London Dungeon — A review
When I was asked if I would like to review the London Dungeons I wasn’t sure I could.
Not because of any constraints on our diary but because I had heard it was super scary. So scary that grown women had to leave via the nearest “emergency exit”. Hmm well that sounds like a challenge to me and having done Thorpe Park scary rides, well just how scary could the London Dungeon be?
Recently moved from its home for 37 years in Tooley Street it is now situated on the South Bank in County Hall, handily next to the London Eye and Aquarium so you can plan a whole day there. There was a queue of about 35 people outside which was a good sign, but since we had prepaid tickets we were allowed to skip to the front and were whisked inside.
To another queue that began to snake its way into the bowels of the building. We had barely stepped inside and there was an opportunity to pose for the camera with a bloodied axe and make like you were about to have your head chopped off. Call me a cynic but I hadn’t even got to the ticket desk and already there was an opportunity for money to spend if we wanted the pic. It was explained to us that it was all about getting people in the mood and into the spirit of the Dungeon, which I guess it was. For this experience is very much about audience participation and joining in. So why not start early?!
It was a good 40 minutes before we got to the ticket desk because you go through in groups, from room to room, so they have to stagger the entry. Which does make sense. We had pre paid tickets so were issued with our passes straight away and told to “have a horrible time” which did make me chuckle. There was plenty to look at as we queued though, along a re-creation of a cobbled alleyway complete with mancles on the wall and rats in cages.
The Dungeons are a walk through of 1000 years of London’s history and as history tours go, I have to say it is done very well. It is great that each room is a different event or period in time with characters in costume, and noises, scenes and smells to match. The journey starts with a boat ride as one of Henry VIII’s traitors and then you wander through The Houses of Parliament to meet Guy Fawkes before coming face to face with Sweeney Todd and Jack the Ripper.
All in all it takes about an hour and a half and as I say, is very well done.
If I had any criticism though it would be on a personal level. I didn’t like that the very camp chap talking about the plague was flamboyantly saying “I’ve got the plague” as though it was somehow linked to his sexuality. Nor the judge in his courtroom at the end making jokes about Big Dick…. Turpin. It all just felt a bit childish. And I am not sure I tourists for whom English is a second language would understand it. Or that when the Judge asked one of our group where he was from (having put him in the dock) he was judged guilty the minute he said he was from Poland. Call me sensitive.
As I say, they are only personal criticisms. I would certainly recommend it for an couple of hours, as a trip that appeals to all ages and it certainly wasn’t as terrifying as I thought it would be.
You could book your own trip here: Superbreak London Dungeon
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