Summer holiday fun at Sheffield’s Great Escape

From left, Andrew Jaafar, Olivia Teasdale, Tim Cotton, Barney Cotton and Ash D'Amelio in the the Mad Scientist Escape Room at the Great Escape, Sheffield
From left, Andrew Jaafar, Olivia Teasdale, Tim Cotton, Barney Cotton and Ash D'Amelio in the the Mad Scientist Escape Room at the Great Escape, Sheffield
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Mums and dads, are you coming to the end of your tether as the six weeks’ holiday stretches on?

Why not cuff and chain up the kids, lock them in a darkened room, and tell them to get out of that one?

Players being led into the Mad Scientist Escape Room at the Great Escape, Sheffield

Players being led into the Mad Scientist Escape Room at the Great Escape, Sheffield

Well, drastic situations call for drastic measures.

Before Social Services get involved, this is the exciting and challenging world of city centre-based The Great Escape.

The Crystal Maze-style concept fuses scenarios from horror movies and detective dramas with the challenges of live theatre and video games and it attracted 27,000 visitors to its four rooms and a turnover of £250,000 in its first year of trading.

So, having recruited four smart 11-year-olds under the tutelage of a grizzled veteran with failing eyesight and zero common sense we thought we’d give it a go.

Barney, Andrew, Olivia and Ash in the Mad Scientist Room

Barney, Andrew, Olivia and Ash in the Mad Scientist Room

According to our scenario, we had been captured by mad scientists, who were planning to use us as part of their research to test a new secret experiment.

They were planning to wipe out the world and it was our mission to save mankind before they did by solving clues and puzzles and escaping.

And we only had 45 minutes (plus five minutes’ hero time, if we were lucky) and I’d forgotten my reading glasses.

It didn’t look promising.

We were each assigned our roles in the team, given hospital gowns handcuffed, blindfolded and led into a dimly-lit room, where we were left chained up in cubicles.

But we got off to a flying start after skinny-wristed Olivia managed to slip out of the cuffs and the key was found to free the rest of us.

For the remainder of the time, it was a matter of working together to track down clues, cracking codes and ignoring red herrings in order to escape from the mad scientist’s laboratory.

The walkie-talkie also came in very useful for asking for much-needed hints from the games master, but we are now the proud holders of certificates proclaiming that we escaped with 30 seconds to spare.

The Great Escape is definitely great fun.

Factfile:

The Great Escape is the number one place to be for fun and games in Sheffield, says Tripadvisor - and 27,000 visitors of all ages have been since the venue opened a year ago.

Fans include companies on corporate days, workmates, students and couples.

But during the summer holidays, organisers of the Crystal Maze-style game are urging parents and kids to take advantage of their daytime off-peak rates, at £12 a head for groups of five to seven players.

The minimum age to be not be accompanied by an adult is 13.

Founders, Hannah Duraid and Peter Lacole are searching for a new location to replace the rented premises in Sidney Street in the Cultural Industries Quarter.

They are looking to increase the number of rooms to 10 and provide corporate and bar facilities.