Reviewed by Judy Cera
The London Dungeon is not for the faint hearted!
I took my two sons, aged seven and eleven, to The London Dungeon on Sunday March 15th. We were greeted at the entrance by a friendly jester who welcomed us and chatted with the children as we queued. It was dark inside and the sounds and smells were evocative of a dungeon – blood curdling screams and a putrid stench. After having our photographs taken, we were taken into a room with a group of other visitors and an actor spoke to us and told us we were all traitors who were plotting to overthrow the king, and were condemned to death, and we would be beheaded. We were them taken into a small room resembling a lift. The door was closed and flashing lights gave the impression of plunging to a great depth, accompanied by more screams. Then a door was opened and we emerged into another area where waited in a short queue for a ride on a boat. We were warned that we may get wet on this ride, but in fact we were only splashed a little. We were again plunged into darkness and we heard ghostly cries and eerie laughter as we were swept along through the famous Traitors’ Gate to our doom. My children, who are usually quite brave and not easily scared, were quite disturbed by this ride, especially at the suggestion that they were going to meet their death.
After this short boat ride we were taken to another room where we were again accused of treason, and we heard the voice of the ghost of Guy Fawkes who described in gruesome detail the torture he had endured before being beheaded. There was a loud bang as Fawkes’ gunpowder exploded, and we were ushered through another door where we were led to believe that we would meet the same fate as the famous Guy Fawkes. At this point it was all too much for my two boys. Even my eleven-year-old began to cry and begged me to get them out of there. A member of staff kindly led us out of the dungeon and that is where our adventure ended. We were reassured that we were not the first that day to ask to leave the dungeon before the end of the show. I was disappointed to miss the rest of the tour, especially the final ride which I am told is very exciting. The history is fascinating and educational, and the actors are very convincing, but perhaps this is why it is so scary – they are quite menacing and you can really imagine that they are planning to chop off your head!
If you are interested in London’s darkest history, and if you are not easily scared then I would recommend the London Dungeon. If, however, you or anyone in your family are sensitive or easily upset then it is probably best avoided. The website recommends it for children aged eight or over but in my opinion it is very scary even for children above that age.
The London Dungeon is situated on the busy South Bank, close to other attractions such as the Sea Life Centre and the London Eye. It is easily reached by bus, train or tube, the nearest station being Waterloo.
I have not given a rating as I did not experience the whole tour, so I don’t feel I am qualified to make a judgement.
Tickets cost £25.95 (adult), £20.95 (child, 4-15 years). Save up to 20% by booking in advance online.
For more information or to book tickets visit www.thedungeons.com/london.