23 July 2024

Couple bring puzzle-based fun to region with Hollym Escape Rooms

By Tim Nuttall

A love of puzzles and a desire to create a new experience for families seeking entertainment in Holderness has led a local couple to open the area’s first escape rooms.

The popularity of such facilities has increased globally in the last decade, with the UK currently home to an estimated 1,500.

Taking inspiration from a variety of sources, including video games and popular TV shows such as The Crystal Maze, the escape room concept challenges teams of players to work collaboratively to find clues, solve puzzles and complete a series of tasks within a set timeframe to secure an ‘escape’ from the game’s setting.

Based near Withernsea, the recently opened Hollym Escape Rooms is the culmination of months of research, preparation and hard work by the facility’s owners, Martin and Becky Lindgren.

The creation of their independent escape room business has been a labour of love, not only for the couple themselves, but also their wider family and friends who have helped contribute towards the building, promotion and opening of the rooms — turning redundant office space at the family home into a blossoming business.

Becky said: “The very first escape room we did was on holiday in America and we really loved it. Since then, we have completed over thirty other rooms between us in the UK. We’re both quite puzzle-minded people and we’ve thought about doing something along these lines for quite some time.

“We started thinking about it seriously from around Christmas when I approached my parents about repurposing their old offices into escape room facilities. They’d never heard of escape rooms before, so we took them to one – which turned out to be one of the hardest one’s we’ve ever done! They both really enjoyed it and completely saw the point of what we were aiming to achieve.”

The family began work on the project during February half-term, with Becky’s parents, Kath and Joe Speck, helping to prepare the rooms for use and contributing to the building of the puzzles. Further support came from Martin and Becky’s children, with son Joe designing the business logo and elements within the rooms, and daughter Abbie providing online digital content.

Martin said: “It’s been a real family effort and we are grateful for the help and support we’ve received. We’ve always had the idea of doing something like this and we were thinking about what would be good to have in the area. There’s nothing else like this around this part of Holderness, with the nearest escape rooms being in Hull and Beverley.

“We’re offering families entertainment. It’s a live experience where you’re not attached to the outside world any more – creating an illusion that you’re trying to beat the ‘Games Master’. It offers people a real challenge and you see people really getting into the spirit of it.”

As primary school teachers by day, and with family at the heart of their business growth, the owners are keen to ensure their rooms offer an experience suitable for all ages.

Becky said: “Some of the other escape rooms we’ve done have been quite ‘grown-up’ and not necessarily child-friendly, so wanted to make sure ours were accessible to children as well as adults. From our experience in the classroom, we know what children of certain ages can access so we have purposefully put in some things, especially in our ‘Mad Lab’, which we know children will be able to enjoy. Our rooms are suitable for ages eight and over.

“What’s really lovely is seeing a family group, from different generations, that haven’t got their phones in their hands, and are working together to solve something. You can sometimes see they might have struggled with a clue for a little while and when they get it, they clap and cheer. Seeing them work and celebrate together is what’s really great about it.”

The Hollym Escape Rooms officially opened on May 25.

Martin said: “We’ve been overwhelmed by the feedback received from our trial groups and we would like to thank everyone for their support. We have been delighted that word-of-mouth, and the reviews of our visitors, have contributed to 40,000 hits on our website in a two-week period, and over 30,000 engagements on Facebook. These have translated into a steady stream of bookings for the weeks and months ahead.”

Currently operating with two rooms – the science-themed Mad Lab, and Police-based the Stitch Up – plans for future expansion are already on the cards.

Martin said: “The really good thing about it all for me is that it’s been like another hobby. The whole process of creating games, designing clues and thinking of new themes to keep the concept fresh and different has been really exciting. Our next goal is to open a third room and have no less than two rooms operating at one time.”

In the Mad Lab, contestants are challenged in a race against time to save humanity from a deadly virus.

Meanwhile, in the Stitch Up, participants find themselves wrongfully arrested, jailed and accused of a crime they did not commit. Working as a team to gather evidence, crack codes and follow clues to prove their innocence, the goal is to clear their name and escape before times runs out.

The Hollym Escape Rooms are located at The Gables, Northside Road, Hollym, HU19 2RS.

Prices start at £40 for the first two players in a team, with a limited offer securing additional players (in a team of up to six people) for £5 each. Each game lasts up to 60 minutes.

For further information, or to book a session, visit hollymescaperooms.com or search Hollym Escape Rooms on Facebook.