It's October! Looking for some hauntingly good London activities? Here are our favourites:
· Have your mind blown at the Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities – located in Bethnal Green, this bizarre eclectic underground treasure trove of the intriguing and disturbing is well worth a visit. Everything from shrunken heads to Dodo bones…
· Ride the London Ghost Bus – All aboard the Necrobus! Self described as “The UK’s only comedy-horror theatre sightseeing experience on wheels”, this tour on a black Routemaster bus combines immersive theatre with riveting ghost stories and facts about the darker side of London.
· Or get close to the action on foot with a guided ghost walk. There are many companies to choose from, but we particularly like London Walks. They have a great selection of ghostly itineraries from the West End to the Old City, all run by excellent storytellers who can keep your spine tingling without relying on cheap tricks and jumps.
· One of London’s most grisly stories is the still unsolved mystery of Jack the Ripper , the murderer of several women during a terrifying killing spree in Victorian Whitechapel. Again, you have a wide range of companies providing guided tours of the gruesome murder sites and spooky alleyways of East London (London Walks runs an excellent Ripper tour), most meet outside Tower Hill station every evening between 18:30 and 19:30.
· Raise a toast to a ghost in a haunted pub! From the resident poltergeist at the Viaduct Tavern opposite the Old Bailey, to a young soldier murdered for cheating at cards at the Grenadier, Belgravia, to Dick Turpin himself revisiting his father’s former establishment, the Spaniards Inn, London has its fair share of places you can enjoy a drink while keeping an eye on the other… customers… other top tips for a supernatural sup are the Marlborough Head, Mayfair, said to be haunted by several criminals who were executed at nearby Tyburn, the Flask, Highgate with two resident spooks: a Cavalier and a young barmaid, and the Ten Bells, Whitechapel – not haunted as such but certainly frequented by several of Jack the Ripper’s victims, and perhaps the mystery man himself.
· Visit some of London’s hauntingly beautiful cemeteries - Brompton Cemetery and Highgate Cemetery, two of the ‘Magnificent Seven’ Victorian graveyards, are stunning examples of the Gothic splendour that Victorians did so well. Brompton Cemetery is the final resting place of physician John Snow, known as the "father of epidemiology" for his work during the Cholera Outbreak of 1854, Emmeline Pankhurst, champion of women’s rights and actor Brian Glover, amongst 35,000 others.
While Brompton Cemetery is free to visit, Highgate is divided in two, both sides with an entry fee. If you’re short on time, you can visit the East side for a small fee and freely walk the leafy paths to visit the graves of Karl Marx, George Eliot and Tim Pigott Smith amongst many other famous ‘residents’, however we would recommend joining a guided tour of the West side (the only way to visit), as your £12 ticket price also includes the East cemetery. This side you’ll see magnificent Victorian monuments such as the Egyptian Avenue, the Circle of Lebanon, and the achingly sad Mausoleum of Julius Beer, and go inside the catacombs that sparked a vampire hunt in the 1970s. Famous names on this side of the cemetery include Alexander Litvinenko, Michael Faraday and Christina Rosetti. George Michael is also buried here, but the location of his resting place is not being released.
N.B - as far as we're aware, all of these are still running, but double check before you go as local COVID-19 restrictions can change with short notice. Most of these also require booking in advance as numbers on tours will be limited.