Ah, London. The raison d'etre for this site. I've played a fair number of games in different parts of the world, but the ones I play in London are still the ones that I get most excited about. Unbeknownst to me, escape rooms arrived in London when HintHunt opened in April 2012 and have been thriving ever since. My personal opinion (and I'll admit that I may be biased) is that the rooms here are better than average.

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Escape Rooms (Angel, London): Project D.I.V.A.

Another high tech room from the Escape Rooms stable. As with their other Angel room, they’ve traded some of the more difficult puzzles for a more arcade game style play which will likely appeal to some players while turning others off.

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Escape Rooms (Angel, London): Dark Side of the Moon

Is this where escape rooms are heading? I hope not in their entirety but I enjoyed this style of experience as something different from your typical escape room. Less emphasis on the puzzles and more on the adventure.

Parabolic Theatre (London): Morningstar

An intriguing backstory that failed to deliver on the night. The pre-show immersion, the introduction and the sense of exploration worked well but it lost its way in the main performance and then petered out.

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SCRAP: Defender of the Triforce (London)

An escape room that doesn’t involving escaping or really being in a room. With low expectations going in, I was pleasantly surprised by the experience and by the end I have to admit that I was really enjoying things. Sure, the puzzles were, all too often, just pieces of paper but they’d thrown in enough of interest to keep me hooked till the end.

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Room Lockdown (Essex): Prison Break

The best of the Room Lockdown games. A very solid start in a reasonably well decorate game had me feeling optimistic but the puzzles and decor faltered as we continued and by the time we escaped I felt disappointed in what we’d played.

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Room Lockdown (Essex): Room Lockdown

A game that I didn’t really enjoy. The decoration was rough and ready, the puzzles felt basic, and I never got into any flow. Some elements were better – the intro and the exploration, for example – but nowhere near enough to make up for the rest.

Exit Productions (London): Revolution

A kind of a souped-up board game with creative challenges, a bit of political debate and, to some extent, commentary, with a dose of diplomacy and, at times, espionage heaped on top. A little bit of something for everyone meant that it’s the perfect game to bring a bunch of people along to, confident that they’ll find a corner which suits them.

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Clockwork Dog (London): Loop

One of the best games I’ve played in London. For a popup it was outstanding with a solid set, some great puzzle and wonderful aha moments throughout the game. It’s a travesty more people didn’t get to play.

A Door in a Wall (London): Horses for Corpses

Another evening of fun from a Door in a Wall. While still an amazing experience, the new format resulted in to a poorer experience on the immersive theatre side which wasn’t quite made up for with the impressive setting and reduced amount of queuing.

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Breakin' Escape (London): Blackwing's Cave

A beautiful set, tough puzzles and a couple of innovations that make it stand out from the average game. The start and the end might frustrate a little but go in with your eyes open and I think you’ll have a good time.

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Breakin' Escape (London): War on Horizon Alpha

A beautiful room that, ahem, pays tribute to the Star Wars universe. A tough opening puzzle, combined with plenty of red herrings, is likely to leave you frustrated but thereafter there’s a decent flow to the game and satisfyingly difficult puzzles for you to master.

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Breakin' Escape (London): Butcher's Lair

A fairly standard escape room which in other venues would look fine but here felt like a poorer cousin in comparison to some of their other offerings. Solid, logical puzzles will keep you engaged but I worry that it’s a little bit on the easy side.

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Breakin' Escape (London): Sherlock's Despair

A reasonably themed room with some tough puzzles that went totally wrong for us through a bad reset and a questionable GMing decision. Definitely a room where I’d recommend reading other people’s reviews though!

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Breakin' Escape (London): The Flying Dutchman

A beautiful room with a very linear set of puzzles. Beginners will enjoy but as an enthusiast, I found that the strict linearity of it meant it was easy to get frustrated – as soon as you got stuck on one puzzle you were entirely blocked and there was nothing else to investigate.

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Breakin' Escape (London): Heist Plan - The Garage

A surprisingly fun game given the car heist subject matter. Worth playing due to decent flow and solid puzzles with some physical and communication elements although it was let down a bit by faulty equipment.

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Locked in a Room (London) - Invisibility Gene

Same old, same old. A very similar experience to their first room. Good enough for beginners but experienced players will likely feel it’s too expensive for a fairly basic experience.

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Locked in a Room (London): Timelock

A mass-market escape room that’s very much geared towards large corporate groups. The puzzles were fairly basic, the room was good but not stunning and the finale didn’t excite. Enthusiasts are likely to be disappointed but if you’re organising a trip for beginners, they’ll have a good time.

