Review: History-filled Valentines Mansion the perfect venue for Ilford's horror-inspired escape room
PUBLISHED: 12:00 28 October 2019 | UPDATED: 13:27 28 October 2019
With its rich history, Valentines Mansion is the perfect venue for a horror-inspired game.
The mansion in Ilford, which has been home to wartime refugees, a hospital, a health centre, and a council housing department, is the setting for an impressive escape room attraction this winter.
Visitors can expect flickering lights, children's laughter echoing in dark corridors and a dimly-lit kitchen with a cauldron to unlock.
Teams of up to six are given an hour to investigate "a strange phenomenon" and unusual, supernatural goings-on at the mansion, based on both true and fictional tales about the building's history.
One of the rooms is based on Sarah Ingleby, the last private owner of the mansion, who built Beehive School.
She would often open the gardens to the public and there would be children playing in the grounds during the summer.
Once some guidance is offered at the beginning, the game is accessible, even to a complete beginner, and the puzzles are imaginative and challenging.
There's something for everyone, young and old, and any fears that the puzzles will be too easy should be set aside.
The different rooms in the 300-year-old building can be explored in any order and each team will likely take a different route through the mansion, solving puzzles in different orders and picking up different clues to take with them for the ride.
Some of the puzzles were tricky, but the mansion team were on hand with just enough guidance and clues and the Recorder team cracked the code with four minutes to spare.
The Valentines Anomaly is being run by Vision Redbridge Culture and Leisure from Monday, October 28 until December, with more dates likely to be added in January.
Escape room builder Sacha Coward said visitors should "expect the unexpected".
He said: "As an escape room builder I like to make every experience I create unique to the spaces I build them in.
"On surface level, The Valentines Anomaly is a classic haunted house story but I have worked to base the characters in the game (both living and undead), as well as the puzzles, around real people and time periods connected to the mansion.
"I think I've created a creepy experience that will also tell you a bit more about the history of the building."
Hint: Save time by clueing up on your Dutch translation.
Book your ticket here