Reviewed by David Savage
Free Tours of London offer 3 FREE walking tours in London exploring different aspects of our capital city and on Friday 5 June I set off for London to experience the tours for myself. The three tours they offer are Royal Tour, Old City Tour and Jack the Ripper Tour.
My third and final tour of the day was the Jack the Ripper Tour which runs every day starting at 8pm, so I headed off to Tower Hill tube station where the tour starts (just outside the station exit at the London Wall – the remnants of an old Roman wall, there are 2 exits from this station). On this occasion our tour guide was Richard and this is clearly the most attended tour of the 3 from Free Tours of London, people from all over the globe are fascinated by these murders and the mystery behind the murderer and why they suddenly stopped without an arrest being made.
The Jack the Ripper Tour takes you on a tour through London’s East End and to the murder sites of the Whitechapel Murders and one of the world’s most infamous serial killers whose identity still remains a mystery since the murders occurred in 1888.
Before starting the tour Richard introduced himself, explained how the tours worked and the murder sites we would be visiting and at 8pm we set off on our 2 hour walk around London’s East End.
At every stop Richard gave us a brief history of the place and the conditions of the time and where the bodies were found and the condition they were in. Photographs were also available to view should you want to see them (some more gruesome than others). There are five murders currently attributed to Jack the Ripper; Mary Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Kelly.
Overall, this is another excellent tour and my favourite of the three tours offered by Free Tours of London, but then I have always been fascinated with the mystery of Jack the Ripper. The tour explains lots of details on the murders, possible suspects including the plausible and the absurd (Lewis Carroll and Oscar Wilde) and the conspiracy theories of how the Royal Family were behind the murders. It has obviously been well researched by Richard who clearly takes pride in his job.
The people on the tour were from all over the world and of various age groups so appeals to everyone whether you are a student, a foreign national or just looking to learn more about the world’s most infamous murder mystery.
The tour guide, Richard, was very approachable and friendly and answered any questions. He was humorous, a very confident speaker and all the information was delivered in more of a conversational manner rather than being lectured at making if fun and interesting rather than boring and long winded.
At 2 hours long there is lot of walking so make sure you wear comfortable shoes and be prepared for some gruesome descriptions of the murders as well as photographs. It can be quite gruesome at times so if you are of a nervous disposition or descriptions of murder victims that were killed in a horrific manner than this tour isn’t for you.
So as this is a free tour how to the guides earn a living? Well the simple answer is that you effectively tip the guide, paying what you think the tour and the guide are worth. So if you didn’t like the tour or you feel the guide wasn’t any good you pay nothing, but if like me you found it interesting and insightful, friendly, humorous, chilling and you take away some knowledge from it (maybe to enforce your own Ripper theory) then you pay what you can realistically afford and what you think it’s worth. So it is affordable for every budget.
I highly recommend Free Tours of London and it is definitely worth taking the time to do, worst case scenario is that it only costs you 2 hours of your time, although from my experience, and that of other people on the tour I spoke to, there is no reason you wouldn’t enjoy it.
There is need to make a reservation (unless your party are a group of 10 or more), just turn up at Tower Hill tube station at 8pm, find the guide with the orange umbrella and off you go!
If you have an interest in Jack the Ripper or murder mysteries then this is the one to do. You will find out about the murders, visit the murder sites, find out about the politics of the time especially between the two police forces that operate in London and ultimately left to your own conclusions as to who Jack the Ripper might have been.
Thank you Richard for a fun, chilling and informative tour.
If you would like to take the Free Tours of London Jack the Ripper Tour just turn up at Tower Hill tube station any day of the week at 8pm. For more information visit www.freetoursoflondon.com.