The Great Fire Of London: Now A Fun Experience For All The Family

Will Noble
By Will Noble Last edited 76 months ago
The Great Fire Of London: Now A Fun Experience For All The Family

When we received a press release about reliving the summer of '66 in an altogether immersive way, we were excited.

Our thoughts turned to dancing on an ersatz Wembley pitch in the fashion of Nobby Stiles, and recording our own version of the Beatles' classic Revolver. Yep, the summer of '66 was a good 'un alright — ripe for reliving.

Then we realised we were looking at the first six upside down: they meant 1666. But hang on — wasn't that one of the most tumultuous summers in London's history?

"FEEL THE HEAT AS LONDON BURNS!" barks the tagline for London Dungeon's latest blockbuster, which celebrates (and it really does seem they're celebrating) the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London.

In Escape the Fire, molten lead will run through the streets, cooked pigeons will rain from the sky, and St Paul's will burn to the ground.

Then, while be-sooted actors flee the city by boat, paying visitors will be shooed to the Lord Mayor's house, probably before being rescued by a buxom Nell Gwynn on horseback and being invited to smell Pepys's cheese*.  

"Guests will need all their wits to escape un-singed!" we're reassured. Seriously though, we hope they've double-checked the fire extinguishers.

Will Pepys invite you to smell his cheese? It's just too early to tell

Truth be told, the premise made us um and ah. Yes "only" six people reportedly died in the fire, and yes it was a fair while back now. But what's the cut-off point? If you tried to recreate the King's Cross fire of 1987, your business would be sunk before you sold a single ticket. A Blitz experience would prove hit and miss too, if you'll excuse the pun.

"Down with this sort of thing?" we asked ourselves in bad Irish accents. Truth be told, as chary as we were about the press release, a little bit of us wants to give this whole nearly-getting-burned-alive-17th-century-style thing a go. Maybe the London Dungeon knows what it's doing after all.

And if this turns out to be a hit, there's already a pustule-rific prequel on the cards.

Escape the Fire is part of the London Dungeon experience from 21 May. Tickets £28.95 (adult), £24.45 (children), book in advance online to save 30%.

*That last bit is just silly.

Last Updated 12 April 2016