Where to play Exit Games

Call them exit games, escape games, locked room games or something else, but get together with a team of your friends, solve the clues and get out of the room within the time limit.


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Yellow pins indicate open centres, red pins indicate centres yet to open. The details page lists the sites alongside their locations, prices and information about the games. If you know about any sites not yet listed, please let us know.

Has the UK escape room market slowed?

As part of bringing the exitgames.co.uk map and game list back up to date, some other data was collated which might be interesting to readers. No attempt has yet been made to do a thorough analysis of the extra information but, rather than keeping it all secret, the best option seemed to be to publish it and then let the audience ask questions to prompt further analysis. There’s no promise that the figures are 100% accurate (with rooms opening up at a rate of two to three per week, it’s unlikely to ever be truly up to date), but they are at least very close. Coincidentally, the Room Escape Artist just published analysis of their own, focusing on the American market (more or less).

With that in mind, here are two charts that show the growth of escape games in the UK and Ireland. Firstly a simple chart of escape room count, plotting their growth since 2012. Second a breakdown of the same data by the standard NUTS regions, charting rooms per million population as a crude way of allowing them to be easily compared. It’s interesting to note which markets are leading the way (NW England, Scotland and London) and hypothesise on why they might have a greater number of escape rooms per capita than elsewhere.

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If you’re not familiar with the term NUTS regions, don’t worry. These are just the standard way of breaking down the countries into separate parts, such as NW England, London and the East Midlands. Within those NUTS regions you can see various trends – the early growth by London, the relatively late surges in Scotland and NW England or the very late explosion in Wales.

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So, back to the original question: Has the UK escape room market slowed? Based on the above, this site certainly doesn’t believe so. What do you think? What would you like to know more about? Feel free to add questions or comments below.

The land of lochs

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With a population of around 5.4 million and 50 open escape rooms, Scotland is the leader in the “room per capita” stakes, so it’s about time this site caught up with what’s been happening north of the border.

1) Escape, the Edinburgh-based company that has spread out across the world, opened a new location in May. Having gone to the other side of the world, this time they’ve stuck a little closer to home with Escape Livingston. Given the close proximity to Edinburgh and, to a lesser extent, Glasgow, it’s no surprise that they’ve gone for a different set of rooms to the nearby venues.

Prison Break is an all new game to the Escape franchise and in it your team have been wrongly incarcerated, having been paid a large sum of money the warden holds the information that is key to clearing your name. You’ve been working on escaping for months and now is the time, get out the cells and break into the wardens safe and escape the facility. He’ll be back in an hour though….

Espionage, on the other hand, is only new to the UK having already seen action in Dublin. Espionage is set in an everyday apartment. However as you may expect there is a twist. Your team have been challenged with retrieving data that has been obtained by the journalist residing there. The apartment consists of clean lines and minimalistic design to hide a variety of complexities. In rooms containing hidden drawers, locked boxes and other more obscure items you need to try and find where to begin. That could be the biggest puzzle of them all.

Both rooms can accommodate 2-5 people and cost £48-66 depending on numbers, but they’re running an introductory offer of £29 for a team if you sign up soon.

2) Clue HQ is another franchise that has been popping up around the UK, this time opening Clue HQ Glasgow. Like its Sunderland counterpart, this Clue HQ is located within a Laser Quest venue and it’s tempting to conjecture as to whether or not this is a long term tie-in or just a happy coincidence. Either way, it’s clear that more venues are opening up co-located with other entertainment establishments and this site welcomes the crossover that such a trend brings.

The Glasgow franchise opens with just a single game, their well established Bunker 38.  In it, you’ve been living in an underground bunker for years due to a radiation leak. Now you’ve been given the all clear, but you’re locked in and oxygen levels are running low! With only 60 minutes of breathable air left, will you be able to escape in time?

The game can take 3-6 players and costs £63-90 but, if you’re quick, you may be able to snap up a Groupon offer of £39 for 6 people. If you’re thinking of going at the weekend, be aware that the small print says there’s a £10 surcharge.

