New in the NW

North West

North West England has been at the forefront of escape rooms since soon after they came to the UK.  That seems set to continue with the Crystal Maze opening a bigger and better site up in Manchester in a few months.  In the meantime, plenty of other new companies are available if you’re looking to be locked in a room.

Read on to find out more about Breakout Chester, Clue HQ Manchester, Timed Trap in Preston, Lucardo and Mission Exit in Manchester and Moviescape in Stockport,

1) Breakout don’t open many venues but the ones they do open tend to be pretty big so, at first sight, Breakout Chester‘s opening in mid November with just two rooms might have come as a bit of a surprise. Look more closely, however, and you’ll see that there’s room for a massive seven games at this franchise.  Indeed, just as this article was being written, another room popped up on their booking page, available from early December. All three games, Wanted, Identity and Vacancy have been taken from the High Street Branch.

Wanted is a game with a confusing history, so worth paying careful attention if you plan on playing. It originally appeared in Liverpool and came in one of two variants: Cowboys, a relatively easy game and Indians, meant to challenge even the most hardened team. The Manchester venue decided it would get in on the act and produced Most Wanted, an entirely different game but with similar theming. Chester’s version takes Liverpool’s name but Manchester’s game.

As for the game itself, it’s another race to escape although this time the bigger reward you collect, the higher up on the leader board you will go! ((…)) Think of yourselves as bounty hunters of the Wild West breaking in to a Saloon in search of loot! Make sure you’re out by the time the Sheriff returns, even if it means leaving some of your riches behind, or you’ll end up spending the night in a cell as Breakout Chester’s Most Wanted!”. Yes – this is another of those non-binary win condition games where it’s not just a binary escape/don’t escape but a score attached. If you’ve loved Casino Escape, Bad Clown and the Ruby Factory then perhaps this is a game you’ll want to head along to before too long.

In Vacancy,  exhausted after a long journey, you place your bag down on the freshly made bed, ready to relax. Suddenly, an ominous sixty minute countdown begins. No matter what you try, the door will not open. Welcome to Crimson Lake Motel. You check in, but you NEVER check out…

Finally, in the soon to be open Identify, your friend has been murdered! You know who did it, but the police do not believe you. In a desperate attempt to find justice you have invaded the killer’s lair in the hopes of finding the proof to bring the killer to justice. However, the maniac could return at any time. Gather the proof and send this killer to prison before he returns. Do you have what it takes to IDENTIFY this psychopath’s other victims?

All games take 2-5 people and cost £34-£70 depending on number of people and day of the week.

2) The original North West company, Clue HQ took a short hop across the M62 a couple of weeks ago, to open Clue HQ Manchester. For fairly obvious reasons, they’ve brought two of their non-Warrington games to the new venue, Detonation and Cell Block C, although who knows what games will appear there in the future.

In Detonation, you and the rest of your detective team have been on the case of Danny Badd. Badd has been wanted for 7 years and is a known criminal all over Europe. He’s wanted by many different countries for various crimes. After a year of gathering information, 24 hour surveillance, and even capturing Badd’s brother, you’ve finally got the best lead that any intelligence unit has ever received with regards to his location. You’re going in, but not without a plan. Badd is notorious for blowing up anyone who attempts to track him down. Watch your step.

Cell Block C appeared down in their Birmingham franchise earlier in the year and has obviously been judged good enough as it’s just appeared in two separate venues. This game sees you framed for a crime you didn’t commit, and you’re about to be sentenced to a lifetime in prison. You know that notorious criminal Danny Badd is responsible but with only 60 minutes before you face the barrister, you don’t have the resources to prove your innocence. Can you escape top security CELL BLOCK C and buy yourself some time or will you be locked away forever?

Both games take 2-6 players and cost £44-90 depending on numbers.

3) Timed Trap are proof once more that an unsuccessful Kickstarter campaign doesn’t mean the end of the line, when they appeared on the scene in late October. This Preston-based room has jumped straight into the market with three separate games Serial Killer, The Great Escape and Treasure Theft.

In Serial Killer, which seems to relate to a certain film that is often associated with escape rooms, Jigsaw has returned! The brilliant mastermind behind the cruel identity is back for another round of his horrific live or die games. The serial killer has booby trapped a house for an unlucky group of unwilling participants. The house has been pumped with lethal nerve gas. You must try to dodge the traps so you don’t get killed and find the antidote to the nerve gas.

In The Great Escape, it looks like you’re going to have to escape twice to win the game – once individually and once as a team. A makeshift prison is set up in a research lab complete with cell, bars and surveillance cameras. For 2 weeks participants are recruited to play prisoners and guards. The prisoners are locked up and have to follow seemingly mild rules, and the ‘guards’ are simply told to retain order without using physical violence. Anyone is allowed to quit at any time, by forfeiting their payment. In the beginning the mood between both groups is insecure and empathetic. But soon quarrels arise and the warden employs more drastic actions to show his authority. You only have one hour to escape before your plan is discovered. You must break all the inmates out of their individual cells, before escaping through the infirmary. If you are caught, you will no longer be part of a research project, you will be an actual prisoner.

