More specifically, now open in the borough of Wigan; Atherton is a town of its own, about half-way between the town of Wigan and the M60 ring road around Manchester. (You can take a local train out from Manchester in the direction of Southport or Kirkby to get there; don’t go a station too far otherwise you’ll end up in Hag Fold, which sounds like a good name for a witch’s dance move.) Atherton is one of a number of towns in the area whose names have been adopted as surnames over the centuries where the surname has gone on to be nationally famous; when you think of Atherton, you might think of Mike Atherton. Similarly, the next town along to the south-east might make you think of Clive Tyldesley. The next town along to the south-east from there might make you think of someone else.
Thanks to Mark from Really Fun for pointing out Atherton Escape Rooms which opened on February 4th. It made a big splash, opening with four one-hour rooms, each designed to be played by a team of two to six. The Room of the Missing Child game is “…simply a child’s room containing all the usual things a child’s room would contain, ordinary objects & toys that a child would possess. There is just one thing missing “THE CHILD”. Using everything to hand contained in room, can you find out what has happened & escape from the room before the time runs out.”
In The Log Cabin, the tale goes that “A retired detective leaves a distinguished career blemished with just one unsolved case. A group of campers had disappeared without a trace, despite searching the area & a nearby log cabin the case remained unsolved. The retired detective, unable to let the case rest, still believes the Cabin holds the key to the mystery.” If you’d prefer to play inside The Office, you’ll be investigating a different sort of crime. “The sports promoter is involved in criminal activities. He is using his office as a front for illegal dealings. You have turned up to an arranged meeting, the office is empty. As a journalist, your instinct is to snoop around. Have you got time?” Lastly, if you’re caught in The Train Waiting Room, “You have missed your connecting train in a remote station in the dead of night. The waiting room door becomes mysteriously locked. Using all your skills & with clues to hand, can you escape the room to get your next connection before the final whistle blows. Not all is as it seems!”
Games will eventually be available seven days a week, though for the first few weeks the site is in operation from Thursday to Sunday only. The site has already been covered in the Wigan Evening Post, along with hints that more rooms might follow. The location inside an old mill is a little unusual, though Trapped In of Bury also use a mill, and surely there are plenty of other mills in Lancashire that are looking for exciting occupants. Looking forward to the views of the bloggers of the north-west on this one!