London Dungeon is a live theatrical performance that takes visitors on an interactive tour through several centuries’ worth of macabre British history. Along the way, participants will come face to face with some of England’s most notorious characters—Mrs. Lovett, Sweeney Todd, and Jack the Ripper, just to name a few—while trying to escape the Tower of London, the Great Fire of London, and even the gallows. Spooky rides, unpleasant smells, flashing lights, and unsavory characters: the London Dungeon has a little bit of everything for thrill-seeking tourists.
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History of the London Dungeon
The London Dungeon has existed in one form or another for roughly 50 years now. Annabel Geddes founded the London Dungeon in 1974; when it first opened its doors to the public, the dungeon was primarily an exhibit of wax figures depicting violent scenes from dark chapters of British history. In time, though, the London Dungeon would transform into a live walkthrough theatrical show, and it was eventually purchased by the precursor to Merlin Entertainments in 1992. After nearly four decades on London’s Tooley Street close to where the London Bridge Experience operates today, the London Dungeon would move to South Bank in 2013. In anticipation of this move, the attraction was closed for about one year, during which time it underwent a £20 million upgrade.
London Dungeon Highlights
The London Dungeon experience typically lasts approximately 90 minutes, during which time visitors will be treated to a historical tour of London unlike any other they’ve ever encountered. Across two thrilling rides and numerous theatrical performances, London Dungeon visitors will come face to face with interactive reenactments of the most notorious chapters in the city’s sordid past.
Once you’ve descended into the dark, spooky, and smelly underworld of London’s most macabre historical events, you’ll have to survive the Tyrant Boat Ride, an immersive experience that sends you to the Tower of London for conspiring with Anne Boleyn; decide whether or not to play a role in the infamous Gunpowder Plot; charm your way out of a seventeenth-century torture chamber; and escape the Great Fire of London.
Other notable features of the London Dungeon experience include Mrs. Lovett’s Pie Shop, where the pastries are to die for and there just might be a trapdoor behind the counter; Sweeney Todd’s Barbershop, a recreation of the fabled Fleet Street establishment; Whitechapel Labyrinth, a horrifying maze where you’ll try and outrun Jack the Ripper; and the Drop Dead Drop Ride, which recreates the gravity-induced fall of the eighteenth-century Newgate Gallows.
More to See and Do at the London Dungeon
The London Dungeon has been entertaining guests for decades now. Here are several more things to see, do, and note as you plan your upcoming visit.
*If you have such a great time at the London Dungeon that you want to memorialize your visit, you’re in luck, as the attraction contains an on-site store that sells a selection of gifts and souvenirs. London Dungeon staff will also take a professional photograph or two of you when you arrive and you have the choice to purchase this as a souvenir of your visit, too.
*Visitors brave enough to make it all the way to the end of the London Dungeon can reward themselves by stopping in at the attraction’s tavern. Designed to resemble a Victorian-era watering hole, the tavern serves beers, themed cocktails, snacks, and a range of non-alcoholic drinks.
*The London Dungeon is considered most suitable for children over the age of 12 years old. That said, children of all ages are welcome, given that they are prepared for the dark, loud, and often-scary nature of the attraction. All children under the age of 16 years old must be accompanied by an adult.
*Given London Dungeon’s prominent location near other popular London attractions like Shrek’s Adventure London, SEA LIFE London Aquarium, and the London Eye, it works quite well as part of an itinerary devoted to exploring the many entertainment options found within the lively South Bank commercial district. The National Theatre and Florence Nightingale Museum are also located nearby, while Westminster Abbey and Jewel Tower are just across the Thames.
Why the London Dungeon Should Be on Your Must-See List
This classic London attraction has in one form or another been entertaining visitors for a half-century now with its dark subject material and various spine-tingling situations; if you haven’t already checked out, maybe the time is finally right to do so. In particular, thrill-seekers, history buffs, and haunted house aficionados alike are liable to quite enjoy the many twisted delights of a visit to the London Dungeon.