Finally, Treasure Theft sees a plot that wouldn’t look out of place with a fictional archaeologist at the helm. During the cold war, Russian agents watch professor Billy Jones when a young man brings him a coded message from an aged, demented colleague; Harold Oxley. Led by the brilliant Irina Spalko, the Russians tail Jones and a young man ‘Mutt’ to Peru. With Oxley’s code, they find a legendary skull made of a single piece of quartz. If Jones can deliver the skull to it’s rightful place, all may be well. Ageing professor and young buck join forces with a woman from Jones’s past to face the dangers ahead. You and your team follow Jones’s clue to hunt the treasure. Will you get to the treasure before it’s too late…?

Games can accommodate 2-6 players (The Great Escape has a minimum of 4) and cost between £44 and £90 depending on numbers.

4) Lucardo opened in the centre of Manchester at the beginning of September, the first new opening in the city for about a year. For a brand new venture, they wasted no time churning out rooms with a total of four already open and a fifth due to open tomorrow.

In Contamination scientists from around the world have developed a new modified deadly strain of poison: the T-200. It is capable of polluting the nation’s water supply within minutes. Only five vials were created and one has gone missing – we believe Professor Thomson has stolen it and has it hidden somewhere in his lab. Break-in to his lab and find the missing vial before Professor Thomson returns.

Enter Espionage and you’ll find the year is 1938, just prior to the outbreak of WWII. You and your team are part of the newly founded British Secret Intelligence Service. The War Office has had a number of classified documents stolen, which are thought to be held in a secret enemy bunker. Intelligence tells us the guards change every hour. Your Mission: crack the bunker security codes and recover the documents before the guards change.

Meanwhile, in Gem Runner, the famous 190 carat Saratov diamond from Russia is being deposited at the central bank in Manchester. Lucardo has hacked the security system, buying your team a one hour window to steal the diamond. Can your team pull off Manchester’s biggest ever heist?

Virginia House sees you on the tail of a serial killer. Every hour, on the hour for the past 24 hours a murder has taken place. The killer has been leaving clues around the murder scenes, sending Scotland Yard around in circles. Your team has been granted access to the murder scene and is tasked with cracking the clues, riddles and puzzles to track down the next location before the murderer strikes again. An innocent life depends on you.

Finally, in The Dream, your dreams are always happy and delightful, but tonight something is going wrong. Your wildest dreams of finding the magic numbers are slowly slipping away, through a whirlwind of riddles, puzzles and illusions. Can you solve your way out of this dream before your chances get lost in the subconscious forever? Be aware, things may not be as they appear…

Games take 2-5 players and cost £40-80 depending on day and numbers.

5) When it comes to escape rooms, Stockport might make you think of Extremescape, the outfit that opened in the tiny town of Disley nearby but now there’s a new game in town. Moviescape has a very clear vision of the type of escape rooms that it’s looking to offer – a movie like experience from a variety of genres – with their first game being the Haunted House where you are a group of Paranormal investigators sent to Crowley manor to investigate the disappearance of a previous Paranormal Investigation Team.

Booking is still by telephone and the website doesn’t include any details on price or capacity so all this site can do is point you at Brit of an Escape Habit‘s review and mention that the game is ranked 11 out of 64 at the time of writing.  

6) Finally, welcome to Mission Exit that opened quietly on the outskirts of Manchester in mid October. They originally branded themselves as Breakout Challenge but soon renamed for reasons unknown, although this site suspects that proximity to a similarly named escape game giant might have been relevant.

As of yet, there’s just one game at the venue. In it, you have stumbled across the office of Sir Rupert Chinn, without realising you have also activated his security system which means big trouble as you are now locked in. Under the wrath of Rupert, you have 60 minutes to save your skin and escape, but will you all ‘think, solve & escape’ before Sir Chinn arrives?

If you liked the sound of that room (and pun lovers everywhere surely must) it costs £32-60 for 2-6 players.

And there you have it – six new venues and fifteen new games in the space of just three months. The North West looks like it’s set on keeping the UK escape room crown. What more will 2017 bring!

Escape Room Rumours – 28 November 2016


Happy Monday and welcome to your (approximately) weekly dose of UK and Irish escape game rumours. This site is always on the look out for new games or venues that are opening, references in the media or anything else that might be of interest to the readers, so please do send an email if you spot anything of interest. That applies to owner too – feel free to send me your news for inclusion here. Don’t be shy!

On to the news

Another quiet week – and things will probably get even quieter in the next few weeks as Christmas approaches.

  • National
    • Don’t forget that Liz Cable of Time Games is running the Escape Game Unconference in January. Just 6 tickets left – so if you want to attend, probably time to book those tickets!
  • South West England:
    • Those of you who read last week’s article on Yorkshire and the Humber may remember a reference to a string of escape rooms opening with “Trapped” in their name. Well, add one more to that list as Trapped Escape Rooms, based in Gloucester, popped on to my radar last week. Two games in their line up – The Haunted Hotel and Prison Break – both expected to open in February of 2017.
    • Cornwall’s Great Escape Rooms opened The Elf Quest, a temporary Christmas themed room.
  • Scotland:
    • After a very long time with just a single room, Clue HQ Glasgow opened their second room last week – Cell Block C.
  • London:
    • Time Run opened their long awaited sequel, Celestial Chain. Previews were running for a week before the official opening date and it’s already fairly booked up into the new year.
    • Sherlock Unlock closed their doors after almost a year in operation taking with them their three rooms: Chaos, Outbreak and Mutiny.
  • East of England:
    • Room Escape Southend closed Asylum. That game closing isn’t sad though because it means it’s time for their Santa game to appear.
  • South East England:
    • TimeQuest are about to open The Quest to Save Camelot, their third room.
  • West Midlands:
  • North West England:
    • Lucardo are about to open their fifth room, The Dream, based around a lottery win.

