Westgate Centre, Oxford, OX1 1TR ()
Located on the second floor, next to Buzz Gym.
At the same location
As an escape room virgin, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect when friends decided to book an ‘adventure’ for us all as part of a university reunion. But I needn’t have worried. Set on the top floor of the reimagined Westgate Centre in the heart of town, the Oxford branch of Escape Hunt offers some wonderful views of the university’s classical spires as you approach the venue. It proves a stark contrast once you get inside where clean lines, smart fittings and electronic tablet registration shouts modern comfort.Chris
Visitors to Escape Hunt have a decent choice of escape scenarios: from the delights of Alice in Wonderland to the thrills of the Wild West with a good measure of Doctor Who magic thrown in. Soft drinks (for a small price), Magic Eye optical illusion books or traditional Jenga blocks are at your disposal while you wait for your room to be ready. And for those who might be claustrophobic or for whom the idea of spending an hour trapped in close confines with their nearest and dearest induces a sense of panic, an impressive and much-welcomes health and safety briefing and panic button offers much-needed relief.
And so to the escape room itself. The hosts are welcoming, explaining the rules in character to get you in the mood for what lies ahead. The rooms themselves are superbly appointed and the games are genuinely fun and sufficiently taxing to make your brain work. There are enough distractions to keep you occupied as you wander down blind allies, and genuine mini triumphs each time you - or a member of your team - solves a clue.
The team skilfully inject time updates, that on the one hand let you know how far you’re progressing and - on the other - add pressure and create jeopardy. The result is an hour of fun that has you laughing, cursing, thinking and bonding no matter what age you are. Like I said in the introduction - you’re never too old to have fun!
Step into Wonderland, where the Hatter has been accused of stealing the Queen’s Tarts. With Alice nowhere to be seen, it’s time for you to fill her shoes.
You find yourself at the Hatter’s cottage. The table is set but no one is around. A sign on the lawn reads ‘Tea Party Cancelled by Royal Decree’. Curiouser and curiouser… Find and return the Queen’s Tarts in 60 minutes, or it’s off with the Hatter’s head. Chop chop.