With my family living near Warrington, and a booming escape room business in the area, I've been to a fair number of Escape Rooms in the North of England. If you're in the area and you fancy finding out about some of the options, then read on... PS Yes - one of these is Welsh. I felt it was better to include it here than have it languishing on its own!

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gamEscape: Armageddon

A good room with amazing potential. A few lazy puzzles and a lack of directions at time tempered the experience but the core is strong and as the game beds in I expect this to become a real highlight of the Liverpool scene.

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LockIn Real Escape: Jail Break

An enjoyable game that I’d recommend but is starting to show its age. Probably the best balanced prison break game I’ve seen in terms of challenging you to reunite the team without just being frustrating.

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LockIn Real Escape: Mission 60

A game that, overall, I enjoyed but I can easily see why others might not. One big skill challenge in the middle is likely to be a love or loathe and the linearity and relative shortage of puzzles means big teams could easily feel bored at times.

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Timed Trap: Treasure Theft

An uninspiring room. The puzzles were disappointing and the linearity meant that all too often the team felt sidelined while one player was taking the active lead. The theming didn’t win me over and the host coming into the room for clues was the final nail for immersion.

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Timed Trap: The Great Escape

A game that could have been so much more. An interesting physical set up, a good attempt at theatre and some decent tech. Unfortunately totally broken immersion, poor puzzle design resulting in some players being sidelined from the game, a limit on clues and a lack of engaging puzzles undid all that good work and left us disappointed.

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moviESCAPE: SAWtopsy

For haunt fans this might have rated higher but as an escape room it just didn’t work for me. A promising story progression was hurt by a shortage of puzzles and unpleasant searching that left me feeling disappointed by the overall experience.

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moviESCAPE: The Haunted House

A game I never really got excited about. It was perfectly playable with some OK puzzles, an OK theme and a reasonably good story but there was very little about it to make it stand out.

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Extremescape: The Lost Tomb

The set is stunning, the puzzles are enjoyable, the theatrical moments are fantastic and, to top it off, the couple who run it are a great pair of hosts. If you’re ever in the area, and by that I mean the UK, you should head over here for 90 minutes of pure joy.

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Escape Room Centre: the Bomb

Yet another great TRAP-designed room. Started off feeling quite weak but improved dramatically and by the end it had recovered and more.

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Escape Room Centre: Secret Agent

Another good TRAP-designed room. Probably weakest of the four available in Blackpool but still plenty of fun particularly as a couple.

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Breakout Liverpool: Shipwrecked

A short review for a short game. We crashed through this room in record time finding the exit after less than quarter of an hour. Along the way there were fun puzzles and good theming but in the end, it’s hard to overlook the brevity of the experience.

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Breakout Liverpool: Cursed Carnival

A reasonably well themed, not very scary carnival game. Good puzzles and a reasonable flow made this an enjoyable experience.

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Breakout Liverpool: Wanted (Indians)

The harder half of the Wanted escape game at Breakout Liverpool. Very little by way of set, dubious puzzles and no story development left me underwhelmed.

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Lucardo: Virginia House

A very solid escape room with a good number of decent puzzles but nothing that really stood out. A few rough edges along the way leaves it in that range of games where I’ll still recommend people play but won’t do so enthusiastically.

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Lucardo: The Dream

A great game with bold imagery and good use of lighting throughout. Aside from an annoying directional puzzle and fiddly technology, the puzzles were logical and fun. A joy for enthusiasts and experienced players alike.

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ClueFinders: The Tomb

An enjoyable room that never really got me excited. The decor was a bit bare and while there were a couple of things to keep the attention of the enthusiasts, it never really felt like it flowed.

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Trapped In: Crazy Clown's Carnival

A small, well themed game with a shortage of true puzzles and an emphasis on searching, observation and, in particular, skill challenges. The finale is extended and likely to be something that teams love or loathe.

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Trapped In: Ruby Factory

A fun game where you’ll definitely get your money’s worth – most likely playing almost the full sixty minutes. A wide variety of puzzles, a fun scoring mechanism and an inevitably stressful finale made this a joy to play. The only drawbacks were a safety issue in the room and some temperamental props but in spite of those I’d heartily recommend.

