The London Dungeon

Attractions South Bank
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 3 out of 5 stars
(19user reviews)
14 Love It
Save it
1/2
2/2

Tales of murder, torture and other foul deeds are brought to life on a tour of London’s horrible past in scary but seriously funny style

After 40 years located under the railway arches on Tooley Street, The London Dungeon moved to its new home on the South Bank in 2013, yet as you walk through the dark, dingy cobbled stone ‘alleyway’ entrance to the London Dungeon, with the smell of (real, caged) rats around you, it’s easy to imagine this stinking place really has been scaring the jeepers out of visitors for centuries.

The immersive, 90-minute tour takes you through a kind of living museum, where you’ll hear horrendous historical stories about London’s past, told by a cast of costumed actors. The brilliant sets combine props (some real), smells, rides and atmospheric lighting to engage you in tales of nasty kings, plague-ridden homes, torture, murder and terror.

Step into the shoes of a ‘traitor’ in the time of Henry VIII and set sail to the Tower of London; then find out all there is to know about the Gunpowder Plot from Guy Fawkes himself; explore the streets Jack the Ripper once stalked and much more besides.

The costumes, sets and makeup are first class (those puss-filled spots on the peasants are particularly impressive), but it’s the tightly scripted, often funny performances of your hosts and the clever use of sounds, shadows and smells that fuel your fear at the London Dungeon. Don’t worry, you won’t be the only one screaming when something leaps out of the corner.

There isn’t an age limit, but it’s recommended for ages 12-plus and younger children would find it hard going. But even if you’re an adult who doesn’t fancy the boat ride or the sudden drop at the hangman’s finale, you can duck out at key points in the tour and meet your mates on the other side, so to speak.

By: Laura Lee Davies

Posted:

Venue name: The London Dungeon
Contact:
Address: County Hall
Westminster Bridge Rd
London
SE1 7PB
Opening hours: Mon–Wed, Fri 10am–5pm; Thu 11am–5pm; Sat, Sun 10am–6pm.
Transport: Tube: Waterloo
Price: £30, £21 adv, £24 ages 4-15, £16.80 adv ages 4-15
Do you own this business?
To improve this listing email: feedback@timeout.com

Average User Rating

2.9 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:1
  • 4 star:7
  • 3 star:4
  • 2 star:4
  • 1 star:3
LiveReviews|19
1 person listening
Richard N
Tastemaker

Attended a Ginstory Lates event at the London Dungeon. As a person living in London, the Dungeon has never been big on my list of must do things, but the teaser we got from the gin lates certainly made that prospect much more appealing. The event itself was more or less a way for the various gin hawkers to sell and promote their gins (I particularly liked the Scottish Love Gin) so nothing much to say there, except it was basically shot after glorious gin shot. Although perhaps the interaction between Gin and the Dungeons wasn't quite well put together, the actors that were performing definitely committed entirely to their roles, limited as they were, and I loved the creepy atmosphere, as if we were doing something totally illegal. It's an experience that definitely makes me think that I'd probably enjoy the full dungeon experience (with a little booze beforehand of course) and will consider doing the full thing in due time. 

Ana M
Tastemaker

Attended a Ginstory late - I wasn't sure quite what to expect but thought that tastings of gin would be given alongside a usual London Dungeon tour. This wasn't the case unfortunately - instead, we were led from room to room and samples of various gins awaited us in each room, with representatives from each distillery giving a bit of info on the gin. 


Some of these speakers were better than others, but I cant complain about the gin tastings themselves - after all, I'm a huge gin fan. I even bought some bathtub sloe gin from Ableforth's distillery, on the strength of their presentation alone. 


All in all, a fairly interesting evening but it could have been a bit better organised and some of the speakers from distilleries gave all too short talks on their gins.

Lucrezia A
tastemaker

I went to the London Dungeon Lates - Ginstory, an event which should have been a gin tour telling us about London's past and connection to gin. My expectation were quite high, but I went away being very disappointed. I was expecting to visit the Dungeon and learn about London's past through the mouth of experts and actors, but the experience was nothing like that. The interaction between public and actors was almost inexistent (nothing compared to the normal London Dungeon experience), and we just went from a room to another tasting gin, being handed a glass and receiving almost no explanation on what we were drinking and how it was made  (expect for few exceptions). Also, the "trip down Gin Late", a new show we should have experienced and which is also mentioned on the Dungeon's website was lacking. What a pity, I was expecting an equal balance between gin tasting and a London Dungeon's experience.

OnlymeElena
tastemaker

Went to see the Ginstory event at the London Dungeon. I wasn't sure what to expect and it was ok. The actual Gin tasting was excellent with fair amount of Gin at all stops so by the end we were a bit tipsy.

