Move over escape rooms, a new fad has hit the globe, well Gloucestershire at least.
A group of retired apple farmers just turned their 123 acres of prime orchards into a mock German city: Eingishbart.
For neighbors in Tibberton, the idea of recreating Gestapo raids and interrogations came as something of a shock.
“Dear Mrs. Mayor,” wrote one concerned local. “I’ve voted for the far right all my life and I really object to the idea of national socialism rearing its ugly head in our village.”
But pretty soon the cider-drinking Tibbertonians began to warm up to the idea spotting the chance to make a fast buck. As the attraction opened its doors in February 2013, the pounds and pennies began rolling in.
As a result, today, even before you reach Schloss Verhör (formerly know as Six Apples Farm), you can sit down to a Bavarian lunch, which has all but squeezed out the traditional ploughman’s lunch, with its cob bread roll, chunk of Gloucestershire cheese, salt and vinegar potato chips and scrumpy cider.
Pick up your tickets and walk into the changing room. Here you can choose from a variety of costumes. You can opt for the early World War II regalia of the French resistance or that of the invading American forces and many others. The one military uniform you may not select is that of Germany. That is reserved for the staff of this excellent re-enactment theme park.
The rifles you receive are genuinely from the 39-45 war, each only firing a single bullet at at a time. But beware, it’s real ammo they give you.
Your mission. To stop the Gestapo from gaining vital information from Madame Brûlée. She is being held in the Schloss (castle) at the heart of the site.
You can take the farm out of the farmers, but you can’t take the farmers out of the farm.
Consequently you’re handed a spanking new John Deere tractor to make your way across the Schwarzer Wald and the original castle moat before launching an attack with your rifle and handy pitchfork (A five-pound refundable deposit required).
Group play is advised, with four to six being the perfect number to take on the Boche. Armed Gestapo guards pepper your route and open fire with rubber bullets at will. The group with whom we ran the gauntlet shot and wounded eight Nazis before being thrown into the icy moat. Is February the best time to open this attraction?
If you do manage to free Brûlée be ready with your cameras to grab a shot as she shows you her nylons – it’s only a quick peek, but a great prize nonetheless.
The day ends back at one of the typical Gloucester weinstube where you can down several pints of bier or hock. Not an apple cider in sight. More’s the pity.
For more information: www.spreadingthereich.com