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Handmade Mysteries: Poppa Plock

The second outing from Handmade Mysteries. Poppa Plock was a big step up in puzzling but with six people in the room and an almost entirely linear flow, the game always felt a little crowded and hard to engage with. Theatre was, once again, a strong point but for me not up there with Lady Chastity.

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AIEscape: Kill M.A.D.

AI Escape don’t make my life easy. This is another game that’s incredibly hard to review dealing with a difficult subject matter that made this an experience with more depth than most. Ignoring that, though, they’ve put together good puzzles in a beautiful set to make a game that’s well worth playing.

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Escape this Room

An impressive experience considering it was created for just a three week stint. Lots of high tech interactions, a game where you kept on expanding your space and a mixture of physical and mental puzzles led to an enjoyable game with the only real negative being a slightly over zealous games master.

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Time Run: Celestial Chain

The long awaited sequel to Lance of Longinus. Celestial Chain does exactly what I’d expect and push the boundaries of escape rooms. As far as I’m concerned the two Time run games are the best in London and whether you rate this experience of Lance of Longinus more highly will probably depend on how much you accept the new format.

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Enigma Escape: The Breakout

A game full of contrasts. Great centrepiece technology that should have been awesome but was let down by some usability issues. A huge centrepiece puzzle that was plain tedious and resulted in people missing parts of the games and, finally, where their first game took pride in being “real”, this time round several of the puzzles felt contrived.

CoLab Theatre: Hunted

A disappointing first half, especially for anyone who’s attended a Wiretapper event, and a damp squib of an ending left this experience wanting in spite of the middle of the show having a strong set, high octane scenes and generally good acting.

A Place in Time: Maman le Mot

A tongue-in-cheek ‘Allo ‘Allo style performance where I could never quite get my head round whether it was a serious game or not. When it was good, it was very, very good but there were a few too many moments where I was left disappointed.

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Clue Adventures: The Book of Secrets

A game that literally puts some magic back into escape rooms. This is a tough escape room with lots of puzzles and plenty of challenge – possibly too much for a lot of teams. Take a biggish group along and keep your focus and you’ll have plenty of fun.

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Mission Breakout: Codebreakers

A game that really gets you into the spirit of the Second World War codebreakers. If you can cope with a slightly claustrophobic couple of minutes, some loud noise early on and a little bit of frustration in a later puzzle then I think you’ll have an amazing time. If you’ve interested in the work at Bletchley Park during the war then I think this is a must do. Oh, and it’s inside a disused Underground station!

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Do Stuff: Hostage Hideout

A game that took escape room logic to a whole new level with me continually feeling a disconnect between the very specific storyline they’d chosen and the nonsensical puzzling we performed. If you ignore that, there are a variety of enjoyable puzzles with one or two that you’ll find novel as well as one that you might find incredibly frustrating. Beautifully hosted with clues provided at appropriate moments.

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ClueTrace: Mind Crime

A cleverly themed room that did a wonderful job of evoking the mind in a physical space but that was let down by a collection of puzzles that felt more like they had been randomly thrown in than careful collected to allow you to flow through the game.

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Escape London: Area 51

A decently themed game which was generally enjoyable but was badly let down by a flawed puzzle and a broken lock.

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Escape London: da Vinci

A solid but uninspiring game from the Escape franchise. While there were no big negatives in the room, ultimately there was nothing that got me excited.

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Escape London: Escape Casino

A game packed full of uninspiring puzzles, a couple of which required some leaps of logic that overstepped the mark for me. You’ll get close to a full hour’s entertainment but I left feeling the game could have been so much more.

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Sherlock Unlock: Mutiny

A much improved offering from Sherlock Unlock but far too short. Escaping in a third of your allotted time can never be a good result, especially not when it’s rated as maximum difficulty.

The Game's Afoot: The Case of the Poisonous Poet

Some of the best immersive theatre in London in an iconic venue with a masterful plot. If you play the game well this has the potential to be an amazing show. Sadly, I didn’t and that tempered my experience. Read the review to make sure you don’t follow my example.

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Escape Games London: Escape the Theatre

This game isn’t close to being ready for prime time. The staff aren’t well enough trained, the turnover time is too short to let them do the job properly, the story, while interesting, is tacked on the side, there aren’t enough puzzles for fifteen people, the props are broken, the padlocks weren’t reset and, in conclusion, the whole thing is a shambles.

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Omescape: Penitentiary

The hardest game in the Omescape stable, this was my favourite of their three and combined some nice mental puzzles with some physical aspects and good flow. Warning: requires reasonable mobility, so talk to them in advance if that’s a concern.

