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DreadLock Escape Rooms: Providing fun for all the family

Based at Bodmin Holiday Park, DreadLock Escape Rooms offers the perfect day out for a spot of brain training and fun.

Owned and run by Deb Johnston and Gemma Dawe, DreadLock Escape Rooms started from a love of playing escape rooms.


They had often talked about the idea of opening their own escape room and what a dream job it would be. One evening, they were hypothetically discussing what theme they would choose if they were to design a room. They threw a couple of ideas back and forth, one of them being board games, which ended up being the theme of the first room to open at DreadLock – Let the Games Begin.


In 2019, Gemma and Deb took over a disused building, onsite at Bodmin Holiday Park, formerly known as Lakeview, and began transforming it into what has become one of the most successful escape room venues in the South West.


Let the Games Begin opened in October 2019, and started to really take off – but then Covid hit. After being closed for the first lockdown, they reopened in time for the summer season. “When we reopened, we had an awesome summer,” Deb explained.


As the Covid cloud loomed and ultimately began raining on all businesses up and down the country, Gemma and Deb used the time in the second lockdown to build a second escape room at the venue - ‘Witch Way Out’.


With Let the Games Begin and Witch Way Out bringing in plenty of puzzle fans, in June 2022 Gemma and Deb opened their third escape room, ‘Detention’, which, as you might guess from the name, brings you back to your old school days.

'Witch Way Out'

Deb said: “Escape rooms are all about puzzle and problem solving. All rooms are themed differently, but the concept is the same - things are locked and you look for hidden keys and codes in order to escape. You have 60 minutes to try and get out.

“Once people start doing escape rooms, they usually get the bug. We have seen people coming back to try all of our rooms, and are being asked if we are building any more.”


While their rooms are designed for adults, children can also take part. Gemma and Deb have made every effort to make the rooms as inclusive as possible for families, although there must be at least one adult on every team.


Gemma said: “After you do one escape room, you come out buzzing and ready to book your next. You get hooked.” Deb added: “Because we’re in Cornwall, we want to be family-friendly, but also appealing to escape room enthusiasts. There are people who travel all over to try different rooms, so we’ve tried to make ours accessible to both beginners and pros.”


In addition to providing lots of fun for everyone in the area, DreadLock Escape Rooms has been doing its bit for charity. After Gemma’s nephew Oscar unexpectedly suffered a heart attack while riding his bike, the family started Oscar’s Defibrillator Fund, which has so far raised over £6,000 to help install defibrillators in bike parks across Cornwall. Recently, Gemma and Deb held a ‘Quiz Night with an Escape Room Twist’ to fundraise for the cause.


In addition to their charity work, the pair also take DreadLock Escape Rooms to local schools, taking mobile games with them, to teach problem solving to youngsters in the area.


“We need to get kids off screens,” Deb said. “Plus, escape rooms offer great bonding time for families.”


Speaking about running the games, Gemma said: “If you like people-watching, this is the best job - it’s hilarious! You see husbands and wives bickering, telling their kids they’re wrong when actually they end up getting it right! We also see families bonding and getting really excited when they solve a puzzle and praising each other up, it’s lovely to watch.

“It really is the best job in the world. It’s not like going to work.”


Gemma and Deb are looking forward to welcoming many more visitors to DreadLock Escape Rooms in the future, so if you’re looking for an afternoon out with the family, or fancy challenging your friends, why not pay them a visit!


To book an escape room at DreadLock Escape Rooms, or to find out more, go to:

You can find DreadLock Escape Rooms onsite at Bodmin Holiday Park, formerly Lakeview.



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