LONDON ESCAPED – School of Magic
Updated: May 23
I booked this room alongside another magic room (London Escape – Witchcraft and Wizardry) for a group of friends visiting from university. We met through the Harry Potter society, so seemed like the perfect room to do! I found this room via a Facebook ad and was very much looking forward to it from the description.
It was very clearly a new business, and the lack of reviews (at the time) meant we were going in blind, and weren’t sure what to expect. In fact, we were very much kept in the dark until we were in the room…
It is worth keeping in mind that I did this room over 6 months ago, although from what I understand it hasn’t improved much since.
The room itself is literally just a large, square room. It was very spacious, potentially even too large. There was a scarcity of larger props, so it felt quite empty. Of the smaller props, they were only in a few places, and soon began acting as red herrings.
The most obvious thing about the set for me was the lack of ‘wizardry’, and the abundance of damages (despite the room only being a couple of weeks old at this point). Many of the puzzles failed to work, due to broken props, to the extent that we fell into that hole of not knowing whether something wasn’t working due to us not solving it correctly, or the puzzle being broken in the first place.
The company were very boastful about the difficulty of this room, but it became very obvious very quickly that this was not due to good puzzles, but rather bad ones. When we were actually able to complete puzzles, they were very linear (which is never a good sign).
However, as mentioned there were very few puzzles we were actually able to complete as we should. It took the GM worryingly long to realise we were struggling with the first puzzle, despite doing the right thing numerous times. She then had to give us the prompt this would’ve revealed, and I found this continued through the room.
We were able to solve some of the puzzles quickly, but others required leaps in logic that didn’t quite follow. In fact, I got so frustrated that at one point I threatened to write a bad review (wink wink…), at which point the GM became a little more attentive.
If I had to pick one qualm, it would be that we completed one puzzle (numerous times), but received no indication that it was correct or what to do with it. It wasn’t until later that we realised what to do with it. In these situations, I’d rather receive the puzzle later, and have a clear idea of what it’s going to reveal.
The hint system came over a speaker – the jury is still out about whether this is better or worse than a walkie talkie. However, it was fairly obvious we weren’t being monitored too closely.
Outside the room
This was the most bizarre, and disconcerting, experience I have ever had. We entered the location via a steep, downward ramp, akin to entering an underground garage. We weren’t greeted so much as ‘grunted’ at and gestured to enter the large waiting room.
This waiting room was extremely large – it clearly did used to be an underground garage (or something similar) – with concrete floors and walls.
The vibe was very much man cave/garage – a tatty leather sofa with video games, a ping pong table and a pool table (all very tatty). We were pretty much left alone, watching other groups and wondering if they were ‘the lads’ or there to play. None of the staff were wearing anything to distinguish them, and we had no clue what was going on. In particular, there was a ~40yr old wandering around, vaguely greeting us from time to time (imagine a creepy janitor).
We were at the room ~20mins early, but were still waiting 15mins after our booking time (still with no communication from anyone).
Eventually we were collected and taken to the room, where we opted to keep our belongings with us. Upon completing the room and coming out, we were once again alone until the GM came to join us and take our photo (eventually).
We decided to leave as quick as we could at this time – not that anyone noticed.
The room was down a very steep slope – I wouldn’t attempt it in a wheelchair, either up or down!
However, the room was flat, and large, and there was somewhere to sit. That being said, there was a part requiring you to be able to crawl, into a dark room.
Hearing and colour perception were also required.
Was it worth the money?