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1. What exactly is CityExplorer®?
A Mystery Tour is a self-guided journey around an area of a tourist city where the route you take depends on your answers to a set of clues, questions and puzzles that can be tackled in any order.
There's no tour bus, no tour guide and no headphones. Instead, we supply you with a map and a series of conundrums that send you on a journey of discovery of a city's past and present.
It's a fun way to get your bearings, see major sights, discover hidden corners, pick up interesting facts along the way and start to get a flavour of the history, architecture and people of your chosen locations.
2. Who can go on a Mystery Tour?
A Mystery Tour is best suited to couples, families and small groups of up to 5 people who do not want a guided tour, but who instead prefer to explore in their own time and at their own pace.
Many of our customers want to experience a city for themselves rather than just be shown it by someone else. They are looking for something different and informative to do independently that's value for money and fun.
3. There's 8 of us who want to stick together. Would a Mystery Tour be suitable?
Experience has shown us that it's difficult for more than 4-5 people to fully take part and enjoy a Mystery Tour if they share a map and just one set of clues.
So, if you have up to 8 people who wish to stay together, we suggest you purchase a second pack when buying online (simply set the Quantity = 2).
4. There's 4 of us but we'd like to be in teams. Would a Mystery Tour be suitable?
An X Marks The Spot ReadyCityGo® treasure hunt in the same city would be more appropriate for you.
The treasure hunts cover similar areas to the Mystery Tour and combine sightseeing with a competitive edge.
The materials are designed specifically for 2 or more teams competing against each other and the clock and include maps and clues for each team taking part plus a scoresheet and sealed answers.
5. How do we get around during a Mystery Tour?
The choice is yours! The flexible format of a Mystery Tour means you are not constrained to go in just one direction or to use a specific mode of transport. So if you want to walk, use the tube or bus, grab a taxi, take a boat, hire a bicycle or ride in a rickshaw (or combine the lot!), you can! (subject to them being available in your chosen city, of course).
All Mystery Tours are do-able on foot and typically would take around 3-4 hours at a medium pace, depending on the tour chosen and assuming you didn't enter any of the sights, attractions, museums or galleries along the way. With stops for sightseeing, lunch and refreshments you could easily make a Mystery Tour last a day or more! Again, the choice is yours.
Obviously, as it's your choice, any transport is at your expense. If you are already considering a public transport travel card for your stay then it would complement the Mystery Tour nicely, but is not essential.
6. When and where do Mystery Tours start?
The choice is yours! As a Mystery Tour is self-guided you're in control. Start when you want and where you want - there's no need to assemble at a given point at a given time or to wait for stragglers to turn up or to share your tour with people you don't know!
Mystery Tours cover a given area so obviously you need to get to somewhere in that area to actually start. We provide some suggested start points. Alternatively, you could actually start the Mystery Tour at your hotel or where you're staying and open the Mystery Tour pack there. Then you can decide where in the Mystery Tour area you'll start and how you'll get there - and you could even begin planning your Mystery Tour route as you travel to the start!
We recommend doing the Mystery Tour in daylight although most locations should be accessible after dark.
7. How long does a Mystery Tour last?
The choice is yours!
Allow half a day to do the Mystery Tour on foot without stopping.
Alternatively, make it last for as long as you like - even over a couple of days - using the Mystery Tour as your framework for things to see and do. Stop for a bite to eat, nip into a museum, shop or attraction en route, take time to chat to locals or have a rest in that inviting pub, courtyard or park you've stumbled across.
Just make sure you give yourself plenty of time to enjoy what you see.
8. Which areas of London do the three London Mystery Tours cover?
London Mystery Tours cover the areas with the highest concentration of things to see and do in Central London:
West End for theatre, shopping and iconic sights;
South Bank for history and views along the river Thames;
City of London financial district, the original London.
9. Where can I buy a Mystery Tour and how can I pay?
Buy online on this website. We take several forms of payment.
10. How far in advance should I buy a Mystery Tour?
We recommend that you should buy your Mystery Tour as soon as possible and ideally at least 2-3 weeks before you intend to run it.
If less than 2 weeks then there is always the risk that it won't be processed and delivered on time, particularly in busy periods or if mailed outside the UK. If you need your Mystery Tour quickly then you should consider using our Fast Track service.
If the intended date of your Mystery Tour is several weeks away, please purchase as normal then let us know the date you intend to run it. We will despatch the Mystery Tour in the week prior to this date. Not only will this give you the benefit of today's prices but you get the most up-to-date version for that location - reflecting topical events and allowing for known building works and road works, seasonal changes and other circumstances that can occasionally make clues invalid or inaccessible.