3) Amazeing Places is a new company with a big vision.  Their first maze opens on 2 July in Stonehaven but, according to their website, they have plans to open 50 across the UK. Entry to the maze is £5 per person (half price for concessions) but, as well as the basic option, they offer three escape games: Chain Reaction, Adventurer and Spy.  No description is given of the individual experiences, although it’s strongly hinted that they take place within the maze itself and the site states that items are issued at the start to help solve the challenges. Given that experiences aren’t all available every day (indeed sometimes only one of the three is available), it seems safe to say that changes are made to the contents of the maze. Games cost £10-20 per person and teams of 2-6 players can take part.

Oh, I do like UV beside the seaside

This bottle of sunscreen (with a label created by me) is sitting at the top of a sand background with room for your headline or text.

Eagle eyed readers may have noticed an updated games list which only highlights that there are many more venues now open in the UK than have been talked about here. That gap’s slowly being closed though and this time round we knock three more off the list by turning our eyes to Southend or, more correctly, Southend-on-Sea. For those of you whose southern geography is lacking: follow the Thames estuary out from London and you’ll find it nestled on the norther side of the river, just as it becomes the sea. If you see a very long pier then you’re probably in the right place – Southend pier claims to be the world’s longest leisure pier at over 2km in length.

1) Room Escape Southend is a single game operation a little out from the centre of town, right next to the Southend United football stadium. If horror rooms with live actors aren’t your thing, then you should probably skip to the next item now. Still reading? Well, you’ve been warned.  Room Escape Southend opened back in early April with Zombie Outbreak, a twelve player game costing £15pp and running at 12pm/2pm/4pm on Saturdays and Sundays: “The year is 2016 and the world is overrun by Zombies. The last few remaining humans are trying to work on a cure to save humanity. Join the team of scientists back in Southend where the outbreak first started and help find the solution to save all mankind.

That game will run until the end of July before they close down for a week to build their second room, Asylum. Unusually they’ve published the list of games they’ll be running through till next year: The 12 Deaths of Christmas, The Circus of Terrors, Down the Rabbit Hole, Room 666. Full dates on their website.

They also offer a multi-game discount in the form of the Terror card which allows players to bulk-buy 3 or 5 games at either a single, couple of full room rate. At the highest end that offers you five 12-player games for only £300 or £5 per game.

2) Escape Live Essex is a new branch of the similarly named Birmingham escape room operation. They obviously decided that their Midland counterparts were doing something right, because they opted to replicate the experience with the exact same two games, Dr Wilson’s Office and Room 13.

In Dr Wilson’s Office, you’re helping “Dr Wilson, a master detective who has solved many crimes in his distinguished career. But this case could prove to be deadly for him. One of the suspects he is investigating is threatening his life. Dr Wilson is now relying on you and your team to unveil the identity of the right suspect. He’s left clues around his office and it’s up to you to find them, solve the mystery and escape.” Room 13, on the other hand, “is a unique experience which is not for the faint-hearted. Amy is locked in a room and is relying on your team’s wit and skill to get her out alive. You are her only hope. You must piece together clues, solve puzzles and find objects to get the four digit number you need to release her. With just 60 minutes to rescue Amy, will you manage to save her life?”

Both games can accommodate 2-5 people and cost £40-70 per team.

3) There must be something about Southend that attracts people who like to be scared, because Hide and Shriek, the company behind this experience, are yet another scare attraction operator. Their main focus is on more traditional scare experiences (well, sort of – their most recent was a zombie experience after hours in a shopping centre), but the show that’s attracted this site’s interest is Alien Escape which claims (and this site has every reason to believe it to be true) that it’s the biggest escape room in the UK at 10,000 square feet. Surprisingly for such a large room, the maximum capacity is a mere 8 people.  The room can be booked out in its entirety for £125 or individual tickets can be purchased for £21pp. The game started in June and is currently shown as running through till 4th September.

Disclaimer: In spit of the title, the sites discussed above may or may not contain UV clues. No comment on whether you’re likely to experience much UV outside of the room in a British seaside resort… 

A Sight at the Museum

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Exit games aren’t always commercial ventures, and even the ones that are, aren’t always purely commercial. Last year saw popups appear at Crawley and St Helens libraries, while A Curious Escape, backed by the Hampshire Cultural Trust proved so successful that they’ve extended its run one final time. It doesn’t stop there though:

1) Hampshire Cultural Trust have obviously decided that escaping is where it’s at. This time they’re supporting a room in the Milestones Museum in Basingstoke, a living history museum dedicated to the local area.  Mystery of the Vanishing Queen sees you tracking down Queen Victoria: “It’s 1897 and the Victorian Citizens of Milestones are dressing up as kings and queens of the past for a Royal Pageant. Guest of honour Queen Victoria hasn’t been seen for many months and there are rumours she has been kidnapped…. Can you follow the clues in the secret agent’s diary and quiz the citizens to solve the mystery and save the Queen?”

