A CONSETT business has expanded its offer to provide fun nights out for all the family by creating new escape rooms above an existing pub and restaurant.

Helen Parkinson and her husband David, who took over Consett’s Old Court House in 2018, will challenge visitors with two escape rooms – one distinctly themed to celebrate the town’s rich steel industrial heritage, and the other a “Witches Room” as a nod towards the nearby village of Muggleswick.

Helen, an ex-army chef with a passion for fitness and great, healthy food, dreamed up the idea of the escape rooms after thinking of uses for the two derelict rooms above their pub.

She said: “In the hospitality industry it pays to be open to change and to adapt to the needs of the community in which you work.

“Escape rooms are becoming a really popular attraction for families and groups who want a fun and challenging day out.”

Visitors are placed into the escape rooms with no way of getting out without solving problems and figuring out puzzles and clues. Each group is timed, and the challenge is to beat the clock and escape in the quickest time possible.

The first of the two escape rooms designed by escape room creators The Escapologist, will feature props and memorabilia from the steel works and will be based on the myths of Consett’s three giants (Con, Ben and Cor) who roamed the local area and fought one another.

Helen said: “Contestants in this room will have to forge a hammer out of iron using formulae and their problem-solving skills.

“The rooms are a mixture of fun, education and fantasy, featuring high-tech games which can be scaled up or down, depending on the group’s mixture of age and ability.”

The second room has a witches theme and a gamesmaster will keep watch over both rooms and provide clues if necessary.

The couple have taken on 15 new staff since opening the pub a year ago. The couple are now recruiting for a sous chef, a bar - restaurant supervisor and a games master for the escape rooms.

For more information about the Old Court House pub and escape rooms, visit www.theoldcourthouseandkitchen.co.uk.