Welcome to the Dark London Bus Tour

Fun Fear and History on One Bus

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About The Tour

A Journey into London’s Dark Past

Let us introduce ourselves

Explore the darker side of London on a vintage Routemaster tour bus, with Russell Edwards, author of ‘Naming Jack the Ripper’.

During the tour you’ll hear the real story of the city’s bloody past and discover the hidden secrets of its modern streets. You’ll see the sites of The Gunpowder Plot, the infamous Newgate Prison and The Great Fire, as well as major landmarks including the Houses of Parliament and the Tower of London. Along the way tales will be told of history’s greatest villains, from Guy Fawkes to Sweeney Todd, as well as the horrendous crimes, terrible punishments and shocking witch trials endured by ordinary Londoners.

The Bus Tour finishes with a true crime walk through Victorian Whitechapel, on the streets where the killer known as Jack the Ripper murdered his unfortunate victims. Here you’ll learn how the world’s biggest murder mystery went unsolved for so long, and learn the real truth about the man, and the women, behind the myth.

After the tour you have the opportunity to join Russell for a traditional London meal at the Hoop and Grapes, one of the city’s oldest pubs, of the few that survived the Great Fire in 1666.


Fun, Fear and History on One Bus

How it all came to be…

Jack The Ripper

Jack the Ripper is the best known name given to an unidentified serial killer generally believed to have been active in the largely impoverished areas in and around the Whitechapel district of London in 1888. The name “Jack the Ripper” originated in a letter written by someone claiming to be the murderer that was disseminated in the media. The letter is widely believed to have been a hoax, and may have been written by journalists in an attempt to heighten interest in the story and increase their newspapers’ circulation. Within the crime case files, as well as in contemporary journalistic accounts, the killer was called “the Whitechapel Murderer” as well as “Leather Apron”.

Find out more about the Jack the Ripper Murders here.

The Gunpowder Plot

In earlier centuries often called the Gunpowder Treason Plot or just the Jusuit Treason, was a failed attempt against King James I of England and Scotland by a group of provincial English Catholics led by Robert Catesby.

The plan was to blow up the House of Lords during the State Opening of England’s Parliament on 5 November 1605, as the prelude to a popular revolt in the Midlands during which James’s nine-year-old daughter, Princess Elizabeth, was to be installed as the Catholic head of state. Catesby may have embarked on the scheme after hopes of securing greater religious tolerance under King James had faded, leaving many English Catholics disappointed.

Find out more about The Gunpowder Plot here.

Newgate Prison

The first prison at Newgate was built in 1188 on the orders of Henry II. It was significantly enlarged in 1236, and the executors of Lord Mayor Dick Whittington were granted a license to renovate the prison in 1422. The prison was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666, and was rebuilt in 1672, extending into new buildings on the south side of the street.

Newgate Prison was a dismal, unhealthy place. Approximately thirty people died there every year. Physicians often refused to enter the prison and people passing by held their noses. It is the oldest, most famous, and one of the most important prisons in eighteenth century England. Though it was technically a local prison under the control of the Lord Mayor and Aldermen of London, it held a special position because it was not only the place of detention for all those awaiting trial at the neighboring court, but also a sort of holding pen for those awaiting execution. It also doubled as a debtors’ prison.

Find out more about Newgate Prison here.

The Great Fire of London

The Great Fire of London was a major conflagration that swept through the central parts of the English city of London, from Sunday, 2 September to Wednesday, 5 September 1666. The fire gutted the medieval City of London inside the old Roman city wall. It threatened, but did not reach, the aristocratic district of Westminster, Charles II’s Palace of Whitehall, and most of the suburban slums. It consumed 13,200 houses, 87 parish churches, St Paul’s Cathedral and most of the buildings of the City authorities. It is estimated to have destroyed the homes of 70,000 of the City’s 80,000 inhabitants. The death toll is unknown but traditionally thought to have been small, as only six verified deaths were recorded. This reasoning has recently been challenged on the grounds that the deaths of poor and middle-class people were not recorded, while the heat of the fire may have cremated many victims leaving no recognisable remains. A melted piece of pottery on display at the Museum of London found by archaeologists in Pudding Lane, where the fire started, shows that the temperature reached 1700 °C.

Find out more about The Great Fire here.


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Dark London Bus Tour Tickets

Phone Enquiries

Looking for more information or have an enquiry? Give us a call! You can contact us between 10am and 7pm ever day of the week. Our Phone numbers are:

  •  07539 547161
  • 07852 658789
  • 07956 861255

Meeting Point

The Dark London Tour Bus picks up from Tothill Street, SW1H, at 3pm.


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