Full details will appear nearer the opening date, but the exhibition runs during the local Summer holidays through to the end of half term (19 July to 30 October).

2) Up in Scotland, Pollok House is getting in on the action with Escape the Past, a room based below stairs in the historic location and produced in association with Can You Escape? of Edinburgh. In the game, “you have just 60 minutes to look for clues, solve a series of puzzles and complete challenges in order to thwart the Butler’s devious plans, save Pollok House and return to the present.”

Tickets costs £55 for 2-5 people and are already available. This site has yet to see reviews, but Exit Games Scotland visited just after it opened and tweeted to say that they loved it.

3) Cambridge has a history of putting on temporary escape rooms as part of the Museums at Night initiative with previous events including Escape the Crystal Room and Escape the Polar Domes. This year is no different with the imaginatively titled “the Hunden Games” taking place a couple of weeks ago in the University Library. With a nominal price of £10 per team for teams of 2-8 people, it’s little wonder that the event was sold out long before it started, but for those of you who’re interested here’s the story: “The wills of a Mr Loring and Mr Hunden will bequeath to Cambridge University Library some precious first tomes. For safe keeping, the wills have been locked securely away. You have been tasked with procuring the wills on behalf of the Library. You have 50 minutes to travel back in time. With the help of the Library’s collections and some famous figures along the way, can you solve the puzzles, crack the codes and find the elusive wills?“. In fact, this wasn’t the first running of the game, which premiered during the Science Festival in March.

Improved mobile coverage

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With recent posts, this site has been covering some of the more remote escape rooms in the British Isles. In spite of the continued spread of venues, not everyone is lucky enough to live near an escape room, while others have already played all the games in their local area. That needn’t stop you from playing a local escape room though, because some games can come to you. Unlike with the phone networks, this mobile coverage is at least pretty consistent across the country.

Dedicated mobile games

1) Escape Game Events offer three games and seem to be targeting the corporate and festival markets. Escape rooms have long been successful as corporate team-building events, but they’ve also had success in conferences, so it seems a natural evolution to see them transferring across to festivals.

No prices or capacities, but they currently offer three scenarios: In Abduction: “Drug Lords have taken over the city you live in and people are disappearing at an alarming rate. It has been suspected the police are on the gang’s payroll as numbers continue to rise. It is up to you to save the missing residents, some of whom are your colleagues, friends and loves ones. You manage to find the container where the victims are being held hostage. Before you can free anyone, you are also caught. You must escape before the inevitable torture begins.“. Panic Cell sees you “wrongly institutionalised for a crime you did not commit. The government are trialing a new drug to stabilist patients with extreme mental health issues. You have read articles in the papers describing the horrible side effects of these drugs and how they destroy the mind! You need to find the drug and work out the antidote in order to escape, but time is not on your side. The morning medication round is about to commence.”. Finally, in Rave Revolt, “the night was on a roll, drinks were flowing and the music pumping, until all was not as it seemed. The secret location venue has gone into lock-down. The DJ starts to play unfamiliar beats which are messing with your mind. You have left alone and start to feel heavy on your feet. The music is destroying your ability to think. You realise you are being used for a social experiment which you did not agree to. You must find the source of the music and destroy it, then find your escape.

2) There’s a good chance you’re already aware of Can You Escape? either from their Edinburgh or York operations, but you may not be aware that they’ve recently launched a mobile game, Blue November. It’s clear from the pictures on the linked page that this is a proper escape room, and not just a set of boxes and padlocks that they set up in an office. The game comes in 30 and 60 minute variants which allows for 30-70 players to play in a day. According to the website they’re targeting weddings and parties as well as the corporate market.

