If you want to find out about 'The Blood and Tears Walk' go straight HERE now. Otherwise keep reading for information about my 'Bloody London' book...
Of the 37 reviews of this book so far on either Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk, 33 have been 4 or 5 star reviews, with the majority 5 star reviews. Four people gave it 3 stars, nobody gave less than 3 stars...
Something like 2000 people have bought my 'Bloody London' book in the fifteen months since it came out. If anyone has bought the book but has not yet come on 'The Blood and Tears Walk', and if you would like your copy of the book personally signed, then bring along the book and do the walk with me and at the end I will personally autograph your copy of the book for you and add a little message.
CHUNK OF 'BLOODY LONDON' FOR FREE.
If anyone wants to read a chunk of my ‘Bloody London' book for free, courtesy of Amazon, here is the link:
My publishing company, Crimson Publishing, recently enrolled in the Amazon ‘Vine’ scheme. The idea behind that scheme is that Amazon’s most trusted reviewers, people whose reviews have consistently earned them the respect and thanks of people on the Amazon websites, are given products to review. Reviewers keep the product whether their review is negative or positive.
The results in the case of my ‘Bloody London’ book have been spectacular.
Some recent comments from this elite band of reviewers include the following:
“a great deal more readable, and enjoyable, than most guide books to famous places I have read…invaluable guide” (FIVE STARS)
“A history buff’s dream…wonderful…a pleasure to read…as informative as it is entertaining” (FIVE STARS)
“Cracking little book…walking instructions far more detailed than your average ‘Rough Guide’…plenty of disgusting detail…I highly recommend” (FOUR STARS)
“superb little book…I loved it…great value and good fun” (FIVE STARS)
“I love the pithy way he writes about serial killers…a brilliantly researched little book which will no doubt take pride of place on people’s bookshelves.” (FOUR STARS)
“amazing detail…super, portable book on the macabre history of London.” (FIVE STARS)
“fabulously well-researched…excellent reading…mind-boggling…this book has it all.” (FIVE STARS)
“Excellent Pocket Sized Guide Book…differed from any guide book I had ever read before…clear instructions on how to find the places…fascinating…a revelation… value for money and very informative.” (FIVE STARS)
“A fascinating little book…just the right size…full of fascinating facts, illustrations and maps…well designed…I am very happy to recommend this book” (FIVE STARS)
The above comments are only from VINE reviewers, the most trusted on Amazon...
3rd October 2012
The above image is from the October 2012 issue of 'London Planner' magazine which has a circulation of more than 125,000 copies a month, in 30 countries. I like the succinct review of the book as 'gloriously grisly' and I particularly like the blunt instruction in the headline, 'Buy the Book'!
Update 12.09.2012. I just received my first publishing company sales report and it confirms that I sold 493 copies of 'Bloody London' in the first 11 weeks it was on sale, to the end of June 2012. Good figures I believe!
On 16/08/2012, as the link below shows, I was at Number One position on the Canadian Amazon for British Travel Guides. That is my first Number One position on any one of the websites in the Amazon family and it was pretty exciting (even if I only sustained that dizzy height for a day before being overtaken).
Number 1 on Amazon!
Review from Fortean Times
The above image is from 25/06/12. The figures change hourly but my 'Bloody London' book has even made it into the top 6,000 sellers on Amazon.co.uk and it has also been in the top 2000 books on the German Amazon site. I am really proud of these figures. To put it in perspective you need to know that there are MILLIONS of books for sale every day on Amazon.
Stocks of 'Bloody London' are now fully available on Amazon.com as well as Amazon.co.uk and as of 25th June 2012 I have already 4 times as many online sales as I had in the whole of May 2012.
In addition the book is selling really well on 'The Blood and Tears Walk'. A few days ago I sold 6 copies to 12 people on just one tour. Some people are buying the book straightaway before even doing the tour, and recently I had my first customer who'd bought the book in the USA but then came on the tour in London as well. I guess this could be called having fans and I am very grateful.
However, until I can work out some other arrangement - I am working on it - which will enable me to have more copies with me, at the moment I can only physically bring along about 9 copies of the book a night. Since I do two walks a night on Wednesdays and Thursdays that means there are only about 4-5 copies for sale per walk. Recently I sold out one night and there were other people on that particular tour who wanted to buy a copy but were unable to do so. So until a more satisfactory arrangement is in place it has to be 'first come, first served'.
