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Wonderfully weird Britain: Fifteen must-see attractions
  • This pub and restaurant is not like your usual local. As its name suggests, the building leans making it look tipsy. It was built in 1765 but was affected by subsidence due to local mining in the 1800s, leading to one side of the building being four feet lower than the other! The Crooked House attracts intrigued drinkers from all over to see its leaning walls and glasses slide across the tables. 

    Although the walls are crooked, the floors are straight, creating interesting optical illusions and the owners have annual inspections carried out - just in case it moves! Visit thecrooked-house.co.uk

  • This magical, 18th century building is like no other. It was built for two spinster cousins in an unusual form with diamond-shaped windows and gets even stranger as you go inside. The house holds many of the mementos the sisters brought back from their travels in Europe. The most interesting is the shell gallery, which is encrusted with nearly 25,000 shells they collected. You'll be amazed by the interior design skills of the sisters, with feathers, shells and dainty decorations used throughout.

    Visit nationaltrust.org.uk

  • Whether you're a climber or just into strange rock formations, a visit to see the balancing wonders of Brimham Moor will leave you stunned. The weird rocks were formed by water, wind and glaciation eroding them over time and achieving magnificent shapes. You'll need some imagination with Brimham Rocks and to stand in the right position to see some of the shapes named after a monster, a turtle, a ship and even a dancing bear.

    Visit nationaltrust.org.uk

  • Set in four acres of woodland, meadows and gardens with wild flowers and herbs, more than 1,000 gnomes and pixies reside in North Devon's Gnome Reserve. From fishing gnomes to climbing gnomes and even gnomes sunbathing, you'll be wowed by the number of pottery pixies at the reserve. On arrival, you'll be given a hat and fishing rod, so you can fit in. The kids will love the Gnome Reserve as much as gnome enthusiasts and those looking for a unique day out.

    Visit gnomereserve.co.uk

  • Ever wondered where you can find 6,400 teapots all in one place? Teapot Island in Maidstone invites you to see its collection of quirky and cool teapots. You can watch a pottery demonstration and even get the kids involved in painting their own teapots to take home. The novelty teapots include one of a cowboy in a bath (pictured), one of Princess Diana and even one of a Dalek!

    Visit teapotisland.com

  • Make a visit to 18 Folgate Street in Spitalfields, London where you can see the former house of Dennis Severs, an artist who tried to bring the past alive by recreating this museum as a time capsule in the style of an 18th-century home. The rooms are lit by candlelight and fire, and are kept as though someone has just left the room - food is half eaten (with smells included!), chairs are turned over and the beds are slept in and unmade.

    Visit dennissevershouse.co.uk

  • This grassy mound that rises from the plains in Orkney, Scotland, is in fact a Neolithic tomb that was built 5,000 years ago and a great example of craftsmanship from the Stone Age. The grass mound hides a complex of passages and chambers made from flagstone. The best time to see Maeshowe is at the winter solstice, which occurs on the shortest day of the year (usually the 21 or 22 December), when  sunlight streams into the dark passageway and lights up the chamber, which was perfectly aligned by its ancient inhabitants to catch the rays at this dark time of year.

  • This tiny house in Conwy, North Wales measures just 10 feet by six and was lived in from the 16th century to 1900. The last owner, a fisherman who was six foot three inches tall, left when he became too big to stand up in it and the council declared in unfit to be lived in. Inside, there's room for just one bed, a bedside cabinet, a stove and a water tap! It's in a great location, right next to the towering walls of Conwy Castle.

  • Fancy a tour of the childhood homes of Sir Paul McCartney and John Lennon? You can get a real insight into where the band members lived and their humble beginnings with a visit to their early homes. John Lennon lived at Mendips with his aunt and uncle and this is where his early songs were written. Check out the kitchen from the house, pictured. Paul McCartney's family home at 20 Forthlin Road was where the band met and rehearsed, and you can see some early Beatles memorabilia here.

    The National Trust looks after the homes now and even has a special Beatles tour bus that will take you to and from the houses. A visit here is a must if you're a fan.

    Visit nationaltrust.org.uk

  • Kelvedon Hatch Secret Nuclear Bunker claims to be the biggest and deepest cold war bunker open to the public in southeast England. It was designed for up to 600 military and civilian personnel - possibly even the Prime Minister -their collective task being to organise the survival of the population in the aftermath of a nuclear war. Luckily it's no longer needed - so it has become a tourist attraction instead. Visit secretnuclearbunker.com for more.


  • Why go to Italy when you can find the perfect Mediterranean village on the Welsh waterfront? Portmeirion was the brainchild of architect Clough Williams-Ellis who lovingly constructed it into the hillside on the Dwyryd estuary in the hope that it would pay tribute to the atmosphere of the Med. Some have said that the design was based on the italian town of Portofino, which Williams Ellis strenuously denied. Regardless, this village of brightly-painted buildings and spires built around a central piazza makes the perfect european-flavoured getaway. Admission  from £8.50 for adults; £5 for children. Hotel rooms and self catered cottages are available for rent.

  • What do you do when your collection gets out of control and takes over your whole house? Turn it into a museum of course! The vast collection at Cuckooland was amassed by horologists Roman and Maz Piekarski who have been repairing and restoring clocks since there were 15 years old. Their collection contains over 600 cuckoo clocks, including Trumpeter Clocks and a Gebbruder Bruder concert organ. All are set to go off at intervals throughout your visit so you won't be deafened on the hour, every hour. Tickets are £5.

  • From the outside there's nothing particularly special about this red phone box but, on the inside, it's an Aladdin's cave. The unassuming box sits at the junction of two roads in south Wales near Cilgerran and is filled with black and white photographs taken by Tom Mathias. The late photographer captured charming snapshots of rural life at the turn of the century and his restored collection has now become Wale's smallest museum. Entry free.

  • If you head to Thurloe Square near the V&A museum you'll find this architectural anomaly, which seems impossibly thin at one end. The wedge-shaped house at the end the terrace could be a feat of engineering or a monumental mistake but either way it's highly impressive. Wander to Knightsbridge and ogle the house from the street for free.              

  • The Forbidden Corner bills itself as the strangest place in the world and it might just live up to its accolade. What started as a private folly in 1979 has evolved into a wonderland of sculpted grottos, subterranean chambers, monstrous carved boulders, bizarre statues and secret gardens scattered around Tupgill Park in the Yorkshire Dales. Admission is by pre-booked tickets only, which can be ordered online or over the phone. Adults £11; children 4-15 £9 and concessions £10.