3) Escape Party‘s name clearly points at their target audience, although the website still suggests that the game is suitable for the corporate market. This company is also unusual in that it offers the option to locate your escape room outdoors, perhaps suggestive of a gazebo or tent-housed game. Prices vary depending on location and numbers of games, but can be lower than £10 per person and even for two teams, you’re not looking at much more than a typical escape room. Most interestingly of all, if you don’t like the game then, according to their website, you don’t have to pay. A brave guarantee indeed!

4) Puzzlement is aimed squarely at the corporate market with plenty of references to team-building on the website. They charge £500 for a half day or £700 for a full day, which is up to 18 and 30 players respectively. While that’s well above average for escape room prices, it probably sits reasonably well against typical corporate team-building activities. No details on the website about what games they offer.

5) Team Build operate in both the UK and Ireland, providing escape room experiences for corporate customers, but there’s very little information on the website beyond a few photos.

Semi-mobile games

While the above games are purely mobile, there exists a class of games that are predominantly played in one place, but can be moved to other locations. This site has already talked about Puzzle Room in East Anglia and Agent November in London.  The former has an itinerant game that moves around East Anglian towns and is currently bookable in Bury St Edmunds and Ipswich, while the latter has a murder mystery game that is usually played in a North London pub, but can be transferred to other locations on request.

6) The team behind Containment have an interesting take on mobile escape rooms, building their games inside containers for “easy” movement. They currently have two games, Bank Vault and Bomb Disposal. In Bank Vault, “criminal mastermind has recruited you to form part of an elite team. You will be orchestrating a heist on one of the UK’s most secure private vaults and stealing the prized safe contents.” while in Bomb Disposal, your organisation has “been tracking the notorious bomb maker ‘3 fingers’ for months. Their teams have just have discovered his workshop, now is the time to take him down! Thermal images show 4 possible devices within the workshop, before they can send in their agents they need your team of bomb disposal experts to clear the area…“.

Mini games

A trend that this site expects to grow is the rise of mini-escape games which can be taken to conferences and special events, partly as advertising and partly as fun experiences in their own right. Two particular examples spring to mind: clueQuest took a mini game along to Disney and TimeOut’s the House of Time and Wonder as well as to London’s Comic Con, while Breakout Manchester took theirs to the Manchester IP Expo.

Play at home games

Finally, no mobile coverage would be complete without at least a mention of games that you can play at home. As well as the Escape Room in a Box crowdfunding project that this site covered earlier in the year, there’s also “Escape from Stargazer’s Manor” which is a low budget version that was reviewed favourably by the Room Escape Artist.

 

The Lock of the Irish

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After delving into Welsh news, it’s time to head across the Irish Sea to the Emerald Isle. Unlike Wales, Ireland has had escape rooms almost as long as anywhere in the British Isles with Escap3D in Belfast and XIT in Dublin being the second and third entries in the timeline respectively. Fast forward to mid-2016 and there are now thirteen venues open across the island. Many of those have already been covered in earlier articles on this site, but here’s the new news.

1) Discovering a new escape room is always a joy, but discovering one that has been open for a while is a rare joy indeed.  This site has never seen a room that has managed to fly under the radar for as long as the one at Lifford Old Courthouse. According to the Twitter feed, the first players entered Jailbreak in June of 2015, almost a full year ago.  At €8 per person, it’s a veritable steal, while if you fancy something that’s less of a metaphorical steal and more of a literal one then their new game, Heist, can entertain you for a still modest €12 per person. This site applauds the criminal theming of rooms set in a courthouse and looks forward to hearing more from Lifford in the future.

2) Back in January this site reported, somewhat belatedly on the October opening of an escape room in Galway.  It’s almost embarrassing then to find that not one, but two venues opened in Galway that month. So, almost eight months late let this site introduce you to Great Escape Rooms. The venue already boasts three separate rooms, Quarantine, Prison Room and the Auld Shebeen Room, each of which can hold 2-8 people at a cost of €40-120 depending on numbers.  No descriptions for any of those rooms, which was particularly intriguing for the final one – this site had to Google shebeen to find out that it was an unlicensed establishment.

