There’s a lot of idiocy in the world. Morons are everywhere. I had this proved to me yesterday. It was Vicki’s birthday, and we went for a lovely Afternoon Tea at B’s Bakery and then a trip to The London Dungeon. I do enjoy The Dungeons, even though most of them are fairly similar in concept and execution, they are a fun thing to do when you have some child-free time. See, if you’re not au fait with The Dungeons – you probably know they are scary – don’t you?

Dungeons aren’t renowned for being the most welcoming of places. The London Dungeon state on their website –

“We recommend the experience is suitable for children 12 years and above, but this is at the discretion of the parent or guardian”.

There’s a sign on the way in saying something similar too. James is aware there are ‘Dungeons’ in London, Alton Towers and Warwick Castle. He just knows that a Dungeon is a scary place that definitely isn’t for him, and I’ve not even disclosed to him what goes on inside. He’s seven – he understands it.

As Vicki and I waited in the queue for our photo on the way in, I was a bit horrified to spot a group of two Mums, one with a son and daughter (maybe aged 6 and 8?), and the other with a baby and a little girl who looked about 7. They definitely weren’t anywhere near 12. They were all wearing Merlin Passes and the little girl piped up –

“Will this be like Shrek’s Adventure, Mummy?”
“Yeah.. A little..” replied her Mother.

I was concerned that is wasn’t going to end well.

All the children seemed quite chipper as we boarded ‘The Descent’. As we continued the tour, the excitable giggles quickly stopped, and the sniffs and snivels started. There was actually another family with slightly older children, one of whom burst into tears when a parent was ordered into one of the cages in ‘The Torture Chamber’.

As we walked between scenes the children from the group at the entrance were getting more and more upset. The baby was screaming, the little girl had tears streaming down her face. It wasn’t nice – ‘The Plague Doctor’ scene was the final straw for her. Surprisingly, the sight of a (fake) autopsy was just too much for them. As we got into the next scene the group were the last in – the actor looked over and asked: “Are you the last of your group?”. The two ladies said nothing, but the little boy piped up, with a quivering lip –

“We’d like to leave please”

The actor explained that they couldn’t exit immediately, but he’d take them out as soon as he could. I was dumbfounded that it was the little boy asking to be escorted out, not the parents! The scene essentially has the room filling with smoke, as if you were trapped in a burning building during the Great Fire of London. The little girl was in absolute pieces – she was sat next to me – her Mum wasn’t trying to comfort her, or tell her it’d be over soon. There were just barks of “BE QUIET!! IT’S NOT REAL!!”. The little girl shut her eyes and put her fingers in her ears. When the scene finished, the actor took them out through the nearest exit. I felt pretty fucking angry, not because a lot of the scenes had had rather realistic snivelling children sound effects. No.. Because why would you take you bloody little kids for a tour of the London Dungeon? THEN shout at them when they were upset by the death, violence and gore in them? Bloody idiots!

It didn’t end there – you see there were MORE children in our group that I hadn’t seen. They’d actually been pretty chill throughout The Dungeon, that ended in the Jack the Ripper scene. If you haven’t experienced it, you find yourself in The Ten Bells pub during a thunderstorm. The lights go out, and when they come back on ‘Jack the Ripper’ appears, wielding a knife and ‘slashing’ at a guest sat at a table. Obviously, the actor that plays Jack has to come into the room in complete darkness, stand on his mark, and do his thang. He has NO idea who he’ll be waving a knife at. Unfortunately, it was at a 5-year-old girl and her slightly older sibling. She, understandably screamed, and then cried, and cried.

I had to chuckle to myself, it was just such a ridiculous situation.

The thing is, I think it’s good that the age limit is a recommendation, rather than something heavily enforced. I know there will be some kids that are cool with it – I certainly would have loved it when I was little. I was into horror and gore at a very early age. It should really be down to the parents to choose what is right for their children. For many kids, The London Dungeon REALLY isn’t appropriate for them. The website makes it clear, the signage makes it clear, heck the atmosphere VERY early on makes it clear – common sense should make it clear.

Why are people such idiots?

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