For as long as I can remember, I have really, really loved neon lights. It’s something about the vibrancy, all the colours, the cool slogans, and the funky images. For a while I’d heard all about God’s Own Junkyard, and was keen to explore the famous collection of neon signs of the gallery in a Walthamstow industrial estate. It’s pretty much a sensory overload in this unsuspecting area of east London.
Finding God’s Own Junkyard
The easiest way to reach God’s Own Junkyard arriving by Tube to Wood Street station. Located on the Overground, it’s just a short walk to Ravenswood Industrial Estate. It won’t take long before you start seeing the bright lights of God’s Own Junkyard.
The first thing you may notice is Mother’s Ruin Gin Palace, with its own set of coloured lights outside. It’s a lovely spot for award-winning fruit liqueur produced in small batches. Pop in for a tasty gin or cocktail before checking out the neon signs of God’s Own Junkyard.
Most ingredients for their gins are produced locally, or foraged from around east London and nearby Essex. Each of the gins are infused with tasty fruits that are perfect for cocktails. As such, Mother’s Ruin has won a number of different awards over the years. Give their Old Tom gin a try and taste the orange, bay, nutmeg, and vanilla infusions for yourself.
Across the street from God’s Own Junkyard, there’s also a brewery should you fancy a beer instead. Check out Wild Card Brewery for its tap rooms and microbrewery serving up a range of tasty beers.
Inside God’s Own Junkyard
At last – step inside God’s Own Junkyard for its bright haven of neon lights. Owned by the late Chris Bracey, he was also known as the Neon Man, having produced neon signs for the strip clubs and brothels of Soho for years. His artistic license soon reached Los Angeles, where he began creating neon signs for famous directors including Tim Burton.
Step in and marvel at the vast collection of colourful neon lights around you. As well as props once used in movies, you’ll also find a range of interesting paraphernalia scattered around. From statues of Jesus to glittering disco balls, see what quirky decorations you can find lying around. It’s all part of the fun of a visit.
Which neon sign is your favourite? If you’re a real fan, you can even buy them as well as enjoying admiring the collection. Although not cheap, you can also rent them too. I, for one, cannot wait to one day commission my very own neon sign from God’s Own Junkyard.
The Rolling Scones Cafe
If you get hungry in among the bright lights, you’re in luck. Gods Own Junkyard even has its very own on-site café, aptly named The Rolling Scones. Tuck in for a bite and a slurp in the unusual surroundings.
Open all weekend serving up delicious food and drink, it’s a wonderful place for a meetup with a bit of a difference.
Food and drinks you can enjoy from the Rolling Scones cafe includes cream teas with a range of freshly baked cakes and food. Of course, you can always grab something a little boozier from their fully licensed bar should you fancy instead. A local Wild Card beer or a can of Red Stripe is much encouraged after some time spent enjoying the magical neon signs.
The Neon Signs of God’s Own Junkyard
The next task is picking your favourite corner of God’s Own Junkyard. Below is mine. You’ll find thousands, with everything from cocktails to rock and roll, casinos, religious images, and of course sexier neons from Soho.
God’s Own Junkyard is only open to the public on weekends, but rest assured you can make an evening of your visit thanks to the cafe and bar.
Some of the best neon signs you’ll find at God’s Own Junkyard are street adverts that have been rescued over the years, as well as fairground lights, and vintage signage. It really is a fascinating mixed bag of neon art. There’s nothing quite as dazzling in all the world unless you’re in Times Square.
You can visit God’s Own Junkyard on Fridays and Saturdays between 11am until 9pm. It’s also open between 11am and 6pm on Sundays. The evening is a great time to visit so that you can enjoy a drink after a browse.
That’s my take on the wonderful display on offer at God’s Own Junkyard. I’ll be back again, for sure.
Have you visited God’s Own Junkyard? Which are your favourite neon signs from the display above?