What is ClueCapers?

ClueCapers is an independent business offering unique escape games packed with original puzzles. We opened in March 2016 and only operate in Winchester so you won’t find our games anywhere else.

Our experiences are designed to challenge adults but children as young as seven have been known to make significant contributions to family escapes! With no prior knowledge assumed and no significant physical challenges, our escape rooms will entertain anyone who enjoys curious puzzles and a quirky, unpredictable adventure!

ClueCapers runs from well-maintained, jolly premises with beautiful views of Winchester’s King Alfred statue, Abbey Gardens and St John’s Almshouses; and can boast an extraordinary array of cafés, restaurants and other distractions in the immediate vicinity. Hooray!

How does your outdoor game - Vexed in Venta - work?

Your host will meet you in the cathedral grounds (just opposite the William Walker pub). They’ll be easy to spot with the colourful puzzle box!

After a short briefing covering boundaries and other essential rules you’ll have your goal explained and will be left in charge of the curious box with up to 90 minutes to ‘escape’ – most teams take 60-90 minutes. 

For about half of the game you will need to explore the area but subsequent puzzles are well-suited to gathering on a picnic rug or around a convenient table-height tomb where you can study and arrange the curious items for each challenge. However, for every puzzle you will need to refer to features around you to solve it so be ready to nominate a runner or two, ideally with an amazing memory or a smart phone!

Your host will remain in the vicinity in case you need hints and will occasionally check on your progress.

The area is blessed with many trees which can provide some protection from both sun and rain but please come prepared for an hour or so in the prevailing weather. You will be responsible for your own belongings as well as the box.

This game can be run for up to three teams playing simultaneously so is a great option for work-dos and celebrations for up to 18 people.


How does your outdoor game - Percy's Paradox - work?

Following a (distanced) personal briefing from a ClueCapers host in the central and tranquil Abbey Gardens, Percy’s instructions will take you on a jolly journey of about 1.3 miles around the calmer parts of the city (but close to the odd venue providing take-out refreshments). The experience will last between 2-3 hours (bring snacks!) and be in no doubt, the game may be outdoors but every effort has been made to keep the level of challenge high and retain the same buzz and excitement that you feel in a traditional escape room. 

Complying with the “rule of 6”, Percy’s Paradox is ideal for family groups, team building or just a fun activity with friends in the fresh air. Additionally, the route is dog-friendly and majority wheelchair accessible (please call to discuss specifics in this regard.) Finally, your ClueCapers host will be on standby for the duration to provide helpful hints, usually by WhatsApp, and will join teams for the conclusion of the game back at Abbey Gardens.

You’ll need to be ready for the weather, bring any spectacles and at least one well-charged smart phone so we can stay in touch while you explore. We’ll provide you with the portal-device-come-time-capsule (a bit like an over-sized tiffin-carrier), a useful bag to put things in, notebook and pencil and hand sanitiser (just in case). The capsule has been designed for easy cleaning; it and all items will be cleaned or replaced after every game.

Recommended team size is 3 or 4 but, as usual, we think the game will work well for all sorts of teams between 2 and 6 people.

We are able to run two or three simultaneous Percy’s Paradox games for team-building purposes. Teams will then each tackle the (circuit of) challenges from a different start point with a race to finish! Mask-wearing is strongly recommended. 

What is the cancellation policy on your outdoor games?

We do understand that not everyone wants to brave all weather conditions (we have our limits too!). So should the forecast be looking unfavourable, you can postpone your game (for no charge) or cancel (£5 minimum charge applies) up to 12 hours before your game is due to start. If in doubt, please contact us to discuss options. With less than 12 hours notice, the cancellation fee is 100%.

If we feel the weather conditions are hazardous, we will need to cancel and refund or rearrange your game, as you prefer. Hazardous conditions include forecast high winds, lightning or temperatures below 5 degrees Centigrade.  

Are we really locked in?

No! ‘Escape room’ is a little bit of a misnomer: you actually have a far more interesting mission to accomplish than just leaving a room! You might unlock obstacles, containers or doors to progress through your adventure but you are never locked in and would be able to leave the room, and indeed the building, at any time.

You can also communicate with your ClueCapers facilitator, who is monitoring your progress, at any time during the game.

Naturally, as some of the doors at ClueCapers are actually portals (highly sophisticated pieces of technology that happen to look a lot like domestic doors in typical door frames) we recommend that you only pass through those doors when their blue lights are on! While a lack of blue lights will never impede your passage, we fear the effects of inter-dimensional dislocation if your portal is not properly powered and on track for a return to our Winchester. Please talk to your host if this, or anything else, causes concern; we take your safety very seriously.


