Hidden City: The Enchanted Mirror | Review


Once upon a time, an Evil Queen cast out her mirror, declared herself the wisest of the land, and challenged her subjects to prove her wrong. Many tried, none were seen again. With help from familiar faces perhaps you’ll be the first to best her majesty, and uncover the truth within The Enchanted Mirror…

Rating: Fun – but for the best experience, wait until lockdown is over
Completion Time: 3 hours
Date Played: 15th May 2021
Party Size: 3
Location: Kensington, London
Recommended For: Families! Also people who want a fun walk in the Kensington area, to solve puzzles and discover beautiful architecture.

Lockdown has been rough for a lot of escape room companies but ones that offer ‘outdoor puzzle trails’ toe a relatively safe middle ground. From before lockdown, I had a lot of very fond memories about playing Hidden City games that involved indoor locations. They often take you into famous landmarks to discover cool and unusual facts, and pubs and cafes to whisper secret codewords to the staff and receive packs of information. Another cool thing about Hidden City is that at the end of the trails you always receive an edible prize. AWESOME!

…Except, thanks to the lockdown none of this is possible anymore. For this reason The Enchanted Mirror (and Moriarty’s Game that I played in the same week), in it’s current state is a fairly average a walking trail. Without the bells and whistles, it’s super hard to justify the comparatively high price on the market. Sure, the cost of a ticket has been lowered slightly (in case you’re wondering, pre-lockdown tickets cost £25, and in-lockdown tickets cost £19) but they’re still on the more expensive side of the London puzzle trail market.

That said, if you’re reading this review at some distant time in the future where the pandemic is but a mere memory, please take this with a pinch of salt! But if you’re reading it now, in 2021, I’d recommend you wait until lockdown is completely over before booking your game. In the mean time, you can still purchase vouchers or check out their play at home game, but a lockdown booking probably won’t live up to the hype or justify the price point.

So without further adieu, onto the review (it rhymes!):

The Story

The story of The Enchanted Mirror is a classic fairy tale of good vs evil in a quest to discover a mysterious (you guessed it) enchanted mirror. She sets you a challenge to best her. A challenge of your wits and cunning but, since so many before you have failed and disappeared, you’ll need more than a little help if you’re to best her and save the land once and for all.

The Route

The Enchanted Mirror is a trail that starts at South Kensington station, a stone’s throw away from all the cool museums like the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum. It’s a busy area and in fact we also saw other teams at the start and throughout the trail hunting about for clues – it’s a popular trail! It ends, after a long winding route around beautiful houses, parks and scenes, a few stops down in High Street Kensington.

As the crow flies it doesn’t seem to great a distance but all in all we walked around 19,000 steps over the course of The Enchanted Mirror! After being locked up for so long it was the exercise we sorely needed too. Of course there are plenty of optional stops along the route. We took one of them as a toilet break but as very few places were open we didn’t stop for any food or drinks as suggested.

What is extra special about this walk is how beautiful the route is. If you think you know the Kensington area, think again! This trail took us through hidden passages, beneath beautiful flower arches, around lesser known alleyways, up stairs behind churches and past iconic artwork. We joked that the unofficial name of this walk should be “Hidden City: House Envy” and it’s no lie. Of course, it did help that we had the weather on our side with beautiful sunlight all day except for one flash ‘summer rain’ shower mid-way through.

The Puzzles

If you’re familiar with Hidden City you’ll know that the puzzles in this gfame have a distinctive style. Nothing quite makes sense until the street, or landmark is right in front of you. A mix of anagrams, abbreviations, and cryptic clues – you’ll have to rely on looking around you and looking very closely to crack the code. There are probably around 20 ‘clues’ to crack as you go, and each time you correctly answer you’ll be presented with the next clue.

Despite what I said in the intro, at one point, you do get to interact with a building in your environment. A pub along the way will have a QR code posted outside – or just inside the door on a menu that you can scan to get a code. It’s clear that this puzzle used to be physical, but the creators have done a good job converting it to a digital format. Arguably this was the hardest puzzle in the whole game, but if there pub were open it would be a perfect excuse to grab a table and take a seat as you riddle it out.

