THE LONDON GHOST BUS TOUR ULTIMATE GUIDE
Open: Sun - Thu: 7:30PM to 9:00PM
Fri - Sat: 6:00PM to 9:00PM
Time Needed: 1,5 hours
It’s fun, it’s interesting, it’s hysterical…and it might scare the living daylights out of you. But by going on the award-winning London Ghost Bus Tour, you will not only hear more about some of the darkest and most gruesome tales of London’s history, you may even come across the odd spirit or two…
The origins of The London Ghost Bus Tour’s midnight-black, double-decker buses are just as dark and dreary as the tales they tell. All of the buses were actually once “Carcass Coaches” which were used in funerals by The Necropolis Bus Company during the 19th century. During a funeral procession, the bus would transport the deceased (as well as several pall bearers and up to 42 mourners) through the streets of London before unloading the coffin into its burial spot in a graveyard.
Each bus featured a “carriage-style” type of seating so the mourners could offer condolences to each other during the ride, and the buses also featured lamps and window curtains. These curtains were usually drawn if the body was kept on the bus overnight due to superstitious belief that a spirit could get trapped in its own reflection and would be unable to pass on to the other side. Each bus also had a conductor on board who would signal a siren or “mourning whistle” to warn pedestrians along the road.
Although these types of funeral processions no longer exist today, the fleets of buses have been restored to their original design to embark on various sightseeing services around London. (And some of even believe that each bus is home to a few dark spirits of their own; if you believe in ghosts, that is…)
There are also on-board actors who will entertain passengers throughout the bus journey, and a conductor who will educate you on some of the many tales of London’s murders, executions and hauntings.
Each bus will transport passengers from Northumberland Avenue through the heart of the City of London and Theatreland, as well as across the Tower Bridge to the south of the River Thames. Also, if there’s enough time, the bus may make a short stop at a historic London graveyard for about seven to 10 minutes.
During the tour you’ll hear half-factual and half-fictional tales about some of the most infamous and horrifying people, stories and places in London’s history, such a Sweeney Todd (AKA the demon barber of Fleet Street), the tombs of Westminster Abbey, the black dog haunting Newgate’s Prison, the Southwark’s Cross Bones Graveyard, and much, much more.
Passengers will also hear about the gruesome stories of King Charles I and Anne Boleyn’s executions, the Great Fire of London in 1666, and even the heads which were once spiked at the entrances to the City.
Some of the many attractions, sites and landmarks you can expect to see during the London Ghost Bus Tour include:
Try to go on a tour when it's dark to add extra ambience to your experience.
Although the tour can be enjoyed by anyone of any age, those who struggle with English may not be able to understand all of the tongue-in-cheek humour told by the conductor.
Try to get a seat on the upper deck for the best views, especially since the windows on the lower deck are a bit on the small side.
8 Northumberland Ave, London WC2N 5, United Kingdom (See map).
The London Ghost Bus Tours depart from Northumberland Avenue, just outside the Grand Hotel (opposite to the Sherlock Holmes Pub) near Trafalgar Square.
If you are travelling by tube the nearest stations to the departure point are Charing Cross (which is a two-minute walk away), or Embankment (a four-minute walk away).
If you are travelling by bus, you can reach the departure point via routes 3, 6, 9, 11, 12, 13, 15, 23, 24, 29, 53, 87, 88, 91, 159, 176 and 453.
If you are travelling by train, the nearest station is Charing Cross, which is a four-minute walk away
If you are travelling by car, there are NCP Car Parks located at Covent Garden and Shaftesbury Avenue.
Each tour lasts one hour and fifteen minutes, but may take longer depending on traffic. Be aware that there are no toilet facilities on the bus, so you may want to use the loo before boarding.
Try to arrive at least ten minutes before the start of the tour you wish to board. During busier periods you may have to wait in a queue, and each visitor will be given a number to board the bus in order of arrival.
Be aware that the tour may be cancelled or suspended at the last minute, or even during the first half hour, in which event you will be given a full refund and/or be able to transfer to a different available tour.
Although children are welcome to board the bus, the tour may not be suitable for children between the ages of one and five, and all children under the ages of 15 must be accompanied by an adult.
Only non-alcoholic bottled drinks are allowed on the bus, and bringing alcohol and food on board is strictly forbidden.
Tickets for the London Ghost Bus Tours cost:
All children under the ages of five can board the bus for free providing that they are sitting on a lap of an adult and not occupying a seat.
If you are travelling with a group, tickets cost:
The tour times are:
There may be a tour departing at 6 p.m. from Sunday to Thursday during the busier periods, however this is subject to availability.
Please note that there will be no tours on December 24th, 25th or 31st of each year.