An Amusing Take On Edinburghs History!

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by glasgowgirl88 on June 21, 2012

Edinburgh Dungeons is located around the corner from Waverley Train Station in the city centre. There is no onsite parking but parking is available nearby. Edinburgh Dungeons is open most of the year excluding a few dates and Christmas Day. Depending on the time of year, they will open at either 10am or 11am and close between 4pm and 7pm.

Tickets can be booked in the attraction but you can obtain savings by booking online at If you have a Merlin Annual Pass, this will allow you to visit anytime during the year.

*Adult - £16.20 (as low as £10.20 online)
*Child - £12.00 (as low as £6.00 online)

Edinburgh Dungeons have been purposely designed to allow visitors to experience the horrible history of Edinburgh but in a less 'serious' way (compared to the ghost tours). Here is a brief overview of the attractions which I will discuss further on.

*Judgement of Sinners - 17th century court room.
*Torture Chamber - what would have been used during interogations and executions?
*Sawney Bean : Cave of the Cannibals - meet a family of flesh hunters and take a ride on a boat.
*Burke and Hare : The Business of Murder - a burial ground where you come face to face with the murderers.
*Mary King's Close - 1646 streets and the plague!
*William Wallace : Allegiance - complete with talking heads!
*Extremis : Drop Ride to Doom! - face you doom on this ride.
*Labyrinth of Lost Souls - a maze at the end of the attraction.

We arrived at the Dungeons around 3pm on a Friday afternoon. It is very easy to find. There are quite a few stairs down to the Dungeons but there is a lift and someone can come and help should you need help. I personally do not feel this attraction is ideal for those with mobility issues.

We had a 2 for 1 voucher with us and I personally wouldn't visit without one as I feel £16.20 is very expensive for one person. We split the cost and also purchased a guide book which was well worth the £3.00. The 'tours' leave the reception area every 10 minutes or so and we waited the maximum time. Everywhere is dark and 'cold' but thankfully dry inside and spacious. Our group consisted of 6 teenage girls, a couple and my sister and I. We knew we were in for a giggle with the bubbly girls with us!

The actors do their best to sound serious and do give a little bit of history but ultimately, it is difficult to keep a straight face as they are a little comical. That isn't to say that there aren't some scare aspects to the Dungeons - there are especially if you aren't expecting them so be on your guard is all the advice I can give!

The tour of the attraction flows well and a decent amount of time is taken in each section. No photography is allowed and they will throw you out if you try to take pictures. It is important that you do not touch the actors either! Each section has realistic backgrounds and actors - nothing seems out of place given the time and location it is supposed to resemble. The costumes are fab too.

The Courtroom has always been a firm favourite of mine. We had a female judge who brought two of our group up on charges. I felt incredibly sorry for the only man in our group as he was picked for everything throughout the attraction! He was brought up on charges of cross dressing and this was hilarious - poor guy was mortified!

One section not mentioned on the website is the operating room which reveals a 'surgeon' who uses a large and thankfully fake body to show us various organs. This section offered some surprises but I won't say anything else! The Torture Chamber is excellent. The English man in our group was once again picked to be caged up! My sister was also picked to be demonstrated upon. We found out about tongue pullers and the likes - cringe! The actress demonstrating was freaky and didn't flinch when telling us about what would have happened to criminals many years ago.

Moving on, we met jumped aboard a long boat doomed for Sawney Beans cave. Despite having been on this boat before, I was still anxious and hearing the girly screams from the front made me worse as I knew something was up ahead and causing frights! Sawney Bean himself was a scruffy, hillbilly type guy who creeped up in various areas of the cave. This reminded me of something from the Wrong Turn films! Bones, possessions from those murdered..yuck but well acted! The Burke and Hare section wasn't brilliant. It consisted off some tomb stone seats and the lights went out. Nothing special and really just a voice over.

Mary King's Close led us meet another actor and a realistically designed dark, close. This is a relatively short section of the tour and simply features a foot thumping actor and a misty figure of a lady - nothing particularly scary! Being a Scot, I was highly impressed with the William Wallace section! If you aren't aware of who William Wallace is, he fought for our country to free it from the grasps of the English back in the 1200s. He was then killed! The strench in this section was vile though and smelled of pee and alcohol which could explain the drunk acting - I think it was Sawney Bean again so perfect re-use of the characters!

Once again and as you would expect, the English guy was picked to face the wrath of William Wallace and took it in his pride! William Wallace is only partly present though - his head is on a large stick and it is fully animated. He spoke and sent mild insults and orders to kill the English 'twit' I believe was his choice of words. Luckily the English guy wasn't offended but some may be! The animated head was so funny. It kept making weird expressions and I couldn't help but laugh. The story was told of what happened to Wiliam Wallace and was done so in quite a loud, comical way with the word 'numpty' being used. To be honest, the one scenario reminds me of Still Game (a Scottish show).

The final part of the tour led us to the Extremis ride. This ride was opened a few years ago and this was my second ride on it. I actually expected something that dropped you through the floor so was a little disappointed the first time. You can ride if you are pregnant of course or have heart issues/major back problems and the likes. Everyone in our group went on. Extremis is a bit like a mini version of the Ice Blast (was the Playstation at Blackpool Pleasure Beach) and is in a dark room. You are secured in and raised up before being dealt your fate and drop back down into the dark room. It is fast and you do 'jump' as you fall but it is short lived!

After wandering around the mirrored maze (which is fun but frustrating when you can't find your way out!). You arrive at the picture shop. We had the option to purchase the Extremis pictures or those we had taken before entering the attraction. We avoided the ride photos as we looked awful in them but my sister bought two copies of the stocks photo for £10.00 (£7.00 each). They were of a high quality. We then headed upstairs in the lift.

The main gift shop has lots of souvenirs to choose from. Cheaper options including sweeties, pens and stationary (from 50p). There are various ornaments, pictures, t-shirts and bags available. I picked up a bag and it was priced at £21.00 which is extortionate. My bag had snapped half way around the attraction so I settled for a £2.00 'Bag for death' which was a canvas bag which was blood stained. My sister opted for a small stationary set for my nephew but there isn't anything you would take home to Granny or for young children! They also sell light refreshments including slush drinks, chocolate and juice but they are quite expensive.

My sister enjoyed the Dungeons but thought they were nothing spectacular. I feel they are worth a visit if part of a big group. Audience participation is really good if you are up for it and the acting is great. Staff are friendly and there is enough to see but not enough to justify the high entry price so look out for vouchers. Some may not like being part of a tour but there is no option to wander around at your own pace as you will miss all the stories etc.

Edinburgh Dungeon
31 Market Street
Edinburgh, Scotland
+44 131 240 1000

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