New – Phileas Fogg’s World of Adventures
Try a new round-the-world immersive experience with team challenges along the way
Designers behind Star Wars, Episode VII, Skyfall and The Miniaturist have turned their talents to a new family attraction in Brighton.
Phileas Fogg’s World of Adventures is inspired by the Jules Verne novel and challenges groups to help Fogg make his way around the world in 80 days. Muddy went time travelling at the launch…
Entering through an uninspiring exterior on an industrial estate the first thing you notice inside is the attention to detail. In a lobby area with anaglypta wallpaper and steampunk-style artefacts we were politely greeted by actors in Victorian garb (some of them not dissimilar to today’s hipsters).
When it was my group’s ticket time double doors opened and we were plunged onto the platform of the Gare de Nord in early 20th century Paris – steam swirling, a newpaper seller calling headlines in French – before we boarded a train alongside Fogg himself.
With Fogg a wanted man, falsely accused of fleeing a bank robbery, the group of us became his valet, Passepartout, as he travelled the world a step ahead of an angry Scotland Yard detective.
It’s an indoor immersive experience blending theatre and (easy) escape room and it’s great fun. In a series of sets, themed to different countries, we had to tackle riddles, assemble puzzles, hunt for keys and negotiate a maze in order to progress and to earn an artefact that would help Fogg win his round-the-world bet and clear his name.
Some challenges put me in mind of I’m A Celebrity… and that famous scene in Indian Jones and the Temple of Doom as, wincing, we felt our way into crevices and boxes in semi darkness searching for keys. There are a few surprises to make you shriek, but no live creepy-crawlies – I promise!
An onscreen puzzle in the Egypt room was the one I enjoyed the most, probably because it was the most taxing and there was a real countdown clock. Most others would be easily completed by children, it just takes time and teamwork to get them right.
The attraction is deceptively large – we entered room after room, like a giant haunted house style-arrangement, over the course of an hour. Venice, Egypt, the African jungle, India, a Japanese temple, a Wild West bar, the North Pole and more were covered, all with some great styling that put me in mind of theme parks.
Sound effects, dry ice and the like enhanced the atmosphere and the actors (besides Fogg there is one or more in several of the rooms) were great, keeping in retro character with a few knowing jokes thrown in.
I won’t give too much more away, and we weren’t allowed to take pictures inside, but a brush with the law… and with royalty are part of the fun. There was plenty of giggling and shrieking from my gang over the course of our visit and we all had a good time.
Only a small group takes the tour in each time slot, so everyone can get involved. There are adult and family versions of the experience at different times. For children it is toned down a little with higher level lighting, and less shouting (the actor playing the Scotland Yard detective pretty much bellowed in our ears on the adult version!) I’m told the actors are great at interacting with kids.
It’s recommended for ages 7+ but I’d say 8+ would be better for children to engage properly with some of the games and stories. The attraction is fully wheelchair accessible which is great for something with so many twists and turns.
Older kids should love it and based on my experience I’d say it would also be good for office parties and team bonding (there’s also a themed meeting room upstairs and catering packages are possible). Hens, stags and the like can have tailored experiences.
There are plans to theme it up for Halloween and Christmas with a grotto element to the latter which would work well. You can also hire the whole venue for an event.
Standard tickets are £39.50 for adults, a family of four is £124.20 (individual tickets for the family version are £34.50 or £14.50 for under 3s). This feels a bit steep for families and I’m hoping this may be adjusted in future as it’s a great attraction with a lot of enthusiasm behind its creation that deserves to do well.
I chatted to some parents on the launch and all thought their kids would love it but opinion was divided on the cost. One pointed out you could spend a whole day at Legoland for £32-£47 in advance, while another thought it was good value for a treat considering she’d paid £20 per child for a grotto at a garden centre last Christmas.
After the experience there are chances to linger in the bar (ice cream available for the kids), a pool table room (when not hired by corporate groups) and a large garden-themed space where there’s live music laid on.
Actors continue to mingle and I’m told there may be visits from magicians and the like which would be great. There were a few tabletop toys for children but more diversions of this kind – carrying on the puzzle theme, would be good to stretch the experience for families.
Watch the trailer here:
Phileas Fogg’s World of Adventures is open Fris, Sats and Suns at Sussex House, Crowhurst Road, Hollingbury Industrial Estate, Brighton, BN1 8AF phileasfoggsworldofadventures.co.uk
Note, parking is very limited so you may have to park on the road opposite or nearby or get a bus from Brighton station.