That’s all folks

That’s all I’m aware of. If any of the above is incorrect or if you’re aware of other news, discounts or competitions, then let me know via email or in the comments below and I’ll include updates in the next edition.

Thanks for reading!

No Slumber in (Yorkshire and) the Humber


Ever since this site found out about the NUTS regions in the UK, it’s used them to group up escape rooms by region. Aside from Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and London most of them are just compass partitions of England – the North West of England, East England etc. There’s one that stands out, though, as a bit different – Yorkshire and the Humber. One feels that, perhaps, the North East was just a bit too big to have these more southerly areas included and while the delineation may be somewhat arbitrary, it does add a certain character that the historic area names are part of the regional names.

Of course, that’s all well and good but what we’re really here to talk about is the new escape rooms it has to offer! The answer is ten new games, across four new venues and a mobile outfit! Read on to find out about games in Doncaster, Bradford and Hull.

1) Escape Doncaster opened up way back in August bringing two of the well known rooms from the parent brand – da Vinci and Area 51.

By now readers should pretty much be able to recite the da Vinci plot from memory, given this is probably the seventh time it’s appeared on these pages. Nevertheless, the Da Vinci Room, for those who’ve forgotten the plot or are new to the site, sees you “take on the role of thief, but for the greater good. Dr John Albright has studied the workings of Da Vinci in great detail. He has amassed a huge collection over the years, including what many believe to be the Holy Grail. Having gained his trust by helping him “acquire” items over the years, you have access to areas of his home and knowledge of his security that no-one else does. You’ve been paid well for your services over the years, but you’ve always felt that an item of the importance of the Holy Grail should be on display for all to see. The professor is away and now is your chance. Get in the room, grab the grail and get out. It should be easy! “The Da Vinci Room” is a live escape game with a twist, you need to get an item out of the room as well as you! The setting is a beautiful old study with artwork, certificates and various vintage items ranging from typewriters to violin cases! Primarily focusing on code-breaking, symbolism and association problems The Da Vinci Room offers an exciting challenge for players young and old.”.

Likewise, Area 51 is hardly new, with this being its fourth outing on these pages. It’s clearly targeted at the Sci Fi/conspiracy theory stories popular among X-Files fans. It’s probably not a coincidence that this game has been released around the same time as the X Files TV series has been revived – 15 years is a good time to have a renaissance and the children of the 90s are very much the sort of people playing escape games now. In terms of the more detailed plot: “Roswell is a highly debated subject. Imagine something similar on your doorstep… rumour has it that there was an incident and hidden away in a basement there is evidence to prove it. No one knows what it contains but you and your friends are about to find out as you have stumbled across it.”

Teams of 3-5 cost a fixed £66 while two player teams receive an £18 discount, bringing the price down to £48

2) Escape Hull is another venue from the same brand but, sensibly, give the proximity of the two locations they opted to offer an entirely different set of rooms when they opened in October: two that are well known from other locations, Contagion and Taken, and one that is brand new, 221B Baker Street.

In Contagion, “You and your team of fellow scientists have been working tirelessly to create a vaccine for the fatal CYE disease. Unfortunately you have all managed to contract the virus. Either sit around and let it take you or you redouble your efforts and create a vaccine. This is not your only problem. After creating the vaccine you must find a way to beat the lock down on the laboratory. The timer is set to 60 minutes, after which the room and all traces of your work, will be incinerated. Create the vaccine and escape the room if the rest of humanity is to benefit from your work!

The Taken room (obligatory link to this post by Really Fun) tells the tale of “A rogue policeman, Brian Miller, has been obsessed for some time with finding the killer of John Doe and in his eyes the evidence points to you and your friends. Part of your group will be Taken and locked away, meaning you will have two tasks to complete: rescue your friend(s) and escape the room. Although separated, the full group will still be able to work together to complete the game. Officer Miller has been cunning in the way he has hidden clues around his somewhat dilapidated room with some impressive gadgetry used along the way. You will need to do some searching and finding in the room as well as the puzzles if you want to Escape. This room is no normal room – let’s just say it’s lacking in some of the comforts of our other rooms – but it’s just as much fun!

In an unusual twist, the Sherlock Holmes themed room, 221B Baker Street, sees you neither working nor searching for Sherlock himself but instead on the payroll of his nemesis Moriarty. According to the website, Primarily focusing on code-breaking, symbolism and association problems The Sherlock Escape Room will offer an interesting challenge for new and returning players alike. Having been enlisted by Moriarty, your task is to break into 221B Baker Street, defeat Sherlock’s failsafes and retrieve an item of historic importance. Hurry though, Sherlock and Dr Watson are hot on your tail!

