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  • Writer's pictureMary Smith

The Great Escape!

Updated: Oct 1, 2020

If like me, you pale at the thought of voluntarily getting locked into a room for fun, look away now! However, with most towns now having at least one such escape room, it appears the wary amongst us are in the minority. In fact, after a little light research, it turns out that the rooms aren't actually locked at all (phew.) If you are one of the multitude of adventurous souls that fancies giving this growing international craze a go here in Thanet, read on!

Richard O'Brien, godfather of escape rooms

For anyone who's not yet heard of an escape room, it essentially involves you and some friends in team mode, 'locked in' a dramatically themed space, attempting various puzzles, conundrums and challenges against the clock. The quicker you solve them, the quicker you and your teammates escape (yikes!) Remember the Crystal Maze with the brilliant Richard O'Brien? It's that sort of thing, more recently also born out of the 'escape-the-room' computer games of the noughties.

Several escape rooms have sprung up in Thanet, the newest being in Broadstairs itself - a first for the town. Nestled in the basement of the old Lloyds Bank building The Bank Job sits below the very cool Counting House Bar and has already become rather popular with rave reviews. When you think about it, what better repurposing for 2,500 square feet of decommissioned bank vaults and strong rooms? Essentially, instead of trying to get out, the aim of the game is to get in and steal the wonga whilst not getting caught. Kudos to the canny new owner and landlord for bringing something imaginative like this to our town centre. As they say, it's as authentic as you're going to get without doing time!

For an escape room with a difference, Ctrl Alt Esc offers a fully immersive, 4D experience right on Margate seafront. They're set up nicely for all ages so a great choice for families, especially as you are never shut away in a room. With beat-the-clock games like The Undefusable Bomb, Spacescape and Frankenscape, this place appeals to the younger generation and has an inclusive feel. Most recently they have forged community links and put their 3-D printers to good use by making full-face protective visors for the NHS. Nice work!

On Cliftonville's Northdown Road is The Escapement Margate. Thanets' escape rooms trailblazers. Not only have they have put in the hard graft to become Margate's #1 destination on TripAdvisor, but they're also enjoying enviable status as a global Top Escape Rooms Project nominee (no mean feat.) A read of the reviews tells us that people travel from far and wide to try out the various rooms, including The Pit. An inspired take on Journey to The Centre of the Earth, it's in homage to the coalface stories of the proprieter's very own grandfather, a veteran miner of 40 years at Betteshanger colliery. The Escapement Margate is also very proud of its recognition as a top venue for safety by the industry body UK Hospitality Association and has recently installed a HEPA filter for extra Covid precautions.

We've also heard good things about Real Life Games, on Broad Street in neigbouring Ramsgate. There are also some excellent choices a little further afield in Canterbury such as historic Escape In The Towers, part of The Pound bar and kitchen. All in all, the escape rooms scene is thriving on the Isle of Thanet and beyond - yet another reason to visit this lovely part of the world. Broadstairs Apartments welcomes you!

With Covid-19 having put a real spanner in the works for escape rooms, like all businesses they are gradually adjusting to the new requirements and public guidelines. It is good to hear that they are giving extensive thought to ensuring their escape-room experiences are as safe as possible. We suggest you contact them directly for venue-specific measures and guidelines as well as up-to-date booking times and prices.

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