There’s a shriek – a shrill, makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end kind of shriek. Followed by an unexpected howl of laughter. There’s a hen part in our group – this is going to be hilarious.
We’ve come to The Edinburgh Dungeon because they’ve got a new exhibit in the terrifying tale of Edinburgh’s somewhat gruesome history – The Green Lady. But it’s more than that today for me and my partner in terror, Sarah (last seen on Edinburgh Editor AquaSpinning), because neither of us have either been to the Dungeons before.
The Edinburgh Dungeon
31 Market Street, EH1
There’s no doubt about it, this place designed to be a tourist draw, a cursory ‘where are you from’ session from ‘The Judge’ in the first room revels we’re the only locals. But regardless – we’re all sinners and are being sent down for our crimes. Down, it should be said, many many steps taking us deep under the bowls of the building.
It’s really deceptive – you feel this place should be tiny, but it makes great use of Edinburgh’s many layers to create its tales of brutal surgery, body snatching (and cadaver creation), torture, cannibalism, the plague, and now the haunted nature of Edinburgh’s old homes. Told in a somewhat scatilogical way, this place is a fascinating introduction to Edinburgh’s bloody-thirsty history.
We went fairly early on a Saturday morning, and it has to be said that it does take a while to get going as those with pre-booked tickets get priority – we had to wait what felt like quite a while, and even then we were only behind 2 other groups.
If you’re a stickler for history you might question the order it’s done in, as it feels less like a journey through history as being herded through a choice selection of gruesome, yet entertaining, tales in an order that you struggle to get a grasp off. But this is entertainment, not a history lesson, so perhaps should be expected – the time flew by and we really enjoyed ourselves. Curious minds will still find plenty to interest them.
You go around the various sections as part of a larger group (I would say there was about 25 of us, on a rough guess), but ours was clearly made up of serval groups, which I would say is the best way to enjoy this place. A lot of the ‘scare value’ is – aside from the occasional person jumping out of the shadows at you – mainly in the anticipation and not knowing what’s coming next, but for those who take a fright easily prepare yourself to let out the occasional shriek. And for everyone else, you will jump, regardless of how fearless you are.
The Green Lady is the latest addition to their collection of terrors. Just as you get out of the street where the plague looks like it’s rife you enter into a house that’s been left to rot. The pictures are crooked, the curtains in tatters and the lamp slides mysteriously across the table. Wait what? It’s the story of the Green Lady – one of love and heartbreak. But whilst this sounds like the opening premise of a RomCom, its ominous setting suggests otherwise. As does the sudden darkness. And the… well, I would hate to spoil the surprises, but it is easily one of the creepiest parts of the tour – its subtle parts having as much impact as the show-piece events.
For those who are pregnant, have heart problems, issues with strobe lighting, or such things this is an attraction to avoid. Ditto those of a really nervous disposition. I would also say that although there were a couple of younger kids in our group, it’s not one for young kids (the little boy who must of been about eight though relished every gruesome detail, just as you would expect). I would suggest that this seems par for the course with such attractions and is really what you’d expect. For everyone else though, it’s a great place to take a couple of hours out, especially if you’re new to Edinburgh and it’s blood-thirsty history.
Edinburgh Editor was invited by The Edinburgh Dungeon to experience their new exhibit and our tickets were comped. Full details can be found in our disclosure policy. Photos courtesy of 3×1.com