When is the perfect time to go on a Jack the Ripper tour in London? In a dark, cold, awfully rainy night, of course! This is the extreme weather we found when trying out the Jack the Ripper tour by Premium Tours, on Sunday evening. The tour started perfectly on time at 5.40 pm at the Grosvenor Victoria Hotel. We were a total of 8 people – not a small number considering the season and especially the rain! We know that during summer the group can grow as big as 40.
As usual, it’s the guide who makes the quality of the tour. We were lucky: Derrick, our guide (not the inspector! was quite perfect: a perfectly radiophonic voice, low-pitched and clear, a good rhythm, a vivid narration full of macabre and scary details, and some always-working jokes. Besides that, he was attentive to the group needs, careful not to leave us too much out in the rain and adjusting the walking tour accordingly.
The downside was the minibus: a bit claustrophobic, with small windows and an incredibly chilling air conditioned on, in the winter evening, probably for pure cruelty (the excuse was for windows defrosting). As for the tour, it is divided into two part: a bus ride along the Thames (around 30 minutes) and a 50 minutes walk in the Jack the Ripper area around the City. During summer there is also a short cruise on the Thames, probably a nice addition.
The bus tour along the Thames was quite nice, because the guide had a cool string of noir episodes to connect to places we are all accustomed to see, from old ones (like the first man to be killed by a train) to the most recent ones (the poisoning of the Russian former-KGB man Litvinenko with the polonium-flavoured sushi).
The walking tour started near the Mitre Square, where the body of the 4th victim was discovered; the tour then goes on in the narrow and desert streets of Whitechapel on the trails of the other 4 victims. Many buildings are changed, and the area is now one of the most expensive in London compared to the sordid slum at the time when Jack operated, but the atmosphere is still there. We have to say that sometimes we looked over our shoulders just to make sure that no one was following us in the dark rain…
The Jack the Ripper tour finishes with a bus ride towards the Sherlock Pub, a pub with a reconstruction of the studio of the famous detective. Overall, for a foreign tourist the tour seems worth the price (19.50 GBP per person), especially now that the Pound is weak.