Is Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience worth it?
We went to see Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience in London and wanted to review the experience here, and talk about if the Van Gogh Immersive Experience was worth it. While my experience was in London the format is exactly the same across all the different cities and countries this is set in, so should be helpful in making up your mind. I am also adding a short review of the Van Gogh London Exhibition. I took my kids, aged 3 and 9, so will also share some thoughts from a family perspective.
Reviewing Van Gogh Immersive Experience: What is it and is it worth it?
As a summary, there were many things I liked about the Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience, but I felt it was overpriced for what it was, and I resented having to pay extra for the very integral VR experience.
I may be cynical, but I don't think this exhibition would be as big a hit if it was not for the clever social media marketing element. Walking around the exhibition it felt like it was created wholly for an Instagrammable experience, to be shared and conspicuously consumed. With little ease you can set up photos with interesting backgrounds and by sharing them you look mildly cultured - aesthetics and social signaling ticked in just one post.
But enough of the cynical me - read a bit more to see the full review of Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience.
What is Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience
This experience includes several walk-through rooms with recreated Van Gogh works, with added commentary of his life experiences and diaries and conversations with peers, friends and family. Some of the exhibits are reproduced paintings, some audio-visual installations of various length and complexity, some short educational animations, some in sculpture-form and some reproduced on a grander scale into rooms you can either walk or peer into.
In addition, there is a
- room where you can colour in colouring sheets printed with Van Gogh painting outlines, such as Sunflowers, Starry Night or White House at Night. These you can then scan and project on to the wall.
- 5-10 minute virtual reality walk-through his life and paintings - this is at an added cost, cost us £5 per person in London exhibition.
- a big room with all major works animated and set to music. This is the room most social media pictures people share are from.
How long does Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience last?
The whole experience took us about 1.5h and this included some colouring, VR experience, leisurely walking and sitting down watching full animation in the last big experience room. I would estimate the Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience will take most people somewhere between 1h to 1.5h, possibly a little longer if you read all the informational boards.
Good things about Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience
It was interesting to learn more about Van Gogh, his life and paintings, and immersive multimedia areas were fun, and certainly make for great social media photos. There was colouring activities, Van Gogh 's bedroom, VR experience, immersive room with music, and lots and lots of informative boards and presentations. There was lots to enjoy, like learning more about the artist, and seeing his artwork in a different light, as a whole arch over his life.
I enjoyed the exhibition being such a varied experience. Lots of different ways to learn about Van Gogh, and his life, and there was a lot of information to read through too.
I enjoyed the immersive nature of some of the exhibitions. For example, the last immersive room was impressive - it had the artwork displayed and animated across all four walls while set with gentle music. That room was nice, relaxing and enjoyable, especially after we managed to find a set of beach chairs to lounge in - which did take a while as it was a busy time.
I especially enjoyed the VR experience, and I'd say definitely do not miss out on this. It was a great experience, felt very immersive and exciting. My kids were very taken with it as well and have talked about it a lot since. I found it very amusing watching my kids do the VR experience and get into it so much they tried to walk off!
You might also like: My London with kids series
Was Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience worth it?
Our visit on a Saturday morning cost about £70 for a family of four. Plus £15 extra for the VR experience (we paid for 3 people). In my opinion this experience was expensive for what it was - multimedia show of Van Gogh works with added animations and a music soundtrack.
Had this been half the price I would have been much more positive. And I really resented having to pay extra for the VR experience, which should have been included in the price. I don't understand why they would add it as an extra paid-for feature as it was probably the most unique part of the whole exhibition.
Overall, as en experience I did enjoy the exhibition. My kids enjoyed it too, especially the interactive elements and I feel they got a lot of learning out of it. I also feel like the exhibition introduced me to Van Gogh really well, as I hadn't known that much about him, other than his unfortunate end.
So in that sense I can't be too negative, as I think the exhibition was really good and interesting, and great for learning about Van Gogh, especially if you don't know much about him. It just overall was too expensive.
So was it worth it? I am at two minds about it. I'm happy that we went there and experienced it, but I very much doubt I would go to another similar exhibition. I hear there is a Klimt one coming and a Frida Kahlo on in 2022. I don't think it was good value for money, even if the exhibition and the premise of it was interesting. Had I paid £35 for the family visit, and had the VR experience included, I would be recommending everyone go and see it. With the current price I'd say go only if you are desperate to go.
Have you been and what did you think? Would be great to hear your thoughts about the price vs. experience!