A rich history, a colourful culture, and iconic landmarks are just some of the reasons why the UK is one of the most-visited countries in the world. From the London to the Lake District, Britain is teeming with fun and fascinating things to see and do. But what about those days when you want to try something a little bit different to your standard day out? These are some of the quirky and unusual places to visit in the UK to make your adventure a little bit different.
Alnwick Poison Garden - Northumberland
There are thousands of gardens to visit across the UK, but none quite as unusual as Alnwick Poison Gardens . Kept behind ominous black gates are around 100 toxic, intoxicating and narcotic species of plant – deadly if touched or inhaled. Many of them are so dangerous that visitors are prohibited from touching, tasting, or smelling the plants, with some people occasionally fainting from inhaling their toxic fumes.
Mother Shipton’s Cave and Petrifying Well - North Yorkshire
Widely regarded as England’s oldest visitor attraction, Mother Shipton’s Cave and the neighbouring Petrifying Well is one of the most impressive but weirdest places to visit in the UK. Legend has it that Mother Shipton – a famous Yorkshire prophetess – was born in the cave, while the Petrifying Well is a stunning example of natural geological formations. The woodland walk surrounding the area is beautiful, but most visit to witness the waters turning objects into stone.
The Small House - Conwy
Recognised as the smallest house in the UK, this unique and unusual attraction sits in the quaint village of Conwy, North Wales. Bright red, there’s little chance you’ll miss it. It may also be just 72 inches wide and 122 inches high, but the house certainly doesn’t lack character. The atmosphere inside is warm and charming, despite it only being occupied up until May 1900.
Eyam Plague Village - Derbyshire
Between 1665 and 1666, England saw the worst outbreak of plague since 1348, with roughly 15% of the capital’s population succumbing to the disease. With a response which many would recognise today, the inhabitants of the Peak District village of Eyam enforced quarantine to prevent the disease spreading further. The village – in particular the museum – still tells their story of self-sacrifice today. It may be morbid, but it’s one of the most fascinating places in the UK.
Mann Cat Sanctuary – Isle of Man
Cat lovers can rejoice at Mann Cat Sanctuary, a haven for unwanted, disabled and traumatised cats in Santon, Isle of Man. The sanctuary spans six acres, and the cats can wander freely. This provides ample opportunity for visitors to meet some of the furry friends while also taking in the stunning property. It’s essentially an area run by felines, which is as strange in practice as it is written down.
The Gnome Reserve - Devon
Many people find gnomes unreasonably creepy: small, puffy-cheeked people staring from the garden. If you’re one of them, you’ll find The Gnome Reserve in Devon to be one of the more unusual days out in the UK. It holds record for the largest collection of gnomes (over 1,000) scattered across four enchanted acres of garden. Take a wander through beautiful woodland, discover hundreds of gnomes, and enjoy cream teas at this strange land.
Forbidden Corner – North Yorkshire
Tunnels, labyrinths, and chambers might sound like something out of a fairy-tale film, but it’s brought to life at The Forbidden Corner . The four-acre garden in the Yorkshire Dales is a place of magic for families, home to extraordinary statues, seemingly endless paths and passages, and huge pyramids. Families need to make decisions and avoid tricks at every turn in order to make it out – it’s a challenging – albeit quirky – day of fun.
The Singing Ringing Tree - Lancashire
Completed in 2006, the Singing Ringing Tree is a wind powered sound sculpture designed to resemble a tree. Incredibly, its galvanised steel pipes produce songs on a windy day, with the sound carrying across the Forest of Burney. It won the National Award of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 2007, marking its place amongst the UK’s best sculptures. It’s unusual to pray for wind on your day out, but this is one occasion when you will be.
Camera Obscura - Edinburgh
Open since 1835, Camera Obscura is one of the UK’s oldest – and weirdest – attractions. It contains five floors of activities, mind-bending puzzles to challenging games. Get a detailed view of Edinburgh’s streets without having to move a muscle and take photos of the whole city from the rooftop terrace. Camera Obscura began life as a telescope, but it’s now evolved into something weird and wonderful for the whole family to enjoy.
The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic - Cornwall
It may have been taboo hundreds of years ago, but today the idea of witches continues to fascinate us. The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic explores the legends and the truths behind the history of witchcraft, offering a look into practices and beliefs around the world. It also draws comparisons to the today’s beliefs, and how they’ve been impacted by past practices. Be prepared to learn plenty about the weird and wonderful world of witches.
If you’re paying a visit to one a quirky or unusual place in the UK, don’t forget to book an Advance ticket via our website or our Train Tickets app for zero booking fees. You can also find information on how to get cheaper train tickets via our special offers page. If you need more information, you can contact us here.
The UK is bursting with fun activities. Whether you’re visiting one of the best castles in the UK, the best theme parks in the UK, or the best waterparks in the UK, you can always travel by train. CrossCountry has services running up and down the country to ensure you can get to the places you need to be.