Jack the Ripper Walking Tour
When I was in London in January 2003, we found a flyer for a Jack the Ripper walking tour. We decided to go, as it was only £3 and we only had to pay if we really liked the tour. Since none of us had any money at the time, we thought that that sounded like a good idea. Our guide then was an amazing storyteller. It was what he did for a living being one of the Yeoman at the Tower of London. He guided us through the places where Jack the Ripper walked, stalked, and killed his victims (in sequential order). As we walked, he told us little tidbits about London itself, about the area of town we were in at the time, and about Jack the Ripper himself of course. After a 3 hour walk that ended sometime after 10:30pm, I paid the £3 because I'd had a great time. I learned a lot; I was very entertained, and felt like I had seen a lot. I had also been given the guide's guess as to who Jack really was, backed up by his "facts" and was completely convinced. It was a wonderful time. It was so wonderful in fact, that I wanted Jonathan to experience it as well.
While searching online for a Jack the Ripper walking tour in London, I came across the London Walks website (and a few others of course). I couldn't find one from the tour I'd taken before, so I thought we'd go on the London Walks version. We met Judith at the designated area (along with about 60 other people), paid our £5, and were ready to go. Thankfully, they split the mass of people into two groups. I knew right away that Judith was more academically oriented than my previous beefeater guide, but I was hopeful that she would be a good storyteller as well. After the first stop, Jonathan mentioned that he felt our guide wasn't really telling us a story. We hoped it would get better. Unfortunately, it didn't. Judith took us to only two of the actual locations, and didn't tell us stories. She talked. She talked as though reading a text book to us out of order. The very last stop of the tour lasted for 20 minutes where she told us who might and who wasn't actually Jack the Ripper. The problem was that she was just giving facts without having a way for her audience to relate the facts to what we'd just been told on our walk.
If you go to London, I highly recommend taking a Jack the Ripper walking tour. However, I am afraid that I cannot recommend that you take the one lead by Judith with London Walks. While she is a very nice person, and full of information, she wasn't able to capture the audience's undivided attention.