All three rooms admit 2-6 people with prices ranging from £48 – £70. According to the local paper, there are plans to open up three more games at the venue and possibly even a cafe.

3) The similarly named but most definitely separate Escape Room Hull opened its doors earlier this month with a single game, The Aviator’s Study.

Their website describes the game as a unique escape room experience. Inspired by local flying pioneer Amy Johnson, the attraction lets players pit their wits against a series of puzzles and riddles in order to break out of the study before the time runs out. Teams have one hour to work the navigational tools, crack the codes and spring the locks. That does indeed sound unusual even with the escape game genre and this site is always happy to see companies taking advantage of local culture and history.

The game costs £44-75 for 2-5 people. Two more rooms are apparently in the works but the only information available is that the first game has a bank job theme.

4) Time Trapped probably seemed like an incredibly unusual name when the owners came up with it and then, in the space of a couple of months, companies opened up with the names Time Trap, Timed Trap and Trapp’d, although fortunately none of them were close enough to cause significant confusion. The venue, based in Bradford, has two games for now: Prison Break and Sherlock.

In Prison Break, Bradford has fallen prey to a string of gruesome murders and you just happen to have found yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time, three times in a row. The police have no choice but to arrest you, and with every new murder, the cries for justice grow ever more shrill. Whether at the hands of the increasingly desperate Detective-in-Chief or the inmate whose brother you supposedly killed, it looks like the death penalty is coming your way. Prison games often have the same story, so it’s great to see a company putting in a little more background and substance to the plot, to really get the escapists into the right mindframe.

Sherlock sees you swap sides and spar against the Sherlock’s nemesis.  According to the website: James Moriarty: stylish arch-fiend, criminal mastermind, and the only person Sherlock Holmes can call an equal. In a test of your mental prowess, Moriarty has sealed you in your Baker Street flat, with nothing but a ticking time bomb for company. It’s the ultimate battle of your intellect against his. If you don’t solve his Machiavellian clues, you and the charming café next door will be saying your final goodbyes…

Games cost £40-80 for a team of 2-5.

5) Finally, Norris Box appeared quietly on the internet just last week and may have existed long before that – there’s no corresponding Facebook or Twitter feed from which to derive additional information on start dates. It’s a mobile game located near Leeds Bradford airport which can come to you. Set up by a school teacher, there are two games available:

In Schrödinger’s Assistant, Nobel Prize winning physicist Erwin Schrödinger has gone away on holiday and left his, less-than-able, assistant in charge.  Whilst his mentor is away Albert has begun his own experiment.  You need to open the box and discover what Albert is up to. If there isn’t a cat in the box somewhere then surely they’ve missed a trick?

In Enigma you’re taken to Bletchley Park which was the central site for Britain’s code breakers during World War II.  Decades later a mysterious box has been found in a vault in the grounds of Bletchley Park.  What secrets have been hidden within?

It’s hard not to imagine that the teaching background has resulted in these games carrying a little more educational value than most, and it’s clear from the pictures on the website that the boxes have been lovingly hand made. Both games cost £75 per team of up to six people but if you book two games at the same time, the price is dropped to just £50 per team. Note that you’ll be paying an extra £1 per mile for anywhere beyond a 5 mile radius round the airport.

So, there you have it. A bunch of new games in new venues. Welcome – Escape Hull, Escape Doncaster, Norris Box, Time Trapped and Escape Room Hull. May you be locking people up for many years to come!

Escape Room Rumours – 21 November 2016


Happy Monday and welcome to your (approximately) weekly dose of UK and Irish escape game rumours. This site is always on the look out for new games or venues that are opening, references in the media or anything else that might be of interest to the readers, so please do send an email if you spot anything of interest. That applies to owner too – feel free to send me your news for inclusion here. Don’t be shy!

On to the news

A relatively quiet week this time round – I wonder if this is the start of the  build up to Christmas.

  • International:
    • Another escape room game show has been announced and launched this week.  Watch the trailer for more details but broadly it’s an escape game where four celebrities are locked in a different game each week and will play on the subscription only channel Alpha.
    • US specific but probably interesting to many people in the UK. SCRAP are bringing out a Legend of Zelda escape room next year and it’s going to be touring the States. Who knows, maybe it will eventually make a trip over to the UK?
  • National
    • clueQuest have announced a competition to win £1500 for a charity/good cause of your choice. If you use the #DearMrQ hashtag in a tweet you also stand a chance of winning one of three sets of tickets for their games.
  • Yorkshire and the Humber:
    • A new mobile game has appeared in the vicinity of Leeds Bradford airport called Norris Box. Two games are already available – Dr Schrodinger’s Assistant (is success or failure in the box?) and Enigma.
  • South West England:
    • KLB Escape Room opened their doors last week Their first game is The Inheritance
  • Scotland – thanks to Exit Games Scotland for these
    • If you’re looking for escape room discounts then Exit Games Scotland has put together a list for you.
    • Fancy a free game at any of Escape Games Scotland’s sites? Then enter the competition here.
  • West Midlands:
    • Clue HQ Coventry continue their release of games with Sacrifice opening its doors this time round.
  • East Midlands:
  • North West England:
    • Clue HQ Manchester opened its doors bringing the total number of Clue HQ locations to nine! First game up here is Detonation.
  • South East England:
    • Exciting Escapes opened in Southampton with two games: Change the Record and A Hidden Past
  • London:
    • Perhaps not an escape room but close (and marketing itself to that audience), City Questing appeared on this site’s radar this week. A bunch of games in various locations plus some online puzzle hunts.
    • (Also – see clueQuest entry in National above)

That’s all folks

That’s all I’m aware of. If any of the above is incorrect or if you’re aware of other news, discounts or competitions, then let me know via email or in the comments below and I’ll include updates in the next edition.

