A CARLISLE venue was voted the “best family day out” by News & Star readers - at the same time the former Central Plaza Hotel forced it to temporarily close.

Total Enigma, an escape rooms adventure venue on Bush Brow, just off Victoria Viaduct, was one of 10 businesses closed for two months after the crumbling former Central Plaza Hotel on the viaduct was declared a threat to public safety.

At the time of the closure, in October, News & Star readers had recently voted Total Enigma as the “best family day out” in the area.

However, the announcement of Total Enigma’s win had to be delayed until the business was back up and running, which owner Laura Waters and her team managed on December 23 following the Plaza’s demolition.

Laura said the team were delighted to have been chosen by the News & Star’s readers.

“It was great to hear that, after everything that’s happened over the last few months it was a nice bit of good news,” said Laura, 38, who lives in Carlisle.

“It’s especially welcome because it’s a worrying time for us.

“Since we opened up again, our trade has been seriously down on where we were at this point last year - by about 70 per cent.”

Laura said she was concerned word hadn’t spread far and wide enough they were back open for business - a task made more difficult by the partial road closure still in place.

“We’ve got discounts on offer at the moment, we’re offering half price every Thursday right now,” Laura said.

A 50 per cent discount on Thursdays is also on offer at Laser Quest, the laser tag arena also run by Laura and her team.

“It’s vital we get that momentum back,” Laura said. “We’re losing more money now than when we were closed, because now we’ve got running costs too.

“We’re just trying so hard to get the word out there that we’re back.”