Sussex escape room voted best in the UK: this is what we thought

An escape room in Sussex has been named the best that the UK has to offer. This is what we thought.

Thursday, 20th February 2020, 11:16 am
Updated Thursday, 20th February 2020, 4:26 pm
Loot The Lanes has been voted the best escape room in the UK. Picture: Pier Pressure

'Loot the Lanes' by Pier Pressure has recently been voted the best escape room in the UK - and 67th worldwide - by the Top Escape Rooms Project, an international survey which saw 370 contributors test 82,865 rooms across the globe.

The Brighton-based room - a heist caper set in the heart of the Lanes - beat out tough competition, including Nethercott Manor by Tulleys in Crawley, which took third place.

Upon arrival we were greeted by our guide Queenie, the bespectacled, bowler-hat wearing mastermind behind the plan, who to our surprise informed us we were a group of criminals she had recruited to steal a priceless diamond bought by the founding fathers of Brighton.

Loot The Lanes has been voted the best escape room in the UK. Picture: Pier Pressure

The downside: a rival gang had their eyes on the prize too... and we only had an hour to nab it while they were on their lunch break.

The set made a great first impression. Housed in a former basement tattoo parlour in Upper North Street, Brighton, the cobbled floors immediately evoked the Lanes. The puzzles were housed in several different Brightonian shops, from an antiques seller and jewellers to a café and record store. And if you needed help, there was a phone box to call Queenie for clues.

And it was not just about fetching codes to crack locks; the puzzles were creative and cunning. My personal favourites involved manoeuvring a magnetic crane and a perspex finger maze.

As the clock counted down with ten minutes left to go, the pressure ramped up. But our burglar troupe kept its cool and managed to snatch the jewel with eight minutes to spare.

Loot The Lanes has been voted the best escape room in the UK. Picture: Pier Pressure

With a few escape rooms under my belt, this was up there with my favourites. The difficulty level was pitched just right - tricky enough to be satisfying, but not so impenetrable that you bombard the guide with clues to get to the finish line, leading to a hollow victory. We only asked for two clues, which Queenie told us afterwards was an impressive feat.

Thanks to Emma Howarth for making the experience enjoyable as our guide, and to the creators for such a seamless experience.

Another nice touch was getting a voucher for four free shots of Tuaca - Brighton's signature spirit - at The Windmill Pub across the road for completing the room, along with 25 per cent off the escape room's signature IPA Beer Pressure - a collaboration with Brighton brewery Loud Shirt.

It would have been rude not to go for a pint afterwards.

Our team, 'GinJamJon', basking in glory

According to the Pier Pressure website, the maximum team size for this room is nine. I would recommend a smaller group. We had a team of four and found it gave us all a chance to participate.

Per person, prices for the experience start at £30 - which in my opinion is a bit on the pricey side - but for a stag do, hen party, birthday or special occasion, the drinks deal makes it a great fit.