Photo of the gallows in the exercise yard of the National Justice Museum

Nottingham is no stranger to escape rooms. Including those set in virtual reality and the caves beneath the city, we are a must-see destination for puzzle lovers. The latest addition to the offering? A brand new escape room: Guilty?! A National Justice Museum Escape Room!

What Makes It Different?

Set in the museum, you will explore both purpose-built spaces and some familiar museum spots, such as the exercise yard. You follow a detailed narrative arc as your group try to figure out if you’re guilty (or not). The story is closely linked with the history of Nottingham and the Justice Museum itself, but the emphasis is not placed on education – this is just a fitting and atmospheric setting.

As well as a range of props, you will be assisted by a helpful costumed character guide. Your guide assumes the role of different characters along your journey – some are friends, some are foes. They offer helpful guidance where needed, similar to the usual format of ‘hints’ as standard in most escape rooms.

Towards the end of the game, you will get a multiple-choice option. With different endings depending on what you decide, this innovative element brings a choose-your-own-adventure charm that puts you in the driving seat – rightly or wrongly!

The Narrative

It’s 1831 in Nottingham. King George IV died the previous year and King William IV is yet to be crowned, triggering the dissolving of parliament and a general election that leaves the city on the brink of riots. The Reform Bill leads to civil disturbances across the country when The House of Lords blocks a motion by parliament to give more men the vote than just nobility and landowners.

You find yourself in Nottingham's Narrowmarsh, a cramped, smelly slum rife with criminal activity. The local constable has found you at the site of a Reform Bill riot where a local pub was set ablaze. Two people lost their lives, and you are the central suspect. You are accused of arson and manslaughter. If found guilty, the punishment is hanging.

Needless to say, the experience is not suitable for young children with the age guidance of 16+ years.

Your goal, over the course of an hour, is to solve puzzles and gather evidence before deciding if you will stand trial and try to prove your innocence, or try to escape your fate.

A trio of images showing the team work through the escape room

How We Got On

We brought six players to the escape room, and none of us were regular escape room players! So we were not necessarily hopeful for an escape. We had a mixture of experience in the group, including participants who had never done an escape room before.

Upon arrival, we were welcomed by the team before being introduced to our guide, handed a series of props and taken to the first location. The door was promptly locked behind us!

Even though you are split across different locations, each stop along the way is rather large, so we were happy to have six players, as it wasn’t crowded at all. Plenty of space for us to all move around, search in every nook and cranny and carry props. The first location was an impressive recreation of the Narrowmarsh slums, complete with brick façade, washing lines and store fronts! It was a wonderful set to roam through, with plenty of red herrings and clues dotted around. It was totally immersive as you are launched into the time period.

Upon solving the puzzles at the first step, we were able to leave the first location and guided to the former exercise yard in the National Justice Museum. Any past visitor to the museum will recognise this iconic location, so it was a real treat for it to be included in this escape room. We were met with more tasks and puzzles, which are a mixture of word play, assembly, creative thinking and tactile activities to name a few.

Moving on from the exercise yard, there are a couple more locations, all complete with their own set-up and ambience relating to the stage of the story you are present at. Some breakaway tasks were a nice change of pace, leaving some team members behind to decipher something, while a chosen few were sent off to retrieve vital clues.

When given multiple options, we chose to escape from the gaol. But there is no right or wrong answer here – both options lead to different activities that you must complete before your fate is known. And of course they keep some of the more difficult challenges to last! With a bit of luck, skill and determination, we unbelievably completed the task and earned our escape, with just minutes to spare.

You can expect uneven surfaces, as standard at a heritage venue such as this, as well as some time outside – so we recommend dressing appropriately for the weather, though some supplies like umbrellas are on hand from the helpful staff if needs be. As a lot of the clues involve reading different texts and parchments, we also recommend bringing any necessary glasses or to be mindful of this when booking for those with different access needs.

Overall, we all had a riot with this new escape room at the National Justice Museum. It was challenging yet rewarding, with bags of fun and imagination along the way! A fantastic activity for a group including friends and family alike, it is a unique addition to the escape rooms already on offer in Nottingham, and one which you must experience to understand!

This blog was written by Katherine Taylor, Marketing Executive at Visit Nottinghamshire.


Guilty?! A National Justice Museum Escape Room
Competition / Game
Guilty?! - A National Justice Museum Escape Room. Picture of a barred window

A brand-new multiple-choice escape room from the National Justice Museum!

National Justice Museum
National Justice Museum | Nottingham

Meet amazing, costumed characters from Nottingham's history in our Grade II* listed, Shire Hall. Explore the Victorian Courtroom, Georgian gaol, and ancient cells - all spread over five fascinating floors.



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