Scary London – Ghost Tours, Haunted Houses, and Jack the Ripper
My travels with my kids have been enhanced by several little traditions we follow on every trip. These little traditions should vary as to what suits your family, but having a tradition is fun and lets kids hold on to something known in their travels into the unknown.
I grew up with a grandmother telling us quite scary stories when we were small. OK, so maybe the story of Sweeney Todd isn’t appropriate for a six year old, but my siblings and I loved it, and my kids have picked up the spooky gene. Our favorite holiday is Halloween and when we travel, we look for the ghost stories.
We’ve had a great time taking ghost tours in different cities around the country. We took a walking ghost tour in Washington, D.C. with fascinating historical stories. Another tour in Nashville took us around town in a retrofitted hearse, while a walking tour in New Orleans was a great way to see a different side of the city. I’ve been very impressed with the guides on these tours; they seem to love their city and boy, can they tell a story. You don’t need to believe in ghosts to appreciate their story telling abilities.
There are so many different tours offered if you want to see the scary side of London: ghost tours, haunted pub crawls, Jack the Ripper walks. There’s even a kind of haunted house, The London Dungeon, that was just down the road from our hotel, Hilton London Tower Bridge. However, I was most intrigued by The Ghost Bus Tour and one night, we made our way to Trafalgar Square to catch the Ghost Bus.
The Ghost Bus Tour uses an old double-decker bus with curtained windows and was quite full on the night we went. We climbed to the top level, of course, and got a seat in front. I was expecting a tour of the city with some interesting stories for the different stops, and the tour didn’t disappoint in that way.
I wasn’t expecting the level of theatrics, with actors on board to add drama, as well as light and sound effects. No contest, my kids considered this the best ghost tour we’ve ever taken, and I agree. It was also the funniest tour thanks to the talents of the conductor.
While we heard many stories about both historical events and more recent occurrences, the antics of the conductor are what we remember best. At one point, the conductor left the bus stating “he had enough” and continued his tour from the sidewalk via a wireless microphone, to the delight of the passengers.
I highly recommend The Ghost Bus Tour if you want to see the scary side of London with kids. And consider searching out these types of tours on your next trip with the kids to any city. It’s been one of the most fun traveling traditions we have!
Andrea is a single mom in Arlington, Virginia with a 15-year-old son and a 13-year-old daughter. Her children took their first trips when they were just four…