I’ve always considered myself pretty switched on. You know, intelligent, brainy, knowledgeable…a geek. At high school, I was in the top 10 for maths, and my love of knowledge and learning didn’t diminish as I went into sixth form or university. Although I didn’t get all A* grades, or a first, I still thought I was pretty smart. Until recently. Let’s just say, I realised that I couldn’t ever be a spy or detective.
My sister organised a day of birthday surprises in Birmingham, with my birthday pressie from mum and dad tied in too. Starting with a lovely hour of retail therapy, coffee and catching up, we headed to eat (my treat from Emma) before driving 30 minutes to Sutton Coldfield, for a surprise afternoon at Escape Time, one of those timed escape room experiences – Oh I do love a birthday experience, and mum and dad know this well. The excitement and anticipation bubbling, we arrived early and rang the doorbell to be let in – this made it appear even more mysterious.
The Escape Time team was running a little behind, due to a group being late before us, so we sat solving riddles and puzzles in the waiting area before briefing, and being let loose inside the ‘room’.
The first room we entered was dark and eery, and as we’d never done one before, which also made it a little spooky as we weren’t sure what to expect. Rummaging around, keeping an eye on the timer on the screen on the wall, we weren’t really sure where to start or what to look for, but with a hint or two from the game master – they watch and hear your every move so can give clues to help guide you via the same screen as the timer – we were soon on a roll.
Now, I’m not giving any clues away because we honestly had so much fun that you have to have the FULL Escape Time experience, and that means knowing nothing when you first get inside. But I can tell you how we found ‘The Bank Heist experience…
An hour goes by extremely quickly. I couldn’t believe it when I looked up to see we had 10 minutes left. The adrenaline pumping through your body just keeps you going as fast as you can, and you don’t notice the time at all. That feeling of adrenaline stayed for a while after too!
Being in a pair, obviously makes it a little harder as you have two brains instead of multiple, but with the clues and the hints from the game master, it’s more than doable. We were so close to finishing the escape room at the end, but didn’t quite get there in time. And yes, they do let you out after that hour if you don’t finish the game. We did think that you get to see and do more in a smaller group, so want to go back as a 3/4, but I know some love to go with up to 6, just like the group after us.
I found out that there’s no baby brain on my sister. Whereas I thought I was smart, Emma was really quick in connecting things, searching for particular items, and thinking about what to do next. She was SO good at it. I wonder if she’d been practising…it was hard and definitely challenging but that’s what made it the experience it was.
It was SO much fun. I think one of the best birthday presents ever! Emma totally smashed my surprise birthday day in Birmingham.
They’re so addictive though. We’re already planning a trip back when the next room opens in April and quite funnily we’re choosing who to go with based on how good we think they’d be. Haha well they have to balance out with me.
At around £20 per person for the hour, I think it’s well worth it. It’d make a great team building exercise for colleagues too. I really don’t think that I can recommend it enough.
Have you done an escape room before? What did you think?