What exactly is an escape room? That's often the question we are asked by those who have not completed one before?
"oooo like Crystal Maze right?" "It's not scary is it?" "Are you going to lock us in if we don't get out"
Those are just some of the things we hear before groups enter our escape rooms, we've got two here at the Food Hall.
So what is an Escape Room, well the easiest way to put it is that it's a room (or set of rooms) in which you are 'locked' in, you must solve puzzles, open locks, find items all leading (hopefully) to your eventual escape from the room.
With most escape rooms the time limit is an hour, although there are some out there that are both shorter and longer, but most commonly the time limit is 60 minutes.
Escape rooms are themed, so each one you do, whether it be here or somewhere else, is different (unless it is a franchise). That makes each room unique, with it's own story line, and quite possibly it's own way of completion.
For example some rooms are completed by escaping, some have leaderboards in which you have to collect items or fake money before the time runs out, and some require solving a mystery, but what they all have in common is they are a test of mental ability (and some a physical test).
Now you are not alone when taking on an escape room (unless you really want to punish yourself)... most rooms can be taken on as a pair all the way up to 8 people (some even more so). Our rooms here can be taken on as teams of 2 - 8. The most common we find is groups of four, I'm not sure if that's a helpful bit of information there or not.
The rooms here are solely the groups who have booked, so you won't be added to other groups to make up numbers, if you book for 2 people that room is yours, albeit it's a lot harder with just 2 people compared to 6 or 8.
Now without giving too much away and making it easy for you, I'm going to give you some hints when taking on your first escape room...
It will be a lot to take in at first, take a breath and take a look around. Once you have taken in your surroundings it's worth playing 'finders keepers' search the room, anything that isn't securely attached to the walls or floors, or stuck down. Pen / paper (if provided) is important, write numbers, letters, clues down that you think might be useful, some might be red herrings but it's worth noting all of it incase. Also collect any useful items in one place, but maybe note where you found them, this way you won't lose them or keep using them (usually they only have one usage) but you'll know where they came from. Work together but don't all focus on one puzzle (unless it's the end), try and split up, perhaps in pairs, but keep communication with each other.
I can't give you too many other hints, and all rooms are different, but these are the main tips to any escape room.
What about the rooms at Suffolk Food Hall? Well I'm glad you asked (or thought in your head)...
We have two, as I mentioned earlier, the two current escape rooms we have are 'The Forgotten Fairground' our newer room of the two, and 'The Orwell Dockyard' our more established escape room.
We built our very first escape room back in late 2016, The Gamekeeper's Bothy with help from enthusiast and puzzle writer Steve Blake, this was a great success and one of the very first in and around Suffolk! This led us to build our second, Vanished, which was a laboratory themed room, another room that became popular. We learned a lot from the first two rooms, what worked well, what needed changing and what escapees seemed to like.
This has eventually led to the two rooms we currently have, 'The Orwell Dockyard' which is set in the early 1900's, a dockyard, a hub for R&W Paul as they trade along the East of England. The story is that a powerful man in Newcastle, Lord Wilkinson has become suspicious of the dockman at the Orwell Dockyard, believing that Charlie Webb (the dockman) has been pilfering his fine art and textiles, your team must search the dockyard for evidence, and if found, communicate that in some way. Can you do this within the hour? If not, Charlie will return and you will be locked in!
Our second room, 'The Forgotten Fairground' sees your team stumble across an abandoned room on a farm, you quickly learn that this is no usual room. The story is that the Sexton family moved here 30 or so years ago, their youngest son Roger was a mischievous boy, who used to disappear hours at a time. You find his hidden room, and he's built a mini fairground, solve the clues, collect all the tokens and escape before you're locked in.
Our escape rooms are traditionally open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, as well as main bank holidays and certain dates in school holidays. If you'd like a day that we don't traditionally offer, give us a call and we can discuss options. We also run team building days and corporate bookings alongside our Restaurant and Events facilities.
Book your escape room from £12.50 per person here: Escape Rooms
And good luck, we hope you escape!!