30 May 2024

REVIEW: Live Escape Salisbury

It was all hands to the deck as some of the usually studio-based team from Salisbury Radio made their way to new local attraction ‘Live Escape Salisbury’ last week.

To celebrate National Talk Like a Pirate Day (yes, it’s an actual thing), four members of Salisbury’s local radio station were keelhauled into the Cross Keys Shopping Centre to participate in Salisbury’s newest visitor attraction.

On Friday, venue owners Claire and Charlie Pitcher battened down the hatches ready for a game of ‘Pieces of Eight’ – marooning four of the radio station’s landlubbers, Craig Hicks (Breakfast Show), Beth Doherty (Breakfast Show), Sarah Gisbourne (Events) and David Harber (General Scurvy Dog) in their Cross Keys hideaway.  

Their task was to solve a series of mind-expanding and pirate-themed puzzles in order to be set free from the 500-year old building.

A teambuilding exercise for the team usually holed-up in their Endless Street offices, the experience of using their collective brains to solve the puzzles in order to escape was enriched by Claire and Charlie’s attention to detail of their venue’s surroundings.

Salisbury Radio’s breakfast show host Craig Hicks said, “Walking into the ground floor of their new enterprise just inside the Cross Keys Shopping Centre was like stepping back five centuries.

“Claire and Charlie really have put a huge amount of thought and effort into this great experience. If it’s your first introduction to an escape room, this is a truly brilliant way of doing it”.

Bedecked in items you’d expect to find aboard a privateer’s galleon, the experience was accompanied with many sensory effects. From the beginning, the usually studio-locked tars were sent back to the 16th century to see if they could escape before their ultimate destination ‘The Market Inn’ locked-up for the night.

Trained journalist Claire and product designer Charlie devised and created all the puzzles and experiences at Live Escape Rooms

They currently have two games available.  Pieces of Eight is a ‘table-top’ escape, whereas Spectre is based on Castle Street and requires participants to escape from what is thought to be an abandoned genetics research facility.

The five-star rated experience at Cross Keys was designed and launched since the start of the pandemic and opened in July.  Claire told us, “We were looking for the perfect spot in the city centre for what seemed like an eternity.  Our location is bursting with features, old timber beams, vaulted ceilings and an original fireplace. 

“Visiting us will not just be an escape room experience, but a journey into Salisbury’s fascinating history”.

Live Escape Salisbury
Craig, Sarah and Beth

At Cross Keys there are three floors, two of which remain under construction; the second floor to be launched soon will be a 1980s gaming escape room with handmade clues based around retro game such as Pacman. 

The upper floor is a currently a unique, open space for teambuilding events, presentations and workshops.  In due course this third floor will house a crashed spaceship.

One of the most haunted buildings in the city, their growing number of (mostly) family-friendly activities is sure to drive interest from and increase visitors to Salisbury.  In the spirit of the building’s ancient history, the venue is also used by Spire Spooks for Ghost Hunts and overnight ghost experiences.  One overnight stay is available for Hallowe’en this year. 

Claire – our host – was seductively dressed as a serving wench of the era and, thankfully, offered the (cough) ‘occasional’ suggestion to the team when finding themselves foundering with the clues.

An enjoyable hour or more of not only solving multiple clues, opening, one-by-one a series of chests to reveal yet more puzzles, it gave the Salisbury Radio team the chance to learn how each other’s brains worked to solve problems.

Notably, the radio station landlubbers walked away with a good sense that Craig was a dab-hand at always being suitably furnished with grog, David had a masterful manner which gave the impression he actually understood the puzzles while being very able in sharing in the successes attained by both Beth and Sarah.

Escaping the phrase that ‘Dead Men Tell No Tales, things that the team from Salisbury Radio learned on Friday were that award-winning Claire and Charlie are perfect hosts and their investment in the city is to be applauded… and, it’s the ladies at Salisbury Radio who are needed when it comes to problem solving.


Live Escape Room Salisbury Claire Sarah Beth
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Written by Staff Writer