3) Moving along to more recent openings, Escapade Cobh opened this month in, unsurprisingly, the town of Cobh. For those readers whose Irish geography is lacking, that’s on the south coast of Ireland near to Cork. Escape from Spike Island is a locally themed game for 2-6 players, costing €50-75. Spike Island, in the middle of Cork Harbour, has been an island prison for centuries but in the 1990’s it was used as correctional facility for young offenders. You and your cell mates are imprisoned for stealing cars and racing them through the streets of your home towns. By solving clues and breaking codes you can escape. Late Night Bank Robbery has the same capacity and pricing: You are a team of professional robbers that have been assigned to get into the Cobh Trustee Savings Bank and transfer into an offshore account the incredible amount of €1 Billion. Your client has made some arrangements to allow you to successfully enter the bank premises and vaults. An accomplice employee of the bank will have left clues for you to decode and instructions to follow to allow you to access an account and transfer the money to an offshore bank account. Finally, due to open in September, Sherlock Holmes’ Last Case pits your team in the role of the famous detective, tracking down some legal documents: One last case before his retirement brings Sherlock Holmes to Queenstown. There is evidence that Sir Hugh Lane, who died at the board of RMS Lusitania a few years before in 1915 had an office in the town. Here he might have kept a number of documents relating to his valuable art collection. It is Sherlock’s duty to follow any clues the collector might have left in his rooms and discover the documents which will end the legal dispute about where this art collection will be permanently exhibited.

4) Moving up to Northern Ireland, Escape Hour have brought their game over to the capital with bookings for Escape Rooms Belfast available for next week. Interestingly, at least for this site, they’ve opted to open two copies of the same room, rather than take across separate games which suggests they think the head-to-head market could be lucrative.  Major Plott’s revenge is a spy escape game, where teams of between 2 and 6 players enter the office of an ex KGB spy master with a mission to try and steal his top secret plan before he returns in an hour. The game has space for 2-5 players and costs £35-60 per team.

5) Finally, on the escape room front at least, Breakfree NI opened in Lisburn with two rooms, Curse of the Pharaoh and The Creepy Dark House. No descriptions of the games on their website, but they both cost £45 per team for 2-6 players.  Pleasingly, to this site’s eyes, the FAQ specifically mentions that the venue is wheelchair accessible.

6) Finally, while not an escape room, the opening of GoQuest is surely of interest to followers of this blog. Avid readers will have heard about Boda Borg and as far as this site can ascertain, GoQuest is a similar type of establishment. Described as an Indoor Challenge Zone, it aims itself at children and adults with 27 different “rooms”, 4 different zones and physical, mental and skill challenges. They charge €16.50 per person for an 85 minute session and teams are made up of 3-5 people. With the success of the Crystal Maze and these two establishments opening in Ireland, how long before we see similar challenge sites opened up across the British Isles?

As referenced above, it’s perfectly possible for escape rooms to go under the radar for an extended period and this site is happy to find out about any escape rooms of which it was previously unaware. So, if you are aware of any sites that aren’t shown on the map, please do get in touch!

The Welsh Exit

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The wrong kind of Welsh lock?

The land of leeks may have come late to the escape scene, but it’s rapidly catching up and becoming a land of locks. When the bells rang in 2016 there was not an exit game to be seen, but six have already opened and there’s another on the way. Suddenly that suggestion of an escape room in Anglesey doesn’t look so far fetched!

1) Breakout Swansea has been a while in the making, but the doors to its first game finally opened on 30th May. In Mumbles Bunker, you’re captured by a serial killer: There is a murderer on the loose, police are warning members of the public to stay vigilant. It is likely that the killer is keeping his victims captive in order to play a game with them. The victims are locked in a room and must escape within one hour or face being locked up for ever. In the yet-to-open Project Fallout, you find yourself a member of a highly secretive team of scientists. You must solve multiple puzzles to regain control of the weapon while leaving enough time to escape. Common sense does not come easily to scientists, can you help out?

Breakout Swansea is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and charges £44-84 for 2-6 people.

2) Devastate Swansea is an escape company that doesn’t do things by halves. After opening less than two months ago, they’re already in the middle of moving to a larger venue and upping their game count to eight.  Yes, you read that right – eight games! Based on the booking calendar, the new venue will be open by early July, with three games open straightaway and two more to follow a month later.

All the rooms appear to have a horror influence, with some including a live actor as part of the game. Unusually, the rooms vary significantly in capacity from a two player room to a 12 player room.