The puzzles are as a whole, pretty challenging, but good fun and particularly good use of their environment. The creators have thought long and hard about making sure it’s fully immersive and again, despite the pandemic, they’ve done a good job and made a challenging-but-accessible puzzle trail.


Good fun! Hidden City are a great company that make some really innovative and immersive experiences. The pandemic shutting everything down makes it harder to run anything ‘immersive’ and they’ve done their best but I’d definitely recommend waiting until later for something truly spectacular!

I personally had a lovely time on a sunny afternoon with 2 of my best friends. We weren’t worried about being top of the leaderboard, we just wanted a nice (and different) day out, which is EXACTLY what we got with The Enchanted Mirror. In the end we saved the day and went home with full stomachs for a nap. You can’t ask for anything more.

The Enchanted Mirror can be played for £19 per person by booking on Hidden City’s website here.

Foxtrail: Lancelot Trail | Review


Join the amazing urban treasure-trail experience that’s taking the world by storm. Explore the city in a way that’s exciting, fun and utterly unique.

Rating: High Production Quality!
Completion Time: 5 hours
Date Played: 16th May 2021
Party Size: 6
Location: St. Pauls, Southbank, Tower of London
Recommended For: Teambuilding Activities, Bachelor/ette Parties, big groups of friends who want to spend a whole day in London

What Foxtrail does, they do really (really) well, and I’m not kidding. It’s actually the first company I’ve seen to successfully integrate aspects of the environment into their outdoor walking trails. You’re not just looking for some abstract answer to a question, you’re looking for physical objects – lock boxes with items to collect inside, carefully concealed buttons that project laser pointers onto public art, giant treasure chests hidden in pubs, and even public art installations that send coded messages to you when you text a certain number. Oh, and did I mention there’s a boat in this game?! You literally have to get on a boat and travel to another part of London. My mind is blown.

It makes sense though, Foxtrail is a hugely popular company from Switzerland with a major presence running immersive outdoor trails in many parts of Central Europe. It was only a matter of time before they came to London and hit the ground running.

One of my good friends invited me and a team of 5 to play the Lancelot Trail on a Sunday afternoon – one of those UK days where you get all four seasons in one day. Well, except snow. But hail is pretty close for winter. Despite the bad weather, we had an absolute blast playing it and I wholeheartedly recommend Foxtrail to absolutely anyone in London – tourists and residents alike.

Just be sure to pack an umbrella just in case, and set aside at least half a day so you can stop and take in the environment. After all, this game isn’t timed, which is how we come to mark this as a 5 hour experience. Inbetween stopping at pubs 4 times, waiting in queues for food, and generally taking our time, we weren’t in a rush to finish Foxtrail.

The Route

Lancelot starts at the visitor information centre neat St. Pauls. To actually begin the trail, you need to go into the centre and collect some stuff. We sent the two most outgoing of our group and 5 minutes later they returned with armfuls of lime green lanyards, boat tickets, and some very exciting items which wouldn’t make sense until much later in the puzzle.

From here, you journey South along and eventually across the River Thames through to one of my favourite parts of London – past the Clink, the Hinde and into Borough Market. The day we did the trail a lot of the market stalls were sadly closed, so it wasn’t as vibey as we’d normally expect from the area. However – it meant queues were shorter! In this area we made two (yes, two!) pub stops for takeaway drinks and I paused for a box of doughnuts from Bread Ahead and a sandwich from one of the open stalls.

The next part of the trail took us towards The Shard and back along the river all the way along to the Tower of London. From this area, the ‘boat’ portion of the trail started and we were taken all the way back to where we started – St. Pauls! I actually love it when a trail starts and ends in the same location. It makes it a lot easier to plan your day.

According to my step counter I did about 15km. The whole route should take no longer than 3 hours. We took 5 hours.

*awkward pause*

Moving on…

The Experience

Lancelot is unique in that is doesn’t require a mobile phone… Well, not really anyway, but it’ll help to have someone on your team who can text a number, and look up a video on YouTube. I say it doesn’t require a phone though because these parts of the game were so minimal, mostly what you need you have in your hands or you can pick it up from one of the secret lock boxes along the way!

