The London Dungeons sit not only in the centre of the city, but deep in the heart of its history, exploring the good, the bad and the really ugly events from England’s past. On a tour that lasts ninety minutes visitors will find themselves led underground to follow in the footsteps of some of the country’s most notorious criminals. Every scene is acted out by dedicated actors who bring the stories to life, but watch out, because around every turn there’s a new fright to discover.
Take the first steps and descend into the bowels of London, where the city’s original sewers run under some of its most iconic buildings. Hop aboard a boat ride and follow the gentle underground stream to the City Gate, where the Gong Farmer, whose business was to collect the floating excrement, is waiting to tell his tale. Discover the trail taken by Guy Fawkes on his fateful trip to blow up Parliament, and examine the chambers of the city torturer who worked tirelessly to break his victims deep below ground.
Next stop brings tales of plagues, witch doctors in obscene masks and of people being buried alive, followed by an introduction to two of London’s most famous fictional characters, Sweeney Todd and Mrs Lovatt. After spending time watching the barber dispatch his unwitting customers with a razor blade, and declining meat pies baked with human flesh offered by Mrs Lovatt, visitors make their way through the maze of underground tunnels as they try to avoid meeting Jack the Ripper in the dark. It’s up to the Ten Bells public house, where Jack used to meet some of London’s other nefarious characters, and then in front of a judge to decide your fate. The final journey for visitors to this attraction, as it so often was with 18th century criminals, is a personal introduction to the gallows, and a ‘long drop’ that imitates the hangman’s noose. After all that, visitors might want to make their way to the real Ten Bells up top for a calming tonic or two.
The London Dungeons is considered the UK’s most high-tech haunted house, with dramatic displays, interactive rides and unusual lighting effects to enhance the experience. It’s an unusual, mostly authentic and certainly dramatic introduction to the best-loved bits of British history.
The London Dungeons are easy to find, located between the London Eye and the Houses of Parliament, overlooking the River Thames. In fact, their central location makes it easy to fit them into a full day sightseeing in London.
The London Dungeons are designed to scare so it’s not suitable for people who are easily frightened. Travellers heading to London from the end of July to the start of September should visit the Dungeons and see the Jestival, a long period of fun, joke telling and mayhem along with the usual scares.
The London Dungeons are easy to get to by underground. Westminster Underground station is just the other side of Westminster Bridge and is the closet stop, but from the other side, Lambeth North is also a short walk away. Buses run nearby but the area right at the Dungeons gets very crowded so travelling by taxi isn’t recommended.