Experience the spook-laden sights and streets of London’s past on this 2.5-hour bus and walking tour. Ride a vintage double-decker bus, stop for two walking tours along the way, and listen to stories at every eerie stop from an expert local guide. Explore the atmospheric hunting grounds of the Ripper, see the former execution site of Smithfield Market and learn about bloodthirsty Sweeney Todd and the Cock Lane ghost. Finish at a cozy London pub to soothe your jangled nerves.
Board your vintage double-decker bus at London’s Victoria Coach Station to start your journey. Settle into your seat, pop on your comfortable headphones to clearly hear your onboard guide’s commentary, and brace yourself for the creepy sights ahead.Hear about the intriguing legends buried at Westminster Abbey and see Banqueting House, where Charles I was beheaded on the orders of Oliver Cromwell in 1649. Listen spellbound as your guide explains the ‘etiquette’ of the executions of the time, including how the highly trained axe men would often dispatch their victims in front of baying crowds at Tower Hill — another spooky sight on your tour. In a barbarous act of showmanship, many would lift the severed (and occasionally twitching) head of the deceased for the gawping crowd to see. Some historical accounts suggest this was also done to show the still-conscious head to the watching crowd — a spine-chilling thought.Next, pass the Old Bailey, the site of many public hangings, and the Royal London Hospital, once home to the famous Elephant Man. See Fleet Street, where the infamous barber Sweeney Todd and his accomplice, Mrs Lovett, allegedly made pies packed with the flesh of their victims before selling them to peckish passersby.At London’s Smithfield Market, walk through the deserted building and surrounding cobbled lanes. See the memorial to William Wallace (depicted in the film Braveheart) who was executed here in 1305, and hear about the 19th century body snatchers who exhumed local graves in the ‘interests of science.’ As you walk, strain to hear the scratching and knocking sounds of Fanny Lines, the Cock Lane ghost, said to have haunted the street during the 18th century.As darkness descends, visit London’s East End, a hotbed of crime and vice during the 19th century. Here, in 1888, Jack the Ripper preyed on his victims, stalking the shadowy alleyways and butchering five local women in the flickering gaslight. Leave the safety of your bus to trace the serial killer’s gory trail with your guide, and inspect the murder sites while untangling fact from fiction in what is still one of London’s greatest crime mysteries.Afterward, retreat to the reassuring warmth of the Sherlock Holmes Pub near Trafalgar Square, a temple of memorabilia to the master detective. Your tour ends here, so stay to enjoy a drink and perhaps a traditional English fish and chip supper (own expense); it’s a fitting finale to your exploits.