If you definitely want to buy the book for the bargain price of £6 (instead of the £7 cover price), plus have it signed by me either for you personally or for a friend, approach me BEFORE the tour begins. Give me your extra £6 for the book as well as any money you owe me for the tour. If you have booked through 365tickets.com you will have already paid for the tour (but not the book). Also some of you may have gone for the new 'Tour plus book' combination deal available at LondonTown.com here: bit.ly/D9nvl and that's great but I MUST see the paperwork.
I will then give you your copy, or copies if you want more than one. Otherwise at the end of the tour, if I have any copies left - and I may not - I will ask who wants a copy and as I said it will be 'first come, first served'. ONLY people who have attended the tour can have signed book copies. If you purchase from Amazon you can get it slightly cheaper but it will not be signed by me.
People are recognising that apart from anything else the book looks really cool (kudos to Amy at Crimson Publishing for her great work) and with the killer content (ahem...) it makes a really great gift for birthdays or other special events or anniversaries. We all like to have an author sign a book for us: to then have that author-signed copy, with its personalised message, given or sent to you as a present undoubtedly adds an extra thrill when you open the present.
If you are going to buy the book on the tour can you think in advance about what message you would like me to write either for you or the person you want to give the book to. I particularly liked the following charming and sensitive dedication that recently somebody wanted me to write: "To Keith - you are one sick bastard."
*** STOP-PRESS 1 ***
If you live in continental Europe or the rest of the world clink on the link below instead or go to your country's specific Amazon site. ink above goes to the Amazon.co.uk page for the book. This link is suitable for those living in Britain.
The date of publication was more or less the 13th anniversary of starting my tours so I like that. Lucky 13. Hey, only 13 years per book so I might even get one or two more out before I say adieu. Actually, having finally written this one I plan to write a book every 2 years for the next number of years.
I have plans for 4-5 more on the (very) dark side of life. One is likely to be 'Bloody London - Volume 2', and there might even be Volume 3, another is likely to be on Jack the Ripper, another is likely to be a big book on world serial killers (guess who bought the url...) and another is likely to be on serial killers again, but I don't want to say too much about that idea in case anyone steals it and writes it first.
However, if things pan out my very next book is likely to be on William Shakespeare. That will be incredible for me since I really, really, really like Mr. Shakespeare - to the point of adoration almost and I do a second London tour called 'The Shakespeare City Walk'.
Anyhow, I feel it's good to switch to a different subject for the next book because the bloody, violent, murderous stuff can be a little intense on the mind...and as profiler John Douglas said, quoting Nietzsche, "when you look into an abyss, the abyss also looks at you".
The Publishers blurb about the book is as follows:
'Where did the real Jack the Ripper live?
Which pub in London has been used more than any other by serial killers picking up their victims?
Where was the capital's Gladiators’ Arena?
Where in London did Anders Breivik, the Norwegian mass murderer, live as a child?
Jack The Ripper (and 15 other London serial killers!), the Krays, Aleister Crowley, Ruth Ellis, Doctor John Dee, Sach and Walters the baby farmers – all these characters and more are covered in Bloody London, a unique and terrifying walk through the dark, gore-drenched streets of the capital. A must-have for fans of crime, horror, the supernatural and the simply bizarre, Bloody London will also show you:
• Sites of executions and unsolved murders
• London’s creepiest cemeteries
• Where famous horror authors lived and worked
• Where the Plague originated
• A haunted church
and many other locations…
London’s dark and shocking secrets are laid bare in this compendium of true stories. We dare you to look inside…
About the Author
Declan McHugh is the originator of the hugely popular ‘The Blood and Tears Walk’. He has been scaring the socks off Londoners and visitors for 15 years and is an acknowledged expert on the city's dark side as well as a natural storyteller.'
That's a pretty fair reflection of the contents, but there's much, much more. I think the best thing I can say about the book is that I'd buy it! The 167 page book sells in bookshops in Britain for £6.99, and on Amazon it's about £5. When you were last in the pub with some friends how much money did you spend that night? £10? £20? Amazon are giving you this information-packed 170 page book for about £5! I genuinely think that is a bargain for what is effectively the distillation of 13 years research. If you like the dark side of history you will without doubt like this book. And it would make a great present for the gore-hound in your life :) With around 45 short chapters, there is plenty to shock, inform and entertain you, and there's a level of detail hard to find elsewhere. I also made sure to include a 200 entry index (created by me) because I hate books that don't include a proper index.