Zombie Apocolypse (sic) is set in 2026. You and your team are a group of survivors trying to make your way to the safe zone when you by luck encounter a military base and are offered the safety you need. Led down through dark tunnels into the civilian bunker you must get out through the rear door to where the helicopter is waiting to transport you to safety. The helicopter is leaving in one hour and if you don’t make it out in time there’s no way that you could possibly survive the ever encroaching zombies. The game can take 4-10 players and is charged at £15 per person for non-exclusive bookings.

In Dollhouse, you’ve been travelling for a long time, lost in a strange town. Looking for shelter for the night you enter the nearest building you see. Trapped for one hour in the darkness surrounded by dolls looking at you from every corner of the room. Something about this place isn’t quite right and you have an unnerving feeling that out of the darkness… Something is watching you… You can play with 2-6 players at a cost of £10pp.

Claustrophobe sets its stall out very clearly with a maximum capacity of just two people and this description: Forget zombies and dolls… This game focuses on the things that really scare you. You find yourself trapped in a small space. Its the middle of the night and the stench of dirt and damp is unnerving you as you wonder how you got here. Looking around you, you notice that there’s more to this room than you originally thought and suddenly you realise what could be at stake if you don’t make it out. The game costs £12pp.

Escape Wonderland is a dark take on the Alice in Wonderland theme. Alice is lost in Wonderland trapped by the murderous Cheshire Cat. Can you make your way through the madness, following Alice’s clues and avoiding the many traps her captors have left for you and save her before the hour is up and you too… are trapped forever! You can play with 3-8 players at a cost of £15pp.

Mr Chuckles Funhouse is not the game for you if you suffer from coulrophobia, and if you don’t there’s a good chance you will by the time you finish… “Come and play” whispers the eerie voice in the darkness… “Come and play” something inside you is telling you not to go in to the darkened circus tent but a stronger sense of curiosity pulls you closer to the crisp tarpaulin opening of the domed structure. As you reach out your hand telling yourself that you’ll only look, just a peek, just for a second; a bony hand reaches out and drags you inside. You turn around desperately looking for an exit but suddenly what was once a tent opening has become a thick wooden door trapping you inside. With no obvious way of escape and your heart starting to race with fear and anxiety you begin to look around and you realise: This… is no ordinary circus. The game can take 4-12 players and is charged at £15 per person for non-exclusive bookings.

If you’re interested in playing, they’re running an opening Groupon offer.

3) Breakout already have locations in Manchester and Liverpool to which they’ve now added a Breakout Cardiff branch. It opened its doors on 1 June with two games taken from their other locations.

The Classified room sees players sitting their final entrance exam to become a secret agent. You must escape from the room to pass the exam. They’ve got two copies of this game, so if racing against your friends appeals then here’s your opportunity. 

In Sabotage, you have to go deep behind enemy territory and stop a missile strike which endangers the safety of the entire world? There is 60 minutes before launch, you need to break into the control centre and stop the launch or the consequence will be catastrophic. Sabotage is the sequel to their Classified game.

Both games take 2-5 players and cost £36-70 depending on numbers and day.

4) This site reported on City Mazes in Cardiff when it first opened its doors back in January. Things look to be going well for them, because on 19th April they opened up a third game, Twisted Heaven which has a bit of a teaser as descriptions go: You’ll start in the depths of Hell and work your way through to escape through the gates of Heaven. As with their other games, it costs £25pp and can take up to 8 people in a non-exclusive booking.

5) The Welsh are obviously a competitive bunch, because Adventure Rooms Cardiff are another company that have decided teams want to battle it out for supremacy. At least one more game is in the works, but on opening day the only option they have available is Mad Scientist. You wake up in a mysterious room. You don’t know how you got there, all you know is that you need to find a way to escape. You have to figure out how you are going to escape within 60 minutes. £17-25pp for 2-6 people in single team mode or 4-6 in duel team mode. It’s not clear how the latter works – their description says that teams get thirty minutes in two scenarios, which readers of this site may wish to read more into than this site wishes to say.

They’re also running a free five minute teaser game – details on their Facebook page.

6) No change since the previous report on Cardiff Escape Rooms, but for completeness, the seventh addition to the Welsh list is likely to be Xscape Reality. Expect a proper post when it opens its doors.