Who can play your escape games?

ClueCapers games are designed to be challenging for adults. However, as there is no physical strength or fitness required we think most children of 9 and above can contribute to a team escape effort at ClueCapers. There are no fear factors or loud noises but we hope to provide the odd surprise.

We ask that all children under the age of 18 are accompanied on site by at least one adult, with an adult present in the room and actively supervising any under 14’s. Children under the age of 9 may struggle to engage with the majority of the puzzles but will be welcomed; the Winchintzy world in particular is a very benign place for younger carefully supervised children.

How much does it cost?

ClueCapers’ indoor missions are priced at £110 per game/team. 1 Game = 1 Room + 1 Host.  Apart from special events, ClueCapers escape rooms are always private and although you may be briefed with another team you will have a room and host just for your team.

Teams of only two or three people are offered special prices (£70 and £90) for off-peak* games only. 

The outdoor game prices are again priced per game (£90 for the BIG Percy’s Paradox game or £70 for the shorter games in the cathedral grounds) with the shorter Vexed in Venta and Waking Whatsername games off-peak being our most affordable option for small teams of 2 or 3 people at just £50.

You can check the price, with availability, for your group size and date/time on the ‘book now’ page. Prices include v.a.t.

* Peak times are Friday evenings from 6pm and Saturdays; plus bank holidays and festive breaks. Off-peak times are most weekdays and Sundays. 

Is it suitable for me: I'm claustrophobic?

Our games are played in rooms of reasonable size and standard ceiling height but we accept that personal experiences will vary. There is always the option to open the door if you need to. If you have any concerns, please speak to us on arrival.

Is it suitable for me: I am pregnant? I have a small baby?
The games require no physical exertion and there are no fear or fright factors. There are also seats in the rooms should you need to sit down. Our intention is to provide a safe if intriguing environment for some fun exploration and puzzling.

Similarly, relatively obliging and contained babies may be brought in to our rooms. We are not child-proofed for more mobile little ones however. We would recommend our Winchintzy game as the most suitable and quiet environment for little ones if the adults can avoid squealing, laughing etc.

How long does the experience last? What time should we arrive?
Please arrive at the time for which you have booked and expect to be with us for about 1.5 hours in total.

On arrival you will be briefed on your mission and the rules of the game. Our Portals are generally stable for about 60 minutes (which we recommend as a target time) but our technicians can usually extend that time when needed and give you 75 minutes to escape. Once you have escaped, or been rescued, from the room we hope you will stay for a quick de-brief and team photo.

If your group consists of three teams please all arrive on the hour for a combined briefing. If your group is booked for A Curious Inheritance and one other game then please arrive together at quarter past so that we have the opportunity to launch any other team prior to your briefing.

Should you arrive a few minutes early, you are welcome to wait in our comfortable reception area provided previous teams are not still there accidentally divulging secret information about other worlds.

Are your games fully accessible? Can you cater for my special requirements?

Unfortunately, our premises are not wheelchair accessible; we are on the first and second floors accessed only by stairs.

During the game we play background music and also use sound effects, but very little of the games themselves require hearing the audio. However, very few of our puzzles can be solved without using one’s vision.

Our outdoor games are set in areas with good wheelchair access though some points of interest may be at a less convenient height or with a small step in the way. Please call and we will be happy to discuss the particulars with you. 

Should you have any special requirements, please let us know when you book your game and we will do our best to make your experience as enjoyable as possible.

We are celebrating a special occasion: can you help?

An escape game is a great way to celebrate all sorts of occasions – from birthdays and hen or stag experience days to retirements. We are always happy to conspire in adding a little magic. Perhaps a treat or extra surprise within the game? Please contact us to discuss your event.

If you are looking for an event for more than eighteen people, please call or email to discuss options.

Please contact us if you would like to be invoiced rather than pay via our booking system.

We have a particularly expert team of escapees – will your game be challenging enough for us?

We’re ready for you! Through thorough testing we’ve put in to our standard game, which we would rate as ‘pretty challenging’, all the most popular and universally satisfying puzzles and challenges.

However, to make 75 minutes a realistic target we took a couple of the more knotty problems out and kept them just for you!

Please get in touch prior to your visit to request the ‘dastardly version’. (Dastardly only available for Winchintzy at this time.)

You may also be interested in our offer to escape room enthusiasts who want to play more than one game – see a question and answer a bit further down the page.


