God's Own Junkyard: A Neon Wonderland in Walthamstow

17 March, 2018
Travel blogger, Leigh Travers, visits God's Own Junkyard in Walthamstow

Nestled within an unassuming industrial estate in Walthamstow is a neon wonderland of psychedelic bright lights and luminous colours.

The perfectly named God's Own Junkyard has been on my London 'to visit' list for years but for multiple reasons I had never managed to make it there, until a spur of the moment decision one Saturday afternoon. Being strapped for cash halfway through a long month, James and I wanted to waste away our afternoon doing something cheap and cheerful in the capital so it seemed like the perfect time to finally tick it off the list.

God's Own Junkyard lives within Ravenswod Industrial Estate, which is an easy ten-minute walk or so from Walthamstow Central tube station. The industrial estate is also home to Wild Card Brewery and Mother's Ruin Gin Palace so it's the perfect place to spend a sunny afternoon exploring.

The entrance of God's Own Junkyard in Walthamstow
The entrance of God's Own Junkyard decorated with neon lights

What can I expect?

When you reach the industrial estate, it's not difficult to miss the entrance of God's Own Junkyard as couple of neon signs and a life-size, multicoloured cow sculpture guards the entrance alongside another paint-splattered statue. The eclectic exterior of the building is just an inkling of the chaos to expect inside of the warehouse.

Whilst I had seen photos of the emporium of neon lights splashed across my social media feeds the past few years, nothing could brace me for what to expect when I walked into that warehouse. Hundreds upon hundreds (maybe even thousands?) of glimmering signs fill every nook and cranny of the warehouse space. As you weave your way through the never-ending collection, you find yourself carefully trying to examine each and every colourful piece to make sure that you don't miss any of the artwork displayed. The neon signs on show are everything from witty one-liners to strip joint signs and extravagant fairground decor. God's Own Junkyard houses the biggest existing neon collection outside of the U.S.A. so you can only imagine just how overwhelming the crusade of colour and light is. It's impossible to take it all in on just one visit.

Travel blogger, Leigh Travers, visits God's Own Junkyard in Walthamstow
Neon lights adorn every corner of God's Own Junkyard

Who's behind God's Own Junkyard?

God's Own Junkyard is the creation of artist Chris Bracey who was also aptly nicknamed the "Neon Man" amongst peers as he was well-known in the arts world for his neon creations. Sadly, Bracey died of prostate cancer back in 2014 but his legacy lives in on in the junkyard, which attracts flocks of Londoners and travellers from across the globe to ogle at Bracey's lifetime collection.

Despite initially starting his career as a graphic designer in the 1970s, Bracey changed his career course and followed in his father's footsteps in the neon business. Before long he became the 'go to' geezer to commission neon signs for businesses in Soho and his work decorated the sex clubs and strip joints for more than 30 years. Hidden amongst the disarray are some of Bracey's lights that were designed for movies sets, including one of my all-time favourite films - Bladerunner! Bracey's work was also used in the likes of Batman: The Dark Knight, Eyes Wide Shut, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and many more.

God's Own Junkyard is an eclectic collection of Chris Bracey's work
Neon lights are displayed from floor to ceiling in God's Own Junkyard in Walthamstow

Is there anything else on display other than neon lights?

The warehouse is not only home to an array of neon signs but between them are a number of other salvaged materials and props. Humungous, glittering disco balls dangle from the ceiling reflecting the flare of colours from the neons and retro gadgets can be found amongst the frenzy and a life-size TARDIS that has been converted into a public toilet sits beside the entrance. The warehouse is a an extremely eclectic curation of the Bracey's life and collections, which come together to create this Aladdin's Cave of colour and late 20th century nostalgia.

A clear theme that runs throughout the collection is Christianity a there is multiple religious iconography dotted amongst the signs; Jesus Christ statues adored with flashing lights, glowing crucifixes and a Virgin Mary splashed with paint. The underlying theme just adds to the bizarre wonderland but does indicate as to why the warehouse was dubbed as "God's Own Junkyard".

