Friday 23 June 2017


The Da Vinci Exploration Escape Room at Escape Land

Escape rooms – where a team is locked in a room filled with puzzles and clues to help them escape – have become all the rage in the last year or so and I had my first encounter on my trip to Vancouver in October. I had an absolute blast trying to solve the riddles in that archeology/Indiana Jones-inspired room (even though we filled miserably) and had been itching to try it again, now knowing what I was getting myself in for and hopefully being better at spotting clues. So when the opportunity came up to try the Da Vinci Exploration at Escape Land in London, I jumped on the chance.

Conveniently located on London's Oxford Street (just a few minutes away from Tottenham Court Road Station), Escape Land offers two different adventures; Professor Oxford's Experiments and Da Vinci's Exploration. You can assemble a team of between 3 to 6 people for one of the 60-minute long games and the more brains you can get together the better, as of course more hands make light work (or more brains can solve puzzles more quickly, in this case).

Da Vinci's Exploration was a fun-filled challenge where we had to scrutinise some of his famous paintings, in addition to puzzling away with skeletons, magnets, dominoes, a maze, playing cards, and padlocks. So. Many. Padlocks! I'm not going to give away any of the brain breakers we had to try and solve or how many rooms there are as that would spoil the fun, but I can say that while initially when walking into the first room I didn't spot any clues at all (just lots of padlocks), as soon as your eyes adjust to the dark the real fun begins.

And what fun it was. Our mission was to solve all the puzzles and get access to the final room to get our hands on the mythical Holy Grail (the cup supposedly used by Jesus and his Disciples during The Last Supper that can also give the person drinking from it eternal life, no biggie) – and while I was feeling a bit frustrated as those final 10 minutes ticked away awfully quickly on the big screen, through true team work we managed to get out! (Okay, we were granted an additional 2 minutes of playing time but since we only needed 15 seconds of it, that doesn't count right?!)

The previous escape room I tried only allowed players 20 minutes to solve everything and so before playing this one I thought 60 minutes was super long, but it's crazy how quickly time flies when you get engrossed in reading clues, gushing over the cool room designs and intricate details, and entering code after code into padlocks! Definitely make use of the walkie talkie you're given to communicate with the Escape Land team to ask for a clue when needed, we kind of kept forgetting until they prompted us, and that could've helped us save some valuable minutes.

In all though, I think we did pretty well considering 40 per cent of people don't get to the end of this adventure within their allocated time. And we had a lot of fun along the way – there was an especially cool feature between two of the rooms and the way you move from one to the other that sets this particular escape room apart from any others I've heard of. And the fact we got to hold the ACTUAL (well, maybe not the actual) Holy Grail at the end too? An awesome finish to a great night!

Thanks very much to Escape Land and Love Pop Ups London for organising this super fun trip in exchange for an honest review. The escape room is located on 37 Oxford Street in London and you can find out more about the different adventures they offer, pricing and timings on their booking page.

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