Braving The London Dungeon

As a lover of horror and history The London Dungeons provides the best horrible histories walking tour for those that are brave enough to do so.

The original London Dungeon opened back in 1974 and used to be situated next to London Bridge but in 2013 it made a £20 million move and located on the banks of the South Bank creating a new and bigger horror attraction for those who are brave enough.

I was invited down on a blogger basis along with a few other members of Love Pop Ups London to experience the changes since moving and being established within the South Bank for more than six years now.

The London Dungeon

The London Dungeon opened in 1974 by Annabel Geddes. The attraction was originally a wax exhibition of gore and macabre history, comprising themed tableaux under the Tooley Street arches. Early characters included BoudicaMary Tudor and Thomas Becket and had scenes from the Norman Conquest.

From the late 1980s to mid 90s, it evolved to feature walk through theatrical shows, such as the Great Fire of London and Jack The Ripper, during which time it was owned by the Kunick Leisure Group. It was acquired by Vardon Attractions in 1992, which later became Merlin Entertainments through a management buy out, led by Nick Varney. Merlin rebranded the Dungeon more as an interactive horror attraction, less historically-accurate and based around bad taste humour.

In 2013, the London Dungeon moved from its premises of 39 years in Tooley Street, to County HallSouth Bank, to be grouped with other Merlin-owned attractions such as the London Eye.

It took a team of over 300 hundred people to bring to life the new London Dungeon including more than 100 builders from 43 different trades, designers, engineers, script writers, theatre directors, costume designers and make up artists.

The new attraction is more than a third bigger and over 90 minutes delivers 1000 years of history in 18 shows performed by 20 actors with plenty of shocks and surprises and two state of the art thrill rides.

Giant precision cutting blades were needed to break through solid six foot thick walls to create some of the new show spaces including a lofty 16 metre tall, 14 metre wide recreation of London’s medieval city gates. Builders bored through three stories to literally drop the deadly dark drop ride, aptly named Drop Dead, in place.

Within The London Dungeon you’ll learn about past horrors of which happened in London from The Great Fire of London through to the killings of Jack the Ripper.

Braving The London Dungeon

The appearance of the London Dungeon entrance does not look frightening and does not make me think of a dungeon at all unlike wherefore when it was based within Tooley Street the entrance did look spooky and you were led down underground to some damp and dark dungeons.

Louise, Me, Joice and Bianca

Immediately upon entering the attraction there was a quick opportunity for a photo opportunity to step within inside a coffin, I wondered if it may of been Dracula’s?

We were then eventually led through a hallway where we were plunged into near darkness, setting the scene for the upcoming creepiness. Tickets are time-slotted as so there is not too many in a group whilst adventuring through the experience. However I still felt that the group we was in was too big and with there being so many tall people within our group I found it near impossible on occasions to see.

Stepping back into time through centuries before, we were treated to the sights, sounds and sometimes even smells of old London. This was a history lesson which is brought to life, but focusing on the most grim aspects of the capital’s past, such as it’s diseases, serial killers and cruel capital punishment methods.

The horrors we learned

Stepping through different zones we learned all about the horrors and going on’s of past London. With each zone there was constant tension making us all a little on edge and plenty of surprises and jumps.

The Decent

Lining up passing a corridor full of rats a Jester began our journey where we entered into a medieval lift with it’s grinding cogs and rattling chains as it winched us down into the dungeons taking us back in time to the horrible histories that happened within London over 1000 years ago.

City Gates

Managing to keep our heads we watched and listened to an executor tell us about the 72,000 victims of Henry VIII’s which all got beheaded and put on spikes like a kebab.

Guy Fawkes Gunpowder Plot

Beyond the City Gates we learned about Guy Fawkes. We found out how Guy Fawkes was tortured for over 10 days from the ripping out of the tongue to his crown jewels being chopped off before being be headed.

Miraculously Guy Fawkes head starts to come alive after a while and let’s just say at the end there was a big kaboom!

The Torture Chamber

London Dungeons
Photo credit: London Dungeons

This torture chamber takes us back to 1600’s which we discovered the implements which was used to torture those who were accused of a crime.

The torturer was eager for a victim as he loves pulling out teeth, cutting of fingers and anything else that he can cut off. For one unlucky audience member who was plucked out was swiftly placed into the chair of torture. The poor victim nearly had the torturers favourite instruments of a Pear of Anguish nearly placed within up his bum.

The Plague Doctor

Within 1665 the Black Plague riffed through London which led to people being locked up for forty days and forty nights until you either die from the plague or manage to purge the illness.

Survive that then you will meet the Plague Doctor but hang on his dead from the plague so his assistant taught us through those who were infected what would happen and what it looked like.

One person from within our group though was not lucky enough to survive the plague as he was wrenched from out of the group with the Doctors assistance immediately getting to work on him to try and cure him from leeches to medicine.

Escape The Great Fire of London

On 2 September 1666 the sparks from Thomas Farriners bakery in Pudding Lane.

However when Mayor of London, Thomas Bludworth was told of the fire he thought it was a load of rubbish when told about the fire but it soon raged out of control destroying the timber houses of London and set the whole city alight causing a ragging inferno. It even cooked pigeons from out of the sky.

