The Golden Hinde has sailed around the world twice, once in 1570 and again 400 years later, but now it is in danger of being ripped apart by the ghost of its most famous captain, Sir Francis Drake. Visitors are invited aboard to solve the mystery that jeopardises the safety of the ship and ensure its future safety, writes Michael Holland.
Our trio of matelots were piped aboard by two dodgy-looking seamen who you wouldn’t trust with your mum or your rum, but they shared some good tips with us about health and safety and provided us with some clues to look out for as we made our way down through the decks to get to the bottom of the mystery, all the while working like press-ganged sailors.
In cramped quarters we found ourselves problem-solving a maze of astrological signs, a thousand keys and locked treasure chests that could move our quest onwards. Whenever the crew think you are not making progress at a steady rate of knots they appear from nowhere and suggest ways to help you advance – assistance that was much needed.
Working with maps, ropes, hitch knots, pulleys and magic mirrors we thought we were doing quite well, but when we heard the screams of people seemingly being made to walk the gangplank we wanted to turn back. We were advised to ignore it and carry on…
Creeping hesitantly down to the next deck we encountered Drake’s ghost who pleaded with us to save his spectral soul, but another phantom appeared to tell us of Drake’s evil ways and implored us to leave him to rot in the hell he deserved. It is the choice you make here that is important to completing the quest you are on. Choose wisely…
We chose wisely and soon found ourselves in a disco where rum was served and a puppet show helped us work out how to decode another map. Bolstered by rum-induced euphoria, we boogied beneath the glitter ball for a while and then strode onwards.
More terrifying screams were heard, and a shipmate said we had only a few minutes to solve the secret of the Golden Hinde before it was destroyed and sent to the bottom of the ocean.
With our next clue, we worked hastily to establish our coordinates at the Captain’s table with the Captain’s log. Sea water was dripping on us, time was running out, would we solve the final conundrum to save the ship and all who sailed in her?
More to the point, would you…?
Is Escape from The Golden Hinde easy? No. Is it fun? More than you could imagine.
Escape From The Golden Hinde, St Mary Overie Dock, Cathedral Street, London, SE1 9DE
Tickets: up to £43 per person; good discounts available on the website.
20% Discount code is SHIPSHAPESOUTHWARK, and expires 15th November.