Here's the third page of the index so you can see the level of detail:
I really enjoyed writing the book and I hope and believe that you will all enjoy reading it. Although chockful of the sort of stuff that I have been researching for the last 13 years and which I talk about on my 'The Blood and Tears Walk', there is only about a 15-20% crossover with material I talk about on that walk. The walk and the book therefore complement rather than duplicate each other.
THE BLOOD AND TEARS WALK
Every word from the first 211 reviews of 'The Blood and Tears Walk' on TripAdvisor was fed into a word pattern website giving the following picture:
TripAdvisor review Form
Please use this interactive form to review my walk if you have been on it and enjoyed it. Then other people worldwide will get to hear about it and come on it. Thank you so much for helping to promote 'The Blood and Tears Walk'.
"You are one of the top 10% of all businesses on TripAdvisor" - TripAdvisor award 'The Blood and Tears Walk' their Certificate of Excellence 2013.
I wanted to share this rather special review from TripAdvisor:
What a great walk. This was the one of the best parts of my visit to London. Declan McHugh could recite a soup recipe and make it fascinating!
Declan obviously knows his stuff-well researched both in terms of history and the lay of the land. My college aged son said it was the best thing he did here in London. What I particularly enjoyed (and creeped me out) was not the recitation of bloody and murderous events, but rather the psychological examination of various characters which led to some self examination as well. I also liked that he allowed/encouraged us to "feel" certain locations, employing a sixth sense. Spooky! I liked it so much I also went on his Shakespeare Walk as well. Highly recommended.
New Pricing. From 1st March 2013 the price for adults (15+) will be £10, and the price for children (12-14) will be £8. You might like to know that the price of this tour has gone up just £4 in 13 years!!
There are deals available - see 'What is the cost' and the 'How to Book and Prices' section below.
Trip Advisor rave reviews for ‘The Blood and Tears Walk’.
For almost 4 years now ‘The Blood and Tears Walk’ has been reviewed on Tripadvisor - the world’s biggest and most important independent review site - and the tour has received nearly 200 reviews in that time. Hundreds, if not thousands, of people have attended the tour due to the excellent reviews. Of the 191 reviews I have received so far over the entire period, 80% have been 5-Star and a further 11% have been 4-Star. To get such acclaim is very satisfying and motivating for me.
I thought you might like to see the highlights of what the last 10 reviewers said about the tour on TripAdvisor. In fact the last 10 reviewers all gave the tour 5 stars, an achievement in itself.
“Great tour” – “fantastic…amazing stories…we didn’t want it to end.”
“Great Tour – Best Guide Ever!” – “super interesting…Declan is a wonderful guide…wonderful tour”.
“Creepy…but great!!!” –“I loved it! Terrific guide amazing tour!”
“Spooky London!” – “We loved it and you don't have seen London, when you miss the tour! Go for it!”
“Fascinating Tour of London’s Dark Side” – “…very interesting…”
“A lot of Horror, History and Great Fun!” – “Do take this tour and do buy the book. You won’t be sorry and you will be scared.”
“Great fun and full of interesting facts” – “A great night out. Declan's enthusiasm is as infectious as the plague! I learnt more about London's history in one night than I did at school.”
“Tour was great, really enjoyed it” – “very interesting and insightful…in depth knowledge about serial killers.”
“Can’t wait to go again!” – “…the most memorable highlight of my trip. The guide was very knowledgeable and had a great sense of humor.”
“The best tour yet!” – “so awesome…Highly recommend it.”
I was really happy with two recent communications and thought you might like to see them.
The first is from a Canadian woman who wrote a few weeks back:
I took your Blood and Tears walk in February 2003 with my school's music group.... To this day, I still talk about it as being my favorite thing we did during our week in London. Hopefully I'll get back to do it again some day....In the meantime, I've been checking back to your website over the years and am thrilled that your book is finally making it to press! I've been waiting almost 9 years! I would love to be contacted when the book is published. I want to be one of the first people to own a copy! Anyways, just wanted to let you know that after all these years, your words still ring in my ears. Hope to see you again some day. Take care, and keep on doing what you're doing!"
The second is the most recent comment posted under my Youtube video:
"My wife and I have been "The Blood and Tears Walk" twice and plan to go again the next time we make it to London. We've been on other haunted walks but Declan's is BY FAR the best and most fun. Yes, he does ASK (not tells) repeat walkers to not answer questions during the tour and for good reason, it's much more fun to watch the newbies try and guess. Hands down, the best tour in London! Can't wait to do it again."
