(photo from Edinburgh Dungeon on Facebook)
In all honesty, we did both have to talk each other into going a little bit, being the massive wusses that we are! The Dungeons are right next to Waverley Station, really easy to find, and once we got there, we decided to just man up and go for it. As we walked down the stairs, and it got darker and darker, we maybe were slightly re-thinking our decisiveness! We had our picture taken at the entrance (somehow I ended up being executed in the stocks. Not very sisterly!) and then we were ushered through into the holding cell. Because of it being Halloween, we were part of quite a big group, which was good because there was a huge range of ages, and we were all pretty petrified together!
From the holding cell, we were taken to a 17th Century court, where various members of our group were pulled up to the dock and accused of things like crossdressing and witchcraft, and then we were all sentenced to travel through Hell and see if we could make it out the other side…
The Torturer demonstrated some very unpleasant looking instruments on us, and then it was time to clamber into the boat and make our way through the caves, toward the legend of Sawney Bean. I’m not going to lie, the boat ride was genuinely terrifying – pitch black, with just the odd bit of strobe light, creepy voices echoing around you, and things hanging from the ceiling that brush your face. The guy sitting next to me in the boat spent the whole ride mumbling “dear Jesus, dear Jesus”, and Sarah had her face hidden in her scarf until it was over. Once we had (safely?) made it out of the boat, and into the caves, we were greeted by one of Sawney Bean’s offspring and led to the Bean’s lair. The Bean’s were and 18th Century cannibalistic, incestuous family, and they were happy to demonstrate their hunting methods, and even offered us some nice, fresh human steaks.
Sadly, the kings men interrupted our party, and we escaped into the Anatomy Theatre, where, inevitably, I was asked the question “If you were out, alone, on a cold night, and a handsome young gentleman offered you a dram of whisky and a warm bed for the night, what would you say…?” Obviously thats the impression I give off, and I don’t like to disappoint, so I answered “Absolutely, where are we going?” and stood up. Unfortunately for me, I ended up finding out first hand how Burke & Hare’s victims were killed without a mark on them…
Next was a visit to the plague victims of Mary King’s Close, and then the Halloween special, Dinner for the Dead. This was honestly the most scared I have been for a really long time – the combination of the Sluagh and the boy sat opposite me screaming his head off for the duration was pretty effective!
Then it was the execution of William Wallace, and finally a visit to the Grassmarket, where we were sentenced to hang on the Drop Dead ride! It’s definitely far easier to laugh about how scared everyone was when we were happily back in daylight, standing on Waverley Bridge, and debating where to go for some much needed lunch!
If you book online, adult tickets to the dungeon cost £10.95, and student tickets are £10.50 – the Dungeon is open 7 days a week, and the tour takes just under an hour and a half. We had a fantastic time, and I’d definitely recommend it!!