ESCAPE rooms are taking the nation, and south Essex, by storm.

Room Escape Southend has had a fantastic start, growing in popularity - and now Basildon is set to get its own escape room too.

Sloyd Saun-Leas, owner of Room Escape Southend, said: “We have been open for about two years but we are really trying to push it now and get bigger and better.

“We are doing really well at the moment and it is proving very popular.”

The escape room has one room which changes every four months, with the next theme being paranormal activities called Haunting on West Street.

Mr Saun-Leas has said it is also holding pop-up escape rooms at different events, including at the recent Horror-on-Sea festival and for Halloween.

Now, the first escape room is set to open in Basildon this September.

A former dance studio in Market Pavement, is currently undergoing a £50,000 transformation to become Escape Basildon, where groups have to solve clues to escape locked rooms.

Owner of Escape Basildon, Kevin Walby, who also runs Stay and Play in Basildon and Stay and Splash on Canvey, said the new attraction should be a great boost for the town.

He said: “Escape rooms are all the range at the moment and are great fun. There is something for all the family.

“There is nothing like this in the town at the moment so it will offer something different.”

He added that there will be four rooms, with two hopefully completed in September.

One will be called The Magic Emporium and will be about wizards and the second will be called Overthrone and will be based on wars between fantasy kingdoms.

Mr Walby said they will be suitable for all the family and children over the age of eight will be able to get involved with the help of adults.

The rooms have been designed by experts Escape Game Design, based in Edinburgh.

And escape rooms are not the only fresh treats available in town.

Shoppers in Basildon can also now enjoy free ping pong, after a pop-up Ping Pong Parlour opened in Eastgate Shopping Centre.

The parlour can be found on the ground floor next to Card Factory and will be open during normal opening times of the shopping centre. Shoppers of all ages are welcome to drop in and try their hand at ping pong for free.

Eastgate has worked on the project with Ping! and Loop team at Table Tennis England, the sport’s National Governing Body, to get more people playing the game.

Eastgate centre manager Ian Clark said: “We are delighted to host a Ping Pong Parlour at Eastgate. It’s only been open a couple of days but it has already proved popular with shoppers. If anyone wants to play all they need to do is come to the parlour pick up a bat and a ball and get going.” Visit for more on the rooms.