'THE BLOOD AND TEARS WALK' PRICE COMPARISON LIST
For purposes of comparison, I give below the undiscounted prices for some well-known London horror attractions (prices correct on 1st February 2011). 'The Blood and Tears Walk' is much more highly-rated (on TripAdvisor) than any of the other attractions on this list; also it is excellent value for money because it is a two hour tour AND discounts are possible (see the section down below called 'How to book and prices').
'The Blood and Tears Walk' undiscounted price = £10
'London Dungeon', undiscounted on the door price = £23.10
'Ripleys Believe It Or Not', undiscounted on the door price = £25.95
'London Bridge Experience' (also known as 'London Tombs'),undiscounted on the door price = £23
'The Ghost Bus', undiscounted price = £18
SECOND MOST HIGHLY-RATED HORROR ATTRACTION IN LONDON!!!
I am very proud that on TripAdvisor, the world's biggest recommendation site, 'The Blood and Tears Walk' is currently rated 37th best thing to do in London (out of ALL 876 things to do) and 'The Blood and Tears Walk' is the second most highly rated Horror attraction in London. The following list (correct on 28.10.11) might be interesting to look at:
Attraction Name Trip Advisor position (out of all 166 London tours)
'The Blood and Tears Walk' 44th
Jack the Ripper Tour - Discovery Tours 62nd
The Ghost Bus Tours 87th
Jack the Ripper Walking Tours with Golden Tours 91st
Jack the Ripper Tour with London Walks 106th
London Bridge Experience 109th
Jack The Ripper Walking Tour - Ripping Yarns 114th
Thanks so much, people, for your reviews and if anyone reading this has been on the tour and would like to write a few sentences about it, there is a link at the top of the page to do so.
Always check the holidays section for holiday information - I really don't want people turning up when no walks are taking place!
Note London Pass pricing here.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO 'THE BLOOD AND TEARS WALK'
This tour is now fourteen years old. The first faltering steps were in April 1999. I can't believe that I have nurtured and guided it this far, and that the difficult teenage years are upon me...
Please note that the authoritative, correct walk schedule is given below in the section called 'What are the normal days and times the walk takes place'. Certain websites out there are giving old schedules, this is the correct, current, updated schedule.
The undiscounted price is £10 for adults and £8 for children (12-14). That is £5 an hour (since it is a two hour walk), if you are an adult, for one of the best-rated entertainments in London. Cheaper if you are a child. It's excellent value! Keep reading and you will find out about a couple of possible discounts if you book online.
CLIP OF BRITISH TV APPEARANCE
'The Blood and Tears Walk' has featured in the hugely popular 'Most Haunted' TV programme. "Most Haunted" is watched by up to 1 million people!
Here's the clip:
TESTIMONIALS FROM VISITORS' BOOKS
M. & P. Van Ert - "Loved the interaction" 18.03.09
K. Gaiss - "Highlight of my trip!" 20.03.09
A. Farrugia - "You clearly and quite worryingly know your stuff!" 3.04.09
L. Allmark - "Brilliant. Exciting, informative, scary and fun! 100%!"
D. Giraldo - "Amazing job, fun, entertaining, insightful" 1.05.09
E. Hulet - "It was awesome! (I am going to have nightmares) 15.05.09
C. Corneby - "creepy, cool, dastardly stories!" 11.06.09
K. & R. Ashraf - "Fantastic. Very knowledgeable. CREEPY! 12.06.09
C. Filipowski - "You are the most fascinating person I've met in my life. I admire your passion and knowledge." 17.06.09
O. Sethi - "one of the greatest storytellers I've ever come across." 17.06.09
K. Wenzel - "Second time round was even better!!" 17.06.09
J. Gousse - "Incredibly entertaining" 19.06.09
T. Hackett - "Captivating and Brilliant" 8.07.09
J. Palmer - "Only scary tour where I've actually felt creeped out - awesome!" 8.07.09
Jackie - "Unique and spine-chilling" 8.07.09
M. Krueger - "You are a scary genius!" 8.07.09