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Ultimate Escape: CSI Murder Mystery

A novel game with a huge amount of potential – pretty looking room, one very puzzle and some good searching. For me it was let down by the murder mystery being a little too loose and simplistic. Fix that and I think would be a top quality room.

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Lock Down Escape Exit Games: The Lost Soul

A room that felt a bit two dimensional to me. At the Groupon/Wowcher prices it seemed reasonable value, but at full price this room just didn’t excite me and the fact that clues are given by the host walking into the room really put me off.

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Cliffhanger Rooms: Bank Vault Heist

A mixed room that will likely appeal to novices but may leave enthusiasts feeling that there’s too much process required to solve the puzzles. Overall, I enjoyed it but if you get frustrated easily then steer clear!

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Code to Exit: The Dark Ages

A beautiful room packed full of fun physical puzzles with the wonderful goal of retrieving the sword from the stone.

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Escape Room Centre: Secret of the Tomb

Another great TRAP-designed room. One skill based challenge is likely to frustrate, particularly for shorter players so if you lack patience make sure you bring the right people along! Great them and a good final puzzle.

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Escape Room Centre: Egyptian Room

A fantastic room with good theming, some tough puzzles, fun mechanisms and a decent finale. Expect to have to exert yourself though!

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Can You Escape York: Operation Lone Eagle

A well structured room that can easily handle large team sizes. Puzzles are carefully set out to make the room feel as logical as possible. Just when you think things are going OK, the room’s likely to hit back and, for smaller or inexperienced teams, leave you desperately short of time. Lots of searching, a couple of physical puzzles and plenty of padlocks to get past.

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The Live Escape: Prison Breakout

A search-heavy prison-themed room with great customer service and no handcuffs! Too many red herrings for my liking and not enough puzzles, but a fun game none-the-less.

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ClueFinders: Remy's Room

A fun and frantic detective game with a lovingly designed set. Less puzzling than I’d have liked but the constant progression gives you plenty to keep you occupied.

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Exit Strategy: Nostromo

The conspiracy continues – have reptiles taken over this spaceship that’s plummeting towards earth? A series of hand on puzzles involving science and technology reinforced the theme and helped to make this a really enjoyable game.

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The Escape Room Newcastle(-under-Lyme): Spy Mission

A room full of puzzles that I felt were extremely dubious that stopped us getting to a finale that looked impressive. I’ve been bitten by the Escape Room games once too often, so I don’t think I’ll be hurrying back any time soon.

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Breakout Manchester: Reclassified

A game unusually heavy on skill elements but without being impenetrable. Tech resetting problems significantly affected our game so the star rating probably doesn’t reflect how much you’d enjoy it. Would recommend for something different and particularly for families.

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Curiosity Shoppe

Many rooms try to give a feel of being in the past but this one really delivers. Not just old furniture, but a whole room full of antique props. Some good puzzles which built up to an enjoyable ending. Fantastic hosts really make this a great venue.

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Amazon Escape

A room that oozes Crystal Maze. If you always dreamed of playing a game in the Aztec Zone then now’s your chance. Some fun puzzles, although slightly over-reliance on padlocks and a disappointing final puzzle meant it wasn’t quite perfect.

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Escape Quest: Bad Clown

A wonderfully themed room with plenty of puzzles and props to keep you entertained and the golden ticket system means you’re virtually guaranteed to get almost the full 90 minutes in the room. Highly recommended!

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Atherton Escape Rooms: Train Waiting Room

A room whose difficulty is derived from an almost impossible to solve puzzle, rather than general hardness. If you go here, be prepared to be frustrated!

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Atherton Escape Rooms: The Missing Child

A very basic, unpretentious room. A decent game for novices, although experienced players will likely be disappointed by the decor and lack of interesting puzzles.

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Escape Blackpool: Contagion

A solid room with some brilliant moments. Great for novices, but still fun for small groups of experienced players.

