Editor-at-large Alexi Duggins is at your mercy. This week you dared him to join a spooky sleepover.
The problem with most quirky sleepover events is that you don’t actually get any shuteye. Two hundred people snore explosively in your ear. And your mattress is a rock-hard floor. But the London Dungeon Now that’s a place I’m looking forward to kipping in. Because its new all-nighters involve a proper bed. And it’s turning its recreation of Mrs Lovett’s Pie Shop – where Sweeney Todd baked human-meat pies into a bookable B&B, so you and your partner are the only occupants. Clearly, this has the makings of a decent night’s sleep.
‘Are you kidding?’ asks my girlfriend, when I tell her that I’ve booked us in. ‘It’s in the London Dungeon! As if they won’t spend the whole night trying to scare us!’
Oh yeah. Hadn’t thought it through.
As we’re served a pie and mash dinner in a recreation of one of Jack the Ripper’s local boozers, thunder and lightning explode through the windows. The lights cut out. And our waitress leap at us in the darkness. ‘Sorry,’ I mouth at my jittering girlfriend. ‘Should’ve thought it through.’
We’re led to our room, read a creepy bedtime story and are soon tucked up in bed, wearing pre-stained Victorian nightshirts that smell a bit like wee (not, you understand, that I’m familiar with the scent of wee-stained PJs). The time: only 8pm. As if nothing else is planned! We wait in panicky silence.
But by midnight we can ignore our bladders no longer. And to go for a pee, we have to wander through a dingy street scene. The cold cobbles press against our bare feet. The air is thick with gloom. Suddenly murderous cackle shatters the silence. A cloaked figure looms into view. ‘THIS IS IT!’ I squeal. ‘THIS IS THE SPOOKING!’
Then, as we stand there quivering and bleating like startled lambs, I realise something. Something very important. Something I have to get off my chest.
‘I’m really sorry,’ I say. ‘I know, I know! You never thought it through. That doesn’t matter now!’
‘No, this does matter,’ I say, as my girlfriend turns to me. ‘That terrifying cloaked figure… it’s a mannequin.’
Photos by David Tett
A London Dungeon sleepover costs £86, including tour, dinner, bedtime story and breakfast in bed. Book via tinyurl.com/TOdungeon.