Travel blogger, Leigh Travers, visits God's Own Junkyard in WalthamstowChris Bracey's lifetime collection of neon lights are displayed within every corner at God's Own Junkyard. The sausage dog light is a particular favourite of mine!

Can I get a bite to eat or a drink there?

Yes! If you're feeling peckish, the junkyard is also home to 'The Rolling Scones' cafe (best name ever or what?), which serves up cream teas, baked cakes and food, as well as alcoholic beverages, which you can enjoy beneath the haze of the neon lights.

How busy is it?

We visited on a Saturday afternoon and as expected the warehouse was pretty busy with people admiring a lifetime of Bracey's work and taking photos in every illuminated corner (myself included). If you're not a fan of crowds or you're a little impatient then I'd recommend dropping by God's Own Junkyard on a Friday or as early as possible on the weekend.

Travel blogger, Leigh Travers, visits God's Own Junkyard in Walthamstow
Religious iconography is also found amongst the chaos in God's Own Junkyard
Neon Trouble sign sits in the Rolling Scones cafe

Is it worth visiting?

ABSO-BLOODY-LUTELY! God's Own Junkyard is one of London's best not-so-well kept secrets and as I mentioned earlier, no amount of photos on the internet can prepare you for stepping into that psychedelic haven of colours. It's completely free to enter and marvel at the glimmering exhibition space but you can purchase souvenirs or help support God's Own Junkyard by buying a coffee at their cafe. Some of the artwork is for sale and neon signs can even be hired from around £120 per week. 

If you're a Londoner or whether you're visiting London, God's Own Junkyard should be top of your London bucket list. I'm only annoyed that it took me so long to finally venture there! I'll definitely be back because it's impossible to take in every detail from just the one visit.

Bracey once described the junkyard as "what the inside of my brain looks like" and quite frankly, it looks beautiful.

Travel blogger, Leigh Travers, visits God's Own Junkyard in Walthamstow

Find God's Own Junkyard

Address: Unit 12, Ravenswood Industrial Estate, Shernhall St, Walthamstow, London E17 9HQ
Nearest tube station: Walthamstow Central
Entry Fee: Free
Opening hours: Friday - Saturday (11am - 9pm), Sunday (11am - 6pm)



  1. I have heard loads about God’s junkyard but your post is the only one that has actually being so informative, didn’t know what owner is actually dead. I have to make a trip one day soon

  2. Wonderful blog post Leigh, this place looks so aesthetically pleasing, perfect for my inner photographer. I would love to visit somewhere like this myself, I agree it could make a fun day out. It was interesting to hear about the history of the place. It’s great there is no admission charge too. I love your chic outfit! :-) xx

    Helen | Helen’s Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog

  3. I have also been wanting to visit for ages. The pictures look amazing, I’m sure it would be even more colourful and busy in real life! Must check it out soon. Your dress is equally gorgeous btw!

  4. WOW! How have I never heard of this place! Definitely adding it to my bucket list!!!

  5. Wow this place looks incredible! Love the photo's you've taken. Although now I want a scone. xx

  6. This looks amazing!! I had no idea something like this existed in London - I've definitely added it to my to-do list! x

  7. It's definitely a different experience from the usual spots that you visit in London. I think it's worth visiting especially if you appreciate art. It's really cool there!

  8. What a fantastic place to visit! I could spend hours in there browsing!

  9. The range of colours from the neon lights are amazing, I think I would visit when it was slighter quieter as I am not a fan of huge crowds, but I can see why it's so popular to go to!

  10. This place looks incredible, so sad to hear Chris passed away from cancer but it's nice to know he has his legacy continuing with God's Own Junkyard. Sounds like a great way to spend a day and I'd definitely have to try out The Rolling Stones cafe too

  11. This place looks super awesome. So many things unique things to see.

  12. Oh, wow! This place looks so cool. I would never have imagined you could find somewhere so unique on an industrial estate!!!

    Louise x


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