By Ken Hegan for MSN Travel
What a riot!
The same U.K. adventure company behind the thrilling, shoot-’em-up Zombie Shopping Mall adventure is now offering Riot Training Experience.
Wish.co.uk will teach you and your mates how to beat on scofflaws like you’re a Vancouver cop in ’11. For a mere £79 ($125 CDN), you can learn the basics of riot control as a ‘copper’ — then at half-time you swap sides and become an angry, screaming rioter.
Despite the mayhem, it’s all about proper manners with these Brits. As their site says, “There is nothing more embarrassing than turning up to police a riot and realising you haven’t grasped basic etiquette. Worry no more, as we now offer the UK’s first Riot Training Experience.
In this full throttle experience, the mysteries, intrigues and fundamental steps of basic riot control will be revealed. Who runs at who, good/bad things to wave about and which way up to hold your riot shield.”
It’s definitely a peculiar kind of fun. According to one Sun reporter/riot survivor, “Pals wear armour and wield batons and shields while fighting off staff hurling PETROL BOMBS.”
But if you love a good rumble, this is your incredibly intense and life-like dream come true (watch their promo film here).
TRAVEL TIPS: expect bumps and bruises, wear old clothes, and you had better be in good physical shape. When you arrive at their ‘riot training emporium’ in Droitwich, Worcestershire (2 hours northwest of London), actual riot experts put you through the paces. These instructors are “real-life, ex-military/police instructors who have seen active service managing riots in Northern Ireland and Bosnia.”
They fit you with protective gear and a ballistic helmet (with a visor), then teach you about ‘snatch squads’, base lines, how to swing your baton, how to wield your 4-foot riot shield, and the basics of evacuating casualties.
Just like you would for any anarchical, free-for-all street rumpus, be sure to bring your friends. Wish.co.uk accepts group bookings of up to 30 people. Which makes it a brilliant idea for bachelor parties and (why not?) a fun foreign outing for your Sunday night square-dancing club.
What could possibly go wrong? Well, whenever you start a daring tourism adventure, some locals aren’t amused. According to the Sun, “outraged residents” have complained to their MP and urged him to ban it. No doubt because Droitwich is home turf for a 16-year-old would-be-hooligan who used Facebook to try to start a riot in 2011.
So Wish.co.uk has posted this disclaimer:
“Our lawyers have asked us to make clear that we are not encouraging anybody to riot (obviously). Inciting a riot is a criminal offence in the UK, and people go to jail for jokes on Twitter/Facebook. You have been warned.”
All that aside, riot training is an unusual and ingenious tourism idea and I expect to see North American spin-offs before long.
— Ken Hegan
IF YOU GO:
Flight from Toronto to London (January): $912
Train from London to Droitwich (roundtrip): £173 ($275 CDN)
Fee for the Riot Training Experience: £79.00 ($125 CDN)
Chance to stop rioters from destroying your town: PRICELESS
BING: How to survive a riot
Photos: Andy Pilsbury
For more info, visit wish.co.uk/riot-training