A FANTASTIC set of five rooms, each with a different theme.
Back in October, just before Lockdown 2.0, we were invited down to Gatwick Escape Rooms to check out their newly opened venue. Located in Horley, less than five minutes from Gatwick Airport, and with excellent Public Transport options, it’s incredibly easy for most people to get to without hassle.
The Sat Nav directed us to the venue – in a retail space on the High Street. We found a car park directly behind the building – very reasonable pricing – and headed to start our adventures! As you arrive at the building, you’re welcomed with a window display of Exit Games by Thames & Kosmos, a personal favourite of mine, so I knew we were in good company already! We waited outside until beckoned in by a member of staff, Tasha, to enter the doors. Immediately to our right was a COVID-19 QR Code to Check In to the venue – a pleasant sight. We were politely requested to scan it, which we duly did, and sanitise our hands.
The check in process was quick and easy – simply tell them your name and you’re ready to go! We were prepared to experience all five of the rooms on offer, but we had no idea in what order. We also didn’t look into the themes, stories or any other details in advance, as to avoid spoilers, so we really were going in blind.
We were led down the corridor and up the stairs, and into a large, open foyer area of the first floor. From this area, you can access The Governess, Patient Zero and An Hour to Kill. There was a large boxed raised seating area that we perched on as Tasha, our host, informed us of our first journey into the unknown in The Governess.
As she read and explained some simple rules, we were blindfolded and handcuffed, and led one by one into the room. In pitch black, I was fastened to some bars and was told to stay there (not that I could go anywhere) and wait. Listening to a dripping pipe for a few minutes in the dark is rather unnerving to say the least, and as the Voiceover began, I felt a little nervous. Whilst I am aware that this is all theatre, it did nothing to offer relief! After a few minutes I was instructed to remove my blindfold as the game had begun!
It quickly became apparent that this wasn’t going to be easy – the lighting was low, the rooms were large, and I was in my own space away from my Player 2, so it was on each of us to work to find out the solution! It took us longer than I would have hoped, but once we worked out what to do, we progressed into other rooms in this sprawling labyrinth. Originally, I thought it’d be one single room, but it is not. This is a set of corridors, rooms, passages and other large and small spaces in which to find clues and answers to riddles, notes and other tidbits. The themeing was on point, right down to the subtle soundtrack that was playing in the background.
Drip, Drip, Drip…..
As the game progressed, the challenges got progressively more tasking, but, much to my amusement and joy, they got more interesting and interactive too! Many times we found ourselves running around, back and forth between the rooms to find something we had already seen (or dismissed). Most Escape Rooms take place in one room, with four corners. This is wildly different in that it is literally a maze! The challenges were on point and required you to think logically to get to your solution, which we eventually did!
The finale was superb, and an unexpected ending to the game. We escaped with time to spare and made our dramatic exit of the room by c[—–I guess you’ll have to visit the room to find out how it ends].
Our second game was probably the most taxing in terms of brainpower, though I am not certain it should be! You’re tasked with creating the cure to a virus (very topical) in one single room that looks like a laboratory, and much to my immense pleasure, there was not a single lock in sight!
A short video played, setting up the story, and we were advised of a few starting pieces to work with – a file full of documents and some electrical cables. We were originally stumped for longer than I anticipated, but once we understood what we had to do, we got into the flow of things. This definitely requires teamwork to dissect and decipher certain things, but if you communicate clearly, it’s easy enough.
Each correct portion of the room you completed unlocked another piece of the puzzle (quite literally, cupboard doors would unlock and pop open). This was a rather unique and fun way of delivering the tools required as it meant you only saw them when you needed to use them. Usually, in many Escape Rooms, everything is already in the room from the off, but it’s nice to unlock it as you go along as in Patient Zero, as you feel you’re progressing in the game.
After searching, pinning, button pressing, file flicking, map tracking and mixing, we reached the very dramatic finale in a rather unexpected ending. With time against us, we were rushed to make a decision and carry out an action, and thankfully we did it correctly and released the cure to the world! In one of the most anxious endings to a room I’ve ever experienced, it was very overwhelming! One of my favourite endings to a puzzle ever!