We started our journey in the London Dungeon’s very own Gin Palace ‘The Shoulder of Mutton’. The first Gin was brought to us by Sipsmith, served with Fever-Tree tonic with a wedge of lime. The journey continued with fascinating facts and history about Gin and we’ve tried so far: Old Bakery Gin, Eden Mill Love Gin, Spitfire Heritage Gin, Bath Tub Gin. It was very dark and most of the actors played their parts fantastically. The actors at the stops/gin shops were actual Gin entrepreneurs and were portraying the stories as well as being interactive with the crowd.

There were just a few proper Dungeon rooms and corridors and it felt that this journey could have been anywhere not necessarily inside the Dungeon. There were no scary bits!. My verdict is – need to add more London Dungeon infusions to the Gin tour. Similar to the previous review, 5 for the amount of Gin, 3 for the Dungeon. 

AJCroasdale
tastemaker

I attended the Dungeons for the one-night-only Ginstory Late, and as a result, my memories of the evening are a tad hazy. The amount of gin was very generous.


A definite highlight was, halfway through the very boozy tour, when everyone had become very merry indeed, we were suddenly run into the mirror maze which, despite being an act of minor sadism, was hilariously funny and very enjoyable. However, there wasn't that much opportunity to experience the Dungeons as the Dungeons: it felt very much like we were just passing through. The actors were great, though, and some of the gin producers were good at holding the crowd.


In the end, the night needed a bit more London Dungeon to balance out the gin, as it was really just a gin tasting in some gothic interiors.


Overall:

Gin: 5/5

Actual London Dungeon experience: 3/5

Lizzie W
Tastemaker

For one week only the London Dungeons is opening up after hours for a gin experience like no other!

I was able to attend this weekend and have to say I am on the fence.

I wasn't sure what to expect (apart from a lotta gin) but I came away disappotinted!  

The actors were brilliant and there was good quality gin to try (all delicious) however I thought we were going to receive the London Dungeon experience. Some of the gin makers were obviously really passionate about their product however too many of them just handed out a drink with no explanation. 

I know the history of gin in London (courtesy of the Portobello Road Ginstitute) however at this event the content about gin and about London's sordid past was minimal

Overall a lot of potential with little substance (but plenty of gin). 

Rellie Loves
Tastemaker

Like most, I've lived here for years and never really given The London Dungeon a second thought, but I'd recommend everyone go and experience it just once! The actors and special effects are brilliant and you'll find out about London’s horrible historic past, from plagues to mysterious murders. It's terrifying, hilarious and interesting all at once so laughs (and screams) are guaranteed. 


Tip: Book online for the latest discounts and offers

Lise M
tastemaker

After 6 years living in London, I've finally pushed the doors of the London Dungeon to try their Jack the Ripper Attraction. Guided by various characters we walk from room to room trying to catch Jack The Ripper. Each room try to explain crimes with a scientific angle. The attraction is quite educative and interactive and would be probably more suitable for teenagers who are interested in Forensics and science than adults. Our group had some disappointments as the performances were lacking of consistency and we had not enough material to solve the crimes in some rooms - so a lot of people were left aside waiting and wasn't enjoying much their evening. If I have to choose, I would recommend the full attraction  instead of this specific one as it's quite expensive for what it is. 

Aude
tastemaker

I stopped counting the times I passed the London dungeon without having tried it once.


I finally enter the place to try Jack the Ripper attraction and I am pretty sure I won’t go again.

We got announce at the beginning of the attraction that we will follow the tracks of Jack the Ripper and help to arrest him.


I read a lot that the London dungeon attractions were more designed for kids, and in a way I agree.

It was an interactive attraction asking a lot of participation from us, and my group definitely lacked motivation after work to speak about blood and black lights. Kids 12-14 would probably be happier to discuss it!


Even if the concept would rather suit kids, the talks were using quite a lot of technical terms and it was tiring to try to remember everything what was said.


Even when we had to find some clues on a crime scene, I had no fun; not enough black lights for everyone, and only one person in a big group responsible to mark the evidence.


On the last room, we just got given some letters and pictures and we were left on our own reading it, so not fun.


I just felt like I lost my time especially because the attraction ends without us arresting the Ripper and not even getting the chance to try.


Don’t waste your money and your time, it definitely doesn’t worth it at all!

Kirsty E
Tastemaker

For years I walked past this attraction on my way home from work when it was housed in Tooley Street under London Bridge station. It had a sort of eerie lure about it and the location seemed fitting for an ancient dungeon.

Since moving to its new home I feel that it has lost a little of this atmosphere. It doesn't seem quite as spookily enticing in County Hall on the South Bank!

However, once inside, the attraction packs the same thrills as it previously did. It is part walk through, part ride, part live action and each individual aspect is done well. The actors are great, sometimes terrifying, sometimes humorous, and the costumes are very realistic. The drop ride is fun, as is the boat trip although not particularly scary. Worth a visit with pre-teen children. Any older may not be so impressed.

