Having lived in London all my life, I'm always keeping a keen eye out for finding fun things to do around the city, and trying out unique entertainment experiences.
I recently experienced Lock’d Escape Rooms in South London with a couple of friends. It was an evening of such fun, mystery and teamwork. I’d happily do it again and wholeheartedly recommend the experience if you’ve never done one before!
WHAT EXACTLY IS AN ESCAPE ROOM?
Although it sounds like something out of SAW, an escape room is actually a very fun physical adventure game. Wikipedia describes it best: An escape room, also known as a "escape game", is a physical adventure game in which players solve a series of puzzles and riddles using clues, hints, and strategy to complete the objectives at hand. ... Escape rooms are inspired by "escape-the-room"–style video games.
Escape rooms became a more mainstream form of entertainment in London a couple of years ago. They always sounded great, but I never took the time to check one out. I enjoyed playing those escape room online games when I was a kid (which were pretty dark, now that I think about it), so having another chance - this time as an adult, and in a real life situation - to use logic and detective work to get out of a tricky situation was something I found unbelievably fun!
WHERE IS LOCK’D ESCAPE ROOMS?
Lock’d is nestled in a modern warehouse block called The Biscuit Factory. The walls in the stairwell were bright pink and yellow, very cool. Tucked away at the back was Lock’d. A quick Google search beforehand had shown fantastic reviews for the place, so we were buzzing.
We had such a warm welcome from Mara, the historian-slash-receptionist who greeted us with a huge smile and gave us a comprehensive, funny, and much-needed low-down on what exactly we would be experiencing over the next hour.
“You’ll be doing ‘Grandpa’s Last Will’," Mara informed us. "It’s our beginner’s room, and you'll have an hour to complete it.” Ominous as 'Grandpa's Last Will' sounded, Mara was reassuring: “Don’t worry! I’m going to give you a walkie talkie so I can help you out if you need it.”
Grandpa's Last Will - Escape Room Review
Mara showed us into the room. It looked fabulously vintage. A grandfather clock, an old desk, battered briefcases and worn-out books on a shelf… we all looked at each other. This was going to be awesome.
Mara tapped on the mechanism that would eventually open the door, if our mission was successful. “When you finally find the will, come back here, pop it in, and the door will open. I’ll be waiting for you!”
With that, Mara handed us the walkie-talkie, left the room, and the door swung shut…
VICTORY IS OURS!
I won’t say anything else, lest it spoils the experience for you, apart from this: the room is misleading. Don’t be fooled by first appearances, because over the course of the hour we were locked in, all sorts of weird and wonderful codes, puzzles, and outside-the-box thinking was required.
We managed to complete the room in about 50 minutes, with a few handy hints from Mara on the walkie-talkie when things started getting tricky. We initially underestimated the room, and were delighted by the many surprises the room had in store!
After emerging victorious with the will and successfully escaping the room, we went back to reception where the owner, Alexander, was waiting to congratulate us. He popped a bottle of champagne open in celebration and told us all about his journey into the world of escape rooms.
THOUGHTS ON THE ESCAPE ROOM EXPERIENCE I think that escape rooms are an excellent chance to firstly, get out of the house and do something different from just catching a film or having a drink at the pub.
Escape rooms are a fantastic social lubricant too, for helping people grow closer together and learn how to get along as a team. It's brilliant for families, couples, double dates, work colleagues, everyone!
What I will say, however, is that you should choose the people in your team to play the room with very carefully.
Pick your most inquisitive, wacky, out-of-the-box, creatively-inclined mates. It's more fun, and also, you'll be way likelier to try all potential possibilities in the room rather than simply looking for a key hidden behind a clock. The crazier their ideas, the more likely you are to solve the room faster!
Trying out my first escape room at Lock'd turned out to be such a memorable evening. We chattered excitedly about the thrill of detective work and puzzle-solving on the Tube home and decided that we'd do another one together soon. This time, a harder level!