Is London Dungeons OK for kids? Reviewing the experience and scare factor!

We went to the London Dungeons - me for the first time since late 90's and my eight year old for the first time ever. My my has it changed! So I wanted to share a quick review of London Dungeons here, as well as explain how scary and/or appropriate it is for kids. 

in front of london dungeons in sunshine

Firstly, what did London Dungeons include as an experience? London Dungeons is a theatrical experience. The actors introduce you to the bits of history or lore of London's gruesome past. It is dark, and has sensory experiences with smells and jump scares, but it isn't a horror or a scare experience and actors won't touch you. 

The style reminds me of it's next-door neighbour, Shrek's Adventure, but as an edgy teenage-version. You start with a ride (The Tyrant Boat Ride), and then get taken to series of rooms where actors await you. You are led through a loose storyline, from room to a room, and there was even the same type of a mirror maze as at Shrek's Adventure. But it is all of course spookier and darker, with gory undertones. 

At London Dungeons visiting the pub Ten Bells and hearing about Jack the Ripper was the highlight of the experience for me, quite spooky and good jump scares! You finish the experience with another ride, the Drop Dead ride, which is a 10 meter drop. As a final stop, there is a gift shop, as always, and a pub where you can get an actual drink too. 

Unfortunately for us, The Tyrant Boat Ride was out of action (under maintenance) when we went, and the Drop Dead ride was a no-go for us due to my daughters short stature - you have to be over 1.4 meters for the Drop Dead ride. 

Secondly, how suitable is London Dungeons for kids? I think this attraction is best for pre-teens and teens. I was a bit worried it might be too scary for my eight year old. It wasn't, although she did squeeze my hand hard and jumped into my lap a few times. She's quite the sensitive soul at times, but she was OK with it as the way she put it - "I know they happened a long time ago or are just stories, so I wasn't afraid". 

If your kid is fine with Horrible Histories more gruesome stories, they'll probably be fine with London Dungeons. That said, I wouldn't take kids younger than eight if I am honest, as some bits are a bit gory and it is one thing reading about gore to seeing it with your own eyes. I believe the recommended age is 12+ though so you'll have to keep that in mind. On the day I'd say my daughter was the youngest one, but there were a couple of other younger kids around nine or ten years of age. 

If your child were to get too scared, I am sure you can ask one of the actors to escort you out through one of the emergency exits. 

Obviously with kids, and depending on their size, they might miss out on the last ride, so keep that in mind and manage expectations. For the boat ride you need to be over 100cm and for the free-drop ride you need to be over 140cm tall, which tends to be about nine years old. I also found it a bit difficult to manoeuvre my kid to stand in areas where they could see the actors as most of the audience were adults. 

Thirdly, what are the coronavirus safety restrictions at London Dungeons like? To be honest, not much. There aren't any limitations imposed by the government currently and it looked like it was back to old business at the Dungeons. It was difficult to socially distance with a group size of about 30 and very few wore masks. As it was indoors for an extended period of time we wore our masks. There were some places with hand sanitising gels. 

standing next to a skeleton at london dungeons pub

drink selection at london dungeons pub

Finally, what are my top tips for London Dungeons?
  • Situated at South Bank, you can combine your visit with other next-door Merlin attractions, such as London Aquarium or London Eye. Shrek's Adventure is also nice for young children, maybe ten or under.
  • You can get combined tickets to several Merlin attractions, saving quite a lot of money! These are a good deal if you are a tourist and want to do all in one hit. 
  • There are no photos during the tour, which is nice as it adds to the feels. So if you want photos you will either have to take them at the waiting area, at the pub, or pay for some cheesy shots. 
It was a fun experience, but not one that I will be rushing back to. If we were to get very cheap tickets in the future I might take my kids when they are a bit older and could enjoy the rides too. 

Check my other reviews for Merlin attractions, such as Madame TussaudsShrek's Adventure and SEALife London Aquarium too!


Popular Posts