The UK Immersive Economy Report officially named Bristol as one of the cities leading the way for immersive technology in the UK.

What makes it such a hotspot for VR and immersive experiences and how can you get involved in some yourself? Read on to find out about the array of immersive activities on offer.

The UK’s first dedicated VR theatre  

Several VR theatres and cinemas exist around the world, but Bristol is home to the first in the UK. Based in a prime spot on the Harbourside, Limina opened in April 2019 and has already brought creative VR experiences to thousands of people. The venue screens a range of content, from coral reef diving with David Attenborough (a show that’s been extended to run every weekend in September) to stepping on stage with Cirque du Soleil.

Fish from David Attenborough's Great Barrier Reef film at Limina VR Theatre

Image credit: Limina - David Attenborough's Great Barrier Reef Dive

Out-of-this-world experiences at We The Curious

Interactive science centre We The Curious is home to the only 3D planetarium in the UK. With full surround sound and 360 dome, you’re propelled into outer space for a one-of-a-kind astronomical experience. Book tickets for one of the Planetarium Nights for an extraordinary evening out, or one of the Planetarium Sounds events, which combine the state-of-the-art visuals with special soundtracks. Coming up soon you can catch In the Steps of Apollo 3D, Holst's Planets 3D and Dark Side of the Moon: The Full Moon Experience.  

Planetarium at We The Curious Bristol

Image credit: Lee Pullen  

Immersive Encounters at the Encounters Film Festival

The work of talented VR creatives will be showcased at the Encounters Film Festival – Bristol’s largest international film festival, taking place on 24 - 29 September 2019. A selection of VR films will be competing in the Immersive Encounters Grand Prix, one of the festival’s competitions that’s judged by an international panel and has a prize of €1000.

The categories are Voices for documentaries, The Frame for films that ‘break free from rectangular confinement’, and Through Time and Space for films that visit worlds of the past and those beyond our own. With multiple showings of each over the four-day weekend, you can book tickets and judge them all for yourself.

Child wearing VR headset

Image credit: Tim Lo/Fi Nicholson 

ImmotionVR at Cabot Circus

There's also the chance to get lost in a world of innovative and immersive games at ImmotionVR. From 5 minute to 1 hour packages, solo games to groups celebrating special occasions, there are activities for anyone and everyone looking to try out VR. You could be taming dragons, behind the wheel in an adrenaline-fuelled car race, or swimming with humpback whales!

Two people in the 4D cinema pods at ImmersionVR

Image credit: ImmotionVR

Wallace & Gromit are going immersive

Created by legendary Bristol-based animation studio Aardman, we are used to seeing Wallace and Gromit in stop motion. But in 2020 they will be at the centre of a ground-breaking location-based augmented reality experience in Bristol.

This next leg in the cheese-loving double act’s story will continue through augmented reality and mixed reality, as well as live theatrical production, websites, social media channels and even comic books and audio. We can’t wait to see how the new adventures unfold. 

Leading the way in research

There’s plenty of Bristol brainpower behind this growing trend for immersive activities, as the city is an academic centre for research into immersive tech and immersion. Both UWE and University of Bristol are involved in multimillion pound projects investing in the field, with research specialisms including health benefits of VR, VR documentaries and VR storytelling.

Add to that the Bristol VR Lab at Watershed, which is a co-working space for VR developers and designers, and you can see why we’ve got such a great immersive offering in the city.

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