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Breakout Liverpool: Wanted (Cowboys)

Outside the room Ah, Breakout Liverpool. How do I hate thee? The last time I was here I lost a perfect record, and my London team mates have never let me live it down. It was a fair, albeit tough, game and I’m not one to shy away from a challenge, so I’d booked in
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Exit Strategy: the Illuminati

I hope I didn’t hurt your neck getting you to look at this upside down.  Outside the room Exit Strategy had been on my to do list ever since I’d had a great time playing St Helens vs the Lizards which they’d helped produce. I was just pulling together my intinerary for a visit up North
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The Escape Room (Preston): Taken

Outside the room After a break for lunch, we headed back to Escape Room Preston for a second game. If you’ve read the previous review, you’ll not be surprised to hear that we were only going back because we’d pre-booked tickets, but… we’d had a couple of hours to clear our heads and I was determined to go
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The Escape Room (Preston): Vampire Chronicles

I’ve seen better vampires… Outside the room On a previous trip to Escape Room Preston we’d played a couple of their games and while we’d not been overwhelmed by them, we thought they were worthy of a second visit, so booked ourselves in for a double session as a romantic Valentine’s Day activity. First up: Vampire Chronicles. Nothing
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Tick Tock Unlock Manchester: The Hatch

Outside the room What do you get if you lock three escape room bloggers in a room? I fancied finding out, so I reached out to the two other people who write UK escape game review sites, ReallyFun.UK (née QMSM) and Escape Game Addicts, and asked whether they fancied playing a game together. I really didn’t expect to
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Extremescape: The Pirate Ship

Outside the room I first came across Extremescape back in August of last year and was immediately surprised by what they were doing. First, they’re in Disley, a village on the edge of the Peak District, not the traditional city/town home of existing escape games. Then they announced that their game was 90 minutes long, rather than the usual
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Code to Exit: The Test

Outside the room Having really enjoyed Code to Exit‘s game last Summer, I’d been looking forward to coming back to play their new game “The Test”. In particular, I was curious about their no-locks claim. In the past, I’ve thought about designing rooms that don’t require any keys or combinations (frankly, I’ve fantasised about it while
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Trapped In: Air Traffic Control

Outside the room After a short bite to eat, it was back to Trapped In, this time to play Air Traffic Control. If you’ve read my first review, you’ll have got the teaser trailer that things might have been a little broken when we left. Indeed, throughout the morning it seemed like things were going wrong –
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The Escape Room (Preston): Gallery

Warning: the room didn’t quite look like this… Outside the room A few hours after our visit to Escape Room Preston we were back again to take on Gallery – the Insidious Art Thief. Unsurprisingly, not much had changed in the intervening three hours, although things had become a little busier, with several hosts and teams at various stages
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The Escape Room (Preston): The Mummy

Even Brendan Fraser could escape from this room… Outside the room A couple of months ago, I chanced upon a special offer that gave half price entry to The Escape Room Preston, so I couldn’t resist signing up to play two of their games over Christmas. First up was the Mummy, supposedly their easiest room, rated at
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Trapped In: Time Machine

Outside the room It just so happens that one of my fellow escapers from London grew up in Bury, not very far away from where my parents live, so when Trapped In opened, it didn’t take me long to suggest a meetup. This being a fellow escape addict, it wasn’t long before playing one room had become playing
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gamEscape: Golden Cage

A solid room with a frustrating finale puzzle but otherwise generally fun. Great value for two people and a good option for a family.

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Breakout Manchester: Virus

Outside the room It’s been a long time since I’ve headed into the centre of Manchester, and I didn’t really know what to expect. What I certainly didn’t expect to be paying nine pounds for two hours of parking. I thought things were meant to be cheap up North!?! In fairness, Breakout Manchester is located right in
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Code to Exit: Blueprint/Edward Teller's Room

Outside the room I couldn’t believe my luck when I asked Mrs Logic how she’d like to spend a spare day and she suggested another escape room. Four in five days might seem excessive, but I’m on holiday, so I offer no excuses. Of course, trying to book an escape room on the day limits your
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St Helens vs The Lizards

Outside the room Just occasionally the planets align in a way that makes me almost believe in fate. This was just such an occasion, as a trip up to visit my parents for the Bank Holiday weekend overlapped with a two week long run of an escape room called St Helens vs The Lizards, just round the
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Breakout Liverpool: Classified

A very solid escape room that I’d recommend to players with some experience, particularly those who aren’t too worried about how immersive their challenges are. Maybe a few too many padlocks but if you look past that you’ll find it a good experience, with some interesting challenges that stretch you in a variety of directions.