At Escape Hunt Sydney, players become detectives in a real escape room

Why Are Real Escape Rooms So Popular Among Travelers?

A look at how real escape rooms can give travelers a sense of local history and culture

For evidence of the popularity of real escape rooms among travelers, you only need to browse the TripAdvisor listings. In European cities like Budapest, one of the places where the pastime first took hold, real escape rooms are among the most-reviewed things to do.

So why are real escape rooms finding their way onto so many travel itineraries? After all, attempting to free yourself from a locked room doesn’t exactly sound like the most leisurely vacation activity…

It could be that these rooms–which are inspired by video games and challenge players to use problem-solving skills and teamwork to break out–often feature a theme and storyline connected to local history and culture, subjects that generally pique the interest of travelers.

Real players playing one of Escape Hunt's real escape rooms
Escape Hunt players trying to figure out who stole the collection of gold coins from The Rock’s biggest cottage.

The real escape rooms at Escape Hunt Sydney do a particularly good job of creating this sense of time and place. The rooms put players in the shoes of famous local detectives at the turn of the 20th century and task them with solving crimes. Rooms are adorned with Victorian furnishings–a nod to the city’s British colonial past–and the crime-solving theme speaks to the popularity of detective novels across the British Empire 100 years ago.

In Robbery in the Cottage, one of three games Escape Hunt Sydney offers, our team had to recover a stash of gold coins stolen from a Londoner in The Rocks, a historic and slightly run-down neighborhood on the southern shore of Sydney Harbour. Clues lay among the historical furnishings in a dimly lit room and to solve the crime, we frantically turned over pots, pans, maps, a roulette mat, and chopped wood. Okay, we might’ve relied more on frenetic energy than subtle sleuthing, but nevertheless, I think Inspector “Bony” Bonaparte would’ve been proud!

Next time, we’ll choose between Extortion in the Dockyard, which confronts players with the blackmail of a ship captain, or, if we’re feeling confident, Assassin in the Pub. Considered an advanced-level escape room, this one challenges participants to find out who murdered Bruhn, the leader of one of Sydney’s 1920s-era Razor Gangs.

Period-costume fun after playing a real escape room
Players in period costume after the game

Regardless of whether players solve the mystery in time or not, everyone dresses in period detective costumes at the end and poses for photos, ensuring at least a good laugh if not a triumphant experience.

Escape Hunt Sydney‘s real escape rooms are suitable for families, friends, and groups. The minimum age to participate is 7 and an adult must accompany children.

Although iconic sites like Harbour Bridge should remain part of any Sydney trip planner, an hour and a half at Escape Hunt will carry you into a unique time and place in the city’s history.

With real escape rooms spread out over dozens of cities across the world, the Escape Hunt franchise serves up slices of local history and culture along with heart-racing live-action gameplay wherever you find one of its branches.

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