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Six places to experience virtual reality in London

Immerse yourself in mind-bending mysteries, spooky escape rooms and multiplayer games at these VR spots across the capital

By Nick Levine. Brought to you by Microsoft
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In the last few years, London has really embraced the eye-popping possibilities of virtual reality entertainment. Here are six hotspots which will welcome you, briefly, into a whole new world. 

DNA VR

London’s first VR arcade is a gamers' haven which offers popular single-player and multiplayer titles as well as team VR experiences for up to 10 people. You can step into Michael B. Jordan's shoes in 'Creed: Rise to Glory', try to survive an apocalypse in 'Brookhaven Experiment', or hone your 3D painting skills with 'Tilt Brush'. DNA also has three VR escape rooms which you and your mates can spend 60 minutes trying to bust out of. Basically, there's a lot to try here, so leave at least a couple of hours for your visit.

Units 1&2, 400 – 404 York Way, N7 9LW. Caledonian Road tube.

Omescape

If you're a wannabe escapologist, head to one of Omescape's two London locations. Their King’s Cross hub has three suitably spooky VR escape rooms for you and up to five mates to try: a penitentiary, a 'joker's asylum' (yikes) and a 'biohazard laboratory'. And over in Aldgate, they have a 'Kingdom of Cats' escape room which drops you into a dark fantasy land ruled by supersized felines where 'the punishment for humans is death by a thousand scratches'. Frankly, it sounds purr-etty frightening.

All Saints Church, Carnegie St, N1 9QW. Kings Cross tube.

75 Greenfield Rd, Whitechapel, E1 1EJ. Aldgate East tube.

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Space Descent VR with Tim Peake at the Science Museum

British astronaut Tim Peake spent six months aboard the International Space Station in 2015-6, and this cosmic VR experience recreates his return trip to Earth. Narrated by Peake himself, it puts you in the pilot's seat of a Soyuz capsule just like the one that brought him home. You'll get a 360° look inside the capsule as it retraces his 400km trek – but don't worry: no one will ask you to run a marathon from space, as Peake did in 2016.

Exhibition Rd, London SW7 2DD. South Kensington tube.

Adam Holt

Virtual Reality at Hollywood Bowl

The VR Zone Portal inside Hollywood Bowl at The O2 is the first place in Europe where you can experience Mario Kart VR. As its name suggests, it's an immersive version of the iconic racing game which allows four players to compete against each other. Thanks to hand-tracking technology, you can chuck banana skins and turtle shells at your opponents as you whizz round the bright and bumpy VR track. Once you're all raced out, you can also try the 'Hospital Escape Terror' VR experience, which challenges you to break out of a creepy haunted hospital.

Peninsula Square, London SE10 0DX. North Greenwich tube.

 

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Limitless-VR

Croydon's VR lounge-bar has a terrific selection of single and multi-player games ranging from 'Arizona Sunshine', which drops you into a zombie apocalypse, to 'BeatSaber', where your slashing movements create unique musical rhythms. Kids will enjoy the robot-populated 'Job Simulator', and there's even a game that challenges you to walk a plank 160m above ground. To be honest, you might want to steady your nerves with a drink from the bar first.

79 High Street, Croydon CR0 1QE. East Croydon rail.

Inter-pub gaming in Battersea and Acton

Much-loved Acton pub The Aeronaut now has a two-player VR room where games include 'Escape the Lost Pyramid’ set in the 'Assassin's Creed' universe. Over in Battersea, the same company runs a two-player VR room at the award-winning Four Thieves. If trying to fly and shoot at the same time while playing 'Skyfront' sounds like thirsty work, simply take advantage of the beer and VR for a tenner deal.

The Aeronaut, 264 Acton High Street, W3 9BH. Acton Town tube.

The Four Thieves, 51 Lavender Gardens, SW11 1DJ. Clapham Junction rail.

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