Are you up for the challenge? 13 escape rooms to try across Suffolk and north Essex
PUBLISHED: 16:59 07 May 2019 | UPDATED: 16:03 09 May 2019
Escape rooms have become a worldwide craze, and it is estimated there are now nearly 1,500 across the UK, with themes ranging from UFOs to the Holy Grail.
The idea is that you find yourself trapped, with a group of friends - and need to solve a series of fiendish puzzles to free yourself.
The games usually last an hour, although more time is likely to be needed for the briefing and to chat afterwards.
Here's a look at 13 escape rooms and live adventure games around the area. Advance booking is essential.
Escape Ipswich, The Old Unicorn, Orwell Place: Six different games are on offer at this popular escape rooms in a unit at the old Unicorn pub - with one of the games, Locked Inn, playing on the venue's supposedly haunted past! Other games have themes including the Holy Grail, retrieving a vaccine, a casino heist, a journey aboard the HMS Unicorn submarine, and rescuing hostages, in the newest Taken Room.
Director Sue Crocker of Escape Ipswich, aid there has been a lot of interest and they are growing fast - they have expanded since last summer from three rooms to six. We have a wide age range. We have families coming - we recommend a minimum age of 10, but we have had people in their 70s, and we get a lot of stag and hen dos. We have also had larger companies coming and booking out all six rooms at once!"
She said their games were all different from those at their sister escape rooms, Escape Colchester, so people could play 10 different games between the two sites. They may also expand into another location in Suffolk or Norfolk in the next year. Teams can have from two to six members. To find out more, visit the website.
Ipswich Escape Rooms, Dencora Business Centre, White House Road: These escape rooms have proved highly popular since they opened in 2017. The current game is The Secret Clubhouse. A second room, Hackers' Nest, is currently under construction, and owner Isaac said: "It originates from Prague and has a reputation as one of the most difficult games in central Europe."
The rooms were set up by Newmarket couple Isaac and Stefanie Reed, who had already enjoyed success with the Cambridge Escape Rooms. Isaac said: "One of the great things about escape rooms is that they have a wide demographic appeal. Our youngest player has been three months old, our oldest in their 90s. It is a great way for families to do something together, as it appeals to all ages. It is also a perfect activity for team building, birthdays, stag and hen parties etc. Once you have played one game, it is very easy for it to become an obsession. We have had teams here that have played over 1,000 escape rooms."
Teams of between two and six are challenged to crack the mystery and escape, before being "locked in". Under-16s must be accompanied by someone aged 18 or over, and a minimum age of 10 is suggested for players. For more details, visit the website.
Puzzle Room, Suffolk Food Hall, Wherstead, Ipswich: These adventures are based in farm buildings at the Suffolk Food Hall, under the Orwell Bridge, and have unique Suffolk themes, drawing on the site's heritage and rural background.
The first game is Vanished: Prof Campbell's Lab, involving a vanishing scientist and the need to piece together a genetic code, while the second, R&W Paul's Orwell Dockyard, involves searching the dockyard for evidence after rare art and textiles go missing.
Groups of two to eight can take part, and the Puzzle Room says that ages nine to 90 can play. For more details, see the Suffolk Food Hall website.
Evidence Room, Risbygate Street, Bury St Edmunds: This escape room, the first in Bury St Edmunds, opened in October. The Gedding Room is its game based on a 1960s gangster, who was found guilty of swindling insurance companies for more than £300,000 after multiple fires at his properties. Can you find the evidence to put him away?
There will also be a seasonal room, with games regularly changing.
The Gedding Room can take groups ranging from three to 12 in size. Under-16s must be accompanied. For more information, visit the website.
Escape Room, Wickham Market Village Hall: Themed around a Victorian workhouse, this special escape room will be running from June 8-9. It's part of a series of fundraising events to help with rebuilding the hall.
Two workhouse rooms will be created for attendees to escape from - a classroom and a laundry and kitchen area.
