Six immersive experiences to try

Immersive is something of a buzzword at the moment. If you search shows and experiences in London, you’ll find all sorts of things being billed as immersive, from art exhibitions to themed worlds, by way of escape rooms and recreations of films and TV shows.

I’ve previously posted about immersive theatre productions currently running, but there are a number of other experiences which I think are worth a visit.


I visited this immersive art exhibition to fill in time while a friend had an appointment during a trip to London. I could easily have spent hours there, sitting in the middle of one of the rooms, while images unfolded around me, accompanied by atmospheric music. It could easily have been gimmicky – famous art works animated and projected around you – but it was wonderful. I got the tingly head feeling that I’m fairly sure means my dopamine receptors are firing on all cylinders!

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This is another immersive art exhibition, themed around South Korean culture, particularly the more buzzy, modern aspects of life in Seoul. I took my two younger sons for a visit, and they loved it. There’s a Pokemon-style app, allowing children to collect Korean symbols for a prize from the gift shop, but that took a backseat to the exhibition itself, with its three-dimensional displays of neon lights and street signs and rainfall, as well as scenes from Korean mythology. This exhibition has been extended until mid-April, and is definitely worth a visit, particularly given its proximity to Borough Market with its unique architecture and wonderful street food.

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Tomb Raider Live

I took my older two boys to this, and while I enjoyed it, I wouldn’t have gone on my own. You are guided through a themed world, completing tasks and challenges ranging from escape-room puzzles to gaming-style shoot-outs. We didn’t meet Lara Croft, although we did see the silhouette of someone who looked suspiciously like her. Fun, but probably one for escape room enthusiasts or fans of the crystal maze, rather than those looking for more theatrical or artsy experiences.

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The Hidden City – Moriarty’s Game

I’m including this Sherlock Holmes themed ‘escape room without walls’ as a reminder to myself to crack on and book it. I’ve been talking about it for months, without getting round to it, which is a shame, given that it has great reviews. It’s an escape room/treasure hunt experience across the streets of London, with phonically and text messages from characters in the story, as well as real-life interactions, physical puzzles and the odd coffee break. I’ll report back when I’ve experienced it for myself.

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Van Gogh – The Immersive Experience

This exhibition is along similar lines to Frameless, but focused on the work of Vincent Van Gogh. It’s an engaging introduction to his life and work, with the story of the tortured artist brought into full, heart-rending clarity through immersive recreations of his famous paintings. The add-on VR experience is worth the extra cost, taking the viewer on a journey right into some of the best known Van Gogh works.

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Wake the Tiger

Heading out of London to Bristol, this is another experience, like Phantom Peak, that I’m not quite sure how to describe. Wake the Tiger’s own website calls it as ‘labyrinth of exploration’ and I’d probably agree with that description. Whatever it is, it’s beautifully done, transporting visitors into a realm of imagination, merging steampunk-like sets – many of which feel distinctly Punchdrunk-ish, for fans of shows like The Burnt City – with dreamscapes of mirrors and lights. We visited not long after it opened, and I’ve heard that it’s expanded significantly since then – I heard rumours of slides – so  revisit is on the cards. There are some live interactions with performers, but the star of the show is the set. There’s a serious environmental message at the heart of it all, but that’s delivered lightly and seamlessly, throughout the experience. Wake the Tiger has something for everyone.

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