It’s pretty much tradition at this point that me and one of my close friends do something creepy every Halloween.
Last year we took part in a zombie scare-maze that was happening in a nearby town. This year it was decided that we’d go up to London to visit a much larger – and more famous – attraction; the London Bridge Experience & Tombs!
So just what is the London Bridge Experience & Tombs? First opening its doors in 2008, it was originally built as a rival attraction for the award-winning London Dungeons. Which – as my mate kept pointing out – it is pretty similar too.
In essence the two attractions are pretty alike. Both take you on a very theatrical guided tour of the dark, bloody – and at times smelly – history of London. Brimming with creepy actors, spooky sets and even a ride or two, they teach visitors about the ghoulish side of London’s history in fun, morbid and scary fashion.
These striking similarities don’t make the London Bridge Experience a cheap copy however! Far from it. What marks it out as different are two main factors: a) the history portrayed at this attraction largely focuses around life in and around London Bridge, and b) the addition of the ‘Tombs’ feature – although I won’t say a lot about that now! That would be spoiling the best part!
Safe to say, the all-round terror of the London Bridge Experience began when we were greeted at the entrance, by what can be easily described as the world’s most terrifying ticket collector. Whom, having informed us that we would be the leaders on the next tour, posed what is probably the most disturbing question I’ve ever been asked in my life:
‘So who’s going to be the sacrifice?’.
‘Um……me?’ I offered, with a false bravado that was complete and utter bollocks in reality, and which I immediately regretted.
‘Oooh, good. The sacrifice won’t be needed for the first half of the tour. It’s the second half. When the time comes, feel free to just step over her body and carry on’ he drawled, creepy smile still fixed in place.
‘She’s wearing a very bright jumper – she won’t be hard for them to spot’ my so-called mate offered up helpfully, much to creepy dude’s approval. Well, thanks a bunch.
But by a sheer stroke of luck, I was saved from being a ‘sacrifice’ – whatever that meant – by the news that there were two extra spaces on a tour that was about to leave. So we would be trailing the back of that tour and, thank god, my sacrificial role would no longer be necessary.
So it was with an enormous sense of relief that we were led off in to the dark, mysterious corridors by the first of many costumed guides, to face the horrors that awaited us.
Over the next forty minutes we were taken on a virtual, multi-sensory journey through different eras of London’s grisly past. Starting with the Vikings, we were escorted through hundreds of years of history, coming face to face with grisly executions, the great fire of London, and even Jack the Ripper! Each time-period was explored via the medium of a series of spooky (and mostly slightly unhinged) historical characters, who discussed in unflinching detail the revolting, violent and disturbing features of the century they inhabited.
This was all very atmospheric and rather amusing at times, but we did have the distracting company of a 14-year-old boy who full of teen bravado decided to spend the majority of the time heckling the actors. Great.
But even he quieted down in the face of the numerous scare tunnels that were interspersed between the different sections. Most of these were your pretty typical ‘jump-scares in the dark’ type fare, but the worst for me probably had to be a cylindrical walkway with a spinning, kaleidoscopic light show. That had the horrible effect of making you feel like you were constantly being tipped to the side. Ugh.
But it was the London Bridge Experience’s second half that was the best part, and which was the main reason why I’d been so desperate to visit the attraction! I am of course talking about the ‘Tombs’ half of the tour.
The seven-time winner of the prestigious Screamie Award for ‘Best Year Round Scare Attraction’, this incredible scare maze is built on the site of a former plague pit.
Yup. They literally built a scare attraction on top of a former mass grave. Which is a potential horror-movie scenario if ever I heard one.
It therefore may not surprise you to hear that the scares begun before the maze was even open, starting with the discovery of skeletons by builders working on the site. Following this gruesome discovery, mysterious incidents of exploding lightbulbs, disappearing tools and the hair-raising sensation of ‘being watched’ were reported by workers, to the point where they ultimately refused to work alone.
This didn’t prevent the completion of the attraction however, and the ominously named ‘Tombs’ are now open to braver visitors as an (optional) finale to the London Bridge Experience.
And how did I find it?
IT. WAS. TERRIFYING.
This petrifying twenty-minute walk-through takes you through a dark, dizzying series of tunnels and mazes, interspersed with gruesome props and horrifying costumed actors! Split into different themed areas, the maze covers basically every classic scare cliché ever used, from evil clowns to dismembered corpses and ‘abandoned’ hospital corridors (which trust me, are far from empty!).
I like to think I’m fairly brave when it comes to things like this, but this maze seriously freaked me out, to the point when there was even one moment where I felt like turning back and noping out of there! Last years horror attraction involved being chased by chainsaw wielding zombies, but even that was less scary than the Tombs! It was some seriously scary stuff.
As mentioned before, it is perfectly possible to skip the Tombs tour if you are too frightened! But if you can summon the courage please do try it out; it really was a lot of fun! It provided a fantastically thrilling way to round of our visit, and we were both laughing (albeit a tad nervously) as we exited the attraction.
So with the visit over, how would I rate the London Bridge Experience & Tombs? A solid 10/10!
The London Bridge Experience was a superb London attraction to visit, and one that I’d highly, highly recommend! It was the perfect way to celebrate Halloween 2016, and I definitely hope to round-up some more of my braver friends and return one day!
If you’d like to find out more about visiting the London Bridge Experience, do check out the London Bridge Experience website for full details!
What scary and spooky places did you visit this Halloween? I’d love to hear in the comments!
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