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I was lucky enough to be able to take a few mates to Escape Key near St James Park who offered us a free session this week to test some of our grey matter and try and avoid being burnt at the stake on a cold Tuesday night!

Escape Key is one of many Escape rooms in the city centre and have been going for about two and a half years now. This is the second escape room I’ve tried (Exit on Westgate Road being the other one). We were greeted by Martin who showed us around and let us use the facilities and put our stuff in the lockers.

He went through the health and safety features of the room then gave us an excellent introduction to the theme. What I loved right of the bat was that they’ve clearly done their research into the area. They’re situated right next to St Andrew Church in Gallowgate, next to real witch burials and plague pits, which two of the three rooms are based on.

We chose the Witch room because it looked like the one with the most different puzzles and the most interesting theme. The Witch room takes you back to the notorious witch trials of 1650 when townsfolk were rounded up, tried and hanged in nearby Gallowgate. Martin was fantastic at setting the scene; he’s a natural born story teller and it built the atmosphere perfectly.

We were shown a short DVD for a bit of background and context, which raised the suspense levels even more. Then Martin picked two of us (Me and Emma) to be locked up and chained together while the other three tried to get us out.

Obviously, I don’t want to give too much away but needless to say we had a great time! Carrie, Jayne and Sophie managed to free us quickly, so we were all then able to work together to escape. I’ll be the first to admit I’m pretty useless at this kind of thing so thankfully my much smarter, observant mates did most of the problem solving. The rooms were a nice size so unless you’re severely claustrophobic (or there are more of you) the space shouldn’t be a problem. Obviously to create atmosphere the rooms are quite dark but not so dark you can’t see what you’re doing.

The puzzles themselves were a mixture of word puzzles, games, riddles and jigsaws (top tip from me would be to brush up on your roman numerals!) and it was really cool how a lot of the doors/chests/boxes etc were magnetic so sprung open when you solved a puzzle rather than having to open things yourself or rely on padlock combinations all the time. It felt very Crystal Mazey!

You’re watched the whole time and if it looks like you’re struggling you either get a few clues on the TV screen (where the time is also ticking down so you can keep an eye on your progress) or over a tannoy system. The puzzles are well designed to ensure you actually work together rather than everyone off doing their own thing.

The only criticism I have (and it’s a very minor one) is that you don’t get a board or a print out at the end confirming whether you escaped or not and what time you got. That would have been a nice final touch but despite that, we all agreed, of the many escape rooms we’ve been to between the five of us, this was the best one!

I can imagine it will be fantastic around Halloween time or for a Christmas party as the themes really lend themselves to a dark night but would also be great fun for a stag and hen do as well!

So, the million-dollar question, did we escape? Well just let all the blonde hair fool you, of course we did! With 12 minutes to spare no less!

So book your own visit and see if you can escape !

Thanks for reading,


This was a guest post by HONESTLY HELEN on behalf of

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