Hwyl fawr am nawr!

Trapped on an Island

Treasure Map

Being trapped on an island has a long and storied history, so it seems fertile ground for generating escape room themes. Six months ago you’d have been out of luck if you’d wanted to actually play a game on an island, but whether you fancy going as a pair like Robinson Crusoe or a larger group like the Swiss Family Robinson, the local scene has recently expanded. The political geography of the UK and Ireland can be a bit tricky at times, so while this site bills itself as a resource for exit games from the UK and the Republic of Ireland, there are some games which, while technically falling outside that definition, are included here nonetheless.

Shetland

When two sites opened almost next to each other in Inverness, it seemed like it might be tricky to definitively state the location of the most northerly escape room in the UK.  Fortunately, Locked Shetland has now come to our rescue as the undisputed record holder. For an island with a population of about 22,000 and around 65,000 visitors a year, it’s definitely on the smaller side of audiences. It’s probably also the most remote escape room facility in the UK. Indeed, it’s not clear whether its nearest escape room neighbour is even in the UK, with Bergen, Norway being about the same distance as Inverness.

Their opening room is entitled “The Study” and comes with the following description: The professor has spent years of his life looking for the ‘Eye of Egypt’ a magnificent diamond. Finally, after all that time he has found it. You and your team on the other hand have spent ten minutes to get yourselves locked in his study. Now what took him years to find, you’re going to attempt to find in an hour! You and your team have an hour to solve the clues and puzzles to find the jewel and escape the study.

Beta testing took place earlier this month according to their Facebook page and booking is now open.  The game costs £44-72 and can accommodate 2-6 players.

The Isle of Man

At the very end of last year, Exit Strategy quietly arrived on the scene and kept well below the radar for a while. If the name sounds familiar, that’s because it is. Exit Strategy on the Isle of Man is, to the best of this site’s knowledge, unrelated to its relatively near neighbour in Liverpool. Unsurprisingly, the Isle of Man venue is located in the capital Douglas, just outside the town centre. On an island that is no stranger to speed, it’s also not surprising to see that they keep a leaderboard of the fastest times in each room, although they’ve deemed number of hints more important than pure speed. There are currently three games available, priced at £16-20pp:

In Prison Break, you’re aiming to rescue your friends from jail: Framed and captured, two of your team mates may never see the light of day again. Can you free them and escape the call before the guard returns. The game requires 3-6 players.

In Police Academy, it’s the end of your training academy. Do you have all the skills required to become part of our crime investigation team. This is your graduation challenge. You have 60 minutes to prove yourself, hone your skills and plan your EXIT STRATEGY. The game accommodates 2-8 players.

In Jewels: Museum Heist you play criminals out to capture a priceless gemstone. The Kelia Dynasty Diamond is on display in our museum. This prized jewel is too tempting to miss. A heist is in order. Can you beat the museum’s security, solve the puzzles, and escape with the gem? The game accommodates 2-8 players.

Portsea Island

If you’re reading this with a blank face, fear not. While you may not have heard of the island itself, you almost certainly know of the city that sits on it: Portsmouth. Yes, if you look carefully on the map, you’ll see there’s a thin stretch of water splitting the centre off from the mainland. Situated on the island, and therefore qualified for mention here, Real Escape UK opened a month or so ago.

Taking advantage of the city’s maritime history, their first room has a nautical theme. Deep within a shipwrecked flagship lies the Captain’s Cabin. The door swings shuts behind you and it’s just you and your team-mates under the deck.

According to interviews, they intend to open up other rooms at the venue in the not too distant future. Price for the current room is £18-21 per person for 3-6 people.

The Isle of Wight

Again, this is slightly old news, but it hasn’t previously been covered on this site. Random Rooms opened in March of this year and offers the inhabitants of and visitors to the Isle of Wight two rooms, both costing £60 for up to six people

In Prisoners’ Room you have been wrongly imprisoned in a far away country; your task is to send an encoded message to Rescue Forces so they locate you and help you escape from “Mountain Prison” while in the Goddess Anuket’s Curse Puzzle Room your task is to find a mysterious gemstone hidden in your great uncle’s study, and prevent it from releasing the Curse of the Egyptian Goddess Anuket at the exact moment of a planetary alignment.

