Museum sign (Dreamstime)
List 17 January

7 strange and quirky museums around the world

From rainbow tunnels of instant noodles to monuments celebrating the humble toilet – these museums recommended by Wanderlust readers are certainly odd – but they're endearing and interesting too

1: Cup Noodles Museum, Japan

Cup Noodles Museum (Dreamstime)

Cup Noodles Museum (Dreamstime)

A museum devoted to Pot Noodles... I've never seen anything like it in my life! (Prashant)

With an estimated 100 billion servings of instant noodles consumed every year internationally, this Osaka-based museum is a monument devoted to the king of instant noodles, Momofuku Ando.

Step inside the museum’s rainbow-coloured time tunnel of old noodle products, and learn how this humble home-invented 1958 product has boomed into a global sensation over the years.

Looking to get a hands-on experience? Knead, spread and steam your way through the original instant noodle Chicken Ramen recipe with the guidance of a cookery tutor. Alternatively, get creative with personalised packaging and 5,460 flavour combinations to feast on at home.

For more information visit cupnoodles-museum.jp

2: Museum of Toilets, New Delhi

It was wacky and fascinating - from learning about the history to using methane gas from toilets as cooking fuel (Gill)

Roll-up, roll-up! If you find yourself caught short in the streets of India’s capital, Sulabh International Museum of Toilets has got plenty of vacant seats.

Browse the collection of several hundred toilet basins and seats that date back as far as 2500 BC, and extend to modern day electronic models from Japan, South Korea and beyond. Visitors can even find royal ‘thrones’ used by kings and emperors of the Middle Ages, as well as Queen Victoria’s highly-decorated floral basin. If that’s not enough to keep you entertained, take a read of the humorous – albeit crude – jokes that are rest room appropriate.

For more information visit: sulabhtoiletmuseum.org

3: The Museum of Drinking Water, Taiwan

Piping display at the Museum of Drinking Water (Dreamstime)

Piping display at the Museum of Drinking Water (Dreamstime)

Absolutely, um, fascinating... (Joseph)

Hidden among a backdrop of stone Doric columns and architectural grandeur, Taiwan’s Museum of Drinking Water attracts all kinds of visitors, from newly-wed couples and film crews, to families that are making a splash in the water park that surrounds it.

The park traces the history of Taiwan’s water system, but despite its simple subject there is an abundance of activities – from the pipe sculpture area and purification plant, to its floral nursery and water pump station. You won’t be short of aquatic adventures. 

4: The Museum of Broken Relationships, Croatia

Zagreb museum interior (Mare Milin)

Zagreb museum interior (Mare Milin)

There are some bizarre tales: one boyfriend had chopped everything in the flat into tiny pieces with his axe (Marilyn)

Croatia may boast coastal charm and incredible national parks, but its capital plays a central part in heartbreak warfare.

What appears to be a display of everyday objects transforms into a collection of captivating memories when reading the passages showcased alongside them. There’s an axe that was used to chop up an ex-partner’s belongings and a stiletto that has been kissed by a submissive – but that’s just the start…

It may sound heartless to exhibit the sentimental relics of relationships gone by, but this unique concept crossed oceans from Zagreb to Los Angeles after the second Museum of Broken Relationships opened in 2016.

Got a heartbreak story to share? Pin it on the world map here: brokenships.com

5: Museum of Death, USA

Hollywood's Museum of Death (Museum of Death)

Hollywood's Museum of Death (Museum of Death)

In a city obsessed with witchcraft this is the perfect side show to a day exploring the French Quarter (Jonathan)

Housing severed heads, gory photos, and the world’s largest collection of serial murder artwork, the Museum of Death isn’t for the faint-hearted. Once you’ve been lured in by the entrance’s extravagant show lights and skeletons, fate will pave your way through the maze of obscure and questionable artefacts that have been gathered over the years. Expect everything from body bags and coffin collections to human skulls and staged murder scenes.

Following the museum's initial success in Hollywood, the owners of this eerie initiative expanded to New Orleans' French Quarter. While all ages are welcome within reason that “we all die”, the exhibition is definitely aimed at adult visitors.

Enter if you dare: museumofdeath.net

6: British Lawnmower Museum, UK

Ransome Spyder lawnmower (British Lawnmower Museum)

Ransome Spyder lawnmower (British Lawnmower Museum)

Who could cut round the British Lawnmower Museum, featuring the actual lawnmower of Charles and Diana? (Jane)

Forget classic motor collections – it’s all about racing grass cutters at Southport’s British Lawnmower Museum. Expect everything from four-wheel drives to vintage trimming machinery and even a spot of advice from garden experts on how to maintain a fresh and healthy lawn.

If there’s one reason that draws visitors from across countries, it’s to see the collection of lawnmowers once owned by the rich and famous. Esteemed donators to the museum include Alan Titchmarsh, Nicholas Parsons and even Princess Diana and Prince Charles.

Take a browse around the collection and get 50% off entry fee when you quote this article, or for more information visit: lawnmowerworld.co.uk

7: Derwent Pencil Museum

26ft giant pencil, Derwent Pencil Museum (Maurice Oliver)

26ft giant pencil, Derwent Pencil Museum (Maurice Oliver)

You enter the museum through a replica of the Seathwaite mine, where graphite was first discovered in the 1550s (Jennifer)

Get crafty in Cumbria with a visit to the home of the world’s very first manufactured pencil. What started as a discovery of graphite in Borrowdale Valley transformed lives around the world, sharpening by sharpening. Fast forward to over 200 years later and Derwent Pencil Museum stands in the same place as the original factory.

It’s a prime spot to get artistic inspiration, with its open gallery and weekly workshops for all abilities. It's impossible to miss the 26ft giant pencil that takes centre-stage, and it's worth seeking out the secret Second World War stationery and miniature sculptures too.

Find out more here: www.derwentart.com/pencilmuseum