Best UK dungeons you can visit to send shivers down your spine
Want to visit a dungeon in the UK but don’t know where to start? Let the RadioTimes.com team guide you deep into the vault of the country’s best dungeons. But, be warned, they’re not for the faint hearted.
If horror movies just aren’t cutting it any more, why not experience a ghastly tale in the flesh at one of the UK’s best dungeons? Halloween may be a few months away yet, but with the lack of sunshine, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s just around the corner; we wouldn’t usually say this in August, but the rainy and windy days make for a great ghoulish day out.
The London Dungeon was opened in 1974, and early characters confined to the dungeon included Boudica, Mary Tudor, and Thomas Becket, and the dungeon showcased terrifying scenes such as The Great Fire of London and Jack The Ripper’s escapades. The York Dungeon was the second dungeon to be established in the UK, and given that York was once known as the most haunted city in Europe, this comes as no surprise.
Next up came The Blackpool Dungeon, followed by The Edinburgh Dungeon - which is perhaps best known for its immersive Sawney Bean cannibal cave show, which is based on the legend of the family who resided in a Galloway cave.
All of the dungeons in the UK promise to terrify visitors with its live actors in gruesome scenes, and some dungeons, such as The London Dungeon, even have rides that you can try your luck on, if you’d be so brave.
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On top of dungeon entry, the RadioTimes.com Going Out team has gone the extra mile and found you some additional experiences to couple with a dungeon experience, such as a two-course meal at Mr White's by Marco Pierre White, plus beers and burgers at Revolutions Bar. After all, witch-hunting and plague-curing is thirsty work!
Let’s take a look at the best dungeons in the UK.
What dungeons are there in the UK?
The UK is home to six tourist-attraction dungeons: The London Dungeon, The Blackpool Tower Dungeon, The Edinburgh Dungeon, and The York Dungeon, as well as The Castle Dungeon at Warwick Castle and The Alton Towers Dungeon at the Staffordshire theme park.
Best dungeons in the UK at a glance:
- The London Dungeon, from
- London Dungeon Entry and Two Courses for Two at Mr White's,
- The Edinburgh Dungeon, from
- The Blackpool Tower Dungeon, £16
- Visit to the Blackpool Tower Dungeon with Burger and Beer at Revolutions Bar for Two, £73
- The York Dungeon, from
- The Alton Towers Dungeon,
£11£9 (save £2 or 18%)
- The Castle Dungeon at Warwick Castle, from £26
Best dungeons to visit in the UK
The London Dungeon
Perhaps the most famous dungeon of them all is the capital city’s dungeon. The London Dungeon boasts a mix of live actors, special effects, and rides similar to theme park ones.
If you’re strong-willed enough to take on this terrifying experience, you’ll take a medieval lift to the depths of the dungeon where your journey will begin. As you walk through the dungeon, you’ll encounter gruesome scenes from London’s terrifying 1,000 year history; there’s Mrs Lovett’s Pie Shop and her questionable ‘meat’ pies, and The Torture Chamber, where you’ll learn what punishment looked like in the 1600s. There’s also the Drop Dead: Drop Ride and The Tyrant Boat Ride, the latter of which is completely unique to The London Dungeon.
Now, The London Dungeon might not be the most typical date night location, but if you and your other half are into spooky things, then why not treat yourselves to The London Dungeon tickets plus a two-course meal at Mr White's by Marco Pierre White? That is, if you can stomach food after visiting Mrs Lovett’s Pie Shop!
The Edinburgh Dungeon
For a city rich with ghoulish history, you’d be hard-pressed to find one with as much as Edinburgh. The Scottish capital is known as Jekyll and Hyde City, and it’s home to some of the most haunted places in the world, such as the Edinburgh Vaults, which is fraught with restless souls who were forced to seek refuge underneath the city when Edinburgh expanded in the 18th century.
Speaking of seeking refuge underground, did you know Edinburgh has its very own dungeon? The Edinburgh Dungeon has live actors in rooms such as The Anatomy Theatre, where you’ll receive medical teachings from Edinburgh’s most renowned serial Killer, Dr Knox, and Witches’ Judgement, where the real-life accused witch, Agnes Finnie, will tell you whether you’re a witch. Also at The Edinburgh Dungeon is the Drop Dead: The Grassmarket Gallows ride.
Here are the best Edinburgh ghost tours.
The Blackpool Tower Dungeon
Ah, Blackpool, famous for Pleasure Beach, Blackpool Tower, and not to mention the Blackpool Tower Ballroom episode on Strictly Come Dancing. But did you know that amongst the fish, chips, and slot machines, Blackpool also has a dark history?
Swap ice cream for I-scream at The Blackpool Tower Dungeon as live actors and special effects will make you feel as if you’re living in Blackpool’s terrifying 1,000 year history. With 10 scenes and areas to make your way through, such as The Torture Chamber where you can volunteer yourself to be part of The Torturer’s demonstration (if you dare…), and Pendle Witches, where you’ll hear from Pendle Witch, Alizon Device, who was killed for her witchcraft, you’ll certainly need a waltz along the seafront to take your mind off of it — or perhaps a meal for two instead?
At Virgin Experience Days, you can visit The Blackpool Tower Dungeon, then head on over to a Revolutions Bar for much-needed burgers and beer.
The York Dungeon
Once named the most haunted city in Europe, York has over 2,000 years of history stained with murder and torture, which contributes towards the over 500 hauntings. To uncover the gruesome history, your best bet is to take part in a York ghost tour or visit The York Dungeon.
At The York Dungeon, you’ll come face to face with infamous characters from history such as Guy Fawkes and the Vikings, and there are various rooms with live actors, too, to get your spines tingling. Take a visit to The Plague Doctor and The Executioner, before venturing deeper into the dungeon to meet Father and Sister Abostus, who will tell you all about the Saxon chronicles of the land of Eoforwic, then head over to The Curse of the Witch to hear the story of the infamous Isabella Billington, and decide whether she’s a witch or not.
The Alton Towers Dungeon
As well as 40 rides and 10 themed areas, the Stoke-On-Trent amusement park also has its very own dungeon, appropriately named The Alton Towers Dungeon. With tickets for the theme park's Halloween event, Scarefest, on sale now, it's never been a better time to visit The Alton Towers Dungeon.
This 45-minute dungeon experience will see you sail on The Black River Boat Ride, where you'll visit the creepy residents who live beneath the theme park, and visit five dungeon shows, including The Torturer, where you'll take a seat in The Torturer's chair as he shows you his favourite devices, and The Plague Doctor, where you'll undoubtedly need a strong stomach to get to the guts of the plague through learning and even handling...
The Castle Dungeon at Warwick Castle
Do you have a strong stomach? You'll certainly need one for The Castle Dungeon at Warwick Castle as the experience transports you back to the era of the plague, and you'll meet some interesting characters from Warwick's 300-year grizzly history.
Once you arrive at The Castle Dungeon, you'll be greeted by the Castle Jester who is sure to make you squeal with both laughter and terror, then you'll head down to the dungeon for more terrifying treats... Amongst the live shows at The Castle Dungeon are The Judge, where a ruthless judge will decide whether you're a saint or a sinner, and The Torturer, where you'll learn about some of the most gruesome torturing tools like The Hook and the Chappy Chopper.