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Plague, torture and a good laugh!
The Edinburgh Dungeon (Edinburgh)
Member Name: SusanLesley
The Edinburgh Dungeon (Edinburgh)
Advantages: Good fun, intersting history information, pre booking saves money
Disadvantages: A bit too expensive and naff in a couple of parts
Having read some reviews here on Dooyoo one of the attractions that I wanted to visit whilst I was in Edinburgh was the Edinburgh Dungeons. On our final day in the city that is exactly what we did.
Now I am going to tell you a bit about it but I am going to try and be careful not to spoil the experience for any of you who have not yet been so if my descriptions seem a bit sketchy at times trust me it is for the best. Had I have known exactly what to expect the experience would not have been as good! Those of you who have already visited will know what I mean.
I had visited York Dungeons many years ago and had walked around looking at a few waxwork exhibits and found the whole thing boring and a waste of money so I was intrigued to know how Edinburgh was going to differ from this. By the way the one at York may well have changed by now - it was in the 1980's when I went!
This attraction is very handy as it is located in the city centre just behind Waverley Station.
The prices on the door are £13.85 for adults, £12.95 for students, £10.95 for OAPs and £9.95 for children. For obvious reasons the dungeon is not suitable for very young children and parents must be responsible and make a judgement as to whether the children are 'grown up' enough to enjoy the experience. Children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult.
If you know when you want to visit the dungeon you can save up to 50% if you pre book on line, although you have to book at least one day in advance. Sadly ours was a spontaneous thing so we paid full price.
The dungeon can be hired for birthday parties, corporate events or school trips - full details are available on the website.
The dungeons are accessible to wheelchair users.
The full range of opening times is available on the website at www.thedungeons.com but generally it is open from about 10am until 5pm with longer opening hours in peak season and at Halloween. It is open seven days a week and only closed on Christmas day.
There are toilets available before you go into the dungeon - maybe that is so that you don't have an accident when you're scared later on! Seriously though the toilets are nice and clean but have red paint splattered everywhere so it looks like there's been a massacre in there! LOL!
When you first go in you will be asked to pose for the customary photograph with one of you in the stocks and the other holding the executioners 'axe' above your head. The photograph is then ready to view and purchase if required at the end of your visit.
You then pay or show your prepayment pass at the ticket booth and are offered the chance to buy a guide a book - as with all these places they are ready to get you to part with your hard earned cash! We didn't buy a guide book and it would have been pretty useless in the dingy interior anyway!
You are then asked to wait in the outer area of the courtroom for your tour to start. The tour will last between one and one and a half hours and the tours start approximately every seven minutes in peak times.
If you look at the website in the FAQ section you will see reference to the rides in the dungeon - don't get excited there's only one and if you blink you'll miss it. At one point you will board a boat which carries about 24 people but it only travels about 10 yards!
You do also pass through a maze of mirrors at one point which is quite fun.
Well as I say I am not going to spoil the experience by going into too much detail here. The whole thing is interactive and designed to give you a fright and also to make you laugh. Before you go in there is a notice reminding you that you are not allowed to touch any member of the staff but the reverse is also true - they are not allowed to touch you either so bear that in mind if you are getting scared!
You will be collected from the waiting area to begin the tour after jumping out of skin but I won't say why or you'll be expecting it!
The tour is split into various sections. The courtroom was entertaining if a bit predictable, but it gets you into the mindset of the tour. The information about William Wallace was delivered by an impassioned Scot so I am sorry, I didn't actually catch much of what he said. You will learn about an autopsy, the story of Mary King and Sawney Bean. The torture chamber was a scream - I'll leave you to find out quite how I mean that!
Added to the fright element you also learn a bit about Edinburgh's more gory history from the various guides.
That's as much detail as I am giving at this point.
Guess where the tour comes out? Aw you guessed! That's right the gift shop - after passing the place where you can purchase your photograph of course! To be fair the prices in the gift shop were OK and, since my Goddaughter in going through a Goth phase, I was able to get her a pair of fingerless gloves for £2.99 and a great tie with skeletons on for her dad for £4.99.
Well I was pleased that we had visited the dungeon as it was on my wish list so to speak, but I do think it was a bit overpriced for what it was. Some parts were a bit naff but most of it was really good and certainly made me jump more than once! I would have said that a price tag of £10 would be more reasonable though. Obviously the answer to that one is to plan ahead and buy your tickets online and save a lot of money!
It is the sort of place that having been once I wouldn't bother to go again as I would know what to expect and it wouldn't be as much fun.
In conclusion I would recommend it as the excellent bits outweighed the lesser bits so a thumbs up from me!
Obviously if you are afraid of the dark, claustrophobic or of a really nervous disposition maybe a walk round the castle would be a better option! LOL!
Summary: Worth a visit if you like a fright or two but pre book and save money!
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