Ladyvp
Tastemaker

This is a good attraction for children but for adults I think it can be a bit juvenile. 

mcuttle
Tastemaker

Ginstory: London Dungeon Lates



Last week I went to the Ginstory London Dungeon Lates night to sample some gins from different distillers and also experience the dark musty sights of the London Dungeon. To be honest the whole thing was a bit of a disappointment. There was a skeleton crew at the Dungeon and we were led through some of the back passages the staff used to varying areas where we were put in front of distillers who would tell us a little about their own gin and let us sample it. Some of the distillers started their talk before everyone was in the room, there was no real thought about how the actors could enhance the experience and talk alongside the distillers and some of them didn't really say anything, just pointed us towards their gin and invited us to have a sip. Some of the measures were generous (the Love Gin people let us have a sample in their bit and in the fake tavern at the end!) Others didn't even look like there was even any in the glass before we added our tonic mixer! Bath Tub Gin was the best as he actually explained the history of a gin outbreak in London where everyone was addicted to the stuff and 1 in 3 households was making it illegally! This was in fact better than the 'all new gin show' which was just one guy in character making some jokes for 5 minutes. Not worth the £30 or so entry fee. Just to go the normal Dungeon experience itself (review below) and buy yourself a gin after.


This attraction is pretty much a remixed version of the one that was at Tooley Street London Bridge for so many years. Now it's on the Southbank in County Hall near Waterloo and it delivers a similar experience. Telling tales of Jack The Ripper, Sweeney Todd, The Plague, Torture and Guy Fawkes amongst others, you'll be led through a disorienting maze of corridors by actors who set the scene. A mix of jump scares, humour, special effects and a couple of rides await (a dark boat ride and a sudden drop in the 'hangman's noose'). You don't have to go on either of these rides if you're of a nervous disposition. It's fun, and this time you don't get spat out into the gift shop, but into the London Dungeon tavern where you can enjoy a soft or alcoholic drink in exchange for a token you are given which is a much better way to end the experience.

Ros A
Tastemaker

Mixed reviews on this but my goddaughter was desperate to go. First things first - it's not at London Bridge anymore! It's on the Southbank, next to the London Eye and the aquarium. You can book tickets online and skip the queues - well worth doing. It's predominantly a walking tour although there is a small amount on an underground boat and a section in a lift which drops you down a metre or two. My goddaughter (aged 13) found it pretty scary and actually so did I at times - lots of scary looking folk lurking around and plenty of being stranded in the absolute pitch black while you wait for something scary to happen. It takes around 1.5 to 2 hours but it's a great spot for a rainy day or with teenagers and it also tells you a bit of London history too. 

GeorgeX
Tastemaker

Please be aware - this is not for adults. I thought I would go to have some fun with friends but it was too childish. Not scary at all. Great for children up to 13years old to learn about London's history. Even the fast-falling-down ride at the end was too childish - expensive attraction for no reason...

Charly Lester
Staff Writer

Really good fun, for all ages.  I went on a first date, and it was a great ice-breaker.  Yes, it's touristy, but sometimes it's nice to be a tourist in your own city! A great day out for older children, and a fun escape from reality for adults.


Charly Lester - Time Out Head of Dating

Sam

I never bothered visiting the old Dungeons in the past after hearing some pretty rotten reviews about them, so imagine my surprise at thoroughly enjoying our visit to the new site yesterday (02/03/2014)! I went with a friend from out of town and we had a good laugh: the whole experience was much better than I was expecting. Of the characters, I was especially fond of the judge and his slightly unhinged clerk ("Coming, Duchess!), Mary Jane Kelly and Mrs Lovett/Sweeny Todd’s stammering and terrified assistant. The disappearing/reappearing landlady of the Ten Bells pub was cleverly done and of the projections, I enjoyed the two plague-ridden corpses bickering in their coffins the best. The interaction between the characters and the “prisoners” (namely us) was fun: cheesy in a darkly humorous way (if you subscribe to gallows humour, you’ll most likely enjoy this) and the costumes and make up were great. The majority of the actors exceeded my expectations (Mary Jane Kelly and the Judge and his nutty clerk were especially good). The executioner’s drop at the end had us shrieking with pleasure and terror. My only criticisms were that the demarcated queuing area (just as you come in, to the left) was in desperate need of better lighting - it was so dark, I had to use my iTorch to guide me through without walking into the chains. Also, the second half of the boat ride was underwhelming. However, despite that, everything ran smoothly and it was obvious that a lot of thought and planning had gone into designing and setting up the venue. All in all, it was a fun hour and a half (or thereabouts) being guided through the underbelly of London’s dark history. I’d recommend booking online in advance - we did and avoided the ever-growing queue waiting outside in the cold.

Pat Young

Way too expensive for a predictable, cheesy experience. Save your money for the Imax instead.

tom

Great fun! Booked online priority tickets cheaper and faster entry. Very mont pytrhon funny with some clever jumpy bits