Ahead of time, we printed out our pack of information which was a very respectable 2 sheets long (double sided). We were also given some additional material from the St. Pauls Visitor Centre. Early on in the game too, you’re able to unlock a box which will give you a map of London and some very helpful cipher translators.

Our impression of the experience as a whole was overwhelmingly positive. In short, we had a really good time – despite the rain. Every single step along the way was an unexpected delight. Even at the 4 hour mark I was like “ok nothing can surprise me now” and yet surprised I was. Even after such a long time starting to feel a little tired, the ‘grand finale’ perked us all up immediately.

Most walking puzzle hunts in London are like “get a text, follow a clue, text a reply”. Don’t get me wrong that’s still great fun… But Foxtrail was so different it blew me away. In particular, how much it actually relied on the environment was awesome. Climbing inside fountains to reach for hidden compartments with messages, huge pirate chests with concealed buttons to press in certain orders, spotting fox themed Easter Eggs on physical maps in the environment. Incredible!

The Story

If you’re looking for a super rich story, this is the only thing Foxtrail doesn’t do quite so well. The story is very simple – you’re following a fox. Why? I’m not sure. It didn’t really matter, so long as you knew to look out for lime green footprints here and there.

On the one hand this makes the experience slightly one dimensional, but on the other hand it does mean this game has universal appeal and infinitely translatable across groups. You could play with work colleagues, you could play with drunk people, you could play with small kids – it’s all the same, everyone understands what they have to do… On second thought, maybe don’t play with drunk people because it would be a waste not to experience the game with full focus!

The Puzzles

Finally, the puzzles! They were actually quite challenging which again is quite rare for an outdoor walking tour. On more than one occasion we had to hang around a particular location trying to figure something out.

In particular, the game made us do a lot of searching at locations. It wasn’t always so easy to find what you’re looking for. Things were often hidden underneath things, or in peculiar places you wouldn’t think to look. In particular, something was written upside down and backwards in a place we couldn’t see – so we had to use our camera in selfie mode to find the message. In other locations, we’d have to climb up onto something and look in a certain direction making bridges, or roads line up. In another location, we found a secret coded message and needed to use the cipher – and in others this went a step further in that the key for the cipher was also in the environment as well.

Each puzzle was very well thought out and made wonderful sense within the environment, and that’s a stand out for me! I’m impressed!


About 15 minutes into this game I knew it was the easiest 5* mark I’d ever give… Then the game got even better from herein! I’m absolutely stoked that we played it and despite the fact it rained and it rained and it rained, we had such a laugh. Given a little more press and publicity now that Foxtrail is officially open, I’ve no doubt this company is on track to being the best outdoor experience in London and I cannot wait to see what they do next.

I’ll leave you with a video which condenses 5 hours of laughing and puzzle solving into just 60 seconds:

Foxtrail can be booked for £19.99 and includes a boat ticket from their UK website here.

Secret City Trails: Kings Cross – Colour, Curiosities and Courtyards | Review


Dive into the history of London’s buzzing Kings Cross area! Trust us, there’s much more to discover here than platform 9¾. Follow the location-based riddles made by our local creator, Jennifer, to explore hidden wonders of this remarkable neighbourhood. You’ll learn little-known or forgotten stories behind striking sculptures, fascinating architecture, and unexpected pops of colour. It’s an experience for the curious by the curious!

Rating: Delightful!
Completion Time: 1hr 23m
Date Played: 9th May 2021
Party Size: 2
Location: King’s Cross
Recommended For: Families, Couples, People who want a lovely day out (go on a weekend!)

Kings Cross – Colour, Curiosities and Courtyards is the second Secret City Trails experience I’ve played, and I’m beginning to get the hang of their unique style of puzzle! This time I was joined by the fabulous Bianca of Shiny Life for Me on a sunny Sunday afternoon. At the time of writing, it’s the last sunny day I can remember actually (*shakes fist at the rain*), therefore I’m glad we made the most of it!