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Agent November: Major X Plow-Shun

The original Agent November game recreates an escape room vibe in a London park. Expect a fun game with a very small amount of walking in a safe environment and a variety of puzzles using the local space.

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Hidden Rooms: Invisible Space

Outside the room It’s almost a year since I first visited Hidden Rooms, just after their initial opening. In that time, they’ve had an almost constant Groupon offer and the stories I kept hearing coming back were that the rooms were OK but the customer service was poor and some of the puzzles were broken. I
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Wiretapper

An intimate audio experience that played out in public. Theatre meets flash mob with a side-order of commentary on the surveillance state.

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Agent November: The Rainbow Syndicate

The easiest of Agent November’s games, the Rainbow Syndicate combines escape room concepts with an outdoor experience. Expect a short amount of walking around the area local to Euston and a variety of puzzles using the local space.

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Escape from the Room: The Curse of Old Maid Milly

A well thought out room with a good balance of searching and puzzles. A good challenge for beginners and experienced players alike, they offer a small sidequest at the end to allow for faster teams to get more out of the room.

Fire Hazard: Undercover

A brilliantly varied couple of hours wandering round the streets of London pretending to be spies. Fire Hazard, as ever, deliver an excellent urban street game.

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Clockwork Dog: Langstroth's Last Riddle

A short-lived popup in the North of London proves that you can put together an escape room on a limited budget, if you choose a venue carefully and take advantage of it to set the scene. A team to watch out for in the future!

A Door in a Wall: Played to Death

Another installment from the masters of the immersive theatre treasure hunt. A brilliant murder mystery puzzle to solve, some fun puzzles along the trails and great immersive theatre.

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AIEscape: Leo's Path

The first game from a new venue in Bermondsey, Leo’s Path has much to offer in set and story, but the puzzles left me utterly bemused. Definitely not a beginner’s room, but an enthusiast can sit back and enjoy the beautiful concept.

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Lock'd: Perpetuum Mobile

The third game from Lock’d, Perpettum Mobile is a game which loses most of its locks and has a variety of novel ways to make progress. Particularly fun if you like a bit of technology in your games.

The House of Time and Wonder

Disney, Timeout and clueQuest take over a four storey townhouse in Shoreditch and fill it with flamingo croquet, a mad hatter comedian, an origamist and photo booths for a surreal evening’s entertainment.

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Omescape: Biohazard Laboratory

The easiest game in the Omescape stable, this one lived up to their reputation – a nice progression through the game from easy to more challenging puzzles and a fun set to explore.

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The Crystal Maze

The remake of the classic 90s TV series of the same name. With a million pound kickstarter, bookings stretching out a year in advance and media praising them left, right and centre they had a lot to live up to. How did they fare?

A Door in a Wall: A Veiled Threat

A once a month extravaganza in Islington. Easier puzzles but more interaction, this is another great performance from the masters of immersive, puzzly theatre.

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Omescape: Joker's Asylum

A tried and tested game from across the Atlantic, Joker’s Asylum is the first room where our team was fair and squarely beaten. Overall, not a game I enjoyed, but it still left me excited about what OMEscape are bringing to the table.

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Mind the Game: Crazy Professor

Outside the room Good things come to those who wait. If that’s true then Mind the Game must be very good indeed, because I first head about it back in April of last year. It took a while to open up, but it finally launched in February of this year. In a twist of fate, and surprisingly given
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Enter the Oubliette: Escape from New Pelagia [CLOSED]

A great room where every aspect of the game brings out the Big Brother dystopian universe in which it’s set. From host to intro to theme to puzzles to finale, it’s a wonderful experience.

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Namco Funscape: Escape Room

A terrible game that I didn’t enjoy in the slightest. Minimal theming, a host that didn’t really care about or understand the game, and a puzzle that was borderline impossible to solve doomed players of this game to disappointment.

