Why the new Sherlock Holmes escape room is an absolute must-try

We checked out ‘Sherlock: The Game is Now’. Was it excellent or elementary? Read our verdict below

Updated on 19 March 2019 • Written By Tonje Odegard

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Why the new Sherlock Holmes escape room is an absolute must-try

We almost walked past the entrance to the ‘Sherlock: The Game is Now’ escape room. Not surprisingly as it’s inside a shopping centre in Shepherd’s Bush via a fake optician’s office, opposite a Lidl. Strange? Perhaps, but not a coincidence – this is Sherlock Holmes, after all, and with him, nothing is a coincidence.   

We are not the first ones to be confused by Doyle’s Opticians, which looks like any other optician you find on the high street (apparently, people have been turning up actually wanting an eye examination). But after convincing the staff we are indeed there for the escape room, we are let in.

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Doyle's Optician looks suspiciously like an actual optician's

Eager to get going, we frantically start looking for clues dotted around the room and find quotes such as ‘Your eyes are our eyes’ and other ambiguous fluff. Turns out, this is just the place where you sign the waiver before Dr Watson AKA Martin Freeman gives you a health and safety instruction (on video, so don’t get excited). Or is it?    

We won’t spill the beans entirely of what happens once you walk through the doors to enter a replica flat of 221B Baker Street, but we can tell you this much: it's one of the best escape rooms we’ve tried. 

Why? First of all, the technology is really impressive – it works smoothly, is not gimmicky at all, but instead enhances the experience. Secondly, the story is really clear and the challenges clever (and difficult). It’s also incredibly fun, exciting and a good exercise for the brain.

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Props from the replica flat of 221B Baker Street make for fun team photos

You don’t have to be a Sherlock Holmes fan to enjoy it, but if you are (and we were), you'll inevitably get a thrill from hearing the voice of Benedict Cumberbatch shouting patronisingly at you over the intercom when you’re struggling to solve the challenges. References to the books and TV series (be it artefacts, favourite characters or famous quotes) don’t go unnoticed either.    

As most escape rooms, it’s a brilliant team building activity. Cooperation and delegation is at the core of the experience and the key to solving the clues. It’s also a great way to discover how the different personalities of your group function under pressure – will the frantic one be a distraction, will the natural leader find his or hers place, and will the logical one actually step up? In terms of bonding, it’s brilliant, as you really feel the team spirit when you succeed.

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We'll let you in on a little secret: Moriarty will make an appearence

It’s not unexpected that ‘Sherlock: The Game is Now’ is a good production. After all, the writers of the hit BBC TV series Sherlock, Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, are the people behind it, alongside escape room gurus Time Run.

The 100-minute experience is ideal for groups of up to six people. Not that many? You can also book individual tickets, or smaller-sized groups can join others to form a bigger team. You can meet potential team members by joining the dedicated Facebook group, ‘Sherlock: The Game is Now – Find a Team’.  

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All good Sherlock Holmes mysteries start in the infamous sitting room - so does this

Afternoon tea packages are also available if you want to extend the experience further. Hit up the on-site Mind Palace Bar for a Sherlock-themed afternoon tea. If you don’t fancy anything big, Mind Palace also has a selection of wines, cocktails and beers for a well-deserved drink after.

So don your deer stalker and grab that magnifying glass to start unravelling the mystery. Our top tip? Use your eyes – it’s not a coincidence.


Available until the end of May, tickets are £54pp and can be booked here (with afternoon tea £79pp) | Doyle’s Optician, W12 Shopping Centre, Shepherd’s Bush, W12 8PP

Liking the sound of immersive events? Why not try out theWestern-themed Moonshine Saloon  

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