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11th January 2019

5 quirky and immersive 2019 events you won’t want to miss

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.

1. Insomniac’s PLAY Festival: interactive music & gaming experience

Gamers and eSport fans watch a gaming live stream at the Call of Duty World League event.

  • Where: To be announced soon!
  • When: To be announced soon!

Insomniac is the production company behind more than 1,200 of the world’s leading music festivals across eight countries. Well, they have another treat for you in 2019 launching the first-ver interactive music and gaming experience. The event will intertwine the worlds of music, art, eSports, virtual reality and cosplay. In a press release announcing the event Co-Founder of PLAY Festival Paul Campbell said:

“It’s an honor to partner with Insomniac on PLAY Festival. I had the inspiration for this event back in 2015 and wanted to create something that would combine my passions for music and gaming… Since then, the gaming and eSports industries have grown far beyond my wildest dreams. I knew Pasquale and Insomniac were the perfect partners to team up with to bring this one-of-a-kind event to life.”

There will be immersive and exclusive experiences through multidimensional arenas that will allow fans to test their skills and challenge others in several gaming and arcade realms. If you immersion is your thing you’ll love the interactive experiences they are throwing into the mix including  laser tag, virtual reality, drone racing, gaming trucks, vendors, interactive art and hypnotic installations.

To find out more about PLAY Festival keep an eye out for the launch of PLAY’s Twitch Channel coming soon.

2. HMP Shrewsbury: sleepover and escape room experience

Facade of the HMP Shrewbury - Dana Jailhouse haunted escape room.

  • Where: Shropshire
  • When: 13th April 2019

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.

3. Brightworths School of Magic: family fun for Potter heads

Mermaid tears and other magical potions at Brightworld's School Of Magic escape room for kids.

  • Where: Castle Hedingham, Essex, CO9 3DJ
  • When: 21st – 26th October 2019

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.

4. London Games Festival: Cosplay at their Games Character Parade

Cosplayer girl wearing red wig at comic con London.

  • Where: City of London
  • When: 6th April 2019

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.

5. Secret Cinema 007 event: get shaken, not stirred

Daniel Craig as James Bond and Sebastien Foucan at the fancy bar scene of Casino Royale.

  • Where: London (TBC)
  • When: 19th June to 1st August 2019 (TBC)

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.

Stop moping around and begin 2019 with a bang

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.

If these quirky and immersive events in 2019 aren’t floating your boat you can also check out these New Year experience ideas for 2019 or head on down to one of our London or Brighton gaming venues.

Featured photo credit: jonthephotographer.co.uk