Published on: 07/09/22

The nights are drawing in, the evenings longer and spookier, perfect for seeking out entertainments on the dark side. Ghost stories, Hammer Horror, horrible histories: what draws us to the shadier side of the human experience? There’s no one single explanation, as people have different reasons for seeking dark thrills. In our everyday lives, we don't experience genuinely threatening situations very often, but if we do encounter something scary, it attracts our attention- as our primal ancestors primed our genes to be on the alert for danger. Learning about historical terrors and gruesome deeds from the viewpoint of our more secure lives gives us ‘thrills at a safe distance’.

The ‘Dungeons’ attractions key into this primal pull, taking the experience several steps further than reading a history book, thriller or ghost story, or watching a film! Immersive 360-degree sets draw you right into history, with the action unfolding around you- then including you! This is thanks to the superb actors who, let’s face it, just love their jobs! Enacting some of history’s most famous figureheads and villains, they bring fun and fear, laughter and shivers in equal measure. Described as ‘the black comedy of attractions: dark, atmospheric and very funny’, with locations around the UK, you can enjoy discovering the dark history beneath the very streets of our most familiar cities. Once you escape, you will never look at the neighbourhood in quite the same way again...

London Dungeon

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One of six fabulous top attractions you can explore for less with a Big City Saver attraction pass (valid for 90 days, too, so no risk of running out of time!), the London Dungeon brings 1,000 years of authentic London history to life with stunning special effects, edge of your seat surprises and two exciting thrill rides. You’ll be guided beneath London’s foreboding medieval gates and along ghastly plague-ridden streets. With a unique mix of talented live actors keeping the fear and humour bubbling in equal measure, expect to meet infamous barber Sweeney Todd, his evil sidekick, Mrs Lovett, gunpowder plotter Guy Fawkes, Jack the Ripper with one of his unfortunate victims Mary Jane Kelly, and a supporting cast of torturers, plague victims and dark jesters.

Travelling through Bazalgette’s Victorian sewers, be warned to expect close encounters with non-human stars including giant cockroaches and the Dungeon’s resident family of scurrying rats! As well as 19 shows, and sneaky jump-scares, two state-of-the art thrill rides employ high-tech surprises guaranteed to get the adrenaline pumping. Take a turbulent boat ride along the dank River Thames towards execution after being condemned by Henry VIII- played ‘virtually’ by a giant of British stage and screen, whom we’re not going to give away! Then you’ll be literally sentenced to ‘take the long drop’, plunging three heart-stopping storeys in the pitch dark. At the end of your tour, you’ll definitely have earned your complimentary drink in the atmospheric Dungeon Tavern and Victorian pub experience!

Blackpool Dungeon

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There’s more to Blackpool than candyfloss, donkeys and the thrills of the pleasure beach- you’ll discover thrills of a much darker hue if you dare to venture into the belly of the Blackpool Tower for the seaside trip of a lifetime! With a host of authentic sets, amazing special effects and an exciting drop ride, the Blackpool Tower Dungeon is the perfect attraction for those who like a mix of fun and fear. Take a trip through 1,000 years of Lancashire’s gruesome, dark, mysterious and funny history, in the company of a full cast of brilliant actors who populate ten interactive shows packed with laughs and frights.

We don’t think we really need to warn you your guides might not be all they seem, with characters like the Jester, the Plague Doctor’s Assistant, and the not very comforting-sounding Torturer. Rumours have been flying around of the Pendle Witches- will you get to hear the legend of Meg Shelton before a case of mistaken identity sees you condemned? Don’t rely on Judge Blackheart; he’s pretty sure you’re guilty, and could send you for the thrilling Long Drop. Keep your senses on high alert, as you fearfully anticipate what's waiting around every next corner. If you’re a glutton for more punishment, there’s the onsite escape room- and if you make it our alive, calm you nerves and share your giggles with a welcome pint in the Red Lion pub.

York Dungeon

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Set in the heart of one of the UK’s most historic cities, the York Dungeon is a must-see, uniquely thrilling attraction that will transport your senses back through 2,000 years of the area's darkest history. See, hear, smell and feel York's stories come to life before your eyes as frighteningly funny characters transport you through time. Immersive sets, 10 all-live shows, incredible actors, and spectacular special-effects draw you onward through this action-packed tour, with the chance to take your turn in the centre of the action along the way.

Deep in the heart of history, hide with the monks of Eoforwic from the wrath of the invading Vikings, then discover Guy Fawkes' Gunpowder Plot and what really happened that fateful November night. Experience the return of infamous highwayman Dick Turpin, while the Plague Doctor's Assistant will delight in demonstrating the full effects of the disease for you. Can you escape the torturer and his intimidating instruments, or Isabella Billington, who is definitely not a witch...? Open all day, at the York Dungeon, things don’t just go bump in the night. With many hidden surprises, jump scares and laughs, all we’re letting on is: watch out for the rats!

Edinburgh Dungeon

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The perfect antidote to shortbread and bagpipe buskers, the Edinburgh Dungeon is a 70-minute, interactive walk-through experience using a professional cast of live actors, theatrical sets, spectacular special effects and thrilling rides to bring 1,000 years of Edinburgh and Scottish history to life, minus the boring bits! Uncover Edinburgh's gruesome past with 11 shows, state of the art special effects and two amazing underground rides in a 360-degree experience. With a cast of talented actors bringing the past to life, the stories they weave will draw you into another world, blurring the boundaries between safe reality and the menacing past.

As your rollickingly remorseless guides draw you back through time, you’ll come face-to-face with frighteningly funny characters, from torturers and judges to local legends including the cannibal clan of Sawney Bean, and infamous murderous twosome Burke and Hare. Explore surroundings like the plague-ravaged Street of Sorrows, the Anatomy Theatre of Dr Knox, the Witch Pricker’s interrogation chamber, and the mysterious Old Craig House, where a spine-chilling ghostly presence resides. Recommended for ages 8 and up, you’ll laugh, then look over your shoulder and shiver…

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

We have also put together a list of frequently asked questions at the link below, which include some Top Tips and Did you know information, which you can use to show off with your friends and family

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We hope that you have enjoyed reading our article called Dungeons and that you have found the information above include our FAQ page helpful in deciding on which venue you to choose for your Activities and Days Out.

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