For a comprehensive run down of London rooms as rated by bloggers and enthusiasts, see the full list. This guide aims to give some slightly more subjective recommendations and suggestions for particular requirements.
Do also consider getting out of the city! London has some strong games but most of the top-rated rooms in the UK are further afield – see the Day trips from London guide for suggestions.
The best escape rooms in London are of course very subjective, but the ones I’d recommend first and most strongly are:
- AI Escape / Archimedes Inspiration is an unusual independent venue with two distinctive games. MAD (70 mins) is an unsettling surreal game that reminds me of a Kubrick or Lynch movie, and Project Delta (100 mins) is a narrative-heavy space adventure with some unusual moments. Both are best suited to more experienced players.
- Clue Adventures run a pair of games designed specifically for teams of two. Jet 2 Space is easier and full of cheeky innuendo; 2 Tickets 2 Ride is more challenging.
- Cluequest: cQ ORIGENES is the venue’s fourth game and perhaps my favourite game in London. Now London’s longest-running company, Cluequest combine a fun tongue-in-cheek secret agent theme with inventive custom tech and excellent puzzle design, and all their rooms are worth playing.
- Enigma Quests: School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, a lovingly designed tribute to a certain series of books about a boy wizard. I believe this was the first game in the UK to use that theme, but continues to get better reviews than many later creations.
- Escape Plan’s three games: Battle for Britain, Roll Out The Barrel or The Adventure Begins. All are WW2 themed and have an emphasis on fun with plenty of character. (Battle For Britain was closed for a time, but is now open for bookings again, from 24th March!)
- Escape In Time: Secret Studio, created by a media company and with a particularly memorable ending.
- Mission Breakout: The Lost Passenger, which has weaker puzzles but an excellent set in a disused Underground station.
- Time Run Presents: Sherlock: The Game Is Now, a sophisticated and challenging game built as an official tie-in to the Sherlock TV series. This is from the team who created the famous Time Run games, and shares many of the same strengths and design choices.
If you’re looking outside the centre, then Escape From The Room in Epsom / Cheam should also be on your radar for its clever enthusiast-built rooms.
But while those are the games I most often recommend, depending on what you’re interested in there should be others at the top of your list too.
For beginners, School of Witchcraft & Wizardry by Enigma Quests is a good choice – nicely accessible and lots of fun. You can’t go wrong with Cluequest; while my favourite is Origenes, less experienced players should probably start with Plan52 or Operation Blacksheep, if only on the principle of saving the best for last. Breakin‘ Escape Rooms is worth considering, probably either Wizarding School or Flying Dutchman; their location is convenient to get to, the games look good and work well for beginners. Escape London’s rooms often get middling ratings from enthusiasts but they’re very reasonable as an introduction to escape rooms.
Experienced teams looking for something unusual should have AI Escape at the top of their list – they do memorably different games, strong on narrative and puzzles. They currently have only the one game available to play, though another is in the works.
With a team of two, almost any of the London games are suitable, including the ones listed as having a minimum team size of three. The cost may be more of a problem than the difficulty, since where the minimum team size is three you may need to pay accordingly even when you don’t have the third person. Clue Adventures provide two excellent games designed for exactly two so are an obvious choice. Most of the venues that I used to suggest as affordable for a team of two are no longer available, though Modern Fables remains a good option there. If you’re able to travel to the outskirts of London or beyond then there are a lot more options.
Date-night options mostly amount to the same suggestions as for any group of two, with a extra nod to the innuendo-packed Jet 2 Space; if you want something more full on, AIM Escape has the adult-themed Hangover Déjà Brew.
Conversely, if you hate tech and prefer your games hand-made and old-school, in addition to Escape Plan and Escape From The Room above, Escape Land’s two rooms are great. Mystery Cube is a lot of fun too, though currently appears to be closed.
For enthusiasts at least, most of London’s games are best played with a smaller team, such as 3-4 people, even when they officially allow a team size of six or seven. If you have a larger group then Penitentiary at Omescape is a reasonable choice; but in most cases I’d recommend splitting into a couple of smaller teams instead.
London games tend to be expensive, so if you just want something cheap then check current deals on Groupon, and consider one of the companies that have cheaper prices during weekday daytimes (which about a third of them do); Breakin‘s daytime prices go down to £18pp for students or £23pp for others. Modern Fables are one of the more reasonable options at £24pp, and their games are well worth playing.
If you don’t have a team and want to play with strangers, then there aren’t many options available these days. The Game Is Now has a public booking option, though you still need a minimum of two to book in. The Crystal Maze is not an escape room but does sell individual tickets.
If you fancy a virtual reality escape game, then Omescape offers the Huxley games; and the Ubisoft games (Lost Pyramid, Medusa’s Gate, Dagger of Time) are available are various locations including Cluequest. You could also try the virtual reality arcade at DNA VR or meetSpace VR.
For something a bit different, The Crystal Maze tends to be very well-received even by those who didn’t grow up with the TV show it’s based upon. Agent November provide hosted outdoor escape rooms; and there are many companies offering unhosted city trail games (AIM Escape, Foxtrail, Onigo Escapes, Outscape Games, Street Hunt, The Secret City, …)
Finally, for large-scale corporate bookings the obvious choice is Cluequest. They also have team building and recruitment assessment offerings, if that’s something you might want.