11. How will my Mystery Tour be delivered and what will I receive?
Several delivery options exist, including free postal delivery in the UK by Royal Mail. You can specify your delivery preference at time of booking.
The Mystery Tour pack contains the instructions, a set of clues, a map, an answer sheet and interesting bite-sized bits of information on each of the sights behind the clues.
Naturally, the answers are provided too - but in a sealed envelope, to discourage prying eyes!
All materials are in English.
12. Do you provide a downloadable version?
Not at this time. Downloading is constituted as a service by HM Revenue & Customs for which we would have to charge VAT to customers. This is one of the reasons we don't provide a download capability at this time.
13. Are the clues difficult?
Difficulty is a relative thing! Many years of experience has given our clue-setters a good instinct as to what works and what doesn't.
For example we wouldn't provide a set of clues where every single clue was based solely on observation - as we feel that insults your intelligence, offers little variety and doesn't really encourage you to be resourceful in finding out the answer.
After all, travel broadens the mind, and so we provide a broad range of clue styles including cryptic, anagrams, code breakers, general knowledge, photos, topical stuff, a variety of word and number puzzles. Plus the odd trick question (you have been warned!).
Consequently, the variety of our clue styles gives our Mystery Tours wide appeal to people of varying interests, ages and abilities.
14. What will I see?
This depends on the Mystery Tour you choose, and how well you do it - but in general the centre of your chosen location will be covered including its major landmarks and some hidden gems (not literally of course!).
In London for example, the 'classic sights and areas' you should see/visit en route for each Mystery Tour, include:
West End: Buckingham Palace, Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Chinatown, Covent Garden, Piccadilly Circus, Oxford Street, Soho, Trafalgar Square.
South Bank: London Eye, Houses of Parliament, the Golden Hinde, Tate Modern, Millennium Bridge, St. Paul's Cathedral, Borough Market.
City of London: Tower of London, the Gherkin, St. Paul's Cathedral, Guildhall, Bank of England, The Temple, Tower Bridge, Smithfield Market.
Of course, these are the main sights that most people know of, but there are a host of monuments, back alleys, churches, famous former residences, markets, palaces, green spaces and quirky bits of each location for you to discover. But why spoil things by stating them here - it's a Mystery Tour after all :-)
15. Do we need a map or a guide book?
You could consider purchasing a pocket-size A-Z street index or a fold-out map depending on your itinerary and the duration of your stay - however these are not needed for the Mystery Tour itself (as a map of the area covered by the Mystery Tour is included in the materials).
A guide book is not required to undertake any Mystery Tour, however we would recommend you buy one if you wish to get more detail on the sights you'll encounter en route. Plus, it'll no doubt come in handy for the rest of your visit.
16. Is there a prize?
No. This is just for fun. The journey is the reward, plus the winning feeling of really starting to find your way around a new city and uncovering things for yourself.
17. What if we get stuck on a clue?
As the Mystery Tour is not a 'traditional' treasure hunt where you must go from point A to point B and so on, you can avoid getting stuck by simply skipping the clue.
Chances are you'll eventually work it out - and don't forget there are lots of people (10 million people in London for example!), so you shouldn't be short of help.
18. What does a Mystery Tour cost?
Mystery Tour prices start at £69 - less than £14 per person if there are 5 of you.
Refer to details of the Mystery Tours for current prices and promotional offers.
19. What else will I need to pay for?
The answers to all clues do not require you to pay for entry or admission - so you can enjoy the Mystery Tour without having to pay anything other than the Mystery Tour price.
Optionally you may wish to pay for transport to get around if you're not walking, a guide book and admission to any sights you're interested in - but none of these are essential to the enjoyment of the Mystery Tour.
20. This is a self-guided tour. Will I be safe?
Mystery Tours cover popular areas of the city. However X Marks The Spot cannot accept liability for your safety on a Mystery Tour - the responsibility is yours alone.
Make sure that you have travel insurance and we advise that you take normal sensible safety precautions when travelling, including carrying only the bare minimum where possible.
21. Why should I go on a Mystery Tour?
A Mystery Tour from X Marks The Spot™ gets you and your group out and about, talking, thinking, working together, sharing, learning, exploring and having fun.
What could be better than some fun mental stimulation and do-able physical exercise at the same time while enjoying some of the world's finest locations?
You're in control. You set the schedule and pace. Start and stop when and where you want. Get around in a way that suits you. Travel only with people you know.
And with 5 of you, can you think of another experience for under £10 each that could last a half day or more?!
22. Can I buy a Mystery Tour for someone else?
Absolutely. Mystery Tour Gift Vouchers can be bought on this website.
23. Can you give me a list of your Mystery Tour locations?