Locked in Edinburgh: The Secret Lab

By | March 20, 2019

by Locked in Edinburgh (website)

1 Summerhall, EH9 1PL


4-10 players

60 minutes

Winner of a 2018 TERPECA awardWheelchair suitable - contact the venue for details🐶
1972 was the longest year in the history of mankind due to two leap seconds being added to its total length, an event that has since not been repeated. It was the year that U.S. President Richard Nixon ordered a development of a Space Shuttle Program, totally unrelated to the fact that the Russians had just managed to land the unmanned Spaceship Luna 20 on the Moon. It was the year of multiple plane-crashes, the premiere of The Godfather, the release of arcade versions of Pong, the frst arrests of the Watergate scandal and the victory of the west over the east, where Bobby Fischer defeated Boris Spassky in a chess match held in Reykjavík, Iceland. Also, there was the Vietnam war going on.
It was a year of tension. Knee-deep in the cold war, America and Russia engaged in a global staring contest, daring each other to make a move, each of them praising its independence of the others products, people and intelligence. Embarrassingly self-aware and ruthlessly cunning, each country prepared for the worst from the other. By taking pre-emptive precautions, research on defence systems like missiles, weapons and viruses were given increased funds. One lab in particular has a very interesting story.
The Kensie Research Lab was a marvel of 70s technology, with the best equipment money could buy. Situated in Edinburgh, smack in the middle of an old veterinary hospital so not to raise suspicion, the lab was designed around the research and creation of vaccines and viruses, both airborne and fluid. The mastermind behind the project was professor Lyall Kensie, a brilliant bio-chemist and an avid cinephile. He had a vision of a world where every illness could be healed simple medication. In this world, there would be no need for war. But Lyall wasn’t alone. Along for the ride were his two sisters, Isla and Elise, both of them brilliant in their own fields of physiology and molecular science. They were triplets, inseparable by nature for as long as they could remember. They would have probably been featured in the newspapers as “The genius three”, if only they had any interest in fame. Instead, they chose to focus their efforts on their work. And my, what work they did.
As the government placed pressure on Lyall to weaponize his creations, he became distraught. Seeing the obvious ramifications of lies and half-truths of representatives of the world’s biggest nations, he became obsessed with the notion that lying was in fact a virus. All it needed was a vaccine. After months of isolation, Lyall, Isla and Edith finally sent a note to Buckingham Palace. Smelling of champagne, it read: “To those it may concern. We have cracked it. We have found the cure. More news will follow. Signed, Lyall, Isla and Edith Kensie.”
Expecting more letters, her majesty the Queen waited with baited breath for days, but with no prevail. Three weeks later a ragged and torn piece of paper arrived at her doorstep. It read simply: “There was an outbreak. It is contained. Never open the lab again. Isla.” The three professors were never seen again, leaving people to speculate on their whereabouts. The lab was sealed up and not opened since. Scribbles on the outside of the door indicated whatever virus was in there, Lyall had named it “L.I.E.”, and its primary attribute seemed to make the host unable to utter a single truth. The lab faded into obscurity over the years, causing rumours and legends to popup, some of them more accurate than others. But then, yesterday, during a simple blood test, a patient in the Marchmont Medical Practice right here in Edinburgh, was tested positive for the L.I.E. virus. No-one knows why, but the infection has started again. If we don’t recreate whatever vaccine the professors invented 44 years ago, the city will be obliterated by government officials in an effort to purge the danger. They will not risk it infecting the rest of the country or the world. We can’t allow this to happen. We must enter the lab.
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Overall rating

Rated between 4 and 5 out of 5

based on ratings from 26 users
combined with 6 pro reviews

Your review

Player reviews

Kelly Archer expert rated this:Rated between 50 and 50 out of 5
Team size: 2
We played this as our 100th game. It is so much fun (plus I do enjoy being separated to start) with tons of puzzles, great theming, a clever clue system and a great story. We love the authenticity of the lab, what a great place to set a game!
flyingoctopus expert rated this:Rated between 50 and 50 out of 5
Team size: 2 Outcome: Successful escape!
cleverimmersiveintensequite difficult

A fantastic game at a fantastic venue with a fantastic owner.

What more can I say! 

Joe Brown expert rated this:Rated between 40 and 40 out of 5
Played: 12/08/17 Team size: 4
A large room set in an actual old veterinary lab. Tonnes to do in the hour, I'd recommend 6 people for this one! Some really nice puzzles, a really large room and great use of scientific gear and tech!
imrahil experienced rated this:Rated between 35 and 35 out of 5
Team size: 4 Outcome: Successful escape!
PurpleB expert rated this:Rated between 40 and 40 out of 5
Played: Jul 2019 Team size: 4 Outcome: Successful escape!

This game didn't quite live up to its reviews for me.  Don't get me wrong, it was still excellent but I was expecting it to be one of the best and it wasn't.

We were kept waiting standing outside for ages before our game started which wasn't the best customer service to kick things off. But things improved once we got inside.  The game has lots of great puzzles but quite a few rely heavily on technology and were a bit of a let down when they didn't quite work properly and left me feeling rather frustrated.

