FAQs

Here are the most common questions you have asked us. Contact us if you have any other questions.

1. When can I play HiddenCity?

Once you’ve signed up, play within 28 days on any days where the hunt is stated as being able to play. See play times when you choose a hunt.

Start your hunt within the dates and times specified for each hunt to ensure that all locations are open. For example if the hunt states, 'Start time: Sun 12pm-3pm' you can start the hunt on Sunday as early as 12pm and as late as 3pm. The latest start time assumes you take no longer than the maximum duration. 90% of participants complete the trail within the maximum duration. If you think you might be one of the 10% then don't leave it to the last minute...

Some hunts have limited availability to avoid overwhelming locations en route. For these hunts you'll be asked to pick a date before you enter your team details.

There are no time limits on completing individual clues

2. How much do text messages cost?

Text messages that you send are charged at your standard rate, or may be free if you have 'bundled texts' with your phone package. There is no charge to receive messages.

3. We want to play with multiple teams. Will everyone follow each other, as they’ll start at the same time?

We've designed the hunts to avoid this – and we've run hunts with 40 teams before. You'll find the teams naturally separate when they get stuck solving different parts of the clue.

4. Are you paid by the bars and pubs en route?

No – we do not receive payment of any kind for venues to be part of the hunt.

5. What number do I send the ‘start’ message to?

All team captains receive a welcome text message once you've signed up. Team 1 can start the hunt by replying with 'start' to this message. If you've not received the message, log in to your hunt and check the mobile number.

6. How long does it take to receive a reply?

You should receive most replies within a few seconds. If you are in an area with poor mobile phone reception you can resend your answer or add another teammate's mobile. See how it works for more details.

7. Can I change my team details after I have signed up?

Yes - you can change your team captains and mobile numbers any time before you start the hunt by logging in. We will send you a login number and password after you have signed up.

8. How can I add another team after submitting my details?

You'll need to quit your current hunt and start a new hunt. Contact us once you've done this and we'll refund your unstarted hunt.

9. I’d like to organise a special event. What do I need to do?

Contact us to discuss bespoke events, for 100 people or more.

If you're running an event for three or more teams, or it's just really important to you that you understand how everything works, then here are some top tips to get the best out of your trail:

1. Read up: Read the how it works page. Print copies for all team captains to read on the day.

2. Put yourself down as team 1 captain: Only team 1 can start the hunt so you'll be in control.

3. Keep it a secret, if you want: If your event is a secret, don’t worry – you don’t have to let all your captains know. If you have two or more teams you’ll see that you get an extra box to tick called ‘It’s a secret’. If you tick that box then only team 1 gets a text message and email, plus anyone you add as ‘additional team members’. The event will remain a secret until the team 1 captain starts the hunt by texting ‘start’. As soon as you send start, all other team captains will receive the first clue. If it’s a secret event then be absolutely sure you’ve correctly entered everyone’s mobile. Double-check every digit.

4. Make use of the breaks: Tell the teams to take them. The breaks give everyone the chance to catch up with each other. The duration for each hunt stated on each hunts page includes the breaks. The duration of all the hunts is stated on the choose a hunt page.

5. Got a deadline? Make it a challenge:  If you want all the teams to finish by a specific time then set them a challenge by giving them a deadline. Tell the captains to end the breaks early if they’re taking too long.

6. Want to book a restaurant for the end? Send us a message telling us which trail you want to do, then we’ll provide an approximate location for you to find a restaurant. 

7. No need to book: There’s no need to book your HiddenCity trail in advance – the experiences are available to play any time as stated on the Choose a Hunt page. But if you’ve not done HiddenCity before, and you’re playing with three or more teams, then we recommend you sign up at least three working days in advance, just in case you have questions. Then if you do you can contact us and we’ll help you out.

8. Add additional mobiles in case you lose signal: Make sure all your teams add an additional mobile phone, ideally on a different mobile phone network. This is really important because if any teams are in a low mobile signal area, they may experience delays receiving text messages. It’s the mobile phone network, not us! Here’s how to add additional mobile phones to teams:
- If you’re running a secret event then once the hunt has started, and all captains receive the first clue, then team captains can text in an additional mobile number.
- If you’re not running a secret event then as soon as the captains have received a welcome message they can reply to add an additional team member, simply by texting the team member’s mobile number. They’ll even be told this in their welcome text, so just give them a nudge and tell them to do as they’re told.

