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UMIT & SON

Since the 80s, cinema enthusiast Ümit Mesut has been running his video and film shop in Clapton, surviving the proclaimed death of analogue film through the sheer power of personality and nostalgia. Ümit & Son’s collection is the kind of expansive mass that’s clearly taken many years to bring together and every corner of the shop is covered in posters, tapes, reels and merch. As well as selling his wares, Ümit runs the 16mm movie club Ciné-Real alongside director Liam Saint-Pierre, as well as projection workshops, and rents out the 15-seater cinema at the back of the shop for £250 (just over £16 per person for a full house). Stop by – or bear this spot in mind for your next birthday party – if you love watching classics as they were intended to be watched.

Fans at the Ready for The Crystal Maze

22-32 Shaftesbury Ave, London W1D 7EU

If you grew up in the 90s it was probably your dream to play the Crystal Maze and, even though it’s not on our TVs anymore, now you can. At London’s Crystal Maze Live Experience, you’ll be guided through the four zones – Aztec, Medieval, Industrial and Futuristic – by your Maze Master as you and your team test your skills and solve mysteries. Expect lasers, barrels, blinding masks and tricky puzzles and some signature satin bomber jackets. Fight against the clock to collect as many Crystals as you can before you face THE crystal dome and pocket those tokens. Mumsie would be proud.

Hit This Funfair Made for Grown Ups

25 Fishermans Walk, London E14 4EE

Funfairs are no longer just for summer, or for kids, because Fairgame is here with a whole load of fairground games that have been rebooted for grown-ups. The 20,000 sq ft arena is decked out with all sorts of classic carnival games for you to test your skills and rack up points. Have a go at their version of whack-a-mole Gopher Broke, take aim in duck shooting game Phoeny Island, dunk basketballs in Alley Hoop, and much more. Plus, with their dedicated app and electronic wristbands, you can keep track of everyone’s scores and see which of your friends comes out on top. Of course, no fairground is complete without food and drink and there are some crowd-pleasers on offer, with Burger&Beyond, Rudy’s Pizza Napoletana and Tacos Dos Mas dishing up the goods, and three bars pouring cocktails and craft beers.

THE BRITISH MUSEUM

The British Museum doesn’t need too much of an introduction, it’s the world’s oldest national public museum, after all. It’s an institution steeped in history and a fair share of controversy; it also houses the most comprehensive collection of pieces exploring two million years of human history, art and culture in existence.

BLOOMSBURY LANES

London has a disappointingly low number of bowling alleys, but the ones that we do have are very good – quality over quantity, y’know. One such very good bowling alley is Bloomsbury Lanes, an expansive hub of many night-out pursuits. Besides bowling, you can play pool, grab a pizza, sing karaoke and dance to hits from any decade. 

Dive Into an Interactive World of Happiness

Until 11th August 2024
85 Old Brompton Road, London SW7 3LD

The world is a scary place at the moment so if you need a break from reality, this is the immersive experience for you. Dopamine Land, which is billed as an interactive ‘world of happiness’, transports you to a place of excitement and imagination, and deliver a big dose of childhood nostalgia at the same time. Making use of cutting edge technology, optical illusions and sound effects, the experience boasts multiple sensory rooms each with different activities and photo ops (if you don’t Instagram it, did it even happen?) First up is the ‘The Ground Is Your Enemy’ room, filled with infinite mirror illusions that you have find your way out of without falling. Then you’ll navigate through a Bubble Room, with a bubble sky, stained glass windows and bubble tea; ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’, an immersive digital forest; a Popcorn Room where you can step inside a popcorn machine; and a Pillow Fight Room, which is pretty self-explanatory. Ready to dive in?

Immerse Yourself Inside Your Fave Games

83 Scoresby St, London SE1 0XN

Take on the Squid Game challenges or dive into the world of Angry Birds at Immersive Gamebox. The experience encourages shared gameplay and teamwork through projection mapping, surround sound, touch screens and motion tracking in private gameboxes, ensuring you’re fully immersed in the action. There’s a variety of games on offer, so you can get involved in everything from slingshot battles to word puzzles to blasting blocks and dodging danger.

