Craig recommends… Here’s my latest London Dungeon review. You might like to read about the Ghost Tour at Hampton Court as well. The Clink Prison Museum might be better for the little kids because it’s less scary. Check out our scary events in London page for things like the Jack The Ripper Tour, Ghost Bus Tour and Medieval Banquet.
London Dungeon is No.5 in our list of London’s best kid’s attractions.
The London Dungeon uses mixture of live actors and Madame Tussaud’s waxworks to lead you through the story of the city, meeting lots of famous characters and criminals along the way.
It’s almost like a theatrical experience, and your group will get led from scene to scene past the piled-up rubbish in disease-ridden streets, swelter in the burning buildings of the Great Fire of London, and meet Jack the Ripper in a dark and dingy Whitechapel pub.
There are a couple of short rides at the London Dungeon, including a Tower of London barge ride through Traitor’s Gate, and up to the chopping block on Tower Green. You’ll also get strung up in a noose and experience the terrifying drop as they take away the floor!
This review describes the original attraction in Tooley Street. You can read about the new attraction in County Hall here.
When I came here as a kid it was more like a museum, and you could walk around at your own pace looking at all the gruesome exhibits on display. But it’s more like a guided tour now, and you get led from scene to scene in a group of about twenty people.
The first guy we met was a world-weary monk who led us into a mirrored hall with a load of stone columns in it – the Labyrinth of the Lost. The darkness of the room combined with the cage of mirrors made it look like the room stretched out forever, with bazillions of stone colums as far as the eye can see.
After that you end up in a little scripted scene about the plague. The actress played her part quite well and she certainly looked like she had it. Then we had to watch a little movie about the Great Fire of London.
I can’t remember the exact order of events after that because it went on for quite a long time, but I will try and describe as many scenes that I can… but here’s a quick little word of warning. If you don’t like being picked on then you should definitely give it a miss. They are probably about five scenes where they pluck an unsuspecting victim straight out of the crowd and drag them up onto the stage to be garrotted, hung, drawn, quartered, disembowelled, and many more unpleasant things. And being a British group, of course, we just all stood there hugging the walls hoping not to get picked, because it’s embarassing having to scream along whilst an actor pretends to spoon out your brains.
One of the scenes was like a Kangaroo court, for example, where the female judge passed sentence on the criminals in the crowd. But nobody wanted to stand in the dock, so she had to literally beg us to get involved. A German tourist eventually obliged but she couldn’t really understand what the judge was blabbering on about in her theatrical voice. I actually ended up feeling sorry for the actress.
Another scene involved a guy being tied to a stake as flames (red ribbons) licked around his feet. That same guy got picked on for the next scene as well, where he had to have his skull bashed in by a demon doctor. The Sweeney Todd scene involved was us sitting in a darkened room whilst he walked around behind us, pretending to snip off our hair. Little brushes in the back of our seats revolved around a few times to make us think that someone was actually touching our hair for real, and then right at the end the seats suddenly tipped back about two inches to make us think we were falling down a trapdoor.
The best bits were the rides. The first one was a little boat ride that took us past the Tower of London and then down a little incline to get splashed with water.
The second ride was supposed to simulate the effect of being hung… it basically just rose up about up five metres and then dropped down suddenly, making your stomach jump.
> Craig’s review of London Dungeon – “As you're queuing up for the show to begin you can hear a soundtrack of moans and groans and blood curdling screams coming from deep inside the building. They are not actors doing that -- that is the actual sound of tourists as they discover how much it costs to take a family inside. That is probably the scariest thing about the whole place for an adult -- the price.… continued”
If you enjoy this then try: Clink Prison Museum (walk it in 26 mins or catch a train from Waterloo to Clink Prison Museum); London Bridge Experience (walk it in 28 mins or catch a train from Waterloo to London Bridge Experience) and Madame Tussauds (catch the tube from Waterloo to Madame Tussauds).
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