I am a freelance travel writer creating memories with a 'can do' mind set. I enjoy stepping outside my comfort zone to explore, learn & share. Visit my blog at www.fionatrowbridge.com
Published October 3rd 2017
Take the Board Game Outdoors
While looking for things to do in Portsmouth recently, a self-guided murder mystery Treasure Trail came to my attention. Realising that Portsmouth had an incredible naval history that I knew nothing about, I thought this would be a fun way of fulfilling two of my favourite pastimes – walking and exploring and I may even learn a thing or two about the city.
I headed over to Treasure Trail's website and discovered that they have more than 1000 trails all over the UK and an easy search tool to look for trails in your city or town.
If you are organised, you can order your trail booklet online and it will be delivered to your door. If, like me, you are extremely impatient, you can download a pdf version straight from the website and print it off or view it on your tablet; you may even be able to use your phone if the screen is big enough.
Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth
This was the first Treasure Trail I'd tried, so I wasn't sure what to expect but the instructions were easy to follow, although not all the clues were easy to solve.
There were 17 murder suspects and 6 different weapons and my mission was to decipher the clues, to eliminate weapons and suspects by studying local landmarks and plaques then using the information within them to solve the clue. All the directions were easy to follow without the need for a map and gradually I purged my fictional characters from the supplied suspect list until I was left with one guilty soul armed with one suspicious looking weapon.
It took me longer than the suggested 2.5 hours although it was a lovely sunny day and I was in no hurry, so I took time to read all the information boards along the trail, absorbing the facts and appreciating my surroundings, but 2.5 hours would be the minimum.
The trail covered a comparatively small but extremely interesting section of Portsmouth waterfront; I never realised there was so much to learn in such a small area. There were plenty of public toilets on the route and a choice of eateries too.
The great thing about an activity like this is you can do it when it suits you, there's no need to book. You can order your booklet and wait for a nice day. All the details about the trails around the UK are on the Treasure Trails website which has information about length and accessibility options and great places to eat along the way.
Most of the walks are dog-friendly, if kept on a lead, and all are children friendly – that's children of any age whether you are 6 or 106. There's even a chance to win £100 if you enter your answer on the website.
The booklet is designed to be used by 2 to 5 people but if there are more than 5 in your group, Treasure Trails suggest splitting into teams and purchasing extra trail booklets and setting off 5 minutes apart. You will need a booklet for each group because each one has a unique code with 3 chances to text for help to clues. For the purposes of testing the full package and not because I couldn't solve the clue, you understand, I tried it out. The text reply was instant and came with the answer and more details about the clue, so ideal if you're working in a family group and still want the rest of the family to keep looking.
An Activity for the Whole Family. Image courtesy of Treasure Trails
I really enjoyed walking the Murder Mystery Trail in Portsmouth. The only downside I can see is that one isn't enough. Your first trail will inevitably lead to another and another but at least the addiction will put an end to the proverbial question; what will we do this weekend?