The Great Escape Game Sheffield

Share Your Start-Up Story – The Great Escape Game Sheffield

The Great Escape Game Sheffield is an exciting live escape room experience where players have 45 minutes to crack different set of puzzles and escape from a locked room.

The game, reminiscent of the Great Escape movie and voted #1 for Fun and Games by TripAdvisor, was discovered by Sheffield couple Hannah Duraid and Peter Lacole while travelling around the world.

How Does The Great Escape Game Work?

The Great Escape Game is a test of common sense, logic and friendship – Players are locked in a room and only have 45 minutes to solve series of intricate puzzles with only 45 minutes to escape.

We opened our first room ‘Mad Scientist‘ in January 2015 and we’ve since launched three more rooms – Homicide,  Alcatraz and Placebo. We want players to have fun while testing their team skills and stretching their logical ability. 

What Led You To It?

The Great Escape Game Sheffield
The Great Escape Game Sheffield founders – Hannah Duraid and Peter Lacole.

Peter and I first discovered live escape room games while travelling in 2013/14 – We thoroughly enjoyed playing it and the experience got stuck with us. 

After returning back to the UK in September 2014, to start my Post Graduate Certificate in Education, we talked about the idea to launch the first live escape room in Sheffield.

People laughed at us but we were passionate about making our vision a reality because we’ve seen it work so well abroad. We then decided to invest all of our savings into the business and jumped into it with both feet. 

During our first year, which was full of very long days and many sleepless nights, Peter oversaw the day to day running of the rooms while I managed the business during my spare time because of my PGCE course.

Starting a business is stressful but it has been such a fantastic whirlwind. I’ve decided to put teaching on the back-burner, after graduating in November last year, to focus on expanding our venture.

How Did You Handle Your PGCE And The Business?

I literally didn’t stop and it was manic. I would be teaching during the day, come back home to prepare for the next day, whilst talking to Peter about the business and meeting up with him after my teaching prep was done. 

I would then fill my half terms with meetings with business advisors and having a big productive push. I loved teaching but when my course finished, it was a relief to not have to juggle so much any more.

As much as I enjoyed teaching, I’ve decided to focus all my efforts on the business and expanding everything that we’ve worked so hard for.

Why Entrepreneurship?

The Great Escape Game Sheffield
A corporate team playing one of the ‘Great Escape Games’.

When we returned to the UK, to start my PGCE course, Peter couldn’t find work in his profession of carpentry and joinery so he worked in a call centre. He didn’t enjoy it and was missing home back in Australia.

We racked our brains for a solution and realised that we needed to find a business venture to inspire him, but also a project we could both work on.

We really enjoyed the CrystalMaze style live escape rooms in Asia, where the concept has been popular for 10 years. It was in its infancy in the UK so we decided to do better than the ones we researched.

What Does The Future Hold For The Great Escape Game?

We are now looking to expand and I don’t think many companies can say that just after their first birthday. This year has seen us launch four rooms, which has been very successful, so we plan to add even more.

We came through our first year profitably with strong growth and our aim is to continue building on our success by offering more puzzles and looking for additional space.

My plan for the future is to grow the business so that I’m able to take a step back and focus on developing more creative and absorbing games to draw in customers regularly, and make the brand stronger.

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