ONE of the best escape rooms in the world is appealing for Rossendale businesses to work together to provide a package for visitors to the Valley. Last December Lucardo Rawtenstall Escape Rooms was delighted to win the Invest in Rossendale title at Rossendale Business Awards, and had ambitious plans to develop the attraction further. It has received nearly 800 5-star reviews on Trip Advisor, which led the attraction to land the online travel company’s ‘Travellers’ Choice’ award.
Unfortunately, Covid-19 forced a March lockdown; the rooms on Kay Street had to close and staff were furloughed, putting the expansion temporarily on hold. Director Simon Milnes, an escape room enthusiast who has completed more than 200 across the world, said: “During lockdown we got planning permission to expand into an adjacent building and open up another room with a bar so customers can socialise. However, we are not moving forward with the plans yet as we were only able to reopen the rooms on August 1. We are Covid-19 safe and we have separate entrances for each of the rooms so no two teams ever come into contact and everywhere is thoroughly cleaned after every team has been in.”
In the first three weeks, more than 80 teams booked in to try their luck and business is starting to pick up. Simon said they were possibly looking to attract an investor to allow the expansion to go ahead.
Since the escape rooms opened in May 2018, 10,000 people from all over the world have visited and escaped. After just a month in operation, a second escape room was added and by August 2019 there were four different challenging rooms. Simon said: “It is popular because we enable people to escape from everyday life. They can become a bank robber, a police officer, a wizard or an MI5 investigator. I enjoy the challenge of using brain over brawn. We know that people come to us often after having a drink locally, tackle an escape room then continue their night out. We work with other businesses and offer recommendations. What I would like to see is all the businesses working together for visitors… they could go on the train, visit a pub, come to the escape room, go on for a meal, stay overnight and then have other activities arranged the following day. We need to be selling the idea of ‘visiting Rossendale’ as a complete package.”
More than 10,000 people have tried to break out of the escape rooms in two years and the excellent online Trip Advisor reviews place the Rawtenstall attraction in the top 10 per cent of escape rooms in the world.
Nominations for this year’s Rossendale Business Awards, organised by Valley at Work which connects local businesses, open on Wednesday, September 16. Although the ceremony is planned for December 2, Covid restrictions may affect the venue. For more information about the awards contact Chair Rob Carder at firstname.lastname@example.org
Story by Catherine Smyth Media