An Hour to Kill
Straight from Patient Zero and right into An Hour to Kill, this for us was the most fun room in terms of joy. It was the smallest of them all, and was nestled in a small corner between Patient Zero and The Governess, and was themed to a Hollywood Actresses dressing room. With glitzy clothing on a rail, and opulent accessories adorning a dressing table, the room was FULL of possible clues that we were scouring with our eyes, even before being given any instruction!
A short story played via a video, and soon we were off, working out where we needed to go and what we needed to do. We felt that we picked this one up very quickly, and we steamed through this in the quickest time we’ve ever completed a room. Still, we didn’t feel disappointed as it was a wonderful, bright room – opposite of the dark, horror type Escape Rooms that seem to be the norm.
As this is such a laid back room and experience, we were able to have a little more fun than we usually would, and dressed up in the costumes and clothing – these make for hilarious photo opportunities! When we finished, we didn’t want to leave, and would have happily spent longer in there getting ready for a night on the tiles. If only COVID-19 wasn’t a thing….
The puzzles were great, and there were plenty of traditional locks in play in this room, alongside physical props that you had to find and read. I particularly enjoyed this back-to-the-roots playstyle, as it reminded me that Escape Rooms don’t have to be the most modern, most fancy or most technologically advanced to be enjoyable. Just by having puzzles the players can resolve is fun in it’s own right!
I’d recommend this as an entry level room for people that have not experienced an Escape Room before. It’d also work extremely well for Date Nights for couples etc.
Crazy Cat Lady
This was the first room in which we had three players – we were joined by Tasha, a member of staff, as she had not yet played through this room. We were thankful for the extra person as there seemed to be quite a lot to do in this remarkably small but charming room.
This room was FULL of character, in it’s goofy cartoon style – it felt like I was in The Simpsons home in Springfield, but themed around… cats! I may have been imagining it, but it also had the smell of an old house but…. I can’t promise that was the case.
We traversed the hilarious story and slowly restored the missing pieces, and ended up on our hands and knees at multiple times throughout. We wanted to make use of a button that would unlock a door, but we were unsure as to if it were allowed to be used (it’s the same button to leave the room in an emergency etc. Turns out we were allowed, and we spent the full hour crawling around on the floor unnecessarily! If nothing else, it added to the absolute HILARITY of the situation!
The puzzles on this one were interactive and information based, and I particularly enjoyed that aspect. There is a HILARIOUSLY unexpected part of the puzzle that still makes me laugh, where you get [— Go play the game if you want to find out —] and everyone ends up erupting in laughter! Totally unexpected but DEFINITELY the highlight for us!
Rob The Bank
The staff at Gatwick Escape Rooms definitely saved the best until last, and boy, this was, hands down, my favourite Escape Room of the day!
A short briefing on board a transit van and a scurry around our bag later, we hopped off the back and found ourselves reversed into the front of a bank! Peering through the glass into the office, there is so much to see, so many notes etc all over the place, but seemingly no way in. It took us a while to work out what we had to do, but once we understood, we quickly got into it and gained access to the office, where we found all sorts of tidbits!
We made phone calls, used a Cash Machine (a real life, working one too!), researched some flowers, played on a computer and searched through some cabinets and managed to get our hands on some cold, hard bars of Gold AND escape in less than an hour! We were even joined by a security guard at multiple points throughout, though thankfully we managed to hide just in time that he didn’t see us! Goodness knows how that’d have ended!
Without going into GREAT detail, it’s impossible for me to explain just how fantastic Rob The Bank is. The themeing is on point, and the theatrics from beginning to end have been executed to perfection. The addition of actors in this room made it ever more immersive, something I particularly love. It felt more like I was actually robbing a bank than playing an Escape Room, and that… that is brilliant.
All in all, Gatwick Escape Rooms is a wonderful set of five rooms based in Horley, minutes from Gatwick Airport. With excellent Public Transport links and a large Car Park behind the venue, it’s easy to get to from all over.
Prices start at £21.50 based on 8 people in a room, and you can book directly on their website by clicking here. You are also able to purchase a Gift Voucher to give as a present, perfect for Christmas or Birthdays!
Please note: We were provided our experience for free by the staff at Gatwick Escape Rooms, though this does and did not influence this review. All articles written and published by My Little Voyage are from our own perspective and are not influenced in any way, shape or form.