They are two of the biggest trends of recent years, so it seems natural for a business to seek to combine them.

A paddleboarding firm has launched a new venture to create an 'escape room' on the Norfolk Broads.

Go Paddle, the Horning-based business, came up with the idea to give it an edge in the increasingly competitive paddleboard rental market.

The 'escape room style experience' will see teams of paddlers compete to unravel the mysterious fate of the missing fisherman, Henry Wilson, and lift the curse of the river Bure.

Eastern Daily Press: Go Paddle, a stand up paddleboard centre based in Horning, is launching a new escape roomGo Paddle, a stand up paddleboard centre based in Horning, is launching a new escape room (Image: Go Paddle)

The game will feature a trail of clues which participants must solve within a certain time while out on the water, communicating with each other, and the instructors, via walkie talkies. 

Katie Baxter, owner of Go Paddle, said the idea first came to her during the pandemic, when she and her family filled their time playing virtual escape rooms in their living room.

She said: “During Covid I realised that escape rooms don’t have to be set in a locked room with the objective of breaking out - it's more about the teamwork of solving a mystery together.”

Eastern Daily Press: Katie Baxter, owner of Go PaddleKatie Baxter, owner of Go Paddle (Image: Go Paddle)

And the timing of the launch couldn’t be better, as Ms Baxter said the initial explosion in the popularity of stand-up paddle boarding is starting to wane.

She said: “Paddleboarding saw a huge surge in interest when we were in lockdown, but what we’re seeing now is those participation numbers dropping back to their pre-pandemic levels. 

“We’re fortunate in that we have a lovely base here, but adding this extra activity will hopefully offer something different to competitors and encourage people who wouldn’t normally be customers to have a go.”



Ms Baxter may be on to something, with escape rooms continuing to take an-ever larger share of the UK’s entertainment spend. 

The industry generated £325m in 2022, a figure which is expected to grow to around £1,030m in the next decade, according to research by Allied Market Research. 

There are more than 1,500 escape rooms in the UK, at least 12 of which are in Norfolk, with 87pc of venues opening within the last four years. 

Experts at Allied Market Research hypothesise the boom has been driven by factors such as an increase in demand for “genuine and individual adventure experiences” and a rise in corporations looking for no-alcohol team-building activities.