Oh So T - Outside mural at Crystal Maze Manchester

If you have followed my blog for the last year you will know how much I love finding quirky and fun activities to do in and around Manchester, so imagine my excitement when an email landed in my inbox about attending the Crystal Maze Live Experience!!! You know that show where you get to run between tasks, banter with the host and do crazy activities that are also lots of fun? Well, last Wednesday I got to live my childhood fantasy and take part in the live experience, which is exactly like the TV show - Except you're only letting your team down when you mess up and not a whole nation who were rooting for you to do really well! 

The experience itself is located just off Lower Byron Street, close to the Science and industry Museum in the city centre and is roughly a 15 minute walks from the Deansgate-Castlefield met stop. We recommend getting there earlier, roughly around 45 minutes before, as you need to get head to the maze, take in the glorious mural of Richard O'Brien (the legend himself), get booked in and sign your waiver forms. Once all the boring legal stuff is out of the way you get to hang around in the hallway area and do some quick puzzles, which are located on the tables, to get you into the swing of things. The fact that we couldn't even do any of those puzzles really set the tone of just how bad we were at the games, much to the amusement and brutal bantering of our Maze Master - Jack Lambeth (literally my favourite person in the World and I think I'm a teeny bit in love with him as he was just so bloody wonderful and funny). 

Your initiation into the maze begins with you popping all your belongings in the lockers, I recommend taking a small bag and wearing clothes suitable for running/ exercise activities as you need to be able to move freely and run around unrestricted - definitely no high heeled boots or anything you wouldn't want to get dirty. Our team all came in sportswear and I just threw a cardigan over the top for a cute yet practical look. You have your picture taken in the iconic Crystal Maze jackets to start the experience and get taken into a room where you meet your other team members as the maze is designed for groups of around 7-8. We were so lucky to be paired with another lovely blogger, Jacinta, her brother and boyfriend. The group gelled so well and we were having banter whilst naming our group - the age-old rivalry of Liverpool v Man United came out and we settled on the team name #Synergy as we found as all actually liked and watched the Apprentice. You then get introduced to the fact that you must run in 90's over exaggerated way between the tasks which had our group in hysterics as we all piled into the next room to begin the introduction - yes we did run in the 90's style, because its an immersive experience and ain't body want to be boring and let the team down. 

The room was a bit like a cinema, and you get to watch iconic moments of the Crystal Maze which is a lovely tribute and introduction to what you'll be doing in the Maze. Your Maze Master will then appear in all their glory and have you in hysterics from the get-go. I'm not going to spoil the entrance but I guarantee someone will scream or wet themselves!!! 

Ya girl was the team captain for her half of the group and we got to do some hilarious team talks - like some inspirational quotes listed straight from Instagram! Tori for PM, just sayin'. Your Maze Master gets you really hyped up before you enter the maze and throughout the tasks. You get to do the whole go-team throw your hands in the air chants with lots of whooping, hyping each other up and just general support throughout the tasks which really brings strangers and friends together. We began the Crystal Maze as strangers and honestly, I think we left as friends- it was such a wonderful bonding exercise. 

After the initial inspirational team talk your Maze Master will run full pelt towards your first task and you really do have to run and navigate your way through just like in the show. I amazed myself that I didn't trip or fall over once during the hopping over the stones and Jack was such an immersive character, you really do believe you are in a maze with him and you have to complete the tasks to get out. Your Maze Master will ask you what types of tasks you feel each member of your team is good at and will try to navigate you towards tasks your team will do well in. The tasks include mental, physical, skill and mystery which could be anything at all. The aim of the game is to get crystals and each crystal means 5 seconds in the dome at the end. The first time you win a crystal is a real magical moment and one that will stick in your memory, or maybe that was because we had a real 'Oooh' moment when feeling up our first crystal. I can almost hear Jack creating a side-splitting innuendo for that. 

The Crystal Maze has four zones: Medieval, Aztec, Industrial and Futuristic. In total, you get to complete 15 tasks. Usually each team member gets to do 2 tasks each with one person doing an extra final task to secure the last crystal My favourite zones were by far the Aztec and Futuristic - Aztec because we got to go down the iconic slide (YES I DID FREAKING GET TO DO THAT!!!!) and the Futuristic because Jack said 'Mumsie play the music' and the theme tune played whilst we ran down the stairs with all the flashing lights and excitement of jumping into the futuristic zone. Jack also played a brilliant prank on me and hid behind the door so when I ran through he jumped out on me. I literally face planted the wall because I jumped backwards and everyone was laughing. Jack played his part insanely well as he didn't break character at all and sarcastically apologised - but in a way that was just hilarious - it isn't everyday that you face plant a wall and find yourself laughing about it now is it! 

