We Escaped In
Edward logan was well known as the owner of The Duke Of Clarence, so much so he was known as “The Duke” himself. After his wife sadly passed away he became a recluse and became a mysterious figure to the town.
But after his death, there was no one to take over for The Duke, you and your friends fancy getting into the business and decide to break in and try to find the deed of the pub to take it for your own!
As soon as you enter, the door slams behind you and locks. You are trapped! It’s up to you to find the deed and how to make it out of this place.
Opposite the town hall in Luton used to be the Duke of Clarence pub. The building is now home to Locked who over the course of the COVID lockdowns have transformed the old pub into a modern set of escape rooms in central Luton. Having played Locked’s game Train Robbery in Dunstable, we were keen to check out their new site. The first escape room we played here was The Duke, which in a nice nod to the local area is actually set in the pub the rooms have replaced.
It’s no surprise then that the interior of the game really does have the musky old English pub feel which is captured by the hard wood walls, dark colour scheme and dim lighting. Given the brief, we thought there might be a bar and some seating but once inside we assumed it was supposed to be a bit more “back of house” in the pub than the bar itself. This makes sense with the theme of the room, who would keep the deeds in the bar?! With the assumption that the pub back office is the setting, the furniture in here makes sense and the aesthetics are well thought through. There were no items we could see that looked as though they were just filling out space in the room.
As the game progresses, like with all good escape rooms, new areas are uncovered which offer new areas of play. The strength of the theme does get a little lost in these areas compared to the main room in that we couldn’t place where in the pub these areas were supposed to be. Having said that, the decor from the main room carries through and even with the more random furnishings the sense of being in an old pub was not lost.
Puzzles & Challenges
The Duke offers players a game that combines traditional escape room elements with more modern puzzles and interactive solutions. The room in which the main game is set offers plenty of hiding spaces for clues and allows play to begin with a good search around the room, which we love! Once the initial clues are found and the first puzzles solved, the game follows a linear path but this is cleverly outlined in a to-do-list format. This approach guided us to complete tasks in order but was totally immersive and didn’t make things too easy. It also meant that all the tasks that led to our escape were in keeping with the plot of the room.
We loved that there wasn’t an over reliance on padlocks and keys, they featured but were mixed in with action based tasks and observational clues. It made for an enjoyable and unpredictable experience, though it would be great to have a more obvious prompt that a puzzle has been solved. There were a few instances where we had completed the task without realising.
To our surprise, this is the only room where our games master told us there were a few instances where we would need to use force! This comes in the transition between rooms. We liked that the entry was relatively hidden but it could do with opening a little easier when the time is right. We broke part of the room trying to get it open and then thought we must have the wrong place, only to be told we had to pull harder (it was a pretty cool transition though).
We know not everyone is a fan of “red herrings” in rooms so be prepared that there are a fair few in The Duke. We enjoyed the challenge they added with the exception of the “man stuff.” We won’t say any more than that!
Our games master at Locked was the awesome Lottie who was brilliant from the moment we walked in (late) to the moment we left. She was super attentive, hilariously funny and clearly passionate about what she does. Our room introduction even had a little dance. We asked not to have clues unless we requested them which she respected through the whole game. We did however get the odd comical disapproving sigh when we were clearly following the wrong trail. Lottie made the whole experience fun!
Value for Money
Good price, cheap parking, room that can keep a group entertained – not too expensive and not too cheap – fairly priced
We’re glad to have made the journey down to Luton to play The Duke. It was a large, immersive room with enough going on for three of us to comfortably have plenty to do and feel involved. Our games master was fantastic and the puzzles offered a mix of tried and tested and new tasks! This new room is well executed by Locked and we’re sure most players will have a great time playing, like we did!