If you’ve not yet heard of Dopamine Land, where have you been the last few months?! The multi-sensory museum set up shop in South Kensington earlier in the year, and has had its stay in the capital extended multiple times since, due to its popularity. The space combines traditional media and innovative technology within enchanting interactive rooms, and serves to promote a flood of feel-good hormones in visitors. Currently open until January 15, this Instagrammer’s paradise is suitable for those young and old, and will leave you with a smile on your face long after your visit.
Our experience at Dopamine Land
An easy four-minute stroll from South Kensington underground station, Dopamine Land’s venue on Old Brompton Street is like a Tardis. Almost unassuming on the outside, the building reveals itself to be a world of pure imagination, far larger than it initially looked. The creative and production teams behind Dopamine Land specifically designed the experience with decompression spaces and stimulant rooms, so your body can prepare adequately for spikes of dopamine you’ll experience. While we won’t divulge all the rooms we saw – we don’t want to ruin the surprise – we can reveal that the team implemented an array of stimuli that activate each of your five senses, so visitors can discover exactly what triggers their individual happy hormones.
As soon as you enter the experience, the tantalising scent of popcorn hits. For me, that was my first spike of dopamine right there; I am an absolute popcorn fiend. However, before I could follow my nose and indulge in the sweet and salty goodness, we were led into the first of the decompression rooms. After a rather zen experience, we moved to the popcorn room, and (hurrah!) we were given a bag of popcorn to snack on, as we sat surrounded by floor-to-ceiling screens displaying popping popcorn. It was like a dream come to life.
After a few minutes, we were led to our next room. This is the one you’ve likely seen splashed all over your Instagram feed: the infinity light room. With mirrored walls, floors and ceilings, the pretty dangling lights appeared to go on forever. As soothing music played overhead, I felt both amazed and relaxed.
A series of other rooms followed, which allowed me to relive the joy of childhood imagination: these included a ‘floor is lava’ room, a shadow puppets game (harder than it looks, FYI), and my personal favourite, the ball pit. The room is designed in a way that you feel like you’re in a hot tub under a night’s sky. Far from wanting to jump and play, I could have happily spent all evening just laying there. All the rooms were interspersed with decompression zones, including a stunning ‘Fire Lantern’ room, which smelt gorgeous, and beckoned me into the darkness with animal and water sounds.
At Dopamine Land, you’ll venture up, down, left and right, following an almost maze-like planned route. The use of sound here is so intriguing: you hop from chilled melodies to 80s pop in a heartbeat, yet the transition seems totally natural. The use of the colourful installations, moving projections, and nostalgic games was absolutely enchanting.
At the end of the experience, we exited into the Bubble Bar, and the fun didn’t stop. There are a series of games and photo ops available here, as normal as ping pong, and as abnormal as a bath ballpit, plus of course, there’s drinks. The Bubble Bar serves cool cocktails, beer, wine, prosecco, bubble tea, and other soft drinks. We opted to try a twist on a classic rum punch, and a bubble tea, with a shot of gin. The rum punch was pretty impressive to look at, served with an actual smokey bubble atop the glass (be quick to snap photos before it disappears!), while it tasted like peach juice – it went down very easily. The blackberry, lime and passionfruit bubble tea was refreshing, and a nice sweet treat after the saltiness of the popcorn.
If you’ve not yet visited, I highly recommend a trip to check it out; give the gift of happiness, quite literally, to yourself or your loved ones this Christmas, perhaps. If you’ll be coming along as a family, Dopamine Land will have extended opening hours during the Christmas holidays (December 19–30), so you’ll have even more time to enjoy.
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