Confident you could puzzle your way out of a locked room in under an hour with only a couple of friends to help you? Grab your most trusted companions and get set for one of London’s live escape games. The tricky rooms offer hands-on challenges that will have fans of 'The Crystal Maze' chomping at the bit. We suggest you choose your teammates wisely...
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The best escape games in London
Be warned: this ‘fully automated' escape game is not for novices. It’s also a real gear change compared to most other London venues of its ilk. It’s heavily logic/maths-puzzle centric. For anyone who loves a fiendish thinky-thinky problem, this is probably the escape game for you. But be prepared to be heavily challenged.
Venue says: “With 6 games on offer, will you choose pirates, Sherlock Holmes, superheroes or a sci-fi epic? Book now”
Tech wizardry is what the six rooms at this Holloway Road-based escape game are all about. Scenarios range between trying to pull off a Fast & Furious-style car heist, fleeing a superhero’s base while it’s attacked by their arch nemesis and escaping a ghost-packed pirate’s ship.
Venue says: “Time Out readers get 20% off our top rated game 'The Book of Secrets' - Up to 7 Players - Limited Period. Visit the website to book”
A magician has disappeared during a magic trick and his apartment’s about to be bulldozed. You’ve got one hour inside it to find his book of secrets and discover where the hell he vanished to.
Choose between two rooms and games. Identify a double agent in 1980s Berlin and London, travelling through space and time in the difficult Mission Critical. Or, try the slightly easier Mindcrime Memory Thief, where you and your fellow thought thieves must enter the mind of a white collar master criminal, scouring their thoughts to find a secret code essential for your success. It sounds confusing, but time is your enemy so don’t dwell on it for too long, okay?
The allure of this experience lies distinctly in its ’90s nostalgia. You really feel as though you’re on the show in this truly immersive real-life version of the golden oldie. Or close enough, anyway. The Crystal Maze is a test of both your mental and physical capacities, but it’s pure fun too. The games and zones are similar to the old days, with industrial, futuristic, medieval and aztec zones. The more challenges you complete, the more crystals you win and the more time you’ll have for the final test in the Crystal Dome.
There’s a hostage situation in a shopping centre. You’ve locked yourself in the womens’ changing rooms. You’ve got an hour to help to free the hostages and escape. This is not the greatest shopping trip you’ve ever been on. It is, however, a thoroughly fun escape game.
Those of a nervous disposition, look away now: Enigma Escape is a problem-solving, team-working one-hour escape challenge with a gory plot at its centre. 'The Killer' is pleasingly physical – you won't need muscle or anything but it's fun to be solving puzzles by actually doing things rather than just thinking really hard.
This 60-minute escape challenge is a fun experience with the odd bit of clever tech thrown in. It’s probably more one for people who’ve never done an escape game before, with at least the Bank Heist game feeling as though it was a couple of puzzles too short. Not the greatest escape game in London. But then by no means a bad one.
Venue says: “Live escape rooms in central London. Best location, just 50 meters walk down Oxford Street from Tottenham Court Road station.”
Escape Land is a mysterious experience from the off. Step beneath the bustling streets of Oxford Street and you’re transported to a contrastingly mellow environment before attempting one of two rooms, Da Vinci’s Exploration or Professor Oxford’s Experiment. The Da Vinci room is tough: Da Vinci himself went ahead and set the locks and riddles for you so you know it won’t be a breeze. The truth is it isn’t, but it’s incredibly engaging. The other room isn’t much easier. Both rely on riddles and problem-solving, so concentrate and stay in the zone.
Venue says: “Live escape room games. Find clues, solve logic puzzles, break the codes and find the key to your freedom.”
Test your puzzle-solving abilities at this west London escape game. Each of their five rooms is themed (Area 51, witchcraft and Da Vinci among them) and teams of two to five have one hour to to get out by deciphering codes, opening locks and unearthing clues. Suitable for children aged ten upwards.
Venue says: “Take part in an intricate heist or test your wizarding skills, the choice is up to you. Book now to experience our amazing games!”
This magical experience takes its theme from literature's most famous boy wizard. Your team of three-to-five must graduate from a school of witchcraft and wizardry by solving puzzles and tracking down clues. The runes, potions, charms and spells are held in specially designed rooms that are brimming with detail and clever surprises.
It’s World War two. You’ve been captured by the Nazis, and, well… given that this is an escape game, you can probably figure out the next bit. You’re following the lead of Bob Hails, not only the other prisoner to have escaped the P.O.W. camp you’re locked in, but also a gent kind enough to have left you a trail of clues to follow.
There’s nothing like being locked in a room full of lasers to really tickle the old adrenaline glands, especially when every beam broken means a penalty for your team. Once you’ve established which of your three-to-six players is most nimble, Escape Rooms’ one-hour games will confront you with plenty of exciting effects to keep you all on your toes. There is also an Escape Rooms branch in Angel.
Venue says: “Experience London's first ever live escape game!”
London’s original escape game is a solid combination of thinking, scrabbling and storyline that will have you so determined to win that you’ll find yourself trying to fish non-existent keys out of hot lamps as if health and safety was never a thing.
A classic case of code cracking, this Holloway escape room will have you and your teammates solving puzzles and guessing passwords in order to break free. There's a Sherlock Holmes-themed game as well as CSI-themed one. All games are 60 minutes long and accommodate up to six players in each team.
The white breezeblock building this three-game operation is set in doesn’t exactly scream ‘fiendish magnificence’. But there’s a trio of surprisingly well thought out games here, at least one of which has an astonishingly good mid-game twist (we could be clearer, but trust us: you don’t want the surprise ruined).
Venue says: “The most immersive escape room in London. Escape from a disused tube station using your mind, logic, communication and teamwork!”
Being set inside South Kentish Town tube station, which closed to the public in 1924, is part of the appeal of this WWII-themed escape game effort, with staff dressed in 1940s army gear and corridors pumped with dry ice as you enter the building.
Modern Fables isn’t just an escape game but a borderline immersive experience. You’re told that you’re heading to a bar called The Escapist to help out due to the owner’s disappearance. On arrival, you walk into an eerie warehouse space where black-and-white films flicker over candlelit room.
New kids on the block (Oxford Street to be more specific), No Escape will have you attempting to evade a murderous dentist in just 60 minutes. As you arrive for your 'check-up', you and your team will be locked in the surgery room and forced to solve cryptic clues in order to escape.
Venue says: “We are now offering a team-based VR escape room experience called 'Mind Horror'.”
This impressively ambitious escape game is the first I've tried where your team is immediately divided. Given the game we played was called 'The Penintentiary' we should have seen it coming, but being locked into prison cells is a surprising and suitably fun way to kick off our time in the warren of rooms it was our task to escape from.
This is the sort of escape game that could only have been made a few years into the genre’s lifespan: cleverly subverting a few of the usual tropes in a way that has the potential to cheekily wrongfoot seasoned players. It’s also a tad trickier than a lot of games – they claim that there’s only a 50 percent success rate.
Venue says: “Experience the complete magic of Time Run and book both games - Lance of Longinus and Celestial Chain - for £59 per person (saving 30%)!”
Time Run is a bit more involved than your average escape game. You’re not just locked into a room with mates so that you can engage in frantic puzzle solving against the clock. It’s also an immersive experience. An immersive experience that’s a bit like a Victorian ‘Back To The Future’.
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JRC Global Buffet Ilford
A buffet restaurant serving a wide range of cuisines from around the world.
Venue says: “Bring the family along for a fun-filled weekend at JRC Global Buffet. See website for more special offers.”