Novelty Automation is an amusement arcade of satirical game machines in Holborn, London. The machines are constructed by cartoonist and engineer Tim Hunkin, often by hand, and the arcade includes an expressive photo booth, an interactive divorce and a "small hadron collider". The arcade also includes three of Hunkin's machines which were once on display at Cabaret Mechanical Theatre's Covent Garden exhibition: The Frisker, Test Your Nerve and The Chiropodist.It couldn't be easier to arrange your visit to Novelty Automation and many more London attractions: make an itinerary online using Inspirock's London itinerary site.
Opened in February 2015, Novelty Automation is Tim Hunkin’s second arcade, the first being The Under The Pier Show in Southwold where he first decided to ‘re-invent’ amusement arcadesand allowed a hobby to take over his life
Novelty Automation is Hunkin’s paean to the local history of popular entertainment in London, a place he has said he has an almost "missionary zeal" for. Hunkin has professed his sadness for the commercialisation of the city and he believes people appreciate Novelty Automation’s political incorrectness and it being an antidote to the corporatisation of fun.
Discussing the venue's Housing Ladder slot machine, in which a player walks the treadmill steps of a physical ladder in order to move an automated figure towards a model house, Hunkin has said "I don’t think political art has an enormous effect, but in the short term it is satisfying to reinforce people’s disrespect of the villains." Hunkin spoke more on the subject at a talk he gave at Novelty Automation in November 2016 arguing that reinforcing people’s disrespect for its targets is the primary purpose of satirical art, "but in the long term it can also contribute to change: there comes a point where the villains can no longer laugh it off".
Hunkin’s machines at Novelty Automation have a technological style that blends old school electromagnetic approaches to movement - motors, pulleys and gears – with some aspects of more modern technology, used for video, sound and programming. Hunkin believes he is exploring a "limitless territory" and that modern world is too focused on “amazing software and simple physical interfaces… very few machines are the other way round".
Novelty Automation Reviews
Visited here after spotting it on Atlas Obscura, wasn't 100% certain what to expect. Its a small out of the way shop that was quiet upon opening at11am on Saturday meaning we had free range of the... more »
I had lunch in Becks next door so thought I would give it a try.I paid £4.50 for 5 tokens.I tried the mini break first of all which was great.Then the security check which had a surprise ending and..... more »
Amazing, ingenious, bizarre, hilarious! Go in buy some tokens and use the most original arcade machines you will EVER experience. All handmade and with humour and satire by the bucket load. I can’t even comprehend the time and effort that must go into these creations.
This place far exceeded our expectations. My husband and I really enjoyed this clever arcade. We will gladly come back here again the next time we are in London!
Plan your trip to London
Get a personalized planA complete day-by-day itinerary
based on your preferences
Customize itRefine your plan. We'll find the
best routes and schedules
Book itChoose from the best hotels
and activities. Up to 50% off
Manage itEverything in one place.
Everyone on the same page.
Popular things to do in London
See all ›
See all ›
Parks in London
Hidden gems in London
Nearby attractions in London
Duration: 1h 30 min
Duration: 1h 30 min
Duration: 1h 30 min
Duration: 2h 30 min
Plans to Novelty Automation by other users
60 days in Europe & Africa BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES April, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife, popular sights Preferences: April, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife Attraction style: Popular sights Pace: Medium 57 days in Europe & Asia BY A USER FROM NETHERLANDS November, culture, historic sites, museums, wildlife, popular sights Preferences: November, culture, historic sites, museums, wildlife Attraction style: Popular sights Pace: Medium 48 days in London BY A USER FROM CANADA June, popular sights Preferences: June Attraction style: Popular sights Pace: Medium 55 days in London BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA June, popular sights Preferences: June Attraction style: Popular sights Pace: Medium 57 days in Europe BY A USER FROM NETHERLANDS September, culture, historic sites, museums, wildlife, fast-paced, popular sights Preferences: September, culture, historic sites, museums, wildlife Attraction style: Popular sights Pace: Fast-paced 36 days in London BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA December, popular sights Preferences: December Attraction style: Popular sights Pace: Medium