My one tip for the Crystal Maze is to be super nice to your Maze Master, not only does he or she do an absolutely insane job of making this immersive experience so good but they also help you and give you clues throughout, after all they want you to do really well. Really listen to what they say to you and see if they have accidentally given you any clues. Andy, bloody typical Andy, was the only person to get locked in from our team and before we went in I told him if he messed up we were over. Jack, in his infinite wisdom and brilliance, remembered this and really played it up which was hilarious. He allowed Andy the chance to win the crystal back by playing rock, paper, scissors and was hinting that he had been a rock to Andy throughout the game. We were on the floor laughing, because we really thought Andy was going to get it wrong and when he actually got it right (trust me, I was just as surprised as you) Jack dramatically fell to the floor and had us all in stitches when he was telling him how proud he was. It is so difficult to put how brilliant his character was and how bloody fantastic his acting was - it was weird as you really believed he wasn't playing a character and his hosting was just flawlessly done! But enough about my mini-crush on a character I will legit never meet again (LOL!!!) 

Once you've completed all 15 of your tasks and got as many crystals as physically possible you head out into the crustal dome where you get to pop on your bomber jackets and collect as many tickers as you possibly can. There is apparently a tactic to making sure you score ridiculously high and I think I will do some serious research before our next go. We actually did really well considering none of us had researched beforehand and we got 500 tickets and got to be number 1 for 12 hours as we were the last team of the day - WOOHOO!! 

The Crystal Maze ends with a really cute picture and if you're lucky enough your wonderful maze master will jump into the picture too! One of my besties fist does block my face out though and despite our best photo shop efforts we haven't been able to remove her hand (only me eh!). To keep things exciting the amazing team at the Crystal Maze continuously change up the tasks and games that are playable and they last switched things up on 12 February 2020 with 20 new games - so we were some of the first people to get to check out the new tasks (I'll let you in on a little secret, they're awesome!!). 

These new additions mark the celebration of 30 years since the crystal maze first exploded onto our screens in the 1990s and it has captured the hearts of the nation ever since. The new tasks and challenges promise to delight, excite and intrigue fans - all of which we can vouch for. Even if you aren't a die-hard fan or can hardly remember the older Crystal Maze TV show this experience is still perfect for you and as equally exciting. 

The new games have been really well thought out and we were lucky enough to try them our during our game. The new games include Crossbow Castle (which was soo hard and requires someone with a lot of skill as even loading the crossbow looks so difficult) and I got to do the Lab Accident task in the Futuristic zone and absolutely smashed it, but only because my team were so brilliant. I am sure that we also got to do the basketball task in the Aztec zone which really requires the team to all work together to help the person completing the task as they can't see where the hoop is. There are 31 games in total so in order to get to experience them all I highly recommend several trips - We've already booked in for our next go and I've ever persuaded work to get something booked in to as it was such a wonderful experience. 

The team kindly got a little quote from Mumsie, the maze's very own fortune-teller, because she doesn't give out interviews to just anybody and is a very busy lady keeping everyone in line and making sure you all have a wonderful time - Mumsie said "We are incredibly excited to challenge our customers with our brand new games here in Manchester. I'm sure every player will bring their A-game to succeed in our all new Crystal Maze". I have to admit the new games are really challenging, exciting and make you and your team work together to solve them. There a few little hidden clues that can really make or break your game so make sure you pay attention to things that are said and in the room to help you out. 

The team and maze masters really make it such an a-MAZE-ing experience as they do pour their heart and soul into making sure you have a brilliant time. It was an absolutely fantastic experience from the beginning to the end and we cannot thank the team enough for inviting us down to have a sneak peak before anyone else got to try out the new tasks. 

The team were so generous and kindly let us keep a crystal each, which has taken pride of place in our living room, along with out medals and photos that were taken during the maze too. This was such a fun experience and we haven't stopped sousing out about it to all of our friends, colleagues and anyone who has messaged us on Instagram to ask about the experience! We highly recommend you pop in for a visit the next time you are in Manchester. For all nitty gritty details (such as information on the maze if you are pregnant, as you can't play unfortunately, or have any injuries you need to make the team aware of) pop over to the link here for further information! Again, we want to thank all the team, but especially our wonderful Maze Master Jack Lambeth for such a fantastic experience - it is such a shame we don't know your real identity to thank you in person and so we can tell you how amazing you really were, but hopefully we showed enough gratitude with our little round of applause at the end. You and the team really were wonderful and we cannot wait for our next trip. 

If anyone does decide to visit, please drop me a message as I can't wait to hear what you all thought!! 

Until Next Time

 This opportunity was kindly gifted to my by the Crystal Maze - the imagery inside the maze is owned by them and from their press release, other images and all views are my own and in no way influenced by the gifting of this experience*
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