Reviewed: The London Bridge Experience and The London Tombs
UK Park News were recently lucky enough to be invited along to visit The London Bridge Experience and accompanying attraction, The London Tombs.
The London Bridge Experience, which opened on 28th of February 2008, is a theatrical/educational trip through the history of London Bridge and its surrounding areas. Also included in customers ticket price is entrance to The London Tombs, a live horror maze, which is housed on the site of a former Plague pit.
Ticket prices are as follows:*
- Adult: ¬£23
- Child: ¬£17
- Family (1 adult/3 children, or 2 adults/2children): ¬£74
- Concessions: ¬£21
*Gate price on the day. Prices correct at time of publishing.
However, guests can save up to 50% if booking online, with a discount of on average ¬£5 per person. The attraction also regularly utilises actors on the streets surrounding the attraction, distributing¬† leaflets and often promotional vouchers, some entitling guests to buy-one-get-one-free entry.
The London Bridge Experience
After purchasing tickets, guests are split into groups of around 15, and are taken to start their journey through London’s history.
During the tour, guests are guided through many scenes, which make use of many different effects, from Animatronics to Smell Cannons – something which we praise The London Bridge Experience highly¬†for.
The use of smell cannons throughout the attraction really help to enhance the experience for guests – further emphasising the supposed realism of the scenes. Many attractions claim to use Smell Cannons, however, we can safely say that The London Bridge Experience stood out among the rest, providing guests with distinguishable smells that alter from scene to scene. Our personal favourite was the burnt scent used during the Butcher/Fire scenes. Overall, the use of smells¬†helped further¬†create an atmosphere that wouldn’t have been present had the smells not been used.
Animatronics also play a large role in creating an immersive atmosphere during the tour. Utilising numerous large features such as a moveable draw-bridge and a vibrating floor, one can only assume these took up a large part of the construction budget. Whether or not this could be spent¬†elsewhere on the experience¬†we are unsure. That being said, the animatronics do add a unique twist to the attraction¬†and are on a much grander scale than neighbouring attraction The London Dungeons.
Applause must also be given to the actors placed throughout the experience. Every single one provided a believable and entertaining portrayal of their individual characters. Having been our first time journeying through The London Bridge Experience, we were unable to compare their performances with previous tours, however, the actors portrayed themselves in a way that was seemingly unscripted and natural, often feeling improvised – something that is sometimes missing in scene based attractions. Interaction with guests was also well thought out during the attraction, with a member of the group being labelled as ‘Brownlow’, the group leader. Throughout the experience, this leader is often called up to take part it the scenes, for example, giving a¬†motivational¬†but also humorous speech as the¬† rest of the group help to pull down an animatronic¬†bridge.
We’re unsure as to where The London Bridge Experience classify themselves with regards to the mix up of an educational or a pure¬†entertainment attraction. During our visit, there were indeed many educational elements, however, these were not as apparent or in-your-face as some other attractions.¬†This can be seen as either a good thing or a bad thing, depending on individual guest preference. However, we believe that The London Bridge Experience have got the balance between the two perfected, making it informative whilst also keeping guests entertained.
Overall, we feel The London Bridge Experience is an excellent attraction. Its creators and staff have been successful in creating an immersive environment, that successfully encapsulates the grittiness of the stories being told. As a standalone attraction, The London Bridge Experience would seem a little short, however with the added London Tombs, it makes for a great value for money attraction.
The London Tombs
At the end of The London Bridge Experience, guests are lined up and told to prepare to enter the Tombs. At this point, those too afraid or too young are able to leave the attraction. Guests are then taken down a set of stairs where they are able to be photographed in front of a green-screen. Purchase of the photo is not compulsory, however, those who choose to do so can view it at the Attraction exit.
Guests are then split into groups of around 10 or more, and sent into the Tombs. To enter the Tombs, guests are required to enter the ‘Hellivator’, an elevator simulator. After many bumps and shakes later, guests enter the Scare Maze. From here on, a combination of Animatronics, special effects, and live actors are used to scare and disorientate visitors.
The use of Animatronics is rather unheard of in Scare Mazes in the UK, however, The London Tombs use numerous animatronics in an attempt to startle guests. Whilst most of these are successful, the largest of them, a large ‘rock monster’ seemed rather out of place and slightly comical. During our journey through the Tombs, we decided to stand at the back/middle of our group, as this is often the position which provides the most scares. We were however, rather disappointed by the lack of scares aimed towards the back of the group. Throughout the attraction, the focus tended to be on the front of our group, meaning that we were scared very little and were already aware of the actors by the time they got around to scaring us.
The actors throughout the Tombs were extremely competent and worked their area’s very well. From what we could tell, actors had to act in several scenes, rather than being allocated to a single scene, although we are told that more actors are present in the maze during peak times, reducing the need for actors to move between scenes as much. Each scene had a unique type of character, keeping the progression throughout the maze fresh and un-repetitive. Our only other dislike, apart from the ‘rock monster’ was the ‘chainsaw’ gimmick used in many scare mazes. This is when a character appears wielding a Chainsaw, and then progresses to chasing scared guests with it, whilst¬†roaring the engine.¬†We feel that this is a slightly overused, and often unnecessary addition to a Scare Maze, only due to the fact that it has be done many times before.
Overall we feel that The London Bridge Experience is a brilliant attraction that can easily live up to the level of entertainment provided by rival attractions. The initial portion of the attraction provides an informative and entertaining look into London’s history, whilst the London Tombs provide those brave enough with many scares, further cementing the attractions’ value for money. UK Park News would like to thanks all of the staff at The London Bridge Experience and The London Tombs for making this review possible.
“Please note that due to the nature of these attractions, opinions and views expressed in the above review may differ from what you may experience. The views expressed here are solely of the reviewer and may not accurately reflect yours or others views on the aforementioned attractions“
To book tickets, or to find out more information about the attraction, visit: www.Thelondonbridgeexperience.com