Hexmore School of Witchcraft and Wizardry by Houdini’s – Southampton

Finally, we have made it back to the world of escape rooms after lockdown struck again and we really missed them this time.

When we found out that Houdini’s had created a new room, we knew we had to have a go ASAP as we have done all of the others and loved them.

This room is Houdini’s answer to a Harry Potter style room and the set up does not disappoint. Split into two classes – Potions Class and Spell Casting – you have to work your way through clues to earn your place in the Hexmore School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

You are greeted by a house prefect who takes you through the school rules and then you make your way to the impressive entrance of the great school which sets the scene fantastically. You then go down the enchanted corridors and enter the first class. Without giving too much away, the spell casting room in particular has some fun surprises. Overall they use some excellent decor, props, technology and effects to make the experience really immersive.

As Houdini’s rooms go, this is one of their easiest but that makes it perfect for a family activity that children as well as adults can enjoy.

Escape room number: #45
Completed: June 2021
Team: 2 adults
Escaped?: yes
Time: 35 mins

Overall rating: 7.5/10
Puzzle quality: 3/5
Puzzle range: 3.5/5
Storyline: 4.5/5
Immersive quality: 5/5
Difficulty: 2/5
Gamemaster: 4/5

Game stats:
Allocated game time: 60 mins
Players: 2-8

Best time: 35 mins (team of 2); 15 mins (team Of 8)

Temple Raider by Houdini’s – Birmingham

Escape room number: #37
Completed: August 2020
Team: 2 adults
Escaped?: yes
Time: 39 minutes 34 seconds (room record)

Overall rating: 9.5/10
Puzzle quality: 5/5
Puzzle range: 5/5
Storyline: 5/5
Immersive quality: 5/5
Difficulty: 4/5
Gamemaster: 4/5

Game stats:
Allocated game time: 90 mins
Players: recommended 4-6
Success rate: 29% (difficulty 79/100)
Average time: approx 1 hour
Best time: 39 mins 34 secs

Having absolutely loved all of the other rooms Houdini’s have to offer, we were excited to try the only one left – Temple Raider. We made a trip to Birmingham especially to try out this room and we weren’t disappointed.

We were greeted by a fantastic, friendly gamemaster and were interested to hear the low success rate and how the room had been extended from a 60 minute to a 90 minute time limit because it was one of the most difficult Houdini rooms. Obviously, we were now feeling the pressure!

As soon as we entered the room, we were impressed by the incredible immersive setting, from floor to ceiling. We have found that Houdini’s are one of the best escape companies as far as attention to detail is concerned. We were given the imaginative story of a newly discovered temple and were left to our own devices to solve its hidden mysteries and hopefully appease the ancient gods.

Every single puzzle we faced was exciting and innovative and they only got better as we moved through the rooms. It was also refreshing to complete a room without the standard key or digit padlocks. Instead, their various boxes were locked in ways far more in keeping with the theme.

The room layouts are also brilliant with secret tunnels, areas you need to climb and a scary surprise which speeds up the sense of urgency! The whole thing is everything you would expect from an Indiana Jones film but even better!

Whilst playing the room, the gamemaster was excellent, only giving clues when we asked for them or when he could see we were totally off track. We were otherwise left to figure things out for ourselves. The puzzles flowed seamlessly and were really logical and well designed.

When we had finished, we were chuffed to find out that we had completed the room in 39 minutes and 34 seconds (especially as it is a 90 minute room)! We were then told this was a record!

We are assuming that no one actually completed it in 1 minute 20 seconds – it would’ve taken longer than that to walk through the rooms!

Overall, we actually think this is our new favorite room by Houdini’s and would highly recommend that you have a go if you’re ever in Birmingham.

Escape from Titanic by Houdini’s – Southamoton

Overall rating: 7.5/10
Puzzle quality: 4/5
Puzzle range: 4/5
Storyline: 4/5
Immersive quality: 5/5
Difficulty: 4/5
Gamemaster: 4/5

Another great escape room by Houdini’s. This was a very immersive escape room with different parts of the Titanic ship forming the setting. The story was used well and gave a sense of urgency. The puzzles were good and well planned but none of them particularly stood out as clever or unique. Overall, not our favourite from Houdini’s, but a good one nonetheless.

Game stats:
Allocated game time: 90 mins
Players: 4-7
Success rate: 38%

Escape room number: #31
Completed: January 2020
Team: 4 adults
Escaped?: yes
Time: 1h 9m

U. S. S. Redemption by Houdini’s – Kegworth

Overall rating: 6/10
Puzzle quality: 4/5
Puzzle range: 3/5
Storyline: 4/5
Immersive quality: 4/5
Difficulty: 3/5
Gamemaster: 1/5

Game stats:
Allocated game time: 60 mins
Players: 3-6
Success rate: 37%

Escape room number: #21
Completed: December 2019
Team: 2 adults
Escaped?: yes

Time: 39mins 33 secs

We have done 3 other Houdini escape rooms in Southampton, all of which are fantastic. The ones in Kegworth have good theming but the gamemasters interrupt the flow of the game far too much.

Houdini’s Last Secret by Houdini’s – Kegworth

Overall rating: 5.5/10
Puzzle quality: 4/5
Puzzle range: 4/5
Storyline: 4/5
Immersive quality: 3/5
Difficulty: 3/5
Gamemaster: 1/5

Game stats:
Allocated game time: 60 mins
Players: 3-6
Success rate: 50%

Escape room number: #20
Completed: December 2019
Team: 2 adults
Escaped?: yes

Time: 40mins 42 secs

This is a well-designed room with some great puzzles. Unfortunately the gamemaster constantly interrupted our game with clues even though we didn’t want them. Be could barely stand still for a few seconds without her telling us the next step and so we felt cheated out of the chance to work it out ourselves. Potentially a good room but their gamemasters need more training.

Escape from Alcatraz by Houdini’s – Southampton

Overall rating: 9/10
Puzzle quality: 5/5
Puzzle range: 5/5
Storyline: 5/5
Immersive quality: 4/5
Difficulty: 4/5
Gamemaster: 5/5

This was a fantastic escape room! You are greeted by the Gamemaster who is already in character. Even the waiting room is immersive and then you are taken through to an old fashioned cinema for the introduction. The room itself is very immersive with a brilliant range of puzzles. Some puzzles were straight forward and others were hard. Hints were only given when asked so we went at a pace suited to our team. We would highly recommend this escape room!

Game stats:
Allocated game time: 60 mins
Players: 4-7

Difficulty: 91/100
Success rate: 21%

Escape room number: #5
Completed: July 2019
Team: 4 adults
Escaped?: yes
Time: 51 mins 30