[The venue doesn’t like photos being taken so, imagine a feature picture here: a group of Explorers looking around a themed room, an Escape Room. There are 5 Explorers in uniform. The room is a
[The venue doesn’t like photos being taken so, imagine a feature picture here: a group of Explorers looking around a themed room, an Escape Room. There are 5 Explorers in uniform. The room is a kitsche kitchen. An old-fashioned cooker is there, the type with dials for controls. A padlocked cupboard hides something. A radio blurts out music, but you can’t see that from an image. The black and white check floor and the style of music lends itself to, perhaps, the 1950s. Sorry you have to imagine this 🙁 .]
Explorers’ Escape Room Challenge
- Venue: ClueCapers Escape Room
- URL: http://cluecapers.co.uk
- Cost: £85 per group, (5 per group = £17 p/p)
- Location: Winchester, Hampshire (Grid Ref: 51.061353, -1.308911)
A year ago I was utterly gobsmacked by the success of taking a group of Explorers to the Battle of Bannockburn Visitor Centre. This Scottish venue hosts a 3D interactive strategy experience that brings to life the battle between Robert the Bruce and Edward II. It is no over exaggeration to suggest that the Explorers loved it. Recently I was invited to join a group of friends at an Escape Room, a thing I had never heard of. It was also a strategy / problem solving challenge but a physical challenge too. Afterwards I figured it might be good for the Explorers.
Judging by the overwhelming feedback that I was getting even while at the venue, let alone in the minibus on the way home, I was right. Thankfully.
The Escape Room Concept
Escape Rooms are relatively new to the UK but are established or emerging in many towns. The idea is that a group is ‘locked’ in a room with an objective. Through a series of challenges which inevitably vary room by room, venue by venue, the group needs to work together to unravel a non-linear sequence of puzzles in order to, ultimately unlock the door. There are time limitations resulting in ‘the portal failing and the group being trapped in another dimension’… or, if you are more critical, just failure.
ClueCapers Escape Room
The ClueCapers Escape Room is located right by the King Alfred statue in Winchester. Normally there is parking in the road but our Christmas time visit meant that this area was cordoned off because of the Christmas Markets. We parked nearby.
The venue hosts three rooms, two being similar with the third being totally different. The concept for the three is the same. Groups enter and race to get out again. ClueCapers resides in a town house with rooms across two floors. On the first floor is a reception and two of the Escape Rooms while on the second floor is the third challenge and the ‘Control Room’. A couple of monitors from where the staff monitor the groups and provide assistance via a radio.
Naturally, ClueCapers is protective about its missions – they ask that we do not use photos. But, I assure you, it’s fun watching a group of teenagers in a room that eventually forget that you can see them!
[Imagine another picture: in the office, or control centre, four adults stare at monitors showing live feeds from some 12-15 cameras. Hand held radios are clutched as staff await to provide help. A clue sheet lays on the desk with all the answers on… No photos allowed still!]
It is fascinating to observe. Some youth step up, others step back. You get to see who the leaders are; what roles each of them takes and how they combine different aptitudes to complete tasks. ClueCapers relies on a range of skills including observation, investigation, problem solving and dexterity. Inevitably, this activity is great for team building.
The games can last for as long as an hour and a half. Impressively, the Explorers maintained their attention throughout the whole experience. One group of the three managed to complete the challenge, with the other two running out of time (due to our need to return back to base!).
In the minibus the Explorer group was insisting that we return; there is a desire to complete the room that they had and to take on the other Escape Rooms. This is testament to the quality of ClueCapers Escape Room in Winchester. While we fully recommend it, we can’t justify the full 5 stars and this is purely because of cost. At £17 per person, we feel that this is at the top end of our price bracket. Our group has rafted, trampolined and done many other activities each at a lower cost than this. That said, for groups with members that can afford it, an Escape Room evening is well worth the effort.
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