CoLab Theatre: Crooks

After enjoying our experience a few months ago at CoLab Theatre’s Hostage, it didn’t take much convincing to get a group together for their new performance, Crooks. This one’s entirely separate from their three-part spy series and revolves around infiltrating a Cockney criminal gang and bringing down “the Don”. A few words on a webpage and a slightly cryptic voicemail in a YouTube video
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Escape Entertainment: Bank Heist

Outside the room Back in October, Escape Entertainment appeared on the London scene, taking over the venue that used to house Escape Hunt. We’d visited in December and, while Prohibition Pandemonium was better than its predecessors, I still found it disappointing – not enough to keep ten people occupied, obtuse puzzles and uninspiring decor. With that, Bank Heist had fallen to the
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Outside the room You should really read my review of their other room. The two rooms are pretty much the same, but I can’t bring myself to write a virtually identical review. In fact, I’ve decided to make up for the rooms being so similar, by trying to make the reviews a bit different… So, picture it, our two
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Sherlock Unlock: Chaos

Outside the room Sherlock Unlock opened to the public just before Christmas in a small business park in the Docklands. The location wasn’t great for us so we’d opted to play both games in one evening and save ourselves a return trip. In fact, I’d had so much interest that I’d booked both rooms for both slots. While there were
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Mystery Cube

Outside the room Wimbledon: a place of tennis, a place of wombles and a place a very, very long way away from North London. I’d been putting off making the trek down to the Mystery Cube for far too long, but finally it was time to put that right. In spite of the distance, a
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Escape Entertainment: Prohibition Pandemonium

Outside the room Note that, according to the manager, this game has been updated since I played it to deal with some of the issues I highlight below. They also told me that they change which puzzles are present, in order to deal with the variation in player numbers, which can range from 2 to 10. Back
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Incredible Midtown: The game

Outside the room When I booked Incredible Midtown, I really wasn’t sure what to expect. The prices (only £12 per person plus booking fee) suggested something on the treasure hunt end of the spectrum, but there were hints that it might be a little more impressive. Certainly the pedigree gave me high hopes – Secret
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Agent November: Murder Mystery

A game with the potential to be good but which was so badly managed on the day that we had a terrible experience. Get luckier with the hosting and coordination with the pub and accept that you can never meet the full quality of an escape room when it’s transported to a random venue, and I think you’ll have a good time.

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Enigma Quests: The School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

Outside the room I’ve been following Enigma Quests‘ progress since they first launched on Facebook just over six months ago, through their successful crowdfunding campaigns and their trials and tribulations in getting their venue up and running, so I was excited to see how it had turned out. Everything in advance looked good – they’d been giving
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A Door in a Wall: Appetite for Murder

Before the event Ever since The Life and Death of Paul Marrane, I’d been waiting for A Door in a Wall‘s next outing, so as soon as they announced Appetite for Murder, I emailed out to the usual suspects and started putting together a team. In fact, a team of teams – people had enjoyed last time
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Background   Before I’d even got home from City Dash: Code Red my team mates were already organising a trip to Shadow over Shoreditch, a monster packed version set over in the City. On the face of it, this looked very similar. Get codes, avoid guards, compete against other teams. We’d enjoyed it last time round, so
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CoLab Theatre: Hostage

After enjoying a Door in a Wall, which is a baby step into immersive theatre, it was inevitable that at some point I’d remove the puzzle element and try something that was pure and simple immersive theatre. That said, I was never going to be entirely comfortable with being immersed in theatre. In some sense what I like about puzzling is
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One of the joys of living in London is that so many unique events happen here. In a stunning stroke of genius, Thinking Bob and Yelp had put together a one night only, escape room popup extravanganza. They’d invited along some companies, organised for free alcohol and hired a venue near Paddington. Even better, I’d managed to get
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Background When I’m not escaping, working or spending time with my family, you’ll most likely find me running. Unlike with escaping, it’s been a slow burning romance, where I started off hating it, started to like it, then love it, and eventually became addicted to it. I’m a bit of a loner though and most of my runs are early morning affairs
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Escape Plan Ltd: The Adventure Begins

Outside the room A combination of holidays and other activities had delayed our visit to Escape Plan Ltd till well after it opened. That meant that we’d seen plenty of positive reviews appear on Trip Advisor, and so had good expectations. It’s a little bit of a trek for us, but after reaching Elephant & Castle
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Escape Hunt: Theft from the Laboratory

Outside the room After two previous visits to Escape Hunt, to play Kidnapping in the Living Room and Murder in the Artist’s Bedroom, it was finally time to complete the set, and go into the laboratory. This time there were six of us along for the ride, so we we’d booked both the rooms that host this game.
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Lock'd: Grandpa's Last Will

Outside the room Well, this is embarrassing. As you may have read in the last escape room post (on Museum Warehouse) we’d had a lot of fun and finished quite quickly. On escaping, our host said that since we’d got out so quickly, there was enough time for us to sneak into Grandpa’s Last Will before
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Lock'd: Museum Warehouse

A straightforward but fun escape room in Bermondsey. Plenty of puzzles, ranging from the very straightforward to the quite fun. A little bit of technology and lots of searching.