The website points at plans for three more rooms, two of which already have concrete themes: a bank heist and a motel room.

Jersey

We started well north of the mainland, so let’s finish well south. The Escape Tunnel is a new escape game that opened last month on the island of Jersey as part of the Jersey War Tunnels centre. If you’re not familiar with Jersey’s story during the war there’s plenty on the parent site, but it’s clear that the theme for this escape game has been created very much inside the history of that time.

It is 1943 and Chief of Combined Operations, Vice Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten, has conceived operation Constellation, an offensive against the Channel Islands. A team of commandos are to land on Jersey and break into Ho8 (Jersey War Tunnels). Your mission, which you will have one hour to execute, will be to find the locations of the newly constructed Fortifications once you have accessed the German Commandant’s Office. You will have to search, identify clues and decipher puzzles to find the locations and uncover the code to unlock the door.

The room costs £15 per person and has space for 4-8 players.

STOP PRESS: Apparently one escape room isn’t enough for Jersey. This site has just learned through Scare Tour UK that Secrets Beneath, a scare attraction on the island, have opened Outbreak, a live actor, multi-room zombie escape game. Do you have what it takes to help save the world from a lethal Zombie virus? The Black Fox Military Corps require help to retrieve the anti virus that will stop the virus from spreading. To complete your mission you and your friends will have to complete mental, physical and psychological tasks to escape each room, and retrieve the hidden elements of the vaccine. The game is already open and costs £18pp for non-exclusive tickets.

Where else?

That, as far as this site is aware, is the full list of exit games currently open on the local islands (other than the British and Irish mainlands themselves, of course). It’s interesting to speculate which would be next though: If this site had to hazard a guess, Anglesey seems the next most likely with a population of nearly 70,000 and high tourist traffic. If Shetland can get one…

And we’re back…

rsp4

There’s no other way to start this post than to say a huge thank you to Chris for all the work he put into Exit Games over the past couple of years, not to mention outside of the site through things like the Unconferences. When I first got into escape games, this blog was my font of knowledge and in taking it on, I want to make sure that the people who are just starting out on that crazy road have the same opportunities I did. Of course, Chris hasn’t gone away entirely! He’s still around on the scene and, if you haven’t already, you can continue following him via his new blog, Ex Exit Games, or on Twitter.

So who am I? Well, my name’s Ken and I’m an escape enthusiast who’s been following the blog for the last year and a bit.  You may have seen my name crop up as someone who regularly contributed information about new venues or have met me at the London unconference. You may also be aware that I run a review site, but I intend to keep the two entirely separate and this will likely be the last time I refer to that dual role here. To the best of my abilities, Exit Games will continue with its impartial reporting – announcing new games from across the British Isles and maintaining an up-to-date listing and map.

If you’ve been paying careful attention, you may have noticed that the site is a little out of date at the moment. I’ll be working over the coming days to fix that, specifically aiming to get the map and escape venue list fully accurate again (or as accurate as it can ever get in this fast-changing industry!) as well as listing all the escape rooms that I’m aware of that are under construction. Alongside that, my intention is to continue publishing news that I think is of interest to the enthusiasts in the UK and Ireland.

This is a learning curve for me, and I’m trusting you, the readers, to keep me moving in the right direction. If you have any comments, questions or concerns, please reach out to me, either through the comment space below, on Twitter or via email.

Thanks!

In which I make my escape

"End of Part One" graphicGood news! I will be blogging in future at Ex Exit Games. The URL is the same as this one except with an ex at the start – http://www.exexitgames.co.uk/ – and I hope that you decide to follow me there. Future posts will be like the ones over here since March, except less… rigorous.

Bad news! I do not intend to make any further posts to Exit Games UK.

Good news! I would be delighted to turn exitgames.co.uk over to somebody else. (Ideally it would be someone not associated with any commercial escape game sites. There have already been at least two very good offers.) The only going concerns on exitgames.co.uk are the map, most recently kindly updated by Ken, and the list of exit game locations, which has not been updated since late February. I would advise that you delete everything else on the site to emphasise that it will no longer be updated; I will maintain a complete archive of Exit Games UK at Ex Exit Games.

How’s about that for a news sandwich?