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?

Play within 28 days of signing up. On the day, start the trail within the time window. Eg if the hunt states, 'Start time: Sun 12pm-3pm' then send the start message after 12pm, and by 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 want to play leisurely then start at least an hour before the latest start time.

There are no time limits on completing individual clues.

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.

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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. If we play with multiple teams will they follow each other?

Generally not - teams usually separate as they solve clues at different speeds. And in our evening trails the first clue is specifically designed to stagger teams.

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

Nope! We choose venues on the basis of their contribution to the overall experience.

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 that the mobile number for team 1 is correct.

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?

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, then teams 2+ will not receive emails or texts until they start the hunt. Double-check that that you’ve got the right number for all team captains.

4. Make use of the breaks: The breaks allow teams to compare notes along the way.

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10. Can under 18s take part?

Yes! Supervise them, and finish the trail by 5pm - it's a restriction by pubs on the trail. There are a few exceptions: some trails are designed for all ages, at any time of day. And a few are over 18s only. Check the hunt details to check for exceptions like these.

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?

Follow us on on Facebook or Twitter.

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.

1. Sign up for a Twitter account.

2. Optionally, download the free Twitter App for your smart phone so that you can Tweet while on your trail.

3. On either the app or website, tap the quill to compose a tweet.

4. To include a picture, select the camera icon in your message options.

5. Enter the text to go with your image

6. Click Tweet.

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15. Will my phone work with HiddenCity?

All UK and most international mobile phones work with HiddenCity. We've found that some German and US phones have problems. Here's how to test your phone:

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.

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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.

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17. Can you create a bespoke event for me?

We can create large-scale bespoke experiences tailored for brands, designed for 1000+ people to take part in. Get in touch if you're a brand and are interested in working with us. Brands that we've worked with include The Guardian, Time Out, the City of London and Eastpak bags.

If you’re looking for an experience for your corporate event then you can sign up and take part in any of our trails available for you to sign up to on the website.

We don’t customise trails for private events. Why? We’re focussing on creating new experiences that everyone can take part in, in line with our mission.

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18. Will I be able to solve a trail if I don’t know the city?

Each trail states the level of local knowledge required when you choose a hunt. At the moment it's either none or low. 'Low' means some clues may reference landmarks in the city. If you don't know the local landmarks, bring a map or ask a local.

19. Will I be able to solve the trails if English is not my first language?

The West End Explorer Trail in London specifically avoids English slang and expressions, so if you understand the language on this website, then you should be fine with the clues.

In other trails expect to request hints to help you, or ask someone. Examples of slang include: the fuzz (the police), baccy (tobacco) and grub (food).