The thought of taking part in a Crystal Maze style puzzle adventure has always appealed to me. I love puzzles and problems. If something needs solving then I’m up for a challenge. However I’d never tried an Escape Room… yet.
Escape Rooms Durham
After deferring it for over a year the three remaining members of our Great Park Dads Running group decided on a day out. Durham seemed like a change of scenery, plus there was a load of new restaurants opening up. Add on to that the idea of competing as a team in an escape room and it seemed like a full fun day out.
None of use knew what to expect, but I feel that is part of the attraction. If we knew too much then the puzzle would be too easy.
Escape Rooms Durham is located on Saddler Street, it is on an upper floor of one of the wonky olde buildings of Durham’s streets. As we followed the trail of arrows upstairs we were greeted by a young lad who guided us into the waiting room. The waiting room was kitted out with a hand full of puzzle related items and old books on shelves.
Our First Challenge
We were handed a card with space to add your team name and then update it with your time taken to escape. Team Name? Arrrgghh, the stress was too much. I hate trying to choose a team name. Is it going to be witty, is it to be straight forward, have the others got any ideas? I was handed the Sharpie and instructed to come up with a name for Me, Lee and Stephen. So after much consideration I came up with…. Lee, Stee and Me! Its to the point but very personal.
Escape Room Rules
Apparently your not legally allowed to be locked in a room. So we were told that there an envelope by the door and it contains the key. If we need to get out we can use this key, but it will cancel our attempt at completing the room.
When in the room look everywhere, but don’t remove items that have that have red tape on them! Also we were told that we are not to break of unscrew any electrical equipment. Apparently one team removed a TV from a stand and started to dismantle it.
Which brings me on to the TV. In the room is a TV that displays the countdown clock. If you’d struggling for direction or your not far enough along in the puzzle queue, the game owner will add a clue on to the TV Screen. Signalled by a beep. This was a massive assistance as there are times when you’ll literally stuck for direction. Obviously you are monitored while your in the room so you can be guided if needed, but if your flying along the clues will be sparse.
Mr Borrowdale’s Study
Our escape room challenge was one of two options at the Escape Rooms Durham. Set around the “notorious” Mr Borrowdale Durham’s most feared resident. You have one hour to escape the room before his return! I’ll quickly add in that there are no scare characters or jump out elements to this.
The door was locked and the time started. We’d been told to look for a tape for our first clue. We quickly found the tape player and some random items, but finding the tape took longer. Eventually we discovered it. Played it, listened to the message and stood around like lemons as we had no idea what to do! The TV beeped and said listen to the message again. Obviously I can’t post photos or any details that would spoil the experience. I will say that the prompts were very well received and for the first half of the challenge we kept needing them.
However at the halfway point everything started to fall into place. Stephen and my Geocaching skills really helped in solving clues and before we knew it we’d made major steps forward. Padlock after padlock popped open and we opened a door and… the key was there. I’ll admit that instead of relief in finding the key, I felt a little disappointed. We’d escaped! The Escape room was over!
Escape Rooms Durham Review
As novice Escapers we didn’t do too bad. I was disappointed that we found the key, but at the same time I would have been disappointed if we ran out of time. The Theming in the room was good and although it seemed a little tidy for a study, we certainly changed that when we left.
Escape rooms Durham have another room to try out which is based around a science lab. We were told that the initial clue for that one is “Disarm the lasers!”
The cost for the three of us was £60. Which would have been the same if there was another 2 people in the room too. While the Puzzles were at times cryptic, they were obvious when you got your brain into gear. The room was set out with a number of red herrings too. One that we kept going back to. We’ve talked about going back for the Lab room, but at our rate of organising lads nights outs it is likely to be next year!