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Review: The arresting, immersive #NationalTrust Suffragette City Experience

If you want to learn a little of what it was like being a suffragette in a more experiential way then this is fun and informative hour

I'm walking down Jermyn Street trying to look casual while being vigilant. I've got a package to post in my bag and if found with it I could get arrested - I'm a suffragette and this is about 'deeds not words'.

Suffragette City experience national TrustKeeping to the opposite pavement before double backing towards the post box, all seems clear so I deposit the parcel and head back to HQ via a different route, checking to see if I'm followed.

HQ is the WSPU (Women's Social and Political Union) beneath a café just off Piccadilly Circus and this is an immersive theatre/exhibition experience, produced by the National Trust and National Archive, in which you get a taste of what it was like to walk in the shoes of a suffragette.

It's hands on, no sitting and watching, you might find yourself making rosettes, painting banners or learning new protest songs.

You might also find yourself on a protest march or taking part in other forms of direct action but there are fellow suffragettes on hand to brief you on what to do, particularly if you do get 'arrested'.

There is something exhilarating about marching down a street in central London with a banner, singing - our small but vocal group got a few rounds of applause as well as stares.

While only a small flavour of the suffragette experience, it does give you a sense of what they were up against and how far they were prepared to go to get equality.

Rev Stan suffragette rosette votes for womenAt one point I found myself in conversation with a fellow suffragette experience 'visitor' about whether we'd have gone to such great lengths and put our liberty at risk. It's a difficult question to answer without having experienced life as they lived it.

You can ask questions of the 'real' suffragettes and there is a bit of an exhibition you can look around - if you get time between missions - together with some replica letters and maps to take away.

The whole experience lasts about an hour depending on how involved you get. The more you play along the more fun it is - and by the same token the more involved your group the more fun it is. 

It is immersive, deeds not words, as the slogan said so you will have to get involved. If that isn't your thing then probably best give it a miss but if you want to learn in a more experiential way then this is fun and informative hour.

You are on your feet most of the time and will go out and about in the vicinity of the HQ so perhaps best to wear comfy shoes and take a brolley just in case.

Open Tuesday - Saturday: 12.30-3.15pm & 5.30-9.30pm, Sunday: 12.30-5pm and there are four slots an hour with groups of six at a time. For more details and to book tickets visit the National Trust website.