whirled around a history of London, and the Marvel Super Heroes 4D cinema experience, situated in what was the planetarium. This is the sort of thing the kids describe as being ‘epic’ as we donned our 3D glasses and were treated to the full 4D treatment (this includes a gentle mist of water!). Lastly, we walked through the Stars Wars exhibition, a must for any fan.
We spent just under 2 hours here, so easily combined with Ripley’s. It didn’t feel too much in one day, although it was a busy packed day and another little bit of London explored!
Watch our mini vlog of the day:
365 Tickets have come up with this great infographic which shows how you can combine two attractions in one day. I would love to know if you’ve managed any of these, and your top tips for enjoying London to the full.
We were given complimentary tickets to both attractions for the purpose of this review, but all opinions and images are my own