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28 Mar 2018
Jamie Gibbs Alice Campion

Brown signing: A beginner’s guide


Ever wondered where those brown signs on the road lead? Amanda Hone has traveled the world to find out.

Brown signing is the art of following brown signs to various sites of interest across the UK. 

With the help of Amanda Hone’s brown sign blog, we’ve gathered nine of our favourites. 

1. Teapot Island

Image by google maps

Image courtesy of Google Maps 

Most of us drink tea every day. Sling a bag in the cup, pour in some water and milk, maybe even a bit of sugar if you’re into that kind of thing. But do you ever stop and think about the tea pot? Whether you have or not Teapot Island in Maidstone, Kent is worth a visit. 

I know what you’re thinking, have the teapots on this island become sentient, cast out human beings and created a society that exists solely to please the great teabag god, Earl Grey? No, it’s just an area full of teapots that you can look at or buy. Definitely worth a visit.

2. The smallest house in Great Britain

If you’re in Conwy, why not visit the smallest house in Great Britain? Only 6ft wide and 10ft tall. (That’s only 4ft taller than Alice, pictured here, who definitely wasn’t built for this kind of building. Not her words, the words of the proprietor who asked her to leave shortly after) 

3. Ravenscar 

Image by Amanda Hone

Image by Amanda Hone 

“The town that never was,” Ravenscar is an eerie place filled with mystery and intrigue. The land was bought in the 1890’s to develop into a Victorian holiday resort.

Everything was set in motion, roads were built, railways and streets were dugout. But due to a lack of interest, the company went bankrupt in the late 1890’s.

The bleak beginnings of this place hosts a tea room for walkers along the coastal paths, and a few houses. It’s worth visiting if you like abandoned places. 

4. Derwent Pencil Museum 

Derwent pencil museum

Are you sketching anything currently? If you are, stop and look at your pencil. If you don’t have a pencil, grab one and have a look at it. What genius made this gorgeous graphite into the pencil that we all know and love? Derwent Pencil Museum has set out to answer that very question. 

On arrival, you walk through a replica graphite mine, the source of the pencil industry over three centuries ago. The exhibitions include WW2 pencils with hidden maps and various workshops including cartoon and life drawing.

5. Abandoned Camelot Theme Park

Image by Britains Decay

Image by Britains Decay 

Closed after the summer season in 2012, the theme park of Camelot now remains abandoned. In fact, we are unsure if the brown sign still directs you to it. 

Due to visitor numbers decreasing, lack of investment and some severe accidents, the park was closed. Now it’s the polar opposite of what an amusement park should be.

The once busy rides filled with excited riders stand still and dilapidated, an empty shell that was once a hubbub of activity.

Research tells us that you can only access the park by climbing fences, which is illegal. We are unsure whether you can get in legally so make sure you check before you go.

6. Barometer World 

Image by Amanda Hone

Image by Amanda Hone 

How do you check the weather? On your phone? TV? Look at the sky? Or do you check your barometer? Barometer World exhibits all sorts of weather predictors from conventional mercury to aneroid barometers.

But it’s not only man-made barometers - sharks, frogs and leeches also feature in the natural forecaster exhibit. A shark presenting the weather forecast would definitely be worth seeing.  

7. The Cartoon Museum

Image by Amanda Hone

Image courtesy of Amanda Hone 

Relatively new, The Cartoon Museum opened in 2006. It’s the only one of its kind in Britain, with three main galleries displaying original artwork from British cartoons and comics throughout history.

Some exhibitions include work from well-known cartoonists such as William Heath Robinson, as well as The Beano and Viz comics.