Stranger Things: The Experience
Rating: ★★★★★
Venue: Brent Cross, London
Cast: N/A

Your chance has arrived. Stranger Things: The Experience throws you headfirst into your favorite show —join Eleven, Dustin, Mike, Lucas, Max, and Will for a very special episode starring… you! Venture inside Hawkins Lab for a 1-hour immersive experience featuring a brand-new Stranger Things storyline, then explore an 80’s-themed Mix-Tape medley with food & drinks, special merchandise, photo ops, and much more.

If you've ever wanted to be part of your own Stranger Things adventure, and be thrust back in time to the 1980's, you need to book the new Stranger Things Experience in London! Before I start this review, it should be noted that I'm a massive fan of the show and I think you'd need to have at least some appreciation for the show to enjoy this experience, and think it worth the hefty price tag that comes alongside the ticket; as well as everything inside.

As you walk into the huge warehouse at Brent Cross, you're transported to Hawkins, Indiana. In this original storyline, the audience participants have signed up to be part of an all-important sleep study under Dr Brenner. You're sectioned off into groups and split into three categories, intelligence, physical and intuitive; you'll also have matching wristbands to your group. 

After attempting puzzles and team leaders having been chosen - that's when things start to go sideways. I don't want to spoil too much of the story, but expect to interact with some of the show's lead characters, including Eleven, Dustin, Mike, Lucas, Will, Max, Erica, Brenner and Owens. There were two standout moments from the immersive experience for me. The first being a close encounter with the demodogs, which was fantastically done; and felt all too real. The second being the 3D experience at the end of the immersive experience. Expect to see all your favourite Stranger Things 3D!

There are quite a few jump scares throughout, and audience participation is heavily encouraged - so be prepared to get involved! Some of the participation is more aimed towards children, but as a huge fan of the show myself, I thoroughly enjoyed embracing my inner child

The immersive experience lasted around an hour, and then you're free to explore the Mix-Tape section of the experience. While most reviews stated you'd spend an hour in this section, I spent two and a half hours there - and only left because the event closed at 10:30pm! From photo opportunities in Will's house and being trapped in the Upside Down with Vecna, to merchandise, to shop recreations, to murals of dead characters (no spoilers!), to eating pizza at Surfer Boy's Pizza, to drinking at the Upside Bar, to eating a USS Butterscotch - there is so much to do!

I was very kindly gifted VIP tickets from Fever, but it's worth mentioning that this experience is very expensive. Adult VIP tickets are £84, and standard tickets are £52 during the week, and as high as £99 for VIP and £62 for standard during weekends. While tickets are pricey, and the merch is even more so, the event is simply incredible for any fan of Stranger Things.

You may be curious as to what the extra £35 gets you with VIP. VIP gives you a separate entrance so that you don't have to queue and ensures you're first into the experience. It also gives you a free collectible lanyard, tote bag, a Hellfire Dustin Bluetooth speaker and a cocktail of your choice (which comes with a free plastic Stranger Things cup). The cocktails are £12 on their own, so it's certainly worth the extra for VIP!

In terms of pricing for food and drink - expect to be emptying those pockets! A few examples: the USS Butterscotch from Scoops comes in at £10, one slice of pizza from Surfer Boy's Pizza comes in at £5 (£23 for a full pizza with box) and the themed cocktails come in at £12 (£15 for a large). The one niggle I had was that merchandise was almost unaffordable. With the Rink-O-Mania jacket coming in at £150 and Eddie's Hellfire denim vest coming in at £ may be best to upgrade to VIP and settle for the exclusive gifts, which are well worth the money, in my opinion.

That being said, you certainly don't need to buy anything to have a good time. There's plenty to look at (Steve's bat was a favourite of mine!) and so many amazing photo opportunities throughout. They really have done a fantastic job at making you feel as though you're in 1980's Hawkins. There were many people (like myself!) dressed up, which added to the 80's vibe perfectly. 

If you get the chance to attend, I would highly recommend. It's immersive theatre in the best way and is perfect for any Stranger Things fan! Despite being gifted the ticket the first time, I'm definitely returning before it closes because it really is that good. 

You can buy tickets to Stranger Things: The Experience here.

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