Through the wardrobe to the Wizarding World: the top fictional worlds Brits want to escape to in virtual reality
From Middle-Earth to the Wizarding World, sometimes we all need to escape from the stress of day-to-day life. And more recently, adults are choosing to spend their free time in online worlds, like the Metaverse, which currently has over 50,000 online users.
We recently ran a survey1 which found that 81% of us agree that fictional worlds in TV, games and films are a great way to relax and escape daily life. We also found that the main reason we’d want to experience one is because they’re magical and we can completely lose ourselves.
With one in six (15%) of us having already experienced at least one of our favourite fictional worlds with the help of virtual reality (VR), we reveal the top fantasy worlds Brits would love to live in virtually if they could.
The top 10 fictional worlds Brits want to experience virtually
So, which mythical lands do we most want to escape to? It’s time to find out…
1. Narnia (The Chronicles of Narnia) – 17.3%
How many of us spent our childhoods huddled at the back of our wardrobes, hoping we’d happen upon a magical land? Home of talking mythical beasts, magic, and – under the evil witch’s regime – eternal winter (but never Christmas), Narnia is the magical land we’d all like to disappear into the most.
2. Wizarding World (Harry Potter) – 16.5%
In second place is Harry Potter’s Wizarding World. Stock up on school supplies at Diagon Alley before heading to Platform 9 ¾ to catch your train to Hogwarts. There you can learn all about potions and defence against the dark arts and spend your free time wandering the streets of Hogsmeade or playing a game of Quidditch with your friends.
3. Springfield (The Simpsons) – 16.4%
Fancy grabbing a beer at Moe’s, buying snacks at the Kwik-E-Mart and spending the evening with the Simpsons at 742 Evergreen Terrace? Whether you’d rather make prank calls with Bart, have a jazz jam with Lisa, or work your way through a box of doughnuts with Homer, 16.4% of us would most like to live in Springfield (and it was the top fictional world for male respondents).
4. Westeros (Game of Thrones) – 16.1%
A continent located on the far west of the known world; Westeros is pretty dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. Nevertheless, 16.1% of us would still happily live there. While you’re in Westeros, visit the capital, Kings Landing, take a trip to The Wall, or spend the day at Highgarden, where you can enjoy the beauty of the rolling green fields and gorgeous golden roses.
5. Middle-Earth (The Lord of the Rings) – 14.4%
In fifth place is The Lord of the Rings’ Middle-Earth. Be at one with the hobbits in The Shire, visit the elves in Rivendell, or admire the impressive architecture in Minas Tirith. The only thing to avoid at all costs (not that we have to tell you) is venturing into Mordor, and more specifically, the active volcano, Mount Doom.
6. Neverland (Peter Pan) - 13.2%
A childhood favourite, it’s no surprise 13.2% of us want to escape to Neverland where we can be children forever with no responsibilities, hanging out with Tinker Bell and the Lost Boys, the only thing you’d have to worry about is not getting captured by Hook or eaten by a crocodile.
7. The Continent (The Witcher) – 11.9%
We’d happily try to dodge all of the dangers in exchange for a trip to the free city of Novigrad. Alternatively, Kaer Morhen, nestled high up in the mountains, is a great place to visit too. Ultimately, if you’re going to live in The Continent, just make sure you avoid the wilderness (unless you take a Witcher with you).
8. The Galaxy (Star Wars) – 11.3%
Next up is The Galaxy, with 11.3% of us wishing we could escape there. Living in Coruscant, with its towering skyscrapers and great nightlife, is a dream for many of us. Naboo is a great alternative, with its rolling hills, lakes and impressive architecture. Of course, if you do decide to move to The Galaxy, just make sure you avoid the wretched hive of scum and villainy (otherwise known as Mos Eisley) at all costs
9. Pandora (Avatar) – 7.6%
Located in the Alpha Centauri A System, Pandora boasts the Hometrees. Spacious and imposing, they make a great place to live. Alternatively, if you’re looking for fun and adventure, then head for a hike in the mountains… just watch out for the mountain banshees.
10. Far, Far Away (Shrek 2) – 7.4%
Rounding off the top 10 is the magical kingdom of Far Far Away, in the Shrek Universe. Think of it as a medieval Hollywood, with its many fortresses and castles, located alongside an upmarket shopping district that resembles Rodeo Drive. A place where fairy-tale creatures can live their best lives in luxury, Far Far Away gives you the chance to visit all your childhood favourites, from Sleeping Beauty to Rapunzel… and Shrek and Fiona, of course.
While these were the favourite fictional worlds, 8.3% of us specified places not in the top 10, including Twilight, Dr Who’s Whoniverse, Ice Age, and Terry Pratchett’s Discworld.
But despite many of us having a favourite fictional world, as a nation, we’re split as to whether we’d want to experience it in VR. We asked our survey respondents whether they’d visit these worlds in virtual reality if they could, and while 28% said yes, 27% said no.
Virtual reality explosion
Nevertheless, there’s no denying that VR is seeing a huge growth. Globally, the market was almost worth $5 billion in 2021, with six million VR headsets purchased; and it’s expected to grow to $12 billion by 2024.
VR headsets are most popular among millennials, with 21.7% owning a set back in 2019. This suggests that of all of the age groups, they’d like to escape to a virtual world the most (and in fact, 40% in our survey said they’d want to – the highest among all the age groups).
We spoke to the experts at Ebuyer.com to get insight on the connection between VR technology and the desire to visit new worlds virtually, Craig Ellyard, Head of Content, explained: “Although VR technology has been around for a while, the quality and accessibility of the experience in recent years means that more people than ever can visit their favourite worlds virtually, giving them a more realistic opportunity to switch off from reality, if they desire to.”
On the VR market itself, Craig commented: “Meta’s Quest 2 headset has done wonders for standalone VR, but it’s not what console and PC gamers want. With eye-tracking and foveated rendering, PlayStation VR2 promises the next-generation of high-end VR and will hopefully loosen Meta’s tight grasp on the VR market.”
Regardless of whether you’d love to spend time in a fictional world, or you’d just like to get lost in a video game or film for a couple of hours, the one thing you need is a fast, reliable WiFi connection. Try our broadband speed test to see how yours compares, and then discover the range of our best broadband packages, to find the one that’s right for you.
1. Survey of 2,001 people undertaken in April 2022 by TLF.