Escape room expert, 30, completes more than 125 across Europe

An escape room expert who has completed more than 125 across Europe with his wife in just four years has revealed his top tips for hopefuls trying to beat the clock.

Ben Thornton, 30, and his wife Katie, 35, have enjoyed the puzzle games so much that they even set up their own version which they now run in Tunbridge Wells, Kent.

And Mr Thornton has explained how communication, teamwork, searching and double checking are the four key factors to consider for those taking on the rooms.

Mr Thornton rose to fame as a child actor in 2002 post-apocalyptic film Reign of Fire as a young Christian Bale, and is still an actor nowadays  - currently starring in the pantomime Cinderella in Sheffield alongside Strictly Come Dancing's Joanne Clifton.

Ben, 30, and Katie Thornton, 35, run the Clue Cracker escape room in Tunbridge Wells, Kent

Ben, 30, and Katie Thornton, 35, run the Clue Cracker escape room in Tunbridge Wells, Kent

The couple have done more than 125 escape rooms - including Pressure Point in Ashford, Kent

The couple have done more than 125 escape rooms - including Pressure Point in Ashford, Kent

Mr Thornton rose to fame as a child actor in 2002 film Reign of Fire as a young Christian Bale

Mr Thornton rose to fame as a child actor in 2002 film Reign of Fire as a young Christian Bale

Mr Thornton played a young Quinn, later portrayed by Bale (right) in the post-apocalyptic film

Mr Thornton played a young Quinn, later portrayed by Bale (right) in the post-apocalyptic film

Mr Thornton has also created a successful escape room game called Clue Cracker, which has received five stars in all 120 of the reviews posted on TripAdvisor.

Mr Thornton said: 'Katie and I have played over 125 escape games - everywhere from England, Wales, Scotland and even to the home of escape games, Budapest.

Ben Thornton's top four tips for escape rooms 
Communication - Puzzles are often designed for more than one player to be involved so make sure you speak to each other and don't just keep things to yourself. Four brains are better than one so share your thoughts with your teammates and you'll be able to bounce ideas off of each other. Someone may have seen something you've missed so talking to each other is vital. Teamwork - Listen to each other and work together. There's no point trying to do everything on your own. Bring the group together and discuss thoughts or ideas on puzzles. Search - Look everywhere and when you've finished looking, look again. There's almost certainly something you'll have missed the first time so go back and search the whole room thoroughly. Clues can sometimes be hidden in the strangest of places. Double check - When adrenaline is high and there's a clock ticking, mistakes happen. So double check all workings out, and if someone in your team says they've tried something, don't believe them - go and try it again for yourself. It's amazing how you make the silliest of errors when you're under pressure.

'We went on an escaping holiday and played five games a day over there. I prefer the games with padlocks which are known in the industry as 'first generation' rooms. I argue that you can't beat the feeling of opening a padlock.

'Sometimes the New Generation games are highly technical and you can't work out what you've opened with magnetic locks and electronic puzzles.'

He added that the first tip to succeeding is good communication, with puzzles often made for multiple players - so they should share their thoughts with others.

Mr Thornton also told how teamwork is very important, and groups should 'discuss thoughts or ideas on puzzles'.

As for tip three, he said searching is vital, saying: 'Look everywhere and when you've finished looking, look again - there's almost certainly something you'll have missed the first time, so go back and search the whole room thoroughly.'

Finally, he told of the importance of checking, saying: 'When adrenaline is high and there's a clock ticking, mistakes happen. So double check all workings-out and if someone in your team says they've tried something, don't believe them, go and try it again for yourself.'

His favourite rooms are Ctrl Alt Escape and The Escapement in Margate, along with 'Loot The Lanes' at Pier Pressure in Brighton and Tulley's Farm in Crawley. 

Asked why he enjoys them, Mr Thornton added: 'In this day and age, everyone is so attached to our phones and electronic screens that we don't use our brains enough.

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