The sun must’ve done us some favours though as at the time of writing, our score earned our team an awesome 10th place on the leader board overall! Take that *checks notes* Team Wiffins, in 11th place!

Unlike a lot of my reviews, I’m leaving off the “Story” aspect of this review, as Secret City Trails aren’t build around a narrative – or rather, you’re the narrative! The story is whatever you make of it and really it’s just a fun way to explore a new part of your city without worrying about saving the world or tracking down an elusive enemy.

The Route

Kings Cross – Colour, Curiosities and Courtyards starts off out front of King’s Cross station and, after talking a long round about route, ends up in the ‘new build’ area of King’s Cross: the beautiful and modern area behind the station next to the canals. Along the way, you’ll get to go into the station itself, around the courtyards in the nearby area, and into the British Library too.

I did two walks in one day, and by the end of the day I’d walked a whopping 25,000 steps! But noooo… Don’t get the wrong idea, this walk itself isn’t 25,000 steps. Unless you want it to be? It’s actually about half of that.

My favourite bit – even though by the time we finally got there we’d started rushing (gotta get that good score, amirite?) – was the canal area towards the end. It’s incredibly pretty round there and honestly I could have found a sunny spot on the grass and dozed for hours. It didn’t help one of the canal boats was also playing live music – lovely!

On our particular walk, we experienced one or two minor issues with the route, however this was down to us being the first team to play it post-lockdown. The British Library section was shut, and one of the features in a puzzle had been removed. However, on alerting the Secret City Trails team they’ve let me know they’ve fixed this right away! So take my experience with a pinch of salt.

The Tech

This walk was played entirely on a browser on our mobile phones! The team leader is given a link at the start of the game that all team mates can sign onto and begin their journey! The format goes:

  • Receive a riddle to your phone
  • Follow the clues and head to the location
  • Solve the riddle, input the answer
  • Read some facts about the local area
  • And repeat!

You can see your progress throughout the game at all times, and optional breaks are even listed in the game so you know how long until you can stop for a coffee! Which is exactly what we did at the half way mark and a nice opportunity to catch up whilst not thinking about puzzles for a brief half hour.

The Puzzles

In terms of puzzles, this is where the ‘core’ of the game really is. Each puzzle is a riddle… Of sorts! The kind of confusing message that would only make sense as you walk it through. Think anagrams of place names, puns hidden inside words, and references to stepping L or R depending on where about you are.

More than being ‘hard to solve’ you need to really pay attention to your environment – read every sign, every blue plaque, and look closely at the cobblestones you’re walking over! For this reason, this game is an excellent way to get to know the city. Avid puzzlers won’t be challenged, but a family or friends group will enjoy an exciting walk.

We got slightly stuck towards the start on one section, where the answer became super obvious once we walked an extra block (and might even have been more obvious earlier if not for scaffolding). So for this reason, I’ll also say to trust your gut and explore the environment thoroughly!

The Company

Secret City Trails, originally founded by all-female duo Wendy and Kristina, is now an international puzzle trail company spanning countless cities. In each city is a team of puzzle writers who can submit their own games to be used on the app (I assume) via a shared revenue model. Different creators have different styles and for that reason the games are priced slightly differently.

The most expensive route in London is priced at £30 per team, and the least expensive at £16 per team – unless you count the £10 “Mystery Walk” offer where you’ll be allocated a game at random. This makes the King’s Cross walk comfortably priced in the ‘middle range’ and great value for what you get too!


I really enjoy Secret City Trails! ESPECIALLY in lockdown where I’ve been having some serious escape room withdrawals, being able to solve puzzles out in the open with friends really scratches that itch! I discovered some amazing new stuff in an area I’d never normally visit, such as a beautiful mural of a maze and some awesome art within King’s Cross station itself. I love the area, I love the canals, and I love the company I shared the game with! I’d definitely recommend Secret City Trails to anyone new to the city, or even if you’ve lived here your whole life a chance to discover something new!

Kings Cross: Colour, Curiosities and Courtyards can be booked for £22 per group of 1-5 players on Secret City Trails’ website here.