Without bursting any bubbles, here are two things you should know about The Balloon Museum before booking a ticket: 1) on a weekend, it’s likely to have herds of children running wild in it, and 2) that ticket will set you back £38.
That’s inflation for you.
But if those two things don’t bother you much, then you’re in for a treat. Because the Balloon Museum is filled with genuinely fun, inventive installations, and quite a lot of them too.
For a little background, it’s a pop up that’s been taking tours in New York, Paris, Rome, Milan and Madrid, bussing over three million people through the doors to generally good reviews. The basic idea is to allow a bunch of artists to put together installations that primarily use balloons to create highly interactive, offbeat, and frequently huge exhibits.
Here, they’ve taken up residence in the at Old Billingsgate, which is a former Victorian fish market next to Monument with over 70,000 square feet to play with. They’ve handed the keys to a collection of 19 artists, who have each crafted an installation. Each of the room & installations has a completely different style, each one portraying a different emotion through the medium of balloons, from emotions such as fear, anger, and anxiety to joy and amazement. Weird? Yes. Engaging and fun? Also yes.
A couple of the highlights include the Hyperfeeling installation, which is basically an ocean-sized ballpit. You get to jump in and ‘swim’ while the whole room changes to a rainbow of colours and pumps out dance music to emulate the emotion ‘sentience’ (we’re not sure if that counts as an emotion, but whatever). Then there’s the Black Hole Horizon, in which human-size bubbles get blown out by the noise emanating from some sort of speaker, which is meant to emulate the emotion of ‘expectation’.
All told you could easily while away an hour and a half while you’re in there, going from room to room. It’s a wild ride…
…and thankfully not just a bunch of hot air.
NOTE: The Balloon Museum runs at Old Billingsgate until 18th February 2024. You can get tickets (£38) right here.
The Balloon Museum | 1 Old Billingsgate Walk, 16 Lower Thames St, London EC3R 6DX
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