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Old Bailey

Old Bailey: Our most recommended tours and activities

London: Jack The Ripper and Sherlock Holmes Bus Tour

1. London: Jack The Ripper and Sherlock Holmes Bus Tour

Step aboard a vintage open-top bus, and journey through the haunted streets of London after dark. Along the way, hear stories about the legends buried at Westminster Abbey, and see the banqueting house where Charles I was beheaded. A guide will explain how the public executioner would often raise a severed head to the crowd to show it still twitching for several seconds after the brutal blows. Continue to the Old Bailey, where numerous public hangings once took place. Pass the Royal London Hospital where the “Elephant Man” once lived. Be spooked by tales of Mrs. Lovett’s pie fillings, which she sold from her shop next to a butcherous barber. Then, walk through a deserted Smithfield Market, looking for the William Wallace plaque where Braveheart was tortured. Learn about the 19th-century body snatchers that dug up local cemeteries “in the interests of science.” Listen out for the scratching of the Cock Lane ghost, Fanny Lynes, and hear her story of sex, loan sharks, arsenic poisoning, and séances. As the shadows lengthen, drive into London's East End, a hotbed of crime and vice in the 19th century. Relive the days of Jack the Ripper, when he came out of the fog and dimly lit alleys to stalk and butcher 5 victims. Stroll the path of his death trail to the murder sites, deciphering the evidence of the still-unsolved crimes. End in the warmth of the Sherlock Holmes Pub, where a wide collection of Holmes memorabilia is on display. The pub also serves an extensive menu of food, including a traditional fish and chip supper, which you can order from the bar.

The Law in London: Half-Day Walking Tour

2. The Law in London: Half-Day Walking Tour

Enjoy a 3.5-hour tour of London’s legal hotspots on a tour ideal for fans of “Rumpole of the Bailey,” “Crown Court” or any of the other TV series that focus on the legal system in Britain. Meet your lawyer guide at the front entrance to the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand. Go inside to tour this splendid example of Victorian architecture. Discover where London's lawyers meet to discuss cases, and sit in on an actual court case as it’s being heard. Afterwards, walk over to the Old Bailey, perhaps the most famous courtroom in the world. This is where famous cases, such as the “Lady Chatterley's Lover” obscenity trial were heard. You'll also visit the British Law Society, pausing for a tea/coffee break in their magnificent building. The tour also includes a visit to the increasingly important Rolls Building, where Russian oligarchs and others come to settle their disputes. Go through the Inns of Court, passing the spot where former Prime Minister Tony Blair had his cloisters (law offices) prior to entering politics. Walk through the lovely Temple Gardens and visit the Temple Church, made famous by Dan Brown’s “Da Vinci Code.” It’s also where the Hollywood movie was shot. The tour is all about atmosphere and ambience - and English law of course!  And those of an extra-sensory persuasion may see the ghost of Rumpole of the Old Bailey walking by! Complete your tour at the charming Old Cheshire Cheese Pub, where you will be served a half pint of the best ale on tap. As an added bonus, you will get a complimentary reproduction copy of the Magna Carta, which marked the beginning of the English legal system as we now know it.

London: Jack The Ripper Bus Tour with Fish & Chips Tasting

3. London: Jack The Ripper Bus Tour with Fish & Chips Tasting

Discover the dark side of London on this combined 3-hour coach and walking tour and learn about some of the capital’s most notorious murder cases. Starting from the Theatre Drury Lane, you will learn why it is considered London’s most haunted theater. Drive past site of numerous public hangings at the Old Bailey, and continue past the former home of Sweeny Todd, the demon barber of Fleet Street. Hear how his accomplice, Mrs Lovatt, was said to have baked pies from the flesh of his victims, before selling them to unsuspecting customers. As the shadows get long, head to London's East End, a hotbed of crime and vice in the 19th-Century. Learn how, during the autumn of 1888, terror struck when Jack the Ripper came out of the fog and dimly lit alleys, to stalk and butcher his 5 victims. Walk along his death trail, inspecting the murder sites, deciphering the evidence, and discussing the suspects in the case that has never been solved. Among the highlights is a visit to the 10 Bells Pub, where many of Jack the Ripper's victims were said to have drunk.

London Crimes & Punishment Walking Tour

4. London Crimes & Punishment Walking Tour

This private walking tour might not take you to many of the big tourists sights and famous buildings (though you'll see a few) but what it will do is take you to is to real London.  Sometimes a scary London, full of history of murders, dark deeds by criminals and often even more horrendous tortures and executions by the State. This tour will cover a number of neighborhoods, all of different characteristics and historical time periods.  You'll will start off in the heart of the East End and visit one of the most notorious pubs where The Krays famously and violently ruled the roost in the heart of the old East End (of London). Not too far away you will go back in time almost a century and you will retread the footsteps of Jack The Ripper and his victims whilst visiting and learning about the feared Workhouses that so many lived in and so many were trapped in. From there you will head towards Smithfields, home of many a famous and bloody execution.  Stopping briefly at the beautiful St. Bartholomews church, you'll then visit the shrine of William Wallace (Braveheart) where he was put to death in one of the most horrible ways imaginable. Onwards you'll go to the site of the old Newgate prison where people awaited their trials and deaths for centuries and you will stand on the spot where many of the executions were enacted. The Old Bailey is famous in the U.K. for being the court that holds many of the most infamous trials both now and then and you'll get to see one of the oldest courts in the world as you make our way towards St. Pauls and across the river where the notorious Clink Prison awaits us. Finally, you will pass through the maze of alleys around Borough Market and the setting for the poverty-stricken world of Charles Dickens before finishing on the site of the old Debtors Prison which influenced that Victorian writer in the most stark ways.

  • Guided tours
  • Private tours

Other Sightseeing Options in Old Bailey

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What people are saying about Old Bailey

Overall rating

4.0 / 5

based on 192 reviews

The tour was fantastic. The guide didn’t give us any bs, and added in extra bits of information about other things in the areas we were in. He was funny too, and made sure none of the party got lost! The weather affected the microphone a bit, so it wasn’t always clear when he was speaking on the bus, but otherwise it was brilliant. Definitely recommend.

Such a cool way to see history! The tour isn’t that scary at all, maybe a bit gruesome at times, but it’s mostly a sight seeing tour at night but you truly feel transported back in time at parts!

so informative makes you think! relive the steps the ripper took. Those women must of been terrified.

Such a fun walking tour, lots of interesting facts and tidbits, and a really great guide!

Very fun and entertaining your. Guide was great and energetic!