11th January 2019
Now that Christmas 2018 has faded into the distance along with our New Year hangovers, 2019 has left us broke, overweight and with little to look forward to – diddums. You could stay inside feeling sorry for yourself, bingeing on Netflix and breaking your New Year’s resolutions or you could have a gander at what’s coming up this year.
Fortunately for you and your tired scrolling fingers, we’ve already done the work for you and looked up some of the best things to do in 2019. Here are 5 quirky and immersive events in 2019 that will give you something to look forward to and help you curb those January blues. Better yet, some of them are family friendly so you can take the sprogs along.
If you were that petulant child that threatened to runaway to the circus but then went home because it was past your bedtime, PLaY Festival may just finally make your dreams come true. Founded in 2005, PLaY is dedicated to all things circus and welcomes any person regardless of age or skill level. You can attempt some circus skills or attend any of the workshops (run by those who did choose the circus life) you’re passionate about at PLaY. From Clowning, Hoops and Juggling to Nerf Wars, Whip Cracking and Capoeira, tickets cover the cost of nearly every event on site.
For those who want to attend but don’t necessarily want to take part in the workshops, music and shows will be performed live throughout the five day experience while other festivities will be available to those camping or non-camping. Kids and dogs are allowed so take them with you!
If horror movies or sleeping in weird and wonderful places is your thing then pencil this 13th April HMP Shrewsbury ghost hunt and sleepover event into your calendars. HMP Shrewsbury – or Dana as she’s lovingly referred to – is one of the most haunted places in the country. All the fun of spending a night in a haunted prison without getting arrested, the ghost hunt is hosted by Karl Beattie and Stuart Torevell from the ‘Most Haunted’ team. Look forward to cell doors clanging shut, full bodied apparitions appearing and items being thrown on their own. At least when you’re done pissing yourself in terror, there’s a nice metal framed prison bed to sleep on. Maybe bring a sleeping bag…
As much as we love a good scare, we prefer one a playful twist, so as escape room geeks we’re also excited to hear that the same prison is also running pop-up escape room The Hole. Every Saturday until the end of March you can get locked up for a life term imprisonment and team up with your cellmates to escape. You’ll have a narrow window of 60 minutes when the officers break for lunch. Of course, if you have a penchant for solving puzzles you could also arrange to play one of our escape rooms or street games while you’re at it! Lady Chastity’s Reserve would be the perfect game to continue the ghostly theme.
If you’d rather have the life sucked out of you by a Dementor than have the kids bored at home over half-term then you’re in luck. At Brightworths School of Magic over October half-term your kids (aged 3-14) can become a fully fledged witch or wizard, although they won’t all be receiving an owl ahead of time – they have to think of the overheads (get it? You love it).
Set in Castle Heddingham you and your magical fledglings will be given the opportunity to explore the grounds and entire castle to see all that has to offer. The little ones will learn how to handle magical creatures, brew potions and make mystical spells. Parents can join in too but if you’re not a fan of sorcery you can locate tea, coffee and snacks on the middle floor while your witches and wizards take to their new classes.
Love a bit of cosplay? Well, it’s time to dust off your red and blue Y-fronts, snakeskin boots and neon wigs, the London Games Festival is once again giving cosplayers the chance to dress up as their favorite game characters. While all games-inspired cosplayers are welcome regardless of experience, official gaming mascots and iconic characters will also be attending. Whether you want to fly solo or go as a group, London Games Festival will make sure you can get your yearly dose of fresh air away from your computer.
Not interested in cosplaying? The Games Festival will also feature the Games Market for those working in the industry, exhibitions from those artistic enough to be creating their own games and other talks and insights within the gaming industry. The ideal experience for anyone who want to escape their human lives with some virtual world immersion.
If you’re partial to a shaken martini and thought you could beat Le Chiffre at poker, then Secret Cinema has an event you don’t want to miss. In June they will be running a fully immersive showing of the 2006 version of Casino Royale. In their usual fashion, a secret London location will be transformed into the world of iconic British spy James Bond. They will recreate locations and scenes from the film and you’ll be given all the tools needed to thwart the baddies, get the girl and look like a sophisticated bad-ass while you’re at it! Don’t worry if you’re currently more a James Bad than James Bond – you’ll be assigned to either Q Branch or M Branch for all essential training and your alias. As always with Secret Cinema events, you’ll only be told the location of this event once tickets have been purchased.
Of course, if you can’t make this event or you just want another excuse to get your your spy on you can also play our immersive street game, Operation Mindfall in London or Brighton. Just a casual 2-hours roaming the streets with your mates to save the world from a brain-infecting virus. Standard.
Even if you spent your rent money on mince pies and Jägerbombs, there’s no harm in looking ahead for the year. In fact, one of the best ways to give yourself a boost at this time of year is to plan for the year ahead.
Featured photo credit: jonthephotographer.co.uk