Can we purchase gift vouchers and give someone an amazing experience?

Yes you can! You can purchase a voucher for any size of team and any day of the week, a 2 or 3 person off peak special voucher or vouchers of various values from The Games page of the website or, if you’re on a desktop device, on our Book Now page (just scroll to the bottom to find the magic button). If you would prefer a glamorous ‘real life’ presentation voucher (with shiny bits) in addition to the convenient pdf version (which has options to personalise with a choice of images or your own, and a message) please make sure you fill in your U.K.  address; please allow 5 working days for delivery or contact us prior to purchase if time is pressing.

All our vouchers are valid for 13 months, can be used for any of our games and can be ‘topped up’ when booking, if needed. If you have a voucher for e.g. ‘any team off-peak’ but our prices have increased, we will honour the original voucher and will refund the additional charge made for an ‘any team off-peak’ booking (sorry our system won’t work it out automatically!).

Can we play as two people?
Yes! However, we recommend that teams of two begin with our Mission to Winchintzy game, or perhaps A Curious Inheritance, unless you are experienced escapees in which case the Rescue from Winchokey is manageable. Please also bear in mind that even if you play as a team of two, every booking is still totally private and you will have the escape room, your host and all the puzzles completely to yourself for the allotted time.
Is the limit really 6 per indoor game?

Yes! We recommend a maximum of 6 for our games but in every case 4 is the optimum for an intense escaping experience. The limit of 6 is so that you have enough physical space and everyone has a rewarding experience with plenty of hands-on puzzle solving.

If you are a 6, things will be a little more ‘cosy’ in our indoor games but you should all be involved through the game. There is no additional charge for the fifth or sixth players – if you are sharing the fun you can share the cost!

That said, we do understand that some group’s really want to share the experience across seven people even if there is a bit of a compromise, so you can opt for a seventh adult to join a Mission to Winchintzy or A Curious Inheritance game for an additional fee. This option/fee does not apply to children’s parties – please see the Parties page for adult:child ratios by age and game.


How can you support our HR objectives?

We offer various corporate packages including more than one game per person, exclusive use of our quirky venue  and refreshments.

Or perhaps you’d like some expert input from Emphasis HR & Training who are familiar with our games and can provide insightful feedback on individuals’ performance as part of an escape team facing diverse challenges to their wits!

Emphasis also offer team building workshops in a nearby Winchester venue, helping groups understand their areas of development towards becoming high performing teams – a great complement to a shared experience at ClueCapers.

We are looking for a team building activity for more than 18 people. Can you help?

If you would like to bring more than 18 people for an escape, we will work with you to plan an efficient schedule for two or more ‘sittings’ indoors OR we can now offer up to 8 simultaneous games lasting approximately 75 minutes (catering for up to 48 people) – this will involve three teams playing indoors and five outdoors.

For up to 36 people, make more of an event of it and have everyone play one game indoors and race at Vexed in Venta outdoors with the group split in two and swapping between indoor and outdoor at half time!

We are very enthusiastic about escape rooms, do you have any special offer for us?

We do! If your team has the stamina to play two or three games within two days, we are delighted to offer you a discount and we can probably tweak start times to avoid too much waiting around. Get in touch and we’ll set up your escapes with 20% off a second game booked same day or next day and 40% off a third game also within the same day or next day. Discounts are applied to the lower value game(s).

Please note: this offer applies only to teams where all of the team will have already played a ClueCapers escape game (or two) in the previous two-day period; it does not apply for multiple team bookings where all or most of the team are playing only one game.

This offer does not require advance booking (though it is necessarily subject to availability) so you will be given the discount if you enjoy your first game so much you just can’t bear to leave us!

I’ve been to ClueCapers before, but which game did I play?

For some people, the gap between playing one game and another can be months (or even years!). In this time you may find you have forgotten which parallel universe you explored.

The questions to ask yourself are simple:

Did I travel to a charming apartment with flowery wallpaper? (In that case, you’ve played Mission To Winchintzy!)
Or, did I travel to a weird prison and workshop? (In that case, you’ve played Rescue From Winchokey)
Or perhaps you went to the Winsonian Institute for a closer look at their art collection, including a silver statue? (In which case, you’ve played A Curious Inheritance).
We’re pretty sure you’ll remember if you were in a Treehouse!

And if you were outdoors:

Did you follow a scenic route by the river? (Percy’s Paradox)
Or explore the cathedral grounds and play with bones? (Vexed in Venta) or follow a map and pace across the paving stones? (Waking Whatsername)