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Tickets have been selling fast, and there will be more escape room events on September 7-8 if there is enough demand. To find out more and book, visit the event's website.
Escape Rooms Suffolk, Kenny Hill, Mildenhall, near Bury St Edmunds: A new room, The Vault, is opening at these escape rooms from May 7. Unusually, the game sees players taking the role of professional thieves, tasked by MI6 with stealing five internationally prized artefacts.
Another current game is Death Row, set in the 1960s in Texas, where you have been wrongly convicted of murder and have just 60 minutes to escape.
Teams of two to six can play, and the games are recommended for over-12s, with anyone under 16 needing to be accompanied by an adult. Find out more by visiting the website.
Suffolk Escape Room, Saxmundham: UFOs and the Blitz offer themes for this escape room, which is situated in an original war-time Nissen Hut, on the edge of Happy Days Retro Vacations, an American-style trailer park/retro campsite.
The first game asks if you can escape from Area 51, taking inspiration from events such as the mysterious lights famously seen at nearby Rendlesham in the 1980s. The second game is based around a wartime air raid, with bomb debris blocking your exit.
The games are aimed at over-10s, and under-16s must be accompanied. Between two and eight people can take part, although they suggest no more than six for an all-adult group. To find out more, visit the website.
DS Escape Rooms, Menta Business Centre, Hollands Road, Haverhill: Hobby detectives, friends, families and team-builders are all welcome to take part. There is a choice of four games, which range from one to three hours depending on which game you choose.
Magic Portal is an adventure game for the whole family with a magical theme, while Mindfall is based around a mind control virus, Luna 13 involves commercial flights to the moon, and in Elude room you are abducted and need to escape before a would-be killer returns, The games are popular for team-building as well as for groups of friends. The number who can play depends on the game. To find out more, visit the website.
Escape the Room, East Anglian Railway Museum, Chappel Station: One of the most unusual locations for an escape room is this railway museum near Colchester.
The Codebreaker Experience events, running on various dates through the year, challenge you to help the intelligence agency find a secret file. The story is locally based, inspired by Essex's role during the Cold War.
The events are suitable for players aged 10 and over, and ideal for four to six players, but up to eight can play. for more details, visit the website.
Tricky Escape Harwich, Central House, High Street, Dovercourt: The Attic and Prisoner X are the themes for the games at these escape rooms, which are suitable for family members, groups of friends or corporate team-building,
The Attic game involves a forged will and a bid to stop greedy relatives from stealing everything. Prisoner X, which is more difficult, centres on work for a secret government agency. The team leader was captured while on a mission, and your team needs to break them out of prison.
Children over eight can take part, but under-12s need to be accompanied by an adult. For more information, visit the website.
Escape Colchester, Long Wyre Street: Gamers, students, friends and family and corporate teams are all welcome at this venue, which offers four live escape rooms. One is a school of witchcraft and wizardry, while another has a Sherlock Holmes theme - but, rather than being one of the good guys, you are on the side of Moriarty! The Cabin and Escape the Seven Seas are the other themes.
Under-16s need to be accompanied, and the games may be too demanding for under-10s. The games are ideal for teams of two to six. For more details, visit the website.
Doomsday Games, Global House, Moorside, Colchester: Welcome to the end of the world! Longer than most escape room experiences at 90 minutes, this game offers you the chance to survive and save the world from the apocalypse. The year is 2035 and humankind is on the edge of extinction, with you as their last hope!
The minimum age is 10 and under-16s need to be supervised by an over-18. Teams can have from two to six players. Organisers say it is not scary, just puzzles, with the emphasis on fun. To find out more, visit the website.
Tricky Escape Clacton, Old Road, Clacton: A sister attraction to Tricky Escape Harwich, this features two games - a Magic and Mystery room where the well-respected wizard headmaster is missing, and A Race Against Time where your time machine crashes, leaving you stranded in the past. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult in the room, and the games may be too difficult for under-eights. For more details, visit the website.