Mrs Lovett’s Pie Shop

Stepping back to 1800’s to Mrs Lovett’s famous pie shop you’ll see the best pies that could be bought in London. You’ll learn all about them from how delicious and juicy her pies are and how they sold out all the time however she will never reveal her secret. Maybe the secret lies beyond the trap door above her.

Sweeney Todd

Mrs Lovett’s also an assistant for Sweeney Todd‘s Barbers which is above her pie shop. So if you did not just fancy a pie but also a short back and sides then Sweeney Todd is the man for that.

Squinting through the slats to Sweeney Todd’s barbers shop let’s say the men got more than they bargained for with a slash hear and a slash there.

Mitre Square

London Dungeons
Photo credit: London Dungeons

1888 bought murder to the streets of London as the likes of Mary Jane Kelly found out plus many other ladies. As Jack the Ripper stalked the streets at night but how many woman did he kill? and how did they meet their death? One of the ladies who fears for her life but still has to make a living explained all.

Whitechapel Labyrinth

With the Ripper striking again it was quickly on to the labyrinth of Whitechapel which was a confusing maze of mirrors and narrow streets. Going round and round in circles it was up to us to escape and not panic as Jack the Ripper was on our tail.

Jack the Ripper

London Dungeons
Photo credit: London Dungeons

Arriving safely at Ten Bells Pub trying to settle our nerves Mrs Waldren the landlady tells us about the stormy night of how two of Jacks victims used to drink here.

However there was no time for a drink as before the land lady could serve us Jack the Ripper struck.

The Courtroom

London Dungeons court
Photo credit: London Dungeons

An 18th century court room will you be called up by the judge and sentenced for your crimes of witch craft or peeing in the Thames? Question is who amongst us are the culprits.

To our horror Louise was called up on stand for witch craft. However she magically got herself out of being sentenced to death.

Escape from Newgate Prison

In 1736 within prison cells sat a prisoner which did not speak only starred out. Not knowing how long he had been jailed for or what his crimes were we stand there looking at him then suddenly like Houdini he escapes his shackles and bars.

Are we in danger we feared? However after a some seconds he was miraculously back in his cell and chained.

Drop Dead: Drop Ride

It’s 1783 and time to take on the Newgate Gallows. Guests will be able to experience what a drop from a noose would be like from the sheer darkness to the cracking sounds of necks.

This is an optional ride with a 1.4 metres. The ride is not suitable for heart complaints, pacemakers, people with back or neck complaints, broken limbs, pregnant or photosensitive Epilepsy.

The Tyrant Boat Ride (optional)

The boat ride will take you on the waters back to 1536 through Henry VIII’s wrath as the Jester had condemned you to death for conspiring with Anne Boleyn. Journeying along the Thames to the Tower of London, you’ll meet your fate. You may lose your head or get wet! Along the way you’ll learn about the murderous monarch, encounter chopping waters, scurries or rats and smell foul stench of sewage giving you a 360 feel of London.

There is a height restriction of 1 metre, guests at this height must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. If you have a back, neck, broken limbs or pregnant the ride is not recommended.

Unfortunately on our visit it was closed due to engineering maintenance.

The Tavern

London Dungeons

Those who braved The London Dungeon will be able to pull up a bar stool and enjoy a good old pint of bootleg beer or perhaps a decadent gin and tonic or even a hot drink (extra cost) whilst being served up by a East End landlady or Landlord within this 1896 tavern.

A piano will belt out the latest music hall tunes and cards are dealt in the gambling dean.

No two tables will get the same experience as further tales unfold about the Great Beer Flood amid rumours of a ghost.

Survived to tell all

Louise, Me, Joice and Bianca

Despite our attempts to pre-empt, we inevitably did end up screaming or yelping a few times with fear throughout our journey.

I have to applaud the cast of live actors who appeared as executioners, victims and serial killers along the way as they all played out their parts really well.

I particularly loved Jack The Ripper’s Whitechapel Labyrinth which is a hall of mirrors as it was confusing, disorienting but fun.

The only negative thing for me about The London Dungeon is the group sizes we adventurers are put within as I feel they are too large and on occasions I could not even see what was happening as people got in my way.

The London Dungeon is easily dismissed as a scary attraction for horror fans BUT this is certainly a great attraction for history buffs and for those children who love shows such as Horrible Histories.

“Live and breathe the past.”

Are you brave enough to book

Discover more and book via clicking here.

Thank you to The London Dungeons for inviting me down to enjoy brave the dungeons and learn about the horrible histories which happened in London. All views are my own honest opinion.

Click below to read what the other community members who joint me on this brave journey. All their views are of their own honest opinions.

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1 Comment

  1. Louise Joy says:

    What better way to spend an afternoon than getting scared silly at The London Dungeon? Read my thoughts on London’s spookiest (most fun!) scare attraction.. 💀

    The London Dungeon is one of my all time favourite London attraction’s so I was excited to return again as I hadn’t been since it moved to the new venue! It did not dissappoint…read my full review @ http://bit.ly/31oyfFz x

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