Thanks for reading!

Scot free – new escape venues in Edinburgh, Paisley and Ayr


Time to cross Hadrian’s Wall once more and report on the new venues that have opened north of the border. Brace yourself for a whistle stop tour across the country from Ayr to Edinburgh with a brief stop in Paisley.

1) After 18 months operating in Glasgow, The Room has ventured outside the city for the first time to open up a venue in Ayr. Most franchises opt for exporting their successful rooms to a new location but, in good news for enthusiasts, they’ve chosen to bring two brand new rooms to their second location – the Dark Room and, in pleasing use of local history, the Burns Room.

If you’re thinking the Dark Room is a game where you have to develop your clues, you’re probably wrong. It seems like this is the literal definition of a dark room where you’ll be able to see nothing. As the description says, imagine, there is no more light. You are trapped in complete darkness, no lamps, no candles, no mobile phones, no window to let the sunshine in. Even the oxygen gets consumed in 60 minutes… You have no tools to force the door, your only way to escape, open. What do you when all you have is blind faith in your team? Will your combined wits and skills and drive to see the light again be enough? Ready?

Speaking of ambiguous game names, the Burns Room isn’t some horror-themed fire room but, as you might expect, a game with references to local poet Robert Burns.  In the late 70’s a respected Robert Burns expert was arrested for serial murder on circumstantial evidence. Eventually she was stultified and moved to psychiatric care. The public was shocked, doubting to this day that she really did it. You as a team of investigators are now given one last chance to open the cold file and reestablish what had really happened.

It’s great to see companies expanding and doubly great to see them trying new things out. While it’s not clear whether the first room is entirely played in the dark (although it seems unlikely), the focus on dark as the only theme is, to this site’s knowledge, unique in the UK. As for their second room, this site has made no secret of its love of rooms with local connections so is pleased to see another game popping up of that ilk.

The Dark Room can take 2-6 players and costs £40-78 while the Burns Room is suitable for 3-8 players and costs £65-104.

2) One of the most surprising rooms that has appeared on this site’s radar recently is The Exit Games in Paisley. First, to avoid any doubt, The Exit Games is unrelated to this Exit Games or, for that matter, to Exit Games Scotland. But it wasn’t the name that was the surprising part of this venue; instead it was the genesis of the game that set it apart. This is a game developed by a school. Yes – to quote the website – it’s the first exciting new enterprise developed by the staff and young people of Mirren Park School in Paisley as part of a partnership project with Computer Games Design students from West College Scotland. The entire development of the game, the themes and planning have been driven by the young people and this will act as a sector leading model for a number of new collaborative enterprises being developed over the coming years. 

Perhaps you’re a little dubious about whether they could pull it off, well Exit Games Scotland went along and gave it the thumbs up, so it certainly sounds like it’s worth a visit. The room is themed around Sherlock Holmes but that’s as much as the website divulges. They charge a mere £66 for 3-6 players and, with their opening offer of £40, it’s a veritable bargain.  What’s more – there’s apparently another room in the works – watch this space!

3) Finally, over on the East coast, Escape Rooms Scotland opened their third venue. The Edinburgh branch is starting out with two games – Outbreak and the Bunker. Both games are suitable for 2-6 players and cost a flat £70 regardless of day or occupancy. With their original location in Glasgow only having been open for a year and already having taken top spot in the city according to TripAdvisor, there’s reason to think that they’ll be able to deliver good quality games. As for the stories….

In Outbreak you step into the role of staff members at Edinburgh’s local CDC facility where an outbreak has occurred and the facility is in lockdown. In the Bunker, it’s 1942 and you are trapped underground. Your mission is to outsmart your enemies and make it out in one piece…

Escape Room Rumours – 14 November 2016


Happy Monday and welcome to your (approximately) weekly dose of UK and Irish escape game rumours. This site is always on the look out for new games or venues that are opening, references in the media or anything else that might be of interest to the readers, so please do send an email if you spot anything of interest. That applies to owner too – feel free to send me your news for inclusion here. Don’t be shy!

On to the news

Four new venues spotted, a couple of ones we knew about are now opening, one new game at an existing venue and, sadly, we’re going to be chalking up another goodbye. Read on for details!

