Mostly Fun, but could be better
Set in the Garrison pub…can you escape before the pub burns down??
Escape Rooms Middlemoor is an escape room company that had gone completely under our radar since opening; it was only a chance Google search that we found them. At the time of writing they don’t technically have their own website, just a page on the Laburnham House Hotel website (where they’re located).
Escape Rooms Middlemoor currently (at time of writing) have two games open, Steampunk, and Peaky Blinders, although they do have another game ready to go, Sweeney Todd and more games planned.
We decided to book in for both available games and played them back-to-back. First we played their ‘easier’ Steampunk room and then gave the Peaky Blinders room a try.
Escape Rooms Middlemoor is actually not in Middlemoor; it’s pretty much Huntspill – just down the road from Highbridge. Arriving at the venue it’s clear to see where to go, just follow the giant ‘Escape Rooms’ sign and you can’t go wrong.
The games here are all located in static caravans, but don’t let that put you off. Once you step inside the rooms it’s easy to forget that you’re in a caravan. This seems like a great business strategy; want another room? Buy another caravan. Need to relocate? Move the caravan.
When we arrived we were greeted by the owner, and our gamesmaster, Reece. There was a small waiting area that we could have waited in but we just had a quick chat and then had the usual health and safety, and room briefing, then we were shown to the room and our time began.
Covid Precautions: We wore masks at all times and there was hand sanitiser available in reception. We didn’t see any other teams while we were there.
Entering this room it was quite clear that a lot of effort had been put in to make this room feel like a genuine bar and not just the inside of a caravan. Having watched ‘Peaky Blinders’, it didn’t feel like the Garrison Pub, but that didn’t matter. It had lots of nods to the show all over the place and actually felt like it could be a real bar.
There was a lot of set dressing in the room and some items which you may expect to become pivotal items were just there for set dressing, and served no other purpose than that.
The Peaky Blinders theme tune made an appearance and helped to create that immersion that we were indeed in the Garrison pub. Fortunately that song wasn’t on a loop for the entire time we were there and it was replaced with general ambient noises which took away the silence.
There were some theatrics added to the room which were interesting, although we did find ourselves getting distracted by some of them, being unsure if they were actually a puzzle to be solved (they weren’t).
The room was well lit but torches were also provided so we had no issues seeing anything that we needed to see. Finding things however, that’s a different story.
This was a search heavy room, and some of that searching was very sneaky – you have been warned. Other than that there was some wordplay, observation and some quite enjoyable physical interactions with most puzzles resulting in combinations for padlocks.
The room played out in a pretty linear manner and I’d imagine if you’re on form and in a larger team you could probably get through pretty quickly, we were not a large team, nor were we on form!
We enjoyed aspects of one puzzle, it was fun to do and gave a bit of novelty to the room. For us, it needed a couple of tweaks to make it better because as it also had a search element to it, it just became frustrating.
Unfortunately our frustrations didn’t end there as we found two more puzzles that felt a bit off. One of them was the final puzzle which felt more like a trial-and-error puzzle with no actual skill or puzzle to solve. The other wasn’t actually a puzzle, although we didn’t know this at the time – *owners* if you’re going to put in padlocks that aren’t part of the game, please identify them as not being part of the game!
Oh actually, there was one more puzzle which was a bit odd. To solve it properly required some top level searching and observation, which we didn’t do. We actually managed to arrive at our own (correct) solution completely by chance using our own logic. I would be interested to know how many people solve this puzzle as it is intended, and without any guidance.
In the room was a TV screen that displayed a countdown clock so we knew how long we had remaining. This screen was also used for delivering clues.
Reece gave clues/nudges when he could see that we were getting frustrated with the ongoing search fails, the only issue was that his clues were a bit too cryptic and we often weren’t sure if they were clues or just the story of the room playing out.
In hindsight, we can now see that they were clues, but equally we can still see where our confusion came from. Points for trying to keep the clues on theme, but sometimes teams may need a bit less subtly.
Our experience of this room was equal parts frustration and enjoyment, I’m not sure which won out in the end. A few minor tweaks to the game and I think it would be a lot better. Bring your search A-game!
After speaking with Reece at the end of our game, it’s clear that this room is constantly being developed and some of the changes he’s talking about making could improve it a lot. Your experience may differ to ours as your game may have changed from ours, but Escape Rooms Middlemoor are certainly a company to watch.
Team: 2 players (escaped in 44:00 minutes)
Address: Laburnum House Hotel, Sloway Ln, Highbridge TA9 3RJ