Weird and wonderful days out, experiences and exhibits to visit around the UK

What do forensic investigations, poisonous plants and lightsabers have in common?

You can try them out for yourself (not the poisonous plants though, please), right here in the UK!

There are a whole load of kooky immersive experiences, exhibits and places just waiting for your visit.

From a puzzling light show in Bristol to the world of Frankenstein brought to life in Bath, these should be top of your list for a day trip.

Plus, we’ll even tell you where to stay and how to get there.

Project What If, Bristol

Blending science and art, this futuristic exhibition has been curated entirely from existential questions asked by Bristol locals and explores the curiosities that keep you up at night — such as the question ‘why do rainbows make us happy?’

Featuring 68 interactive exhibits and 25 pieces of art, there are seven question ‘constellations’ — rainbows, sand, universe, time, invisibility, illness and soul — that take on their own voice through hands-on stories.

You can get lost in puzzles, turn invisible, visit a room that changes colour and chat to a robot about the meaning of life.

How much? Tickets are £15.95 (adults) and £10.45 (kids), wethecurious.org

Stay at: Elegant waterside The Bristol Hotel, which has rooms from £89.

Nearest train station: Bristol Temple Meads

Mary Shelley’s House of Frankenstein, Bath

Mary Shelley wrote much of Frankenstein in Bath in 1818. The story of deranged scientist Victor Frankenstein and the monster he brought to life, it’s considered the world’s first science fiction novel and is suitably dank and scary.

As suited to horror fans as it is lovers of literature, this immersive experience is set over four floors, one of which is dedicated to the life of Shelley herself, which played out much like a Gothic plot.

Deep down in the foreboding basement you will come face to face with an 8ft-tall recreation of Frankenstein’s monster (not Boris Karloff) that is bound to be as unnerving as it is fascinating — he was composed of old body parts, after all.

How much? Tickets start at £12.50, houseoffrankenstein.com

Stay at: Cosy, boutique B&B Brooks Guest House has rooms from £108pn.

Nearest train station: Bath Spa

Alnwick Poison Gardens, Alnwick

Nestled inside Northumberland’s Alnwick Garden, a popular spot for weddings, sits the deadliest garden in the world.

No, seriously — the 100 species of toxic, intoxicating and narcotic plants that grow in The Poison Garden won’t just bring you out in a nasty rash, they will put you to sleep. Forever.

Visitors are prohibited from smelling, touching or tasting any plants, while charismatic head gardener Trevor gives an amazing guided tour pointing out their beauty in the same breath as explaining exactly how they will kill you.

No one’s actually ever died at Alnwick, although some sensitive souls have fainted from inhaling the toxic fumes while walking in the garden, so enter at your peril!

How much? Tickets are £14.85 (adults), £5.50 (kids up to 16), alnwickgarden.com

Stay at: The seaside-themed Hope & Anchor has rooms from £115pn

Nearest train station: Alnmouth

Jedi Training, Brighton

Wannabe Jedis can live out their dream of wielding a lightsaber and fighting for good to triumph over evil at this Star Wars workshop led by a Jedi master (we can’t guarantee it will be Obi-Wan Kenobi).

Starting with basic sword skills, once you’re up to scratch you get your hands on the real deal, powering up your lightsaber and re-enacting famous battle scenes from the film. Is the force within you?

You’ll have to duel to find out who the chosen one is before everyone gets to swoosh around to their heart’s content with a battlesaber.

Fancy dress is strongly encouraged so dig out your Princess Leia buns and you’re good to go.

How much? £55pp, fizzbox.com

Stay at: Rooms at the Art Deco-inspired Paskins Town House start at £90.

Nearest train station: Brighton

Mother Shipton’s Cave, North Yorkshire

Billed as England’s oldest tourist attraction, it’s said to be the birthplace in 1488 of soothsayer Ursula Southell.

Among her predictions were the Great Fire of London in 1666 and the Spanish Armada in 1588.

Also known as Mother Shipton, legend has it she was born during a thunderstorm and that when she drew her first breath, she cackled rather than cried and the storm ceased.

Rumours grew that she and her mother, Agatha, were witches and that the skull-shaped pool within the cave could turn things to stone.

This pool became know as the Petrifying Well because it coats objects in layers of minerals, hardening them until they become stone-like.

Today, both these natural phenomena sit in the Royal Forest of Knaresborough and you can see small objects turning to stone and explore the cave.

How much? Tickets start at £25 per car (up to five people) or £8 per pedestrian, mothershipton.co.uk

Stay at: Georgian-era Newton House has rooms from £100pn.

Nearest train station: Knaresborough

CSI Experience Day, Huddersfield

Binge-watched everything true crime on Netflix?

Prepare to lose your mind. Head to Huddersfield and you can spend the day learning to lift fingerprints, analyse blood splatter and interview witnesses on this crime scene investigation workshop.

Combining the adrenaline of an escape room with the mind-blowing truth about what goes on behind the scenes, what starts with a hands-on introduction into the basics of forensic science switches to a briefing on the crime of the day before it’s over to you to crack the case.

Thirsty for more? Book on to their Digging Deeper Into Forensics follow-up, where you can recreate your own grisly crime scene.

How much? £59pp, buyagift.co.uk

Stay at: The Foxglove is a charming country pub with rooms from £65pn.

Nearest train station: Denby Dale

Foodie Bonus: Moor Hall, West Lancashire

As the name suggests, Moor Hall is quite the grandiose setting for lunch or dinner (lucky guests who stay over in one of their seven luxurious bedrooms can also experience their breakfast).

One of the most important listed buildings in the UK, this imposing manor house was constructed in 1533 but its present incarnation as a restaurant with rooms began in 2015, when Andy and Tracey Bell took over and renovated it in partnership with chef Mark Birchall.

Since then, they have been awarded two Michelin stars and five AA Rosettes, and in August Moor Hall was crowned Restaurant of the Year at the National Restaurant Awards 2021 for the second time.

‘We want to bring together the very best surroundings with the best dining experiences,’ says Mark.

No danger of not achieving that — you can stroll around the expansive gardens and lake to work up an appetite before sitting down to exquisite dishes such as turbot with artichoke, mussels, salsify and roe, honey roast Sladesdown duck with girolle, sweetcorn and beans, or Eve’s delight strawberries with cream cheese.

Nearest train station: Aughton Park. moorhall.com

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