Jump to it!
Fancy sky-diving without the risk to life and limb? Muddy heads to iFLY in Milton Keynes for the ultimate VR experience. Trust me, your kids will LOVE it.
If you want to get out of your comfort zone without risking life I’ve found just the thing. iFLY is an indoor sky diving venue in Milton Keynes, part of the Xscape centre that also includes the go-getter pursuits of SnoZone, Rush VR and Hollywood bowl. It’s basically catnip for derring-do husbands, gobby teenagers and everyone in between really who has the urge to don a onesie and float on air for 30 minutes.
I am a total lily-livered blob of pathetic-ness when it comes to adventure sports, so I passed the iFLY baton onto my teenage son and his girlfriend. However, don’t be mistaken into thinking that iFLY is for older kids – on the day we went, there was a 4 year old having a go and he was absolutely loving it, so it’s definitely something you could take little people too as well.
So what to expect? Well, there’s the usual video briefing and chummy instructor (high fives are the currency of the young), and then basically it’s ‘windypops ahoy’ in a 12ft diameter tunnel with wind speeds reaching 165 mph.
I’d booked both a kick-start beginner session for Finn and Poppy – it’s more tricky than it looks to stay stable in the air, but the instructor was there to help and at the end whipped them up and down the verticle tunnel doing party tricks and spins. Check this out, it looks so much fun I actually have to get off my chuff and try it.
And here’s the instructor showing off – though fair dos to him, it’s pretty impressive.
I’d also booked the kids a special VR flight with futuristic black helmets where they’d feel like they were jumping out of a plane and sky-diving 12,000m down to Dubai. Kind of forgot that my son was wobbly with heights and had no idea until 10 minutes before they were due to fly that his girlfriend was virtually phobic. Oops! But you know what, the wonderful thing about teenagers is that they don’t want to lose face so off they went, looking slightly green, while I pondered quietly if I was facilitating a wonderful experience or just being a bit mean. In retrospect probably both but I’ve never let stupid like, you know, feelings get in the way of a good story.
The good news was that afterwards they told me the whole thing was ‘sick’ (anyone with children will know that this translates as ‘amazing’) and the VR experience particularly was incredible – they said it felt like they were properly flying. Dubai/Milton Keynes, let’s be honest, it’s easy to mix them up.
There’s disabled access to i-fly, and even if you’ve had significant injury in the past (my son fractured his neck in three places last year – joy) it’s safe to use. The caveat to the safety stuff is a dislocated shoulder – there’s something about the position you hold your arms and the pressure on that joint that makes that particular injury a no-no to flying.
What about prices I hear you cry? SORRY, I CAN’T HEAR YOU, IT’S TOO WINDY.
Oh OK, well there’s a Father’s Day special Kick Start experience where 2 people can fly in selected session for £53.00 (that’s 2 flights each btw and it doesn’t have to be your dad as your plus one). The VR version is only open to 13+ and that’s £69.99 each including 2 normal ‘dives’ and the special VR flight. Otherwise there’s a family option which is more about numbers than gene pools – 5 people can use 10 flights, so it’s ideal for parties. They start from £163 which is significantly cheaper than the go-carting I endured recently for my youngest son’s birthday. I know where he’ll be going next time!
My tip for the top: go on a week day where it’s quieter – iFLY stays open til 8.30pm on Monday to Friday so there’s plenty of time to get there an hour before for your briefing, and have some dins afterwards. Pizza Express and Wagamama are the pick of the lot, along with newcomer Cocina (review to come – it’s affordable Mexican and the kids went mad for it).
So it’s a big geronimoooooo for iFLY for kids, families, mates, everyone really – let me know if you go, I think you’ll love it.
iFly at Xscape, 602 Marlborough Gate, Milton Keynes, Bucks, MK9 3XS. Tel: 0845 331 6549