J. Cutter - "Came from America for this and was not disappointed!" 19.07.09
A. Ravindranath - "Brilliant storytelling" 27.07.09
M. Carpio - "Outstanding" 29.07.09
C. Simenon - "He plays with your head" 30.07.09
Silvano Barbion- "Best guide I ever had" 07.08.09
E. Lewis - "Amazing insight" 13.08.09
H. Eriacleous - "3rd Time. One with friends, one as a group, one with partner - Brilliant" 21.08.09
S. Stevens - "awesome, spine-chilling" 9.09.09
I. Armstrong - "Loved it! Goose Bumps" 10.09.09
P. Pankrath - "creepy, horrible & fantastic" 23.09.09
W. Hopkins - "Incredible - so much knowledge" 25.09.09
K. Krueger - "Wickedly awesome" 21.10.09
N. Modie - "Freaked me out" 23.10.09
T. Bump - "Shocking! Challenging! Amazing" 23.10.09
Yvon & Jurgen - "A. W. E. S. O. M. E" 31.10.09
C. Ryan - "Bloody Brilliant" 19.11.09
S. Klaudo - "Probably the most fascinating part of my visit" 27.11.09
Steels - "Totally awesome. I loved it." 4.12.09
K. Blittner - "Exceptionally chilling. Real charisma." 11/12/09
A. Cheshire - "Best tour ever" 13.12.09
J. Chatham - "Amazing atmosphere" 20.01.10
W. Johnson - "I am now very nervous" 4.02.10
D. Wilkins - "Fantastic! Do it" 26.02.10
M. Hotsue - "Third time - still brilliant" 4.03.10
J. McKillip - "Brilliant Tour Guide" 5.03.10
T. Whitman - "Perfect tour" 10.03.10
M. Zemal - "Visited 20+ countries - best evening out!" 17.03.10
J. Durham - "Highlight of trip" 19.03.10
S. Kelley - "Intense suspense, loved it!" 19.03.10
R. Mori - "Mesmerising" 24.03.10
First Choice Haircutters - "2 hours of pleasure" 1.04.10
L. & C. Hurst - "Amazing tour, you are a truly dedicated man" 14.04.2010
S. Varma - "Fantastic Night" 28.04.10
A. Van de Velde - "Fantastic! Enjoyed every minute" 29.04.10
D. Mirabito - "Haunting" 29.04.10
M. Harpur - "Best £8 you can spend in London" 3.05.10
B. Mott - "Brilliant and very funny in parts" 7.05.10
A. Orvi - "2 hours, absolutely AMAZING" 13.05.10
A. Broadus - "An intelligent walking tour of London!" 20.05.10
R. Ilczyszyn - ***** 20.05.10
R. Stein - "What an experience!" 21.05.10
A. & G. Atwood - "Best tour on trip (out of 3)" 26.05.10
N. Thomson - "I loved it. Will totally recommend you to my friends" 27.05.10
W. Shazrina - "Amazing storyteller, humorous and educational" 28.05.10
W. Petersen - "Loved every minute!" 3.06.10
J. & B. & S. Staley - "Brilliant. We love you! We'll come again" 9.06.10
M. Hoffman - "This was the best part of London" 10.06.10
B. Sia - "Terrific and gruesome" 24.06.10
S. & K. Teacher - "Declan is the storyteller that brings Blood and Tears Alive" 24.06.10
J. Hutton - "Best thing in London" 8.07.10
S. Bale - "You have an inspiring and incredible knowledge!" 9.07.10
M. Arctig - "Non-stop interesting" 9.07.10
M. Pass - "Exciting, fun, dramatic, amazing!!" 14.07.10
J. Filbar - "Incredibly awesome. You're a fantastic entertainer!" 15.07.10
A. Di Prima - "4th time now and still very original, love it!" 16.07.10
EMAILS TO ME
H. Burdack (Teacher) - "I took classes on your tours in 2007 and 2008 and this year a colleague of mine is visiting London (June 2010). I recommended her to do your Blood and Tears walk as well because for my pupils it was the highlight of the week." 2.05.10
A. Tate (Teacher) - "Your tour was one of the things our students still talk about from our last trip!!! [two years earlier!! - Declan]
TRIP ADVISOR REVIEWS
c***1966 Leeds Uk Apr 15, 2010
"After looking on tripadvisor for some evening entertainment we settled for this tour. Declan was a great guide, brought all the ghouls, blood and gore to life, with all the stories of a campfire halloween night".
sarah****sandra, Canada, Apr 8, 2010
"The best of creepy London". "It was a fantastic tour that I would definately recommend!"
Alex****, Sheffield, UK, Apr 5, 2010
"Declan was a fantastic guide". ”Superb walk for those interested in Londons gory past...is incredibly passionate about the subject matter. Far superior to London Dungeon and London Bridge experience and for a fraction of the price".
