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Undercroft at the Merchants' Vaults

Exciting new Escape Game at Merchants' Vaults, Norwich

Two months after opening, The Merchants’ Vaults escape game at Museum of Norwich is now offering evening slots on Saturdays in response to high demand from the public.

Over 250 people have already enjoyed the challenge of escaping debtors’ prison by mastering the secrets of Norwich’s industrial past before time runs out. The new games will be offered every Saturday from the 4th August at 4pm, 6pm and 8pm.

Reaction to the new game – which is based exclusively on the collections of the Museum of Norwich – has been hugely positive with two of the country’s most experienced escape game players describing it as: “Absolutely top-notch. A wonderful mix of history, story and creative, clever, varied and satisfying puzzles! We loved every second of it - only wish we could play it again!”

Alasdair Willett as the Games Master

Alasdair Willett, Managing Director of History Mystery says: “We couldn’t have had a better start to the new game which has been generating a real buzz among hardened escape game players while also attracting many first time players. With the summer holidays here, the time is right to extend our opening hours to offer players a Saturday evening option. Over the coming months we’re planning to offer further evening slots on Thursdays and Fridays as well as day-time slots on Sundays as we believe the demand for this unique experience is there.”

Jenny Caynes, Curator at the Museum of Norwich, says: “We’ve been delighted by the response to The Merchants’ Vaults which is bringing in new audiences to the Museum. Players are really enjoying learning about Norwich’s rich industrial heritage through the challenges and puzzles presented in the games, and we’re getting people visiting the museum for the first time on the back of playing the game. We’re delighted we’ll now be able to welcome players during the evening as part of enjoying a Saturday night out in Norwich.”

The Merchants’ Vaults has been co-developed by historical escape games experts, History Mystery, alongside curators from the Museum of Norwich to create what they believe to be the first escape game which is completely inspired by collections and which is historically accurate.

The game allows players to experience history hands-on in the atmospheric setting of the museum’s 14th century undercroft. The four evocative underground rooms are each focused on a different Norwich industry, reflecting the themes of the museum above. Fantastic settings and authentic looking props add to the atmosphere and intrigue as teams of between 2 and 8 players race to escape within their allotted hour.

Merchants' Vaults props

Escape games are a new form of entertainment being enjoyed by more and more people every day. Everyone loves a puzzle: whether you are still at school, enjoying your retirement or anywhere in-between, this game is guaranteed to be great fun and players might even discover what made Norwich the prosperous city it is today!

At 300m square, the undercroft at Museum of Norwich at the Bridewell is the largest in the City. Norwich has a wealth of undercrofts from the Medieval period; this is because the city had a burgeoning merchant class, who traded wool and cloth in particular. Merchants traded from where they lived, and so their homes were built with secure, fire resistant spaces to display their goods.

The undercroft at the Bridewell was constructed in 1325 when the house currently on the site of the museum was owned by a wealthy merchant, Geoffrey de Salle. By 1386, the house was in the ownership of William Appleyard, who was to become the first mayor of Norwich under the 1403 Charter. It’s believed that William extended the undercroft at this time. From then on, although the existing building has been modified many times, and has witnessed a serious fire, the undercroft has remained the same.

The creation of The Merchants’ Vaults is the latest in a long series of evolutions in the building’s history, and one we think the original merchant owners of the Bridewell would have approved of.

Visit here or call 01603 327515 to book your slot.
The Merchants’ Vaults is suitable for 2 to 8 players, aged from 10 years.
Prices vary depending on how many people are playing the game – please check the History Mystery website for full booking details.

Heritage and history in Norfolk