The hint system in this room gets a special thumbs up mention :-).

stairs expert rated this:Rated between 45 and 45 out of 5
Anonymous rated this:Rated between 40 and 40 out of 5
🦡cipherdelic virtuoso rated this:Rated between 45 and 45 out of 5
Anonymous rated this:Rated between 25 and 25 out of 5
Played: 2019 Team size: 8 Outcome: Successful escape!

We had so many high expectations for this room after being voted best in the UK and 13th best in the world. I have no idea how this room could be in anyone's top 10, I didn't find this room enjoyable at all. Before entering the room, our game master told us "oh by the way, this puzzle is broken, but it won't affect your game.". This was enough to put us in a weird mood as we were surprised and disappointed to hear that we won't experience the full room features. The room itself is small, despite them saying it's a massive room, you spend the whole hour feeling cramped due to each puzzle being in small cages. You can't see what people are doing, you can't see the puzzles and, overall, you feel like you've missed so much as everything get solved at the same time. Not sure if it was because it was too many of us in the room as it was 8 of us... But despite that, the story is not immersive and the room, even though it stayed authentical to the vet hospital it used to be, is not immersive, the background audio is inexistent, not helping with that either. So many things in this room seemed a bit DIY and slightly broken. I really didn't enjoy it. We escaped in 30ish minutes without even realising that we escaped. The game master opened the door and just chanted a "Yeah, you've done it!" and faced a group of surprised and disappointed faces in the room showing a "Is that a joke?" frown. Not only that, but she then said "we are planning a puzzle for the exit but it doesn't work" which left another sour taste in our mouths. There is also one puzzle that shouldn't exist as the code you receive is not used at all in the game. Three of us were working on it while the five others completed the last puzzle, resulting in those 3 people to have a complete feeling of unaccomplishment as they haven't seen the ending when the game master entered to congratulate us out of nowhere. Such a disappointment. I don't understand how this is classified as best of the UK by the Top escape-room project as I can list 40 better ones in the UK. It's such a shame as the puzzles are quite smart but we spent 1 hour after the room just listing how much we disliked our time. Such such a disappointment. 🙁

Mark Greenhalgh expert rated this:Rated between 45 and 45 out of 5
Played: 14/05/17
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Reviews by escape room review sites

Secret Lab came with quite a reputation to live up to, having been described as the best game in the UK by probably the three most experienced escapers in the country, including a certain well-known reviewer. Did it live up to the hype? In a word, yes.

The decor is more high-tech and ambitious than the other games at this venue. If that makes it not quite as authentic-looking as those, it makes up for that in visual impact and 'wow' factor; and it is i...

The Secret Lab is, to put it simply, a brilliant game. I was left pretty much speechless for quarter of an hour after playing. It delivered a coherent set of puzzles that meshed beautifully with the story, forced you to criss-cross the space throughout the hour, made good use of technology and pitched itself at a perfect difficulty level. The satisfaction at having made your way across the expanse of puzzles was awesome. At the time of writing, this is my favourite game. Ever.

The Secret Lab almost drove us to burnout. Rarely does an Escape Room manage to keep the players as involved for 60 minutes as The Secret Lab did with us. The room doesn't forgive any big pauses for thought, here you simply have to work and, above all, bring along a certain amount of experience. 

Interestingly enough, of all the advice I followed before planning my rooms, The Secret Lab was the room that gave me the most ambivalent results. [...] Well, I did like it. A lot. Although I'm not a fan of ranks myself, I'd dare say this was probably my favorite room of the whole trip. We did run into some issues near the end, but I didn't really mind after the "whirlwind of puzzles" we had just been through.

Technology in escape rooms is an odd thing. Ultra high-tech rooms, ones that look like a spaceship or something out of a science fiction film, are notoriously expensive to build, at least with a level of resiliency you need to deal with some of the more “heavy handed” escape room teams. Hence technology and “lab” style rooms often elect to go back in time a few decades, where the props are cheaper and easier to modify and manipulate. Often they’re even more delicate, of course, but ways can be found around this. And so it is with The Secret Lab: you’re re-entering a lab that was sealed off in the 70s, and trying to recreate a vaccine in order to save the world.
A great theme which obviously fitted in really well with the building and equipment. The set up of the room is used really well and (without giving too much away hopefully) enabled team members to be able to work on their own to clear an area which is something I particularly enjoyed.
A fantastically unique game set in a very large space, with a great variety of puzzles and an excellent storyline. It’s the hardest game we’ve played to date due to the sheer volume of puzzles.
Expectations were high for this widely recommended room, which sees a former veterinary school re-imagined as a mysterious science facility that conceals a dark secret. Was it everything we hoped for?


This game is part of the following user-created game lists:
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    These are the 100 highest rated escape rooms in the UK, as of 31st Dec 2022, based on combined ratings from enthusiasts, bloggers and experts - every game here comes highly recommended. 
  • Best UK escape rooms 2021 by Escape the Review virtuoso
    These are the 100 highest rated escape rooms (out of 1600) in the UK, as of 31st Dec 2021, based on combined ratings from enthusiasts, bloggers and experts - every game here comes highly recommended. 
  • Best UK escape rooms 2023 by Escape the Review virtuoso
    These are the 100 highest rated escape rooms in the UK, as of 31st Dec 2023, based on combined ratings from enthusiasts, bloggers and experts - every game here comes highly recommended. 

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