London Dungeon - A Full Review!
London Dungeon – the one that started it all!
When it comes to the Merlin Entertainment’s owned medieval brand of terror there is one attraction in particular which started it all and that’s The London Dungeon.
What is The London Dungeon?
Originally located on Tooley Street close to the UK capital’s Borough Market district, The London Dungeon first opened it’s gates to the unsuspecting public in 1974 and proved an instant success!
The Dungeon was initially opened by Annabel Geddes as a gory wax works exhibition detailing London’s dark and twisted history.
Over it’s lifetime however the attraction has not only evolved, expanded and grown in stature, however it has also changed in it’s format too.
The attraction now takes those brave enough on a journey through 1000 years of the capital’s darkest history through the medium of live actor lead performances, onsite rides and more producing a unique and rather terrifying experience they won’t soon forget.
Due to continued expansion and growth the London Dungeon was forced to relocate back in 2013 to it’s new home at County Hall joining the 3 other Merlin owned and operated attractions in one easily accessible central location.
The Dungeon now features 19 actor lead shows and 2 underground rides all themed around some of London’s darkest times in including The Black Plague, The Great Fire of London, Jack The Ripper, Henry the VIII and so much more.
Who is the London Dungeon suitable for?
Although the Dungeons are ultimately family attractions, they are designed to scare and thrill as well as entertain.
This means that all dungeons recommend visitors be a minimum of 8 years old, however this is a recommendation and not a restriction as younger visitors can enter depending on parental discretion.
The dungeons are also not recommended for those of a nervous disposition and this is down to the fact many of the attractions shows utilise jump scare techniques to deliver key aspects of their performances.
Low lighting and loud noises are also constants throughout too.
If you do enter and find it becomes too much, you are of course free to leave at any time. To leave you need only alert the actor or actress present and they will be more than happy to assist you in doing so.
What did we think?
Out of all the UK based Dungeon attractions, London currently sits at second with York still firmly being our favourite.
Although the London Dungeon is technically Merlin’s flagship Dungeon attraction, from our experience it also appears to be the most inconsistent too.
This is down to the fluctuating quality of the run throughs we have experienced over the years.
Our most recent run through admittedly wasn’t the best. Some shows felt rushed, certain key elements of the experience were missing (namely the boat ride and the Plague House show) and the whole experience felt more like a conveyor belt as opposed to an experience.
As much as we understand The London Dungeon is by far the most popular, we certainly feel more time needs to be taken when it comes to engaging the audience.
The Plague Doctor and The Judge were by far the biggest examples of this as both performances felt rushed, impersonal and came across more like a chore as opposed to a performance.
Despite this however we still had a good run through and were particularly impressed by the attraction’s newest show – The Dentist (more on that in a second).
Overall as much as we enjoyed our recent visit we definitely feel there is a lot of room for improvement, however when it came to the non-show staff we found the service we experienced to be top notch.
We were also made aware of the reason for the boat ride’s closure (not in massive detail of course, however that wasn’t necessary) and we felt welcome throughout our visit at all times.
The Dentist - What Did We Think?
The Dentist is the London Dungeon’s newest show and sits towars the back end of your experience.
The show utilises a mixture of physical acting, unique set design, projected imagery, scent and lighting to deliver a truly unnerving experience from start to finish.
The show takes you on a tour through the history of dentistry from it’s gruesome origins to modern day dentistry showcasing the many different ways procedures have been carried out throughout it’s lifetime.
Audience participation is also included as a member of the audience is invited to take the chair for a routine extraction (by far the most grisly bit).
The Dentist also utilises intense lighting and sounds to deliver key moments in the performance.
Our favourite part had to be the part about modern day sedation as the realism of the lighting and sound used really creeped us out the most.
The addition of the surprise ending was also a nice touch.
You can catch your routine check up with the Dungeon’s resident dentist between July 24th and August 31st 2021, if you dare!
Is it worth it?!
Out of all of the Merlin owned London attractions, London Dungeon is by far one of their best!
Whether you’re a die hard horror buff, or just partial to a good scare or two The London Dungeon really is a must when it comes to visiting the UK’s capital.
Not only do you get one hell of an immersive experience from start to finish, however you also learn a huge amount in the process too.
The set design is also incredible too, and the inclusion of the scent based themeing throughout also helps to further immerse you into the stories you are experiencing.
So, next time you’re in London why not swing by the London Dungeon and traverse your way through 1000 years of London’s darkest history in a horrifying experience you won’t soon forget?!
Admission prices start from £27.00 per person online or £30.00 per person on the day, however we definitely recommend booking in advance to avoid disappointment.