  • West Midlands:
    • Escape Room Hereford announced their intention to launch. No date yet and no website but if you’re interested, there’s a Facebook page you can follow which already mentions three games in the works covering Sherlock Holmes, Saw and “Rescue the hostage” themes.
    • Clue HQ Coventry are opening Sacrifice – the 3 v 3 escape room where to win you need to sacrifice your team mates…
  • Yorkshire and the Humber:
    • A new escape venue is set to open in Harrogate – Liberty Escapes. No timeline or games yet but a suggestion that they’re also looking at creating a mobile experience.
  • North West England:
    • Breakout Chester adds a fourth city to the Breakout franchise. Two games to start with: Wanted (which, confusingly, is a copy of “Most Wanted” in Manchester and not Wanted in Liverpool) and Vacancy. According to this article, there’s room to open a further seven rooms if the venue proves popular!
  • South West England:
    • KLB Escape Rooms are opening in Andover with their first room, The Inheritance.
    • Bath was an early adopter of escape games and I’ve always been surprised that there’s been no expansion there. Bath Exit sets that right although, while it might look like a brand new company, by the looks of the website (and, in particular, the contact details) it looks like it’s an expansion of the existing Bath Escape. Three games are listed on their website: Alladin’s Cave, The Secret Garden and The Master.
  • Scotland
    • Can You Escape? co-founder Alastair Watson won the HIT Regional Rising Star. It’s great to see someone from the escape room industry being recognised in the tourist business.
  • South East England:
    • Exciting Escapes open their doors this week with two games: Change the Record and A Hidden Past
    • Sad news indeed, at least for escape enthusiasts – A Great Escape, the game based in Bletchley Park near Milton Keynes, is closing its doors. Last games are on 18th December.
    • The students at Darwin College in the University of Kent put together a half hour escape room for Hallowe’en as part of their RaG fundraising.
  • London
    • The private ticketing of UK escape rooms means you can’t generally use them as a way of meeting people – well, this Thursday you can. Date in a Dash are holding an escape room speed dating night in Islington, North London. I’d love to know more about who created the escape game(s) for this event.

That’s all folks

That’s all I’m aware of. If any of the above is incorrect or if you’re aware of other news, discounts or competitions, then let me know via email or in the comments below and I’ll include updates in the next edition.

Thanks for reading!

More is Less… ter


Way back in 2013, a company called Cipher opened up the sixth escape venue in the UK. Sadly, it closed a mere five months later and it wasn’t till earlier this year that the city finally got another taste of this hobby of ours when Escape Asylum opened. Perhaps that opening brought people’s attention to the opportunity of a 330,000 population area or maybe Leicester City’s resurgence in the Premiership was a reminder that the inhabitants liked a challenge. Either way, in the last month or so three companies have set up new operations which will eventually house a total of twelve rooms.

1) The most recent addition to the city is Bolt Out who launched a mere week ago with a single game, the Abandoned Office, although another is planned in the not too distant future. In the game you have been working for a temping agency for several months and still have not been paid. After several phone calls to the elusive management team, you decide to pay head office a call. When you get there the room appears empty but suddenly the door slams shut and you are locked in.

As per usual, players are offered clues in the room but there’s a limit of eight which, according to the website, sees 80% of teams escaping. Half of the teams get out with up to five clues but no one has yet been, for want of a better word, clueless. If you want to play, games cost £15-22 per person for teams of 2-6 people.  If you’re quick they’re offering a 20% discount off bookings in October and November using the code SITE20.

2) Clue HQ are a long established franchise that originated in Warrington and have been steadily spreading around the country. This venue looks like it might be their largest to date with the website suggesting plans to offer seven different games of which four are already available.

In Quarantined, with the growing threat of a radiation leak due to the increase in nuclear power, the government seek a solution to radiation poisoning within humans. Deep within a high security facility, a group of scientists work to develop a vaccine to ensure immunity, but to run tests they need subjects. You regain consciousness to find yourself quarantined within the facility. You don’t know how you got here. You don’t know who got you here. Then the screams start. Just when you think your situation cannot get any worse – it does.

Over in AI9, the world is once again at risk by misguided government. The game is set six months after the great inventor Professor Tepet’s death. M.I.6. have gained access to the lab where he kept all of his greatest inventions. Among the files, they found an abandoned document called A-I-9 detailing an artificial intelligence peacekeeping program. Scientists finally managed to recreate the program, rolling it out across the nation. A type of robot (called ‘9bots’) where integrated into society. The NHS could diagnose patients before symptoms appeared while the army neutralised threats before they happened, the country thrived, for a time. 24 hours ago an anomaly appeared in the code shutting down internet and telecommunications worldwide and soon after chaos ensued. A-I-9 is corrupting the system from the inside. This was meant to be impossible. The only way to stop it is to destroy it before it can destroy us – can you get past their self-protection systems?

Bunker 38 hardly needs an introduction given its widespread presence in Clue HQ venues but… 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?

In Cell Block C, Danny Badd is back and he’s, unsurprisingly, up to no good. You’ve been framed for a crime you didn’t commit, and you’re about to be sentenced to a lifetime in prison. You know that notorious criminal Danny Badd is responsible but with only 60 minutes before you face the barrister, you don’t have the resources to prove your innocence. Can you escape top security CELL BLOCK C and buy yourself some time or will you be locked away forever?

Games costs £15-22 per person and can accommodate 2-6 people. The three rooms still in the pipeline are the Vault, Teleporter and the Betrayal of Cluetankhamun.

