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The Ultimate Guide to Escape Rooms in the UK: Everything You Need to Know

The Ultimate Guide to Escape Rooms in the UK: Everything You Need to Know
Escape Room Information

Escape rooms have become an increasingly popular form of live entertainment and social activity in the UK. An escape room is a physical adventure game where players are locked in a room and have to work together to escape within a set time limit. They are required to find clues, solve puzzles and mysteries to unlock the door and escape.

The escape room concept originated in Japan and Eastern Europe, but has spread rapidly worldwide over the last decade. The UK now has hundreds of escape room venues across the country, from Brighton to Birmingham and beyond. No matter where you are based, you are sure to find an escape room nearby.

The variety and quality of escape rooms on offer in the UK is truly astounding. You can travel through time, space and different dimensions just by stepping through the doors of these themed rooms. Whether you enjoy adventure, mystery, thriller or horror-themed games, there is something for everyone. For families, kids and beginners, many venues also offer simpler escape games suitable for all ages.

How do escape rooms work?

The basic concept of an escape room is quite simple. Players are locked in a room and have to get out within 60 minutes by finding clues and solving puzzles. The rooms are themed, from prison cells and bank heists to magical wizard chambers and zombie outbreaks. The setting and backstory are meant to immerse players in the experience.

A typical escape room experience goes as follows: You arrive at the venue and check in with the game host. The host will explain the backstory of your selected room theme and set the scene to get you in the right mood. You are then locked in the room with your team and the timer starts. Look for clues and riddles that point to locks, keys and various puzzles around the room. Solve the puzzles to unlock different items and proceed to the next steps.

Work together with your team and use your logical thinking to eventually unlock the final door and escape. Most venues allow you to ask for clues if you get stuck, but the goal is to escape with as few clues as possible. Escape rooms are challenging but also rewarding when you solve all the puzzles against the clock!

What types of escape rooms are there?

There are many different types of escape rooms to choose from. Some of the most popular room themes include:

Sure, I can reorganize this information into a table for you. Below is a table representation of the different types of escape rooms with their respective examples and pros and cons:

Escape Room TypeExamplesAdvantagesDisadvantages
Puzzle-basedEnigma, Prison Break, The VaultGreat for beginners, Focus on logic and problem-solvingCan lack strong theme or story
Adventure/mysteryThe Lost Treasure, Detective Dickens, Mission to MarsImmerse players in an exciting story, require more complex sets and propsUsually more expensive
Horror/thrillerThe Madhouse, Cabin in the Woods, Saw I-VIIntense and scary experienceNot suitable for kids or the faint-hearted
Movie/game/book themedThe Crystal Maze, Inception, Harry Potter, Game of ThronesAppealing for fans of certain mediaMay require knowledge of the source material to fully enjoy
HistoricalAncient Egypt, Victorian London, 1980s Speakeasy barLearn about different periods in historyCan be expensive to create period detail
Sci-fiStar Wars, Blade Runner, SteampunkFuturistic and tech-focused themesThematically niche, not for everyone

Frequently asked questions about escape rooms

Are escape rooms good for kids and families?

Escape rooms can be great for families with kids, but choose a room specifically marked as ‘family-friendly’ or with a difficulty level of ‘easy’ or ‘medium’. These rooms have easier puzzles and clues suitable for children while still challenging and fun for adults. An age minimum, typically 8 years old, may apply for some rooms. Always check with the venue directly about age restrictions and content before booking.

Are escape rooms expensive?

The cost of escape rooms in the UK typically ranges from £15 to £30 per person for a 1 hour game. Private or large group bookings, premium/luxury rooms, and more complex games on the higher end of the scale. The overall price depends on a few factors:

  • Location and venue: Prices are usually higher in major cities like London compared to smaller towns. Well-established venues may charge more.
  • Room size and duration: Larger rooms that can hold more people and longer games, often 90-120 minutes, are more expensive.
  • Production value: Highly detailed rooms with complex sets, props, and effects cost more to design and build, so higher prices are needed to cover costs. Basic rooms have lower overhead.
  • Number of player: Prices per person are lower if you book as a large group. Some venues offer group packages and discounts for 6, 8 or more players.
  • Promotions and deals: Look for bundle packages where you get a discount for booking multiple rooms. Some venues offer student discounts, off-peak, or last-minute deals as well if you book during quieter periods.
  • Private vs. public booking: Exclusive use of an escape room for a private group is more costly than individual tickets to a public game where strangers fill any empty spots. A private room is ideal for a special event.

The best tips for escape rooms 

1. Come with a group of friends or co-workers.

Escape rooms are a social activity and more fun with a group of people you know. Aim for a group of at least 4 but no more than 8 for the best experience.

2. Look for clues everywhere.

Check the walls, floors, ceilings, furniture, decorations, and any props in the room. Clues can be hidden in plain sight. Leave no stone unturned.

3. Work together and communicate.

Divide up tasks, shout out clues you find, solve puzzles together, and escape as a team. Escape rooms require teamwork and communication to succeed.

4. Try to think logically.

Look for a pattern, sequence or system to the locks, keys, and puzzles you encounter. Make associations between found clues to determine the next steps. Stay calm and the solution will come.

5. Don’t be afraid to ask for hints.

If your team gets stuck and is running out of time, ask your game host for a clue to nudge you in the right direction. Most venues provide up to 3-5 clues per game if you need them.

6. Take your time.

While there is a time limit, don’t rush into illogical solutions. Take a step back, look at the bigger picture, and think about how the clues connect. Rushing can lead to missing key details.

7. Play multiple rooms in a row.

Doing back-to-back escape rooms is a fun way to spend an afternoon or evening. You get better at solving puzzles and finding clues, allowing you to escape faster each time. Many venues offer discounts when booking multiple rooms.

8. Consider the room difficulty.

Choose a beginner or easy room for your first escape room experience. Once you get the hang of it, try intermediate and advanced levels for an exciting challenge. Difficulty levels ensure there is an option for everyone.

9. Take photos!

Most venues allow you to take pictures in the escape room when the timer isn’t running. Get shots with your team and the set to remember your victory (or defeat!). Share the photos on social media after your game.

Conclusion

This guide has provided an overview of how escape rooms work, the variety of rooms you can encounter, top venues around the UK, tips to dominate any escape room, pricing, and FAQs regarding age suitability and costs. While escape rooms may have started as a niche Japanese pastime, they have well and truly entered the mainstream as a unique team-building activity and form of live entertainment in Britain. The inventive minds behind escape room design are continually improving and expanding what is possible. The future of escape rooms in the UK and beyond looks very bright indeed.

If you’re looking to experience something different, put your brain to the test, and bond with others over figuring out mysteries and clues, search for an escape room in your local area and grab some friends or family members to join you. Escape rooms offer all that and more. Just don’t forget, there’s no time to lose! The clock is ticking…Can you escape?