A Door in a Wall: The Life and Death of Paul Marrane

Before the event Back in May, I decided to branch out from the usual escape room events that I’d been attending and visit A Door in a Wall‘s event The Life and Death of Paul Marrane. I’d never heard of the company before, but what was clear to me was that they had a loyal following,
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Time Run: The Lance of Longinus

Outside the room It was clear, right from the start, that Time Run was going to be something special. When it first popped into my inbox, a quick look at the website hinted at production values well beyond anything else currently available in London. The site beckons you in, beguiles you as it swishes around the screen, and hooks you
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Enigma Escape: The Killer

A review that suffers from playing immediately after the escape room opened back before I waited a few weeks before visiting. The most “real” live escape game I’ve ever played but let down by its linearity, which left players bored, and some strange videos. Since we played, this game has changed significantly.

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Handmade Mysteries: Lady Chastity's Reserve

And here’s your host, Gabriel… Outside the room Lady Chastity’s Reserve is not something to be taken lightly. That much was obvious from the moment that I laid my eyes upon Gabriel across the bar. A stout man with a strong beard, this was not some run of the mill host, recruited from a student bar.
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Hidden Rooms: Chain Reaction

Outside the room A few weeks after my first visit to Hidden Rooms I was back again, this time with an entirely different team to tackle Chain Reaction. Not much had changed in the intervening period of around a month, but they did now have a nice waiting area to wait in before the briefing. One of our
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Hidden Rooms: Prison Break

Outside the room Well, this was a first on my escape room travels – not an office block, shopping unit or dodgy space behind a railway station. Hidden Rooms is located in a perfectly normal residential street, just a few minutes’ walk from Finsbury Park station. In fact, the entrance is off the side of the house,
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Escape Rooms: Pharaoh's Chamber

Outside the room My first visit to Escape Rooms had been such a success that I needed to go back to experience their other room as quickly as possible. In fact, I’d have chosen Pharaoh’s Chamber the first time round but the timings didn’t work out for us, so I was super excited to finally get to
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Secret Studio: Escape in Time!

Outside the room We visited Secret Studio during their preview period, where they offered a 50% discount in exchange for spending 10 minutes talking about the room afterwards. As the exitgames blog said at the time – they give you a discount for that?! I’d have happily spent half an hour talking to them… We arrived at
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Outside the room I’d been starting to get on a run of niceish locations, and Escape Rooms was no different. It’s located just off Tooley Street, near London Bridge. It seemed like a well laid out venue, with great use of space. Upstairs there’s a single (normal) room where they greet you and say their farewells, decorated
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Escape Hunt: Kidnapping in the Living Room

If only the room had looked half as good as this… Outside the room A couple of weeks after my last visit to Escape Hunt I was back again, with the biggest group of players I’d ever organised. I’d booked EIGHT rooms for 37 people, so half the group were playing this room, and half the one I’d played
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Room Escape Adventures: Trapped in a Room with a Zombie

Outside the room I really didn’t know what to expect with Trapped in a Room with a Zombie. Was it going to be an escape room like any other? Was it going to have a zombie that I believed in? Was it even going to be fun? More of that later, so let’s get on with the lead
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If only they’d had some theme going inside the room… Outside the room Escape Hunt is the biggest escape room venue in London – at the time it was twice the size of anywhere else, and even now it’s bigger than the nine room ClueQuest. Situated near Bank, it’s perfect for people working in the City and unsurprisingly
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Hint Hunt: John Monroe's Office

Outside the room Several months had passed since I’d last visited Hint Hunt, and, frankly, not much had changed. Same OK, but not inspiring venue. Same crowded waiting area. The hosts make you feel welcome though, so while it’s not an amazing experience, it’s perfectly passable. I’d come with two rooms’ worth of people this time,
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Escape Land: Age of Steampunk

Note that this has since been renamed Dr Oxford’s Experiments and relocated to Oxford Street. You can find out about the new location by reading my review of their second game. Outside the room By now I was starting to see a theme to where escape rooms are located – Escape Land is another room
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Outside the room As I soon came to realise, escape rooms are not placed in the most salubrious parts of town. They’re rarely after passing trade, so cheap rent is more important than anything. That said, HintHunt isn’t actually too bad – just round behind Euston. One thing that HintHunt were guilty of, as are most
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clueQuest: Plan52 (the one with the red box)

I’ll always have fond memories of my first ever escape game. Yes, an industrial estate wasn’t the most impressive setting, but it’s not the outside, it’s the inside that matters. Great game, easing beginners gently into the genre before exposing them to a host of different puzzles.