Take a Trip Through Steampunk Town Phantom Peak

The Southwark Construction Skills Centre, Canada Street, Surrey Quays Road, London

Take a trip through the Wild West at Phantom Peak. It’s an entire steampunk town complete with its own residents, a lake, a waterfall, and a street of shops and bars, and there are plenty of adventures for you to get involved in as you explore. You can go on a boat ride, play carnival games, grab a bit to eat on Main Street, or go digging for clues about the secrets that the town and townspeople are hiding.

Play Detective at Sherlock: The Official Live Game

W12 Shopping, Shepherd's Bush Green, London W12 8PP

If you’re a big fan of Sherlock and you fancy yourself as a bit of a detective, then you’ll defo want to play Sherlock: The Official Live Game. It’s the first escape room to be based on the hit TV series and as well as detailed recreations of Sherlock locations, there’s specially-recorded video and audio segments featuring original cast members and plenty of puzzles and challenges to solve against the clock. Mycroft Holmes is on the hunt for new recruits for his covert network of spies and you’ll need to complete a routine training mission to see whether you have what it takes to become an agent, but all is not as it seems….

TOMB RAIDER | THE LIVE EXPERIENCE

You’ve played the Playstation game, you’ve seen the movies, maybe you’ve even dressed up as her for Halloween but now you can have a real go at being Lara Croft because an immersive, all-action Tomb Raider experience has come to London, setting up shop in Camden Market. Tomb Raider: The Live Experience has been created by the same team behind the Crystal Maze, so that should give you some idea of the level of production involved, and as well as a cast of live performers, they’ve even got Oscar-winning actor Alicia Vikander to provide the voice for Lara. You’ll join Lara Croft on a mission to recover a powerful artefact that has fallen into the wrong hand and the globetrotting adventure will see you fending off enemies in Finland, solving puzzles on a sinking ship, zip-lining across the Costa Rican jungle, exploring an ancient tomb and collecting important relics in an effort to save the world.

SAW | THE EXPERIENCE

Until 26th March 2023
1 America Square, London EC3N 2LS

Horror fans and escape room lovers are in for a real treat as a Saw experience has landed in London. The immersive attraction combines the adrenaline-raising storylines of the Saw franchise with the puzzle-solving of escape rooms to create this nail-biting participatory theatrical event – and it sounds absolutely terrifying. SAW: The Experience puts you in the driver’s seat of the iconic psychological horror movie, so you get to put your intelligence and bravery to the test through multiple escape rooms. If you reckon you’d be able to survive Jigsaw’s challenges, this is your chance to prove it.

PEAKY BLINDERS | THE RISE

Until 28th May 2023

Already missing Peaky Blinders after its season six conclusion? Now you have the chance to enter Tommy Shelby’s world. Peaky Blinders: Rise is an immersive theatre production that invites the audience to play a role in Tommy’s latest stint, plotting a London expansion. Come dressed in themed attire to the Camden Garrison and choose to kick back at the pub with Arthur, advise Tommy on his business affairs in his office, or conspire with the Italians in the Eden Club, watching the scenes unfold based on the decisions you make. You’ll get to interact with the characters, compete with other audience members and ultimately determine whether Tommy Shelby and his family succeed in their ambition to take London.

KENSINGTON GARDENS

Kensington Gardens, London

Your best bet for blossoms in Kensington Gardens is by Lancaster Gate and the Albert Memorial – the latter is where the Japanese Society Conversation Group has had cherry blossom viewing parties so it must be a good spot!

Photo: @urbanheartlondon

ALEXANDRA PALACE

Alexandra Palace, Alexandra Palace Way, London

It’s worth walking all the way up to Ally Pally as you’ve got about thirty trees to choose from and plenty of green spaces to kick back and admire them from, not to mention a pretty bangin’ view of the city too.

NOTTING HILL

Notting Hill, London

Notting Hill is another great hood to head to for cherry blossoms. Again you won’t find a load of trees grouped together but if you angle it right, you’ll get pink flowers framing those pretty pastel coloured houses.

Photo: @chicplasir

ST JAMES'S PARK

St James's Park, London

St James’s Park may not have great clusters of cherry blossoms but the individual trees it does have are picture perfect. Walk to the Buckingham Palace side of the park to see some leaning over by by the lake and there’s also another burst of blooms by Storey’s Gate in front of the Treasury.

Photo: @sequinsandcherryblossoms

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