As someone who has spent much time in London and as a self-confessed dark tourist, I’ve put together the ultimate list of dark tourism London destinations. These unique experiences London will take you on a spooky journey through the city’s dark history.
Some of the top dark tourism places in London include the Wellcome Gallery, Imperial War Museum, Highgate Cemetery, London Dungeon and the Tower of London. I have visited many of these attractions on multiple occasions and recommend some good tours to take.
A few of these great attractions such as the Imperial War Museum and Wellcome collection are free to enter so a great option if you’re looking for things to do on a budget.
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Top 10 Places for Dark Tourism London
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Below you’ll find a selection of excellent dark attractions, tours and spooky places to explore across London.
1. Explore the London Dungeons
The London Dungeon is probably the most obvious dark tourism London destination but also one of the most fun. In 2013 it moved from its former residence on Tooley Street to London’s hip Southbank and is just a short walk from the London Eye, Tate Modern and Westminster.
Inside you can hear, touch and smell your way through 1,000 years of the city’s dark history and meet unsavoury characters like Sweeny Todd and Jack the Ripper who stalked the foggy streets of old London town.
There is even a pub the London Tavern, where you can enjoy a pint or a cocktail while listening to spooky stories. Visiting the dungeons is one of the unique experiences of London and is a great option for those interested in the city’s dark history.
Address: Riverside Building, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, London, SE1 7PB
Nearest tube: Waterloo (Northern, Jubilee and Bakerloo lines)
Opening times: 11:00am to 4:00pm Mon-Thu, 10:00am to 6:00pm Fri-Sun
Ticket price: £32 or £29.00 online
Book your ticket for the London Dungeon today with Get Your Guide.
2. Climb the Monument to the Great Fire of London
Climbing the Monument to the Great Fire of London is one of my favorite things to do in London and I have been going up and down the 311 steps since childhood trips to the city with my grandfather.
This 202-foot (61 metre) column was designed by Sir Christopher Wren to commemorate the devastating Great Fire of London in 1666 which destroyed much of the city.
Climbing the spiral steps to the top is definitely one of the unique experiences in London and offers panoramic views over the ever-changing skyline. All those who reach the top are awarded a certificate (I have a growing collection somewhere).
3. Tower of London
The Tower of London should be on the map of any self-respecting dark tourist thanks to its grisly history as a prison and the site of many executions. This once royal residence now houses the Crown Jewels which are guarded by the famous red-suited Yeoman.
One of the more unusual tales surrounding the Tower of London is about the crows that have made the castle their home. It is said that if or when the crows leave, England will fall.
4. Jack the Ripper Guided Walking Tour
This two-hour walking tour takes you on a dark journey through the East End district of Whitechapel where Jack the Ripper stalked his victims in 19th Century London. You’ll get to see police photos dating back to 1888 and the time of the murders and hear theories on who the Ripper really was.
You’ll also get to learn about some of the places that proved inspirational to Arthur Conan Doyle in his writing of the Sherlock Homes stories. Some of the famous places you’ll stop along the way include Brick Lane, Spitalfields Market and the Ten Bells Pub.
Meeting Point: West entrance of Altab Ali Park, London
Nearest tube: Aldgate East (District and Hammersmith & City lines)
Opening times: Daily from 7:00pm
Ticket price: £15.00
Book your Jack the Ripper walking tour with Get Your Guide.
5. Highgate Cemetery (Best Dark Tourism London Location)
I worked for a period at Highgate Cemetary as a volunteer gardener and remember my time fondly weeding and strimming around the Victorian graves. Every Sunday, in snow rain or shine I used to make the trip to Highgate and spend time weeding around the graves and chopping back ivy.
Highgate Cemetery is one of my favorite places in London and an absolute must for dark tourists. From the graves of Karl Marx, Malcolm McLaren and the parents of Charles Dickens to Alexander Litvinenko’s lead-lined coffin, this Victorian cemetery is a must-visit.
The east cemetery is open for the public to visit for a small fee (£4.50) and this is where some of the most famous graves are located, including Marx’s. However the much more scenic west cemetery can only be visited on a tour, and I highly recommend you do as the crypts and graves here are well worth checking out.
Address: Swain’s Lane, Highgate, London, N6 6PJ
Nearest tube: Archway (Northern line)
Opening times: 10:00am to 4:00pm Mon-Sun
Ticket price: £10 East and West Cemeteries, £4.50 for East Cemetery only
6. Wellcome Collection
The Wellcome Collection is a free museum, gallery and library housing many interesting artifacts to do with health, the human body and medical science across the ages. There are lots of interesting medical objects on display from different cultures around the world.
