As the gloomiest, wettest Easter holidays in living memory draw to a close, never has the lure of indoor entertainment been so strong. Finding something that the whole family can do together and that’s sheltered from the elements has been our top priority this week, so we were thrilled to discover that an escape room has recently opened, just down the road, in Leighton Buzzard.
An escape room is much like a task on the Crystal Maze. You’re ‘locked’ in a room, set a challenge and then have one hour to search for clues to help you solve the mystery. Unfortunately, Richard Ayoade isn’t shouting suggestions through the door and you don’t get to stand in a wind machine grabbing tin foil at the end, but you get the general idea.
Don’t Get Locked In! is located on an industrial park on the outskirts of Leighton Buzzard, around 45 minutes’ drive from Bedford. This is a family-run business, and we received a very warm welcome from Cathy Wright and her daughter who, with the rest of family, are responsible for setting the fiendish puzzles and cryptic clues.
The theme of Don’t Get Locked In! is WWII era Bletchley Park. “The room, called ‘The Secret Hut’, is a 1940s scene,” said Cathy. “You and your team are cryptologists, finding and solving puzzles – although I don’t want to give too much away!”
Brimming with confidence, my 10 year old twins and I entered the room. The door shut behind us, the stopwatch had started and we immediately felt the pressure! Never, ever has 60 minutes gone so quickly. After cracking the first puzzle in record quick time (according to Cathy, but she may say that to everyone!) our problem-solving skills took a nosedive. Fortunately, clues are available via a wall-mounted tablet, and thanks to a few* hints, we managed to make progress. As the minutes ticked by, the pressure mounted. Could we crack all the codes in time? No.
Despite getting ‘locked in’, we had a brilliant time and would definitely go back with a bigger group of people – and a greater adult to kid ratio. As soon as the hour was up we wanted to go straight back in and do it all again, and our journey home was spent analysing what we should have done differently.
If you’re looking for something that the whole family can do, that will give your brain a work-out and will get everyone working as a team, Don’t Get Locked In! is for you. Perfect for team-building, a birthday treat or a school holiday activity, at £20/adult and £10/child, Don’t Get Locked In! is around the same price as other escape rooms we’ve researched.
Don’t Get Locked In! Acorn Business Centre, Cublington Road, Wing, Leighton Buzzard, LU7 0LB.
Book online at www.dontgetlockedin.com or call 03333031312