Located on the River Thames, just between the London Eye and the Houses of Parliament, you will find the County Hall building, which stretches almost half the length between the Westminster and Waterloo bridges.
In that building, nestled between the Sea Life Centre and the Shrek Adventure, is the neat, unassuming entrance to the London Dungeons. And yet, if you were to climb the few steps and cross through the door, you will find that this proper looking building houses a whole world of sights, sounds and smells so dark and grizzly that it will make your hair stand on end from the moment you enter…
Yesterday, I took a trip through the London Dungeon and I can tell you now that I wasn’t disappointed. The tour, which contains two rides and a variety of different rooms that depict various parts of history (and mythology) – such as The Great Plague, The Great Fire of London, Jack the Ripper and Sweeney Todd just to name a few – is about two hours long and contains enough thrills, laughs and scares as you could ever want as you are guided through the dark and narrow streets of historical London.
The atmosphere is pressed on you from the start. Even as you queue up and wait for your tour group to be led in, you can see and hear the rattling of door chains as the occupants behind the doors try their best to escape. You are tormented by their screams of mercy. You can even smell their vile odour as it hangs in the air.
From that point onwards, you are led through the series of displays where (with the help of a little bit of audience participation) actors in period dress take on the roles of the historical figures, really bringing the history of London to life.
And if that wasn’t enough for you, the Dungeons also play host to two rides: one is a boat ride where you are taken down river to Traitor’s Gate to be made ready for your torture and eventual execution, the other appears at the end of the tour when you are dropped to your death at the gallows…
Now I know what you’re thinking – this isn’t a book review and it certainly isn’t an update on my own writing work. And you are quite right – it isn’t.
But the London Dungeon is a fantastic interactive experience that not only gets your imagination working but also puts you in the shoes of those who lived through some of London’s darkest times. If you ever imagined trying to escape the Great Fire of London, or what it felt like to be in a torture chamber, or wanted to know how Guy Fawkes was captured beneath Parliament, this is the place to experience it.
If you were ever looking for something that was dark and grim, the London Dungeon is the place to be. It is billed as one of London’s Must-See attractions and I could not agree more.
So if you ever happen to be strolling around Westminster or Southbank and enter the world of the London Dungeon.
I guarantee you won’t regret it…