Jack the Ripper, also known as the Whitechapel Murderer, completely captured the fears of Londoners between 1888-1891 as a series of horrendously mutilated bodies were discovered. The assailant, responsible for at least five murders during that time, was never caught by police, and so the nickname lives on. Variously used as a warning to naughty children, by writers looking to tap into that fear, or as a symbol of faceless tyranny, Jack the Ripper has also inspired many tours.
Most Jack the Ripper tours explore the streets and buildings in East London where the menace accosted and murdered his victims, who typically worked as prostitutes in the impoverished slums that once existed there. Tours vary widely in quality; therefore, we have traipsed through the dark alleys of the web to bring you the best five in terms of itinerary, intrigue, value for money, the reviews of previous guests, and of course the general health and safety offered to all of those taking part.
FROM: £14/per person
What makes this excellent interactive tour so popular is the true crime facet to the evening. Guests are invited to follow the trail, see the locations where Jack the Ripper committed the crimes, as well as seeing photographic evidence from the real crime scenes themselves. In so doing you are invited to try and crack the case, which includes being handed ‘suspect cards’ to aid your investigation into the potential villains. This walking tour is so in-depth that the guide has assumed the title of ‘Ripperologist’, so you know you’ll be in expert hands over the two-hours.
From £13.50/ per person
Another innovative way of delving into Victorian Britain is provided in the form of handheld projectors on this long-standing and ever-popular tour. Donning their period attire, your guides will display photographs from the era of Jack the Ripper on the walls of the old buildings. You can see for yourself the changes and get a feel for what the slums of East London would have once looked like. Using this as a springboard helps bring Jack the Ripper’s world into clearer focus, providing a more chilling way to learn about both the horrendous crimes and the ensuing web of investigation and conspiracy that ultimately failed in apprehending anybody.
From £10/ per person
This two-hour Jack the Ripper experience is one of the best value walking tours in East London. Starting out near the Tower of London, you’ll explore the alleyways and streets that the Ripper would once have walked, knowing full well the crime he or she was about to commit, or perhaps hurrying away with bloodied hands after doing the fateful deed. You’ll visit the murder locations, and learn all about the poor victims and the main suspects as this murderous world is unveiled with every stop along the Jack the Ripper trail. This route begins near the Jack the Ripper Museum. Although museum entry tickets are not included in the price, it is a fun accompaniment to this tour.
From £30/ per person
It’s London’s greatest whodunnit? The Jack the Ripper murders have mystified and chilled generations of sleuths and this tour gives you a chance to crack the case. This tour pulls no punches either, diving headlong into the gruesome reality of these murders most foul (NB: the clue to the nature of the murders is in the ‘Ripper’ part of the nickname). See the places where the victims breathed their last, and discover the evidence at the spot where it was found (only a single clue was found at the time, but it could still prove illuminating). Your guide is an East London local and this walking tour takes place in the evenings, lasting around two hours.
From £42/ per person
Now, it’s clear what you’re thinking, and yes, you’re right, one does not ordinarily associate food, let alone fish and chips, with grisly murders and ghosts. But then again, a tour can be very hungry work. Over three hours you’ll come to learn about the haunts not only of Jack the Ripper, but also the hauntings around London’s East End and the legends that were inspired by this area in the past, like Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street. The tour involves a mixture of coach transportation and walking, with a visit to the 10 Bells Pub (drinks not included), and of course, a portion of fish and chips thrown in. Please note that this tour takes place four days a week on Mon, Wed, Fri and Sun.