An "escape room obsessed" couple from Cambridgeshire are preparing to open their own puzzle-filled immersive experience in Ely. 

Josh Whitrod and his partner Clare Wright, of Littleport, have transformed The Annex at 32 St Mary's Street into their very own business called Principal Escape Rooms.

"We started doing them and it became more of an obsession where we'd go on a staycation and do five a day," he says. 

"Having a background in law and veterinary work, it's largely about solving puzzles, so it's quite natural that we enjoyed them, but it got a bit out of control really." 

Six years of completing escape rooms later and the couple are close to opening their own. 

"We just thought 'why don't we do something we're really passionate about with our free time'?" Josh says, adding that recently recovering from ME led to him "wanting to have a bit more control of my life and enjoy what I'm doing". 

So far, the couple have spent about £13,000 so far, including installing sound-systems and scent machines.

"We wanted to create a really immersive experience where you can forget about your life and everyday worries." 

The couple have some final carpet fitting, wallpapering and stud walls to install to do this weekend, then they are eager to start getting gamers in to test the escape room. 

"We've got a lot of puzzles in there that we've come up with by ourselves," Josh says. 

"We want to make sure that we haven't made it too difficult or too easy - for it to be quite challenging, but I'm aware that most people have probably never done one before." 

The aim, he adds, is "to give it a mix so people get their money's worth and feel like they've enjoyed it rather than feeling like they have raced through it".

The couple plan to continue with their full-time jobs at Vets One in Downham Market for the time being. 

However, Josh sees it as "a refreshing break; when it's your own project and your own little baby, it doesn't feel quite so much like work." 

Longer-term, the idea is for him to scale back his full-time job and to focus on the escape room more.

The official launch date for Principal Escape Rooms is April 5. It will be open weeknight evenings, and all day at weekends.

There is currently a 20 per cent discount offer running for bookings made before April 1.

Ely Standard: Littleport couple Josh Whitrod and his partner Clare Wright are opening a new escape room in Ely

Ely Standard: Littleport couple Josh Whitrod and his partner Clare Wright are opening a new escape room in Ely

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