Sheena****, Dublin, Mar 29, 2010
"extremely well researched. The delivery was also very engaging. I was utterly absorbed from start to finish".
go****racer888, Washington, Mar 28, 2010
"Declan is a gifted storyteller (he's Irish) and can make your hair stand up with his expressive narrations of dark events. Rather than waste your evening shopping or other needless pursuits I strongly encourage you to take a walk on the dark side".
Dia****, London, Mar 26, 2010
"A dark trip into your imagination...” He made the experience very personable and refreshed our imaginations in such a fun and creative way. His obvious interest in people and their lives and stories also made it very interesting and a lot of fun. It really did appear like he enjoyed meeting new people...which made him come across in such a friendly way.
J***, Chicago, Mar 22, 2010
"One of the "must do's" in London".
Mont****, Canada, Mar 19, 2010
“Amazing look at London with a funny and thrilling guide” "This walk was the highlight of my stay in London. A must-do if you are in London".
A VISITOR BOOK PAGE FROM FOURTEEN YEARS WORTH OF OUTSTANDING REVIEWS:
WHO I AM AND WHAT THIS WALK IS ABOUT
I'm Declan McHugh, a researcher and former professional actor who has been doing the rave-reviewed 'The Blood and Tears Walk: London's Horrible Past' for 14 years since 1999. Thousands of people every year come on this five times a week walk featuring Jack the Ripper and other London serial killers, grave-robbers, witchcraft, conspiracy theories, execution sites, secret tunnels, etc. In other words, all the stuff you are interested in, all on the one walk! Jack the Ripper PLUS much, much more.
'The Blood and Tears Walk' is one of the most popular London walks, with consistently amazing reviews by visitors and the media over the last twelve years. At the time of writing - May 2013 - I have a stunning 97% approval rating on major London site www.londontown.com for 'The Blood and Tears Walk'.
Think how hard it is to impress 97 people out of every hundred people about ANYTHING!
People do the walk and then recommend me to other people, leading to major 'word of mouth'. People have very often returned two, three and even four times for the same tour! The record is FIVE TIMES!!!
Apart from featuring in the extremely popular "Most Haunted" programme, I have also been interviewed by JoAnne Good about 'The Blood and Tears Walk' on her BBC Radio London JoAnne Good show, and the walk has for many years in a row been given the "One of London's 10 best walks" award by 10best.com. I was also included in a documentary about London released in 2008 called "Ultimate Journeys: London".
The most important thing for me, however, is the incredible response from the thousands of people that I get to meet each year. I have given above a small selection of genuine quotes from my visitors books and I want to give my sincere thanks to everyone who has attended so far in twelve years - thank you. I think of you all as one huge extended (slightly dysfunctional) family, and some of the nicest people I could hope to meet - either that or good actors!
To contact me email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. My mobile/cell number is 07905 746 733 but it might be expensive to ring that number from outside Britain. Instead ring that number only on the day of your walk, when you are in London, and then listen to the short message confirming days, times and meeting place. Ringing from within the UK should cost you about 20p maximum. There should rarely be any change from what is written here but very occasionally something happens, beyond my control, which forces a change and that number will give any important changes.
Having two children means I have practically no free time (but it's worth it), but I continue to prepare materials to replace this rather basic page with a more in-depth website promoting 'The Blood and Tears Walk'. Included, eventually, will be an amazing and chilling collection of true life horror stories told to me by people who have attended the walk.
WHAT ARE THE NORMAL DAYS AND TIMES
THE WALK TAKES PLACE?
Wednesdays at 7-9pm and at 9.45-11.45pm
Thursdays at 7-9pm and at 9.45-11.45pm
Fridays at 7pm
The underground train network does not shut down on weekdays until 12.30am, so you will have plenty of time after the two late night tours to get the tube (Piccadilly and Central lines) at Holborn underground station which is right where the tour ends.
'The Blood and Tears Walk' takes place practically all year round BUT NB see the 'Holidays' section below.
THERE WILL BE NO 'THE BLOOD AND TEARS WALK' AT EITHER 7PM OR 9.45PM ON WEDNESDAY 23.04.14.
THERE WILL BE NO WALK AT 9.45PM ON WEDNESDAY 30.04.13. THE 7PM WALK THAT NIGHT WILL GO AHEAD AS PLANNED.
THERE WILL BE NO WALK AT 9.45PM ON THURSDAY 24.07.14. THE 7PM WALK THAT NIGHT WILL GO AHEAD AS PLANNED.
