As humans, we seem to have an obsession with downright morbid things. Be honest, even if you aren’t one of those people that loves a good serial-killer documentary, I’m sure there is something a little bit gruesome that piques your interest from time to time. We see this fascination in the success of things like “horror escape rooms”, or films about people like Ted Bundy. It’s also reflected in some of the things to do and events that are popping up in towns and cities. Actual experiences are far more fun and terrifying than just going to watch a film in the cinema, and thankfully the great city of London has plenty of choices of “spooky” things to do.
Jack the Ripper Walks
Yes, one of the most famous serial killers in UK history, sounds delightful going on a tour around the murder locations doesn’t it? I’ve been on a couple of these and they are so interesting. Victorian times, in general, are quite an interesting part of history, and you won’t just learn about Jack the Ripper himself, you also learn a lot about the living conditions at the time, and how the police and criminal justice system worked back then. The Jack the Ripper walk I have personally been on is only £12, and they run it 7 nights per week. The tour is easy to find, as the group for your night will all meet outside Aldgate station. There are quite a few other options available, so you may be able to get a cheaper price if you are willing to do a bit of detective work.
Horror-themed escape rooms
Escape rooms seem to have become all of the rages in the last few years, but did you know, there are dedicated horror ones? “No Escape” in Oxford Street has a great selection of themes including “The Demon Barber”. They also have a venue in Aldgate if that is more convenient for you. Because you are timed, escape rooms can be stressful anyway, so if you can handle the extra heat of being in a horror-themed environment then this could be a great day out for you.
Haunted pub tours
London is the home of a lot of history and in turn a lot of walking tours. If you are looking for a walking tour that is a bit less about people having their organs removed and more about the horrors of the spiritual world then a haunted pub tour may be better for you. One of the main benefits of this is that you get to stop off at various pubs, which should be a lot more “warming” if you do it during the winter months than standing on street corners looking at murder scenes.
The Tower of London
A little-known fact that won me a pub quiz once; the Kray twins were the last prisoners to be held in the Tower of London (they were not executed, obviously). Outwardly, I appreciate that the Tower of London doesn’t necessarily look that creepy, but inside you’ll find a lot of history about the tower’s 900-year history of torturing prisoners, as well as some fun facts about Monarchs like Henry VIII and the Queen Victoria. Ghost-hunting is a very viable activity to do on a visit to the tower because so 19 people were executed there, and their ghosts are said to wander the halls. You’ll also be able to get a close-up of some of the torture tools that were used at the time on prisoners and how they worked.
One of my friends used to go to London every year for her birthday with us all. From the age of about 10, her Mum would take us all on the train into the city and we’d do London Dungeons then lunch somewhere in Chinatown. The first year we went to the Dungeons, we had a picture taken at the start with the professional backdrop and props, and I got saddled holding a giant plastic rat. This became a running joke, and there are, somewhere probably in the depths of my friend’s loft, pictures of consecutive years of me looking slightly older each time, carrying a rat.
Thankfully, I didn’t catch “The Black Death” from it, but many MANY people in those times did, and London Dungeons pulls no punches in telling these gruesome stories. Not only does the experience cover the Plague, but there are also parts centered on Sweeny Todd, Jack the Ripper, The Great Fire of London, and Guy Fawkes. If you have any interest in the Victorian Era, this is worth a visit.
Visit a London cemetery
Again, London is steeped in history giving those that are interested in all things creepy a great idea for a day out. In the 1830s, population growth meant that the government passed an act encouraging the building of private cemeteries just outside the City of London. The result was 7 cemeteries being built, including Highgate Cemetery, which you can visit daily aside from Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Kensel Green Cemetery is still operational but is also steeped in history and worth a visit. This cemetery was built in 1833 and is the oldest commercial cemetery in London. Some of the tombs in this cemetery are fascinating and at the same time terrifying, if you are brave enough, visit when it starts to get dark.
The Viktor Wynd Museum
Everyone knows about London’s famous museums, but dotted around the city there are also several small museums of “curiosities” that are far more interesting, in my humble opinion. The Viktor Wynd museum is the work of The Last Tuesday Society (don’t worry, I don’t know who they are either), and you will find weird and wonderful collections like “Fairies, Mermaids, Unicorns and Giants”, “Magik and the Occult” and “Human Hair”. I have to admit, I’m a lot more partial to the stranger things in life than I should be, so these sorts of museums are always a firm favourite with me. Because, honestly, who wants to be normal?
Where to eat?
Days out in London make me hungry, well I am always hungry, but you know, more hungry, so if you are going to give one of these attractions a crack, why not take a quick look at my guide of cheap Asian restaurants in London.
Love to know your thoughts guys?