Late in the 19th century, a series of heinous murders committed in London's foggy and impoverished East End captured the public's imagination. The serial murderer, called Jack the Ripper, was never caught, but the fascination with the unsolved crimes of Jack the Ripper continues unabated. Jack's grisly carving up of prostitutes was as shocking to Londoners at the time as it is to us today, and Jack the Ripper tours are one of the major attractions in London.
There are many Jack the Ripper tours, but London Walks has garnered acclaim as the best walking tour company in London by reviewers from Frommer's, Time Out, Fodor's, The New York Times, and others.
Guided by Experts
On Sundays and alternate Fridays, London Walks' Jack the Ripper Haunts tour is guided by Donald Rumbelow, the author of the best-selling book on the subject, "The Complete Jack the Ripper." Rumbelow has been an expert consultant for many major film and television productions about the Ripper for decades. Other guides for the Jack the Ripper Haunts walk include knowledgeable people such as an art historian who also leads tours at the British Museum and a professionally qualified City of London guide.
Where You'll Go and What You'll Learn
Jack the Ripper took his first victim in August 1888 when he cut the throat of Polly Nichols. Be prepared for tales of blood and gore in the East End of London as your guide takes you to the murder sites. The walk begins at Tower Hill on the boundary between Scotland Yard and the City of London Police, creating a conflict between the two jurisdictions that made it easier for the Ripper to evade capture.
On the walk, you'll hear about the victims and learn the details of the Ripper's grisly crimes. You'll go over the evidence to try to find answers to such mysteries as to why the inverted letter "V" was carved into Catherine Eddowes' cheeks and why the personal items of Annie Chapman were arranged neatly by her feet. And learn why the murders ended with the savage disfigurement of Mary Kelly.
After the tour, stop in at the old Victorian pub, The Ten Bells, for a steadying drink—the same pub where some of the Ripper's victims are said to have hung out before they were murdered.
Taking a Tour
There is no need to reserve a tour with London Walks. Choose a walk, like Jack the Ripper Haunts, then just show up at the appointed time and place to meet your guide. Walks are reasonably priced, with discounts for seniors and full-time students. Kids under 15 go free if accompanied by a parent.
Each walk lasts about two hours. The Jack the Ripper Haunts tour begins every evening at 7:30 (except on December 24 and December 25) at the Tower Hill Tram coffee stall just outside the exit of the Tower Hill tube station. The walk ends a short distance from the Liverpool and Aldgate East tube stations. On Saturdays, there's an afternoon tour at 3 p.m. (Just make sure your guide is wearing the London Walks badge.)