WHERE DO WE MEET
Walk' meets outside the only exit at Barbican underground station. Barbican is just two stops from Kings Cross on 1) the Circle line, 2) Metropolitan line and 3) the Hammersmith & City line.
Walk outside the only exit and you will see me a few feet away directly opposite; look for the sign at knee level (not eye level) on my rucksack featuring the words 'The Blood and Tears Walk'.
'The Blood and Tears Walk' is a full two hours long and ends at Holborn underground station (which is on the Piccadilly and Central lines). Some other companies are much less well reviewed, charge much more and only do 60 or 90 minute walks!
WHAT IS THE COST?
The price for adults who just turn up without any deal is £10 for adults (15+) and £8 for children (12-14). No-one under 12 is allowed to come. Reductions on those prices are given when you book in advance on the internet on either of two secure sites. You can find the details in the 'HOW TO BOOK AND PRICES' section.
Clink 261 (formerly known as Ashlee House)
If you are staying at the Clink 261 hostel in London and you come to the walk with proof of that, you will only pay £8 - but you must bring the proof. This does not apply to the Halloween walks which must be booked via my website.
London Pass - please read the following words very carefully.
You do have to pay - if you look properly you will see that my walks are in the special offers section not in the 'included for free' section.
Discounts do NOT apply at Halloween. At Halloween everyone - including people with the London Pass - has to book through one of the two websites listed in the 'How to book and prices' section.
If you have a current valid London Pass and if you are an adult (which on this tour means over 15 years old), the price to come on the tour on other days will be £7, or only £5 if you are a child of 12-14 accompanied by an adult. No under 12s are allowed.
Please do not leave your London Pass behind - I have to see it. It's a bit like going to a concert or the theatre - no ticket, no admission. Anyone who cannot actually show the Pass to me will be charged the normal undiscounted price which is £10 for adults.
N.B You cannot book though LondonTown and then later buy a London Pass and turn up with the London Pass hoping for that price instead. IF YOU BOOK FIRST THROUGH LONDONTOWN THEN I WILL HAVE YOUR DETAILS AND THEIR PRICE IS THE PRICE YOU WILL PAY.
To repeat - as it says in the book, discounts do not apply at Halloween. At Halloween everyone - including people with the London Pass - has to book through one of the two websites listed in the 'How to book and prices' section.
IS 'THE BLOOD AND TEARS WALK' SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN UNDER 12?
Er, NO. Are you kidding? Look at the title of the walk! 'The Blood and Tears Walk' is NOT SUITABLE for under 12s but still every year people turn up with their 8 and 9 year olds and I have to turn whole families away.... This is a walk for adults (or at least people aged 12 and above), with adult themes, and even for many adults it has proved to be quite intense and scary, particularly at night-time. Read the quotes at the top of the page...People who bring their under 12s along are completely irresponsible and anyone who ignores the over-12 rule and turns up with a younger child simply won't be allowed to come on the tour. I have turned away groups before so I am not joking about this...
I will not be responsible for any nightmares and psychiatrists don't come cheap...
HOW TO BOOK AND PRICES
Public Group Walking Tour
Private Walking Tour
You don't have to book over the internet for 'The Blood and Tears Walk' except for Halloween night when I have to insist people book in advance because demand is insane that night - if I could clone myself I could do the walk for 500 people on Halloween day!
As I say, except for Halloween, you DO NOT have to book in advance; you just make sure the walk is on by reading the holiday section here and listening to the recorded message, then turn up to any of my walks and pay me £10 for adults and £8 for children aged 12-14 -or if you have a deal of some sort, you obviously need to bring the paperwork for the deal and show it to me.
If you want to obtain an online booking discount of £0.50p per person, please go here:
*Note that there is a £0.50p - £1 maximum processing fee per order (but not per person) so this might be best to do if you are booking for 2 or more people. If you prefer, you can go to this site instead:
To avoid disappointment, I emphasise that you should, BEFORE YOU SET OFF ON THE DAY, confirm that your particular walk is taking place as planned by listening to the constantly updated answer message on (from London):
07905 746 733. Ring this number on the day of your walk when you are in London, since a couple of times a year there are sudden unforeseen events - circumstances completely beyond my control - which mean that a particular walk cannot go ahead. I will always try to leave relevant information about any problems on that number.
To repeat, the most important source of up-to-date information, reflecting any changes to the normal schedule, is that mobile number: 07905 746 733.
