York is an absolutely beautiful city that is absolutely packed full of personality with beautiful, old buildings and traditional shops at every turn. However, it boasts a bloody history and is famed for it's haunted pubs, ghost tours and of course, The York Dungeon. I visited the Dungeon for the first time last summer with Karl and we both absolutely loved it and could instantly see why it was one of York's best attractions but unfortunately, as I'm sure a lot you already know, York fell victim to some simply awful flooding and being situated right by the river, the Dungeons got hit badly. After investing over £1,000,000 in revamping the famous Dungeon, it's finally back, bigger and better than ever with all new features and shows and last week, I headed down to York with my mum, Jess and Jess' mum Alison for the VIP opening.
When we arrived at the Dungeons, we were greeted by the new additions - the Vikings. The new part of the attraction is all about the bloody history and battles of the Vikings, a part of history I don't really know that much about so I couldn't wait to see what was going to happen. We were greeted with fizz and some nibbles (does anyone else just love tiny food?!) and after getting dressed up as Vikings in battle for our photos on entry, we were treated to a lil bit of a middle-age make-over. Jess and I were given battle bruises on our faces whilst Alison was given a nice big sword gash (whilst scaring the jester to death with her Viking shout!) and my mum had some nice little scrapes added to her head. To give you an idea of how amazing the make up and costume design in the Dungeons are, we were only given a tiny bit of a make-over and for the rest of the evening after we left, people were staring, staring and staring at us because it just looked so real! Seriously, the costume design is phenomenal and as soon as you see one of the actors in character, you feel like you've been transported back in time.
After we'd been suitably Viking-ed, it was time for the part we'd all been waiting for - the show itself. If you've never been to anything like York Dungeon before, it's a walk-through attraction with ten live shows, acting out the bloodiest and most brutal parts of history, really making you feel like you're taking a walk through history. Like I said above, it's the Vikings that are new for 2016 - get up close and personal with the invading Vikings whilst learning about Ivar the Boneless, the Saxon Kings and the ways the Vikings killed and tortured their enemies before meeting some of York's most infamous murderers, such as Guy Fawkes and Dick Turpin, or coming face to face with the Plague Doctor.
It's such a thrilling experience and hits just the right balance between scary and funny; we didn't stop laughing throughout and although we definitely let out a few screams when we were plunged into darkness, it was such a hoot and we all had so much fun. The sets of each show are amazing and really make you feel like you're there - even the floor is made to feel like you're walking down a street that's at least a few hundred years old! However, although the sets and the special are amazing, it's the actors who truly make the show. Each and every one of them is simply phenomenal, staying in character the entire time from the minute you walk through the door to the minute you leave. They are both terrifying and hilarious, getting everyone involved in the shows. Jess and I definitely got involved - Jess was chosen to be the King's Messenger, was tortured with vipers and called into court whilst I was locked in a torture chamber, found guilty of dancing naked around a fire and burnt at the stake for being a witch!
Overall, the York Dungeon is a truly fantastic experience - it's funny, scary and an all-round fabulous experience that also teaches you a thing or two about the history of York. Of course if you're easily spooked or easily offended it might not be for you but we all totally enjoyed ourselves and ended up having a fantastic day. The fact that I'd been before didn't make any difference either; it was just as good as the first time around and the special effects and the actors blew me away just as much! I have no idea how those actors manage to keep straight faces, especially the way that some of us were jumping in the dark!
The York Dungeon re-opened Friday 13th May 2016 so get yourselves down there ASAP (you can book tickets online to avoid disappointment on the York Dungeon website ). Watch out for another post coming this week about what else we got up to on our day in York!
Have you been to the York Dungeon before?
*PR Relationship. All words and opinions remain my own.