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Travel back in time with the Timelooper app

 

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We will start with this: This is one amazing app.

Travel back in time with the Timelooper is simply and amazing experience.

SUMMARY

See an elephant at the Tower of London, the Great Fire at St Paul’s, and WWII bombs dropping on Trafalgar Square with Timelooper’s free 3D tour.

Dozens of planes fly overhead, narrowly avoiding a field of blimp-shaped barrage balloons. Spotlights flash frantically, and a bomb explodes near the foot of Nelson’s Column. Soldiers stand huddled alongside civilians nearby. A fire burns in the street.Last night I trialled Timelooper, a free virtual reality app that you can download and use as part of a tour around London.

Having lived in the capital all my life, it’s easy to forget the city’s long and rich history. If like me you tend to take your surroundings for granted, attending a Timelooper tour is an engaging way to see familiar spaces through new eyes.

My tour group stepped into virtual reality at three iconic landmarks including, as you probably guessed, Trafalgar Square. This was an eye-opening reminder of the terrors experienced by those at home throughout the Second World War.

Most tours, however, start at the Tower of London. (You have to be at the designated sites for the app to load).

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On arrival, Timelooper guests are given sturdy cardboard viewfinders in which you place your mobile phone and play each location-based 3D video. (If you have an iPhone 6, or another larger device, you’ll want to hold it in place to stop it sliding out).

“The idea is not to get rid of the tour guide, but actually to enhance the process”, explained my host, who was accredited with the “blue badge” and provided fascinating insights throughout the whole virtual reality experience.

As soon as you hold the 3D headpiece to your face you are immersed in a vivid modern day scene, complete with London’s iconic Gherkin and Shard building gleaming in the sun. Within seconds however, this falls aways to the year 1255, and the paving slabs below become a lawn rolling down to a full castle moat.

When using the viewfinder, sightseers can pan sideways to explore the landscape; a bustling market scene, children playing, and a merchant ship sailing on the Thames. Eventually you even spot an elephant being walked into the tower (which ties in with the surprising history surrounding the royal menagerie).

At the second stop, just in front of St Pauls cathedral, virtual time travelers are able to see the Millennium Bridge whipped away in a cloud of smoke as the Great Fire of London rips through the city. Flames lick from the roof of the early cathedral (before its iconic dome was built), while men desperately pump water from round wooden barrels.

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Each location video is only around two minutes long, but the result is a truly novel and immersive experience.

Top tips for Timeloopers

There are a few things you should be aware of if you decide to go on a Timelooper tour.

If you don’t pay attention (because you are spending you much time in your headset) you could well get left behind.

Keep your bag on you (if you leave it by your feet, it could easily get pinched), and if you are tempted to try and walk while using the device, you will inevitably walk into a statue, road or wall. This is best avoided.

The whole experience seem very much in the early stages, and won’t appeal to everyone, but if you are interested in virtual reality, or history (or both), you’re sure to find merit in the experience.

The app is especially good for children (or adults) with short attention spans, as if you find your mind wandering you can always muse over the fact you no longer have feet.Timelooper is currently running similar tours in Turkey, and is set expand to include Rome, Paris, Berlin, New York and cities in China: a most unusual and engaging to connect with the history of cities around the world.

Now all you have to do is download the free app and travel back in time with the Timelooper

Article by: Kitty Knowles .

Kitty previously worked as an online journalist for GQ.

She can be found tweeting @KittyGKnowles.