If you are looking for a fun activity for you and your friends to do in Glasgow, I might have something for you! Escape the Past is an unusual escape room in Glasgow for history buffs and puzzle solvers alike. Can you solve the case in less than 60 minutes and prevent a terrible murder from happening at the beautiful Pollok House? Then read on!
Usually, when I make my way to Pollok Country Park in the Southside of Glasgow it is to go for a long walk in the gardens and forest or to visit the local herd of Highland cows for a moo and potential lick. Not this time though! I was on my way to Escape the Past at the historic Pollok House.
What is Escape the Past?
Escape the Past is an escape room in Glasgow that transports you back in time and challenges you to save the life of the head of Pollok House from his murderous butler. Of course – it was the butler!
How does an escape room work?
Like in any other escape game, the challenge of the Pollok House escape room is to finish a certain task inside a room within a set amount of time. Some escape games will require you to find a key to literally escape the room you’re locked into, while others might as you to disarm a ‘bomb’.
At Escape the Past you have only 60 minutes to find and remove the murder weapon from the Butler’s study before he returns from his errands in town. Inside the room, nothing is what it seems, and you have to solve a variety of puzzles and riddles in order to get closer to your goal.
Luckily, we were able to bring one piece of 21st century equipment with us into the past: a walkie talkie. With it, we kept in constant communication with our story master Colin. He could warn us, should the butler return early from town and made sure we always knew how much time we had left. He cheered us on as we solved each puzzle, and would have given us hints had we run out of ideas ourselves. Of course, team Watch Me See did not need any help!
Now, you might ask yourself, why we are all wearing these silly hats? Of course, you cannot just rock up in the early 20th century, looking like you are from the future! We had to come up with our house staff identities – and dress the part as well! May I present to you: Viola von Pewterschmidt, the family’s biographer; Hubert Tuffington, the chauffeur; Bobby Banger, the second butler; Alison the Horse Hand and Susan the Scullery Maid. Luckily, we did not raise any suspicions!
How much does Escape the Past cost and how many people can play?
A session at the Pollok House escape room will set you back £55. Note that this is for the entire group though and there are up to five people allowed in one team – so really you’re looking at £11 per person and I think the experience is worth every penny!
5 Reasons to try this escape room in Glasgow
So, why should you try Escape the Past? Here are 5 reasons:
1) It’s a great indoor activity in Glasgow to fill your afternoon, and let’s be honest, if you need one thing on a trip to Glasgow, it’s a plan B for when it’s raining…
2) It’s the ideal activity for a small group of friends. Whether you plan an intimate hen do, a girlfriend getaway or simply a fun day with a few of your friends, Escape the Past is a fun team building activity. We had so much fun solving riddles, helping out when someone got stuck, and cheering each other on when we were getting close to solving it.
3) The riddles will really stimulate your brain cells. How many problems do you face on an average day? Not like, ‘what should I eat for dinner’, but literally brain games where you have to think outside the box and connect details that don’t immediately jump to mind. The escape room at Pollok House will get your brain pumping! With every puzzle you solve, more adrenaline will shoot through your veins.
4) It releases your inner child. I love how in an escape room, everything is allowed. Of course there are rules, like ‘Don’t unscrew the plug sockets’, but in the broad sense of things you’re allowed to do and try anything. I love that positive feeling of paranoia that everything you touch, read or see could be a hint or the key to solving a puzzle. It’s great to be able to try different things until you finally get the combination right!
5) It’s a brilliant way to learn bit about the history of Pollok House. While the story of Escape the Past may or may not be entirely based on true events, the riddle room lets you enter corridors and rooms of Pollok House that are normally not open to the public. Already in the introduction to the game you learn about the number of staff that was necessary to run the house and how they moved about in the hidden corridors. You learn about the different jobs they fulfilled and where they lived within the beautiful house.
The History of Pollok House
I highly recommend visiting the rest of Pollok House before or after your game session. Pollok House is the ancestral home of the Stirling-Maxwell family, but today it is in the hands of the National Trust for Scotland. The Trust actually has its roots right here, in the intimate Cedar room where the idea for the organisation was formed.
The House was built in 1752 and is a prime example of 18th-century architecture but was modernised in the late 19th century. A large private collection of paintings is on display as well as original furniture from back in the days. The views across the gardens are beautiful, and you can imagine how majestic it must have felt to actually live here. Throughout the house you will meet helpful staff members, who are happy to share a story or two, explain bit about the art work or also about the work the Trust does.
Our team managed to retrieve and remove the murder weapon from the butler’s study with just under 16 minutes to go, and thus prevented a devious murder from happening.
If you are looking for a fun activity in the city to do with a group of friends – rainy day or not – look no further than this escape room in Glasgow. The only thing I did not like about Escape the Past is that I now know how to solve the puzzles, so hopefully they renew the challenge at some point – because I’d definitely go back!
Have you ever tried an escape room? What did you like about it?
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All photos by Kathi Kamleitner.
Disclaimer: We were invited to participate in Escape the Past and visit Pollok House free of charge. All opinions and experiences however, are my own.