Photo caption: From left, Nathan Hines, Johanna Whitby and Laura Sylvester outside Empire House

A popular Leamington-based team game where friends, families and colleagues have to solve clues in order to escape a locked room is expanding its presence in the town.

Escape Leamington Spa, which is based on Park Street, is opening an additional venue at Empire House, 1B Dormer Place, after agreeing a five-year lease on the 2,000 sq ft, three-storey building.

The new base will create up to 10 new part-time jobs in addition to the 14 part-time staff currently at Park Street, and is set to open in the New Year once an internal refurbishment has been completed.

Empire House will host three new games with different themes, including the Demon Barber based on Sweeney Todd, a pirate-inspired challenge called Escape the Seven Seas, with the third still to be confirmed.

It will complement the other established games at Park Street which have captured the imaginations of visitors, which include a Harry Potter-inspired setting called Witchcraft & Wizardry, a 1920s Chicago-themed room called Prohibition, and a backdrop based on the pandemic drama Contagion.

The move has been made in order to cope with demand, according to Escape Leamington Spa Director Laura Sylvester, who, along with her business partner Johanna Whitby, have welcomed around 3,200 players through their Park Street doors since opening in May 2018.

Laura said: “Our Park Street premises is regularly fully booked and a lot of people have completed the three games that we offer, and they are asking us if we have any others up our sleeves.

“I think it’s proven popular because it’s an experience that enables people to escape everyday reality and bond with whoever they’re playing with, whether that’s family, close friends or workmates.

“The first lockdown afforded us some time to take a step back and look at how we could expand our offering and if there were any ideal locations – we needed a property with multiple spacious rooms and Empire House was the ideal fit.

“Empire House will enable us to host up to 24 people at once, and we can host up to 18 players at Park Street, so we have more than doubled our capacity which will really help us to meet rising demand.

“We’ve managed to continue operating in-between the first and second lockdowns by following government guidance, and demand has remained strong, and has given us the confidence to press ahead with expansion which we are really excited about.”

Nathan Hinks, solicitor from Midlands law firm Wright Hassall, worked with Jonathan Blood, of commercial property agents Wareing & Company, on finalising the deal between Escape Leamington Spa and Empire House’s landlords.

Nathan added: “It’s brilliant to see what was previously empty office space being transformed to enhance the offering within Leamington town centre while providing a further boost to the local economy.

“The business has mass appeal – which is underlined by their expansion so far – and hopefully their new premises can serve as a launchpad for even more growth in the future.”

Jonathan commented: “This deal is one of many we are seeing complete now that the business community can begin to see a pathway out of the Covid pandemic, and while it’s crucial to have other businesses further afield investing in the town, it’s particularly pleasing to see a local business such as Escape Leamington Spa going from strength to strength.”