Thursday, 18 April 2013

Find Alan!

I was invited to join a group of friends last Tuesday evening (16 April) to participate in a quiz/treasure hunt around the streets of London, organised by London Street Games and going by the name of Find Alan! A Manhunt in London. Only the 'treasure' was in fact six beer tokens (better than gold coins any day methinks!) and they could only be awarded by the eponymous Alan. If you could find him of course. 

We were a group of six; myself, close friend Natalie, and four of her friends (and hopefully mine now too!). LSG make a small charge of £5.00 to take part and you have to register your mobile phone number. Cryptic clues as to Alan's whereabouts are texted through at regular intervals and we as a team had to work out where we thought those clues were meant to be leading us. We were further helped by various additional hints, including visual clues, via Twitter. Google was also invaluable for obtaining information.

All six of us initially met near the statue of Eros at Piccadilly and the clues swiftly led us around a number of London locations, via Bank, Cannon Street, Charing Cross and Leicester Square. The experience was designed to last up to an hour and a half, but might be shorter, depending on how good you were at solving the clues to find Alan.

Although we were taking part as a team, this was not a requirement and you could actually participate on your own if preferred. It was clear a number of other people were doing this, or playing in smaller groups or couples. One such person was Sophie, an LSE student we met along the way and who ended up joining us in our search (and Sophie, if you're reading this, I appear to have lost your number!).

As we neared the final hiding place of Alan, we noticed various individuals darting up and down the streets and alleys nearby, obviously anticipating that it would be they who walked away with the beer tokens. But, ultimately, it was our team that finally uncovered Alan in an upstairs room at The Ship and Shovell, an unusual little pub located in Craven Street. It was unusual in the sense that it was actually two pubs, situated on opposite sides of the street to each other; one of them being smaller, with cosy little nooks and crannies, and the other, more spacious and laid out in Victorian style fittings and fixtures. Both are linked by their underground cellar.

Although we discovered Alan, we didn't actually get all six beer tokens in the end. A couple of other Alan-hunters had caught up with us and latched on to the fact we'd worked out where he was and followed one of our team up to the room where Alan was sitting having a drink and reading a paper, thereby claiming two of the tokens. It was only fair too that Sophie, being on her own, and alongside us at the winning post, should also claim one of the tokens. But the other three were ours and went towards our first round.

The organisers came over to congratulate us and handed us a placard to proudly display while we were enjoying our drinks, which said 'We found Alan!'. They also took a picture of us, which I believe may have been posted somewhere on their website (but I'm not entirely sure). After one more round Sophie, and the other couple who claimed first prize, each headed their separate ways and the rest of us continued our evening drinking near Leicester Square. It was good fun, so head on over to the LSG website if you like the sound of it and check out their other street games, including The Lost Case Book of Sherlock Holmes and The Five Ghosts Walking Mystery.


  1. Gonna have to be really finicky and correct you there Paul, the statue is in fact Anteros - the angel of Christian charity...

  2. Are you sure it's not Deceros? ;o) Absolutely correct Bryan. I am of course using the more popular term.

  3. Oh Paul, that's terrible! (though I must admit I had to read it a couple of times before I got the pun...) :-)