I’ve visited the Wellcome collection a few times and always enjoy checking out the latest exhibits when I’m in central London. The collection also includes thousands of books and manuscripts about the study of medicine around the world.
If you’re looking for interesting or quirky things to do in London then the Wellcome Collection is a must. It’s also a great option for a rainy day and one of the best free things to do in the city.
7. Imperial War Museum
The Imperial War Museum is one of my favourite London museums and has some excellent exhibits from the First and Second World Wars up to the present day. You can see tanks, artillery guns and aircraft as well as exhibitions about spying, peace and security and much more.
This is a great place to learn about the dark history of the 20th and 21st Centuries through interactive displays and galleries covering some of the worst moments from recent history. The museum is free to enter which makes it an excellent attraction to explore in London.
8. Comedy Horror Ghost Tour Bus
This one-hour guided tour aboard the spooky London ghost bus is a must for dark tourists visiting London. You’ll get to see some of the capital’s top sights like Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London and London Bridge.
Aboard the “necrobus” you’ll be regaled with gruesome stories about the dark history of the city and be treated to entertainment with a thrilling comedy horror show. This is one of the most fun ways to see the London sights with lots of laughs along the way.
Address: The Grand Hotel, 8 Northumberland Avenue, London, WC2N 5BY
Nearest tube: Embankment (Bakerloo, Circle and District lines)
Opening times: 7:30pm to 9:00pm daily
Ticket price: £28.00
Book your comedy ghost bus tour with Get Your Guide.
9. London Bridge Experience and Tombs
The London Bridge Experience is a gruesome show charting 2,000 years of the city’s history and is one of the best tours for dark tourism in London. You’ll get to visit the grisly vaults of London Bridge and the London tombs.
Meet characters like Jack the Ripper and experience London during the Plague (black death) and much more in this fun and spooky interactive tour.
Address: The Rennie Vaults, 2-4 Tooley Street, London, SE1 2SY
Nearest tube: London Bridge (Jubilee and Northern lines)
Opening times: Daily from 12:00pm to 6:00pm
Ticket price: £22.50
Book your tickets for the London Bridge Experience with Get Your Guide.
10. Kelvedon Hatch Secret Nuclear Bunker
Hidden beneath the Essex countryside just outside of London is a “secret” nuclear bunker (there are signposts so it’s not that secret). This is an excellent destination for dark tourists and you can learn all about where the British government would have managed the country from in the event of nuclear war.
The bunker descends three floors underground and contains a fascinating series of exhibits and dioramas dating back to the Cold War. See the real barracks, sick bay and operations rooms where the British Prime Minister would have ordered counterstrikes from.
This is one of my favourite things to do near London and makes a grat day trip from the city.
Address: Kelvedon Hall Lane, Kelvedon Hatch, Brentwood, CM15 0LA
Opening times: 10:00am to 4:00pm
Ticket price: £10.00
Other Cool London Experiences
England and London specifically are synonymous with tea. From Earl Grey to Darjeeling, we Brits love a good cuppa. The Savoy is a great place to experience “afternoon tea”, as is the Ritz, Harrods and Fortnum and Mason.
Getting to London
One of the best ways to reach England is to take the ferry or Eurostar. London is also well connected to the rest of the world with three major airports (Heathrow Gatwick and Stansted) easily accessible from the city.
Getting to London by train is easy and the city is linked to other major towns and cities across the country. Buses are usually cheaper than trains and Flixbus has services to London from the UK and Europe.
Where to Stay in London
Budget: YHA London St Pancras – check prices on Hostelworld
Mid-range: Sapphire Hotel – check prices on Booking
Luxury: Dorsett City London – check prices on Booking
Check out these other unique dark tourism destinations around the world.
FAQs About Dark Tourism London
The London Dungeon is definitely dark tourism as it charts some pretty gruesome aspects of the city’s history.
The Tower of London can definitely be considered dark tourism thanks to its former prison and as the site of execution for traitors.
Highgate Cemetery is one of the best destinations in London for dark tourism. With a fascinating history, this gorgeous Victorian graveyard is a must visit for dark tourists in London.
Now you know about the best places for dark tourism London, which one will you visit first (I recommend starting with the Wellcome Collection)? These unique experiences London are a great option if you’re looking for fun and unusual things to do in Britain’s capital.
You might like my other articles about dark tourism:
About the author:
Steve Rohan is a writer from Essex, England. He has travelled to over 60 countries, lived in China and Hong Kong, and is now living the digital nomad life on the road.
Steve prefers “slow travel” and has covered much of Europe and Asia by train, bus and boat.
Where I am now: Armenia 🇦🇲