The Best Cardiff Escape Rooms
A relatively new-found attraction that appeared to spring up from nowhere to find fame on almost every high street across the UK are Cardiff Escape Rooms; team-building puzzle-solving activity centres that present the public with an opportunity to spend a set amount of time working together to ‘escape’ the room within which they are trapped.
It seems as though escape rooms popped up with no warning; but actually, they have an interesting history...
The Best Cardiff Escape Rooms
The broad format of a room or area full of challenges and puzzles to be resolved first emerged through the television gameshows of the 1980s and 1990s, including The Crystal Maze, The Adventure Game and Knightmare.
This blossomed to the advent of similar computer and video games, which led to the development of the ‘escape the room’ genre of video games. Originally Flash games for web browsers before mobile apps were introduced, such games became popular quickly across a broad audience.
The earliest concept of a physical modern escape room as we know them today was part of a student’s doctoral dissertation in 1999 at Florida State University.
The Simulated World game saw participants enter a simulated world in which they had to use their Christian faith to change the rules and make it a better place for everyone. In 1996, the game was showcased by the National Association of Simulation and Gaming and it remains in play today!
Today, escape rooms are a commercial fixture all around the world and come in a variety of themes, shapes and sizes. Also known as escape games, puzzle rooms, exit games or riddle rooms, some are enclosed in physical spaces and others are completed through VR or AR across a geographic location.
Usually, teams must work together in order to discover clues, solve puzzles and accomplish set tasks in order to achieved a specific goal within a set time limit and ‘escape’ the room/s.
Most are cooperative amongst their teams but competitive in the sense that participants are encouraged to complete the tasks as quickly as possible; with leader-boards set up to encourage teams to beat others.
Escape rooms have now reached mainstream commercial success throughout Europe, North America, Australasia and South East Asia.
Games are often set in a fictional location, including common themes such as space stations, dungeons, laboratories and prison cells. The games will align with the theme of the room and a brief introduction/safe briefing will be given before the activity begins.
Often this is delivered by a live games-master but can also be done by an audio or video link.
Generally speaking, challenges are usually more mental than physical and a base level of fitness or accessibility is not necessarily required. Instead, skills are more likely to be based around subjects such as mathematics, biology, geography, history and sciences.
Where information is specialised or not particularly well known, it’s likely that a reference to the answer will be present somewhere within the escape room itself.
There is often some kind of support system in place to help nudge players in the right direction should they become ‘stuck’ on one answer or another.
If participants fail to ‘escape’ the room within the set amount of time, they will not reach success and will be unable to continue past the time limit.
However, if they are able to complete the tasks, solve the puzzles and leave, their time will be posted on a leader-board and compared to others. Ideally, a good time will have been had regardless of the completion of the overall game as the fun sits within the taking part of the challenges rather than just the winning.
Our Top Picks...
As a bustling city full of tourist, visitor and occasion activities on offer, it should come as no surprise that there are a myriad of fantastic escape rooms in Cardiff!
Here we rank what we consider to be the best Cardiff escape rooms and offer some basic info on each so that you can decide which is best suited to your next team challenge outing.
If you think they all sound good, why not book in at each and make it your task to sample all of the escape rooms in Cardiff?
Escape Rooms Cardiff
Escape Rooms Cardiff is a purpose-built venue in the heart of the city that are brilliantly themed and offer a comprehensive escape room experience you just won’t find anywhere else!
Themes currently include Z (zombies), 13th Floor (a mystery with a twist), Astro Quest (space), Tomb 2 (Egyptian folklore), The Cardiff Castle (medieval history), Oculus (serial killer), and Sherlock: Moriarty’s revenge (crime investigation).
Teams can range from 2-6 players but fees are payable based on the room and not the number of players, so the more participants, the cheaper it is.
The themed rooms are revamped every few years so even if you’ve maxed out all of the activities and visited all of the escape rooms in Cardiff, you can re-visit at a later date for a new experience!
Escape Rooms Cardiff allows players of all ages but advises that the complexity of their games are best suited to those aged 13+. Anyone participating aged 12 or younger must be accompanied by a responsible parent or guardian.
Escape Reality offers six different escape rooms in Cardiff with invitingly interesting names such as Jungala, Enigmista, The Heist, Fibonacci, Misery and Alcatraz.
Each room can accommodate between 2-6 people and has ‘hints’ available for those who find themselves stuck on a puzzle.
Escape Reality offer a really immersive comprehensive Cardiff escape rooms experience and you can find other branches of their centres throughout the UK, Australia and India.
Escape Reality provides escape rooms in Cardiff for players of all ages but recommends those 18+ are best suited to the puzzles. Anyone aged 15 or under will need to be accompanied by an appropriate adult.
Exitus Escape Cardiff
Exitus Escape Rooms Cardiff have 3 differently themed rooms that can accommodate between 2-8 players (although one of these can only accommodate a maximum of 6) and last for 1 hour each.
The Virus Tinkerers room sees players work through a laboratory setting to power an incubator to contain live viruses and save them from spreading; with 5% of all proceeds made from the hiring of this room goes to a cancer charity.
The Curse of Senutep is a non-linear Cardiff escape room that allows for numerous puzzles to be solved at the same time, making it ideal for groups. Players must enter a tomb to solve a mystery and reverse a curse in order to survive.
Finally, Coco Loco causes family dramas and politics as members bicker over the family business: a chocolate factory!
Exitus Escape Rooms in Cardiff allow players of any age but warn that anyone under 18 will need to be accompanied by an appropriate adult. If a whole group of players are children, staff will arrange for a staff member in character to enter the room and guide them through the session.
Live actors are occasionally introduced and participants will be warned of this ahead of time. Those with accessibility requirements must be advised that Exitus is based on a first floor with no lift facilities and only stairs.
Adventure Rooms escape rooms in Cardiff has a few themed rooms for participants to enjoy. ‘The Mad Scientist’ room sees participants trapped in a laboratory seeking to breakout, 'Pirates' planning their escape before they face the plank, ‘Mafia’ leaving them held and bound in headquarters while members decide their fate, and ‘The Black Queen’ a rabid storm raging outside while solace is sought in a dark castle with a mysterious monarch residing within.
All rooms can accommodate between 2-6 participants for standard play or 8-12 for extended groups in a ‘duel format’ method.
Adventure Rooms Cardiff escape rooms do permit players of all ages but advise that their games are best suited for those aged 15+ due to their complexity.
Anyone aged 14 or under will need to accompanied by a parent or guardian aged 18+ in the rooms with them at all times. Duel format games for larger groups can be played in the Mafia or Black Queen rooms.
All rooms are completely wheelchair accessible with all games at a level suitable for wheelchair users.
City Mazes Cardiff
City Mazes Cardiff escape rooms provide 4 different themed puzzles for participants. Subject 11 is a favourite amongst Stranger Things fans, travelling to the ‘upside down’ to find their way out.
Atomic Agency is set in the Cold War, and Hostage Hotel II plays a hostage situation requiring careful escape.
The Runner is a complete mystery: with players unaware of where they are or how they got there… but needing to recover their memory and work out how to leave!
City Mazes have escape rooms available for those aged 9+ although Hostage Hotel II is advised only for those aged 12+. Parents and guardians must accompany all players aged 15 or younger.