Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Saturday 20 June 2009

Tales of Terror From the Dungeon

If you’re planning a fun family day out this weekend, you might be advised to avoid Warwick Castle’s new Dungeon attraction, at least if you are of a sensitive disposition. In the month since it opened, it seems that 15 visitors have fainted and another 4 have been sick.

The new feature includes “decaying bodies, chanting monks, torture implements and execution”, together with lashings of fake blood and life-size models of torture victims.

Of course, cynical readers may already have concluded that this story actually constitutes a warped sort of advertising; after all, Londoners flocked to the first stage production of ‘Dracula’ after the management advertised that a nurse would be present at each performance, in case audience members were overcome by terror.

Certainly the terms and conditions on the Castle’s website suggest that it’s not as bad as all that. With a cheerful disregard for punctuation, they assert that “Due to it's scary content The Castle Dungeon may not be suitable for children under the age of 10, all children must be supervised by an adult”.

So if you’re over 10, you’re fine, then. Surely anything deemed suitable for an 11-year-old is hardly likely to warrant visitors dropping like flies. They probably fainted at the Dungeon’s family entry fee of £30 – that’s on top of the £48 you’ve already paid to get into the Castle.

Sadly for those who fell by the wayside, the conditions also remind you that “The Castle Dungeon is non refundable”.


  1. I suspect they may have been to the burger bar along the street first. But £30 entrance fee? Back in the Middle Ages you could have bought a decent war horse for that, never mind it being the income from a prosperous Manor.

  2. Although there's no evidence that torture was used in Warwick Castle (but hey! Why let historical accuracy get in the way of a good tourist attraction?), isn't it rather odd to treat the whole business as an entertainment, even without charging such a fee?

    Without a trace of irony, we invite our children to express horror at the idea of bear-baiting or public hangings, then take them out for a day to enjoy models of people being tortured.


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