9. Give everyone a leaderboard target: All teams that complete HiddenCity trails appear on the leaderboard. So give the team captains a target such as being in the top 50%… or even the top 10 if they’re feeling confident…

Read more...

10. Can under 18s take part?

Under 18s can take part in the majority of our hunts, as long as they are supervised by an adult and you complete your hunt by 5pm – this is a restriction by the pubs en route. Please contact us to check your specific hunt is child friendly.

11. Can non-UK mobiles be used?

Yes. You’ll pay your roaming text message charges to send messages. Check with your network provider for details.

12. How can I keep up to date of new hunts?

Become a fan on our facebook page.

13. How do I pay?

You can pay by Visa, Mastercard, and American Express.

14. How to send a Tweet

We occasionally have special hunts where we run competitions where you can enter by tweeting. We've added this guidance in case you've not used twitter before

First, make sure you sign up for a twitter account.

Now that you have an account, why not download the free Twitter App for your smart phone so that you can Tweet while on your trail.

Sending a Tweet from your phone or twitter.com:

1. Tap the quill to compose a tweet.
2. To include a picture, select the camera icon in your message options.
3. Enter the text to go with your image
4. Click Tweet.

Read more...

15. Will my phone work with HiddenCity?

All UK and most international mobile phones work with HiddenCity. Want to test it? Here's how:

1. Sign up, and before you go to checkout you'll receive a Hunt Number and password by email and text message. You'll then know you can receive text messages OK.

2. You can test that you can send messages OK by replying to the text with anything (eg 'test'). You'll get a response back saying you're not yet ready to start. That response confirms that messages work OK.

16. What happens at HiddenCity LIVE?

HiddenCity LIVE is a special event. Meet other HiddenCity players and compare notes at the end. There are four bottles of Champagne to be won each evening...

The following  advice is for the HiddenCity LIVE event on the City Lights Evening Trail. See all current HiddenCity LIVE events.

Arrive at the Camera Cafe between 6pm and 7pm

The Camera Cafe is on Beech Street, just north of the Barbican Centre. Here’s a map.

Once you arrive look for a table with a HiddenCity logo on it, and check in with us and we’ll set you off – you won’t have to wait until everyone gets there.

We recommend you have a snack before you start the trail: the first opportunity to get food is about 2 hours into the trail. So arrive on the early side if you’d like to eat at the Camera Cafe. The cafe serves food, wine, beer and soft drinks. Or head to the Jugged Hare pub, diagonally opposite.

Get started

We’ll brief you when you arrive and ask you to send ‘start’ from your phone. 

Once you send start you’ll get the first clue. You can solve the first clue seated in the cafe, so no need to finish your drink before you send ‘start’. The first clue is a harder clue designed to stagger teams. Previous teams have taken between 3 and 15 minutes to solve the first clue.

To be eligible for the prize start the trail no earlier than 6pm and no later than 7.10pm.

Breaks with food and drinks

The trail comprises three stages, with 15 clues in total:

Stage 1: 8 clues followed by a 30 minute break at a bar. 
Stage 2: 3 clues followed by a 45 minute break. You’ll have time to order a bar snack.
Stage 3: 4 clues – food available until 10pm, or if too busy head to one of the nearby places nearby for food.

Finish

We’ll be around at the end location until 10pm. We’d love to find out how you got on so come find us and have a chat.

The prize for the fastest team is four bottles of champagne for the fastest team. We’ll informally announce prizes once most people have finished – between 9pm and 10pm. If you think you might have won then make sure you stick around.

Weather-permitting

If the weather’s not so good we may reschedule. If no more than drizzle or the odd shower we’ll crack on.

Straight-forward competition rules

1. The winner is the fastest team to get to the end location, including time penalties.
2. If you break a rule we may disqualify you.
3. We (HiddenCity) are the judges.
4. Start no earlier than 6pm and no later than 7pm.
5. No collaboration with other teams.
7. You must not have attempted the trail before.
8. If you win then collect the prize on the day.

Read more...