3) Escape Reality is another big franchise, albeit a far newer one. After opening in Cardiff during August they’re expanding aggressively with Leicester opening in October and Glasgow due to follow in December. “Just” three games at the Leicester venue: Jungala, Enigmista and Alcatraz.

In Jungala, you have discovered an old board game in your attic and once opened you are engulfed by a vortex and transported into an alternative realm. After only seeing a glimpse of the terrible world inside you are thrown back into reality. Vowing never to approach the game again you attempt to leave but the door has been locked trapping you in. Glancing over to the game you see the words “The dice have been rolled.” You have no choice but to complete the game or be trapped inside the other realm for eternity. 

Over in Enigmista, there have been reports that there is a serial killer on the loose. Many people in the area have gone missing and no traces of their whereabouts have been discovered. Only one survivor has lived to tell the tale of what happened in the killer’s lair. Rumour has it that he forces his prisoners to perform ghastly tests to see how far they can push themselves in order to escape. You have suddenly awoken to discover that you have been locked inside a room of complete darkness with no recollection of how you found yourselves in this situation. Your captor has devised a series of games to test how much strength you have in order to your own lives.

Finally, in Alcatraz you are all masters of escaping and no prison has managed to contain you. As highly skilled individuals you have been plotting your escape plan and now the time has arrived. A diversion has been caused by other inmates and the warden has sprinted off to help, leaving you in your cells unguarded. This is your prime opportunity to make your escape attempt. Can you escape before he returns and catches you?

Games are for groups of 2-6 people and cost £15-22 depending on numbers.

Escape Room Rumours – 7 November 2016


Happy Monday and welcome to your (approximately) weekly dose of UK and Irish escape game rumours. This site is always on the look out for any new games or venues that are opening, references in the media or anything else that might be of interest to the readers, so please do send an email if you spot anything of interest. That applies to owner too – feel free to send me your news for inclusion here. Don’t be shy!

On to the news

After Hallowe’en’s bumper issue a quieter time this week.

  • (Intern)national:
    • A world championship for escape games? A chance to win a trip to Budapest? Some fun online games and then a free mini escape room? I’m guessing something in that sentence will grab your attention, in which case I highly recommend you read Ex Exit Games’ article on Red Bull’s Mind Gamers promotion. Warning: the qualifying games take place in Manchester on Monday 5th December and in Cardiff on Wednesday 7th December.
  • Yorkshire and the Humber:
    • After a few delays along the way, Look Key Escape finally opened their doors last week in Leeds with Murder Motel the first game available. Current plans suggest Escape from Wonderland is set to follow before Christmas.
    • Escape Room Hull, not to be confused with Escape Hull, have launched their website and while no opening date has been announced, the inclusion of a physical address suggests that it won’t be long before Hull has yet more options for escaping.
  • East Midlands:
    • iLocked is a huge Russian escape room company with many, many games on their roster, the first of which has just made its way to Nottingham. iLocked Nottingham opened last week with their first of three games, the Mummy. As you might expect from such a large franchise, there’s a trailer for the room which gives a bit of a feel for what it’s like.
    • At the beginning of June, Derby was devoid of escape rooms but it’s obviously the place to be with two companies already opening and another now setting their sights on the city. You may have seen reference to Time Travel Theatre in a previous update – well, they’ve now got planning permission and have launched their website: Unescapable. The games see you stepping through a time portal, and the first outing, Tommy, sees you heading back to the First World War. A second game is also in the work but the only detail given at the moment is that it will be called Jack.
  • West Midlands
    • Clue HQ Coventry opened their second game, Dungeon of Doom. Still no booking from their website but you can call or email to get a slot. More games to follow imminently!
  • The Isle of Wight
    • Random Rooms opened their third game, Motel Room, last week.
  • South East England:
    • Escape Room Bournemouth have finally opened their doors with M.A.R.V.O. – a secret agent themed room. If you’ve got a few moments, it’s worth skimming their Twitter feed where I’ve enjoyed seeing some of the more mundane parts of setting up an escape room business (and also seeing that they’ll be offering gift boxes with various goodies – which seem like a great idea)
    • The Panic Room is opening at The Panic Room Gravesend. That might seem a little odd at first glance but it’s re-opening in their second venue in Gravesend. It was closed down a few months ago to make room for new games but now that they’ve got more space they’ve elected to re-open it to give those of you who missed out a chance.
    • The Guardians of the Elixir opens up at The Real Escape in Portsmouth on Saturday bringing their total to three games – perfect for the enthusiast…
    • TimeQuest open their doors in Tonbridge at the weekend with two games initially, Agent 101 and Saving Operation Neptune. Both games revolve around time travel and a third game, the Quest to Save Camelot, is due to open later in the year.
    • It’s usually a sad time when an escape venue closes its doors but the closure of Time Trap Escape‘s Dickens’ Final Chapter last week is hopefully only a temporary hiatus as they’re planning on re-opening in a permanent venue. More details when I have them!
  • London:
  • Wales:
    • The avid reader may vaguely recall rumours of an escape room opening in Newport – well, the Escape Rooms Newport have now launched a Kickstarter campaign promoting their new venture. They’ve got 25 backers already and are a quarter of the way towards their total after four days, so it’s looking promising. If you’re feeling particularly keen, you might want to take a look at their page and see whether there’s an easter egg – I’ve seen something that makes me feel there’s some hidden content for the observant but aside from getting to a specific webpage, I’ve not got any further…
  • Scotland:
    • Escape Glasgow welcomed a group from GLOW into their escape room. If you’re not familiar with GLOW then it seems to be something similar to TOWIE (and if you’re not familiar with TOWIE then perhaps count yourself lucky). (Thanks to Exit Games Scotland for the tip)

That’s all folks

That’s all I’m aware of. If any of the above is incorrect or if you’re aware of other news, discounts or competitions, then let me know via email or in the comments below and I’ll include updates in the next edition.

