There was no photography inside The London Dungeon, so you’ll have to make do with this brickwork. We spent quite a while looking at these bricks whilst in the queue, but not nearly as long as I had been warned. However, if you’re considering going yourself, particularly in school holiday time, it would be well worth paying the pound or so extra for advance priority tickets. We had left Mr 3 with Grandma and Grandpa, which was a good plan, as he wouldn’t have coped with that long on his feet and without ready access to a toilet.
As bricks go, though, these are wonderful examples. You can see points on the wall where signs have been removed and the bricks are still yellow and smooth. Where the pollution and dirt has got to them, they are blackened and pitted to a fantastic texture, quite appropriate to the venue.
Once inside The London Dungeon is all it promises. I haven’t been there since I was a child, and it has completely changed. Where once there were static displays you wandered past at your own speed and inclination, now there are actors playing parts and telling stories. I was mightily impressed. It was one of my favourite trips when I was a kid, and now it is even better. That’s before I even get onto the rides!
We had a photograph taken on the way in, then moved along to the plague ridden street. At this point it seemed quite familiar, but much more crowded than it used to be. We were all queuing to get to the next room, and I wondered why, when the admittance had been so slow. I didn’t realise we were going to be guided round the rest of the venue in a group. Once we were in the next room we were talked to by a very gruesome looking woman, who must have such tired eyes at the end of the day – she does her talk with her eyes slightly crossed.
She let us into the Labyrinth of Lost Souls, a hall of mirrors, in which we went round and round, with me getting a bit concerned that we really were missing something because it got emptier and emptier until it seemed like we were the only people in there. We made it out eventually, to then endure the plague and the great fire of London. We saw some examples of surgery, and the first upset, when the child of the man called on to volunteer for the display really thought that his dad’s hand had been chopped off! (It did look very real). We saw some torture implements (almost) demonstrated, then went along to be judged for our heinous crimes.
Miss 7 was the first participant here. She was sent to the dock, and questioned by a judge who was doing a very passable imitation of Russell Brand (or perhaps it was his natural manner, who knows?) She was convicted of pinching things: Purses, handkerchieves, boys bums…. she found the whole thing hilarious. On we went, through Bedlam, to the first ride. This was a water ride, through Traitors Gate and along the sewers, all good fun!
Our next stop was the barbers. Sweeney Todd was booked to give us haircuts. The children were too short to appreciate this one fully. The specially modified chairs had speakers in the back and various other effects which made it a quite spooky moment, but the kids were too short to notice. It was quite intense for the adults, though. This was the one room where there were relieved laughs when the lights came on at the end!
Next was the new 5-D laser ride. Quite how they count 5 dimensions is beyond me, although I suppose ghosts make an extra dimension. This ride was on CBBC Newsround the following day. I quite liked the 3D effects, particularly when combined with the physical effects to make you feel the presence of the ghosts, but I didn’t get on with the shoot-em-up aspect of the ride. I guess that’s just not my kind of thing.
The next stop was for a description of Jack the Ripper’s crimes. Now, if there was any part I thought a bit too gruesome for kids, this would be it. The girls didn’t seem to notice, though, gliding on to the Bloody Mary show without a backwards glance.
The final ride was the best! The drop ride to doom. It makes sure you leave on a real high. Only to be superceded for Miss 7, by the gravestone lollies in the souvenir shop.
Join us tomorrow for part three in our exciting adventure!