It’s not theatre, or cinema. It’s not an escape room, theme park ride or VR game. Yes, there are pyrotechnics, projections, holograms and special effects. But this is quite different to an arena show (there are only 8-12 tickets per performance). As London’s multi-award winning, top-rated “immersive night out,” this event combines them all.
Jeff Wayne’s The War of the Worlds Immersive Experience
In an unassuming period building on Leadenhall Street, just a short walk from Bank Station and dwarfed by nearby skyscrapers, a whole new world can be discovered. This building houses Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds Immersive Experience, but until you stick your head through the door and notice the enormous martian towering over the bar, you’d never have believed it!
This live immersive experience has been in London since 2019 but thanks to the pandemic (an event not too dissimilar from the death and destruction the story itself tells), it’s been shut for most of 2020 and 2021. The moment tickets came back on sale in early 2021, we re-downloaded the album and started getting ready for our very own Martian adventure.
What to Expect at War of the Worlds Immersive
There’s no denying that Jeff Wayne’s The War of the Worlds Immersive is a huge experience, and bookers should be prepared to have their socks blown off over the course of the 2 hour event.
For starters, there are 24 unique scenes. Typically when reviewing escape room experiences, we mention how many unique spaces, or ‘rooms’ there are in an experience. I didn’t think I could be any more impressed after 221B’s five spaces, but The War of the World’s Immersive Experience has 24 unique spaces in it.
Players are guided through each of these 24 scenes, scattered through time and space, to tell the story of the Martian invasion of Earth. You’ll find yourself running through trenches with huge robots up above, slipping down slides, scampering across rickety bridges, entering VR areas such as on a boat or up in a hot air balloon. This thing is huge.
Of all the areas, the VR sequences were definitely some of the most impressive and they worked well to transport players from one area into another seamlessly. For example, at one point you sit down in a boat, don your headset, and off the boat gentle sails through London. By the time you emerge at the other end of this VR sequence (a bit wet and rather terrified), a clever lighting change gives the impression of being in an entirely different location. Quite clever, really!
According to the creators (Layered Reality) populating the immersive world they’ve created are 17 live actors too. These actors dip and out of your experience, setting the scene and guiding you along the way.
Our Experience of the Apocalypse
Currently, you can only book The War of the World’s Immersive Experience in a team size that’s a multiple of 2 – so 2, or 4, or 6 etc. We went as a team of 2 on a sunny Wednesday afternoon and were placed with 10 other players for the show.
The show sizes are small and intimate, and it felt like the team had gone to good lengths to ensure everyone’s safety… Especially in light of the global pandemic.
Was it fun? Oh yes, absolutely! It was incredible.
Was it worth the price? Well, this part is a little bit trickier to answer. The website says tickets start at £40, but we were unable to find any session for less than £70 per person. This makes it around double the cost of an escape room. So far, so good, except the experience is definitely geared towards making you spend even more. With two bars on-site that you are required to spend time in, and your team photo costing an extra £12, this puts the price more on the £100 per person range. Slightly cost prohibitive, but they have gone above and beyond making it worth the price.
Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds Immersive is like nothing else you can experience in London right now and I’m still humming along to the tunes and remembering small but delightful moments days later. My only real regret is not going in the first few months – oh why did I wait so long! *shakes fist at the global pandemic*
It’s a great experience for families, couples, or for a special occasion for that sci-fi fan in your life. How soon is too soon before I can book another ticket, eh?
Tickets for Jeff Wayne’s The War of the Worlds Immersive Experience can be purchased on their website here.
Jeff Wayne's The War of the Worlds Immersive | Review
Mairi is the editor-in-chief of The Escape Roomer and covers escape room news and reviews across the UK’s South.