Thanks for reading!

New games in Scotland – Shetland, Edinburgh and Peterhead

Scottish keys

1) First up Exit Plan Edinburgh who opened their third game, Framed, in early September. In the game you are fugitives on the run from the police who are hunting you for a series of murders that have taken place recently. Detective Combs, who was working on the case, was close to finding the identity of the killer but nobody has seen him for several days. Fearing the worst has happened to him, you know that your only hope of clearing your name is to break into the Detective’s apartment where he kept all his findings and pick up where he left off to find out who the real killer is.

As soon as you step inside however, you set off the alarm system trapping you inside and alerting the police.  With the authorities on route, you need to find out who the killer is and make your escape quick!

2) It seemed amazing that the Shetland Isles could support an escape room and doubly surprising when a second opened up (and, in the process, stole the title of most northern escape room in the UK!).  Well, time to be triply surprised because Locked Shetland opened a second room back in mid-October. Not much on their website but the game seems to be set in Dashwick Electroencephalography Abnormal Thalamus Hospital, a name which doesn’t spell out much hope for any of the patients…

3) Finally, Escafun, one of the least advertised escape rooms in the country, opened the Military Room in early September. Like their first game, Grannie’s Living Room, there’s a 45 minute time limit but beyond that there’s nothing I can tell you – the Facebook and Twitter pages don’t seem to have any description and I can’t find any reviews. It certainly seems like they’re being successful given the happy faces and repeat customers on their Facebook feed. Perhaps we’ll hear more if Exit Games Scotland makes a trip up North!

Rising in the East

Compass direction east.

With a population of close to 6 million, the East of England is severely under served when it comes to escape rooms, so it’s great to see a few more opening up (and even better that at least three more venues are in the pipeline in the next few months). This time round we look at escape rooms in Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk.

1) If you’re an ardent royalist then the game that appeared in Ely at the end of September may fill you with equal parts loving and loathing. While it’s in Oliver Cromwell’s House, the Lord Protector’s family home, the story does see you having to escape from his clutches. This site has long declared its love of escape rooms that build upon local stories and heritage and particularly ones in museums with the crossover between education and games, so was pleased to find out that the initial run was quickly extended to the end of the year. Perhaps that initial success isn’t surprising, given that the brains behind the game is Steve Blake, founder of the itinerant escape room Puzzle Room.

In the game, a group of Royalist supporters have been captured by a detachment of Cromwell’s troop and are being held temporarily under armed guard in the Tithe Room of Cromwell’s former house. However, one of the guards is a Royalist sympathiser himself and has hidden a set of clues in the room along with a key.

You can play on Saturdays and Sundays at a cost of £80 for 4-8 people.

2) Another game from the Puzzle Room stable opened last weekend at Suffolk Food Hall, just a couple of miles south of Ipswich. It’s an interesting venue with an upmarket market at its centrepiece including the usual farm produce but also chocolate and wine stalls. On top of that it has a restaurant, runs various workshops and has a garden centre. Increasingly we’re seeing escape rooms opening up next to bowling alleys and laser tag sites – perhaps there’s a similar effect in operation here with families drawn to the Food Hall wanting additional entertainment?

The game, entitled Escape the Gamekeeper’s Bothy, is set in the Victorian era and leans heavily on the local area for inspiration – drawing on the chronicles of a local curate who later became a chaplain to Queen Victoria. In the story, Sir Reginald Rackham, owner of the Wherstead estate and whose rabbits you have been poaching, is renowned for his ruthlessness far beyond the boundaries of his land.  His gamekeeper has detained your group in the locked estate workers’ bothy while the police are summoned from Ipswich.  It will take them an hour to arrive so use that time to make good your escape… Be sure to remember the punishments for poaching could be a heavy fine, months of hard labour or even transportation to the colonies!

The game runs Wednesdays to Sunday and costs £60-90 for 2-8 people.

3) Puzzlescape is located in the small town of Dereham. For those of you who don’t have an encyclopedic knowledge of the UK’s towns, that’s about 15 miles west of Norwich and 25 miles east of King’s Lynn. Still confused? It’s on the big bulgy bit on the right hand side of England.

And, well, that’s about all the information available on Puzzlescape. They opened without fanfare in late September, have three five star reviews on Tripadvisor and other than their website don’t seem to have a huge presence on the internet – presumably getting their business mainly though local advertising and word of mouth. They accept booking for between two and six people and charge £40-84

If you know more about the venue or the storyline, why not post something in the comments below?