I am sometimes willing to do private walks for people on various nights, including on some Saturdays (at my discretion). I usually don't perform 'The Blood and Tears Walk' before 8pm on Saturdays and in fact 8.30pm or even 9pm are my preferred times to begin on Saturday nights.
The price for private non-corporate groups is £12 per person with a minimum of 15 people or the cash equivalent (15 x £12 = £180) if you have less than 15 people in your group. I emphasise that before you book me for private walks you must either be certain of having at least the minimum number of people turn up on the night, or be willing to pay the minimum cash equivalent for that number since those that actually turn up will have to pay that minimum price between them. For example, if I am booked for 15 but only 8 actually turn up for whatever reason - and this has happened once or twice - the 8 will have to pay as if they were 15.
If there is enough time between my being contacted, and the date of the actual walk, I will ask for a non-returnable deposit of half the money to be sent to me in the form of a £ sterling cheque, or by electronic transfer to my bank account. This deposit is non-returnable and will be kept by me as compensation if a group does not turn up at all, for any reason including tube train delays.
If you are a corporate group then the price for a private 'Blood and Tears Walk' with me is £12 each (with a minimum of 15 people or the cash equivalent) PLUS £35 extra corporate fee, so £215 minimum price.
In addition, if I have to cancel a public walk to do a private walk because you only have certain dates available, I charge an extra £30 (partial compensation for loss of earnings), but I can only make public walks private ones if you contact me well in advance and so long as no-one has booked for the public one at the time of the change.
I cannot promise that I will be available on your preferred date since, as word spreads, I receive more and more requests each year, and dates rapidly become booked up for private walks. It is hugely complimentary that certain schools and colleges across the globe book me year after year after year because they know I give my all and that their pupils will have an experience to remember for a long time. Last year I did 26 private walks, apart from hundreds of public ones, and I strongly suspect the total will be more this year.
COMING LATE - THE FINAL WARNING
I've said it already but nearly thirteen years experience means I am going to say it again. My responsibility is to do the walk - yours is to be at Barbican station ON TIME. To be CERTAIN of arriving on time, you honestly need to start off for the walk 20 minutes earlier than you think you need to. We get underground train delays every single hour in London and, trust me, it is incredibly easy to get caught up in delays which add 15-20 minutes to your travelling time.
Late-comers FOR ANY REASON, INCLUDING TUBE TRAIN DELAYS are left behind. A walk is not like a film or concert or play where if you turn up late you can sneak in at the back; I go with people into dark side-streets immediately I start the walk and if you miss the beginning of the walk, you miss the entire walk since you won't find me and I turn my mobile phone off once I start the tour. Turning up just 10 minutes late has exactly the same result as turning up 3 hours late: you have wasted your time, energy and money (if you booked in advance) since I won't be there. I get going with the people who turn up on time and although I am a friendly guy, to be honest I regard it as totally disrespectful to both me and the others on the walk for people to come late because of tube train delays that I repeatedly warned them about!
If you know that you are otherwise going to be late and if you really want to do this walk, I suggest it might be worth considering jumping in a taxi to try to get you to Barbican station in time.
Literally hundreds of people every year miss this tour that they really wanted to do because they miscalculate how much time they need to arrive in time, and they forget or ignore the warning about tube train delays - don't be among them!
By the way, Barbican station is the world's most boring place to be if you miss the walk - and then there is also the problem of that vicious Barbican station serial killer they haven't caught yet - just joking :)
OTHER MISCELLANEOUS ADVICE
Comprehension of English.
If you want to attend 'The Blood and Tears Walk' you need to have a basic to good understanding of English since the walk takes place in English only. As the walk becomes more popular I have had to turn some people away (who hadn't booked) because although they really wanted to come, the reality was that they understood practically no English.
Here is a little guide as to whether your English is good enough for the tour. If you turn up and I say "Hi. I am Declan, nice to meet you" and you reply "What?" in your language; or if I say "we will be going in 20 minutes" and you go "What?" or if I say "Yes, this is the tour" and you say "What?" or if I say "How did you hear of me?" and you reply "What?", etc, etc - then the simple truth is that the tour is not for you because you will not understand anything that I am saying, and I would simply rather not have your money in that situation since I like to communicate and not to have restless people who don't understand me.
If you have a camera there is stuff on this tour that you might want to photograph but please don't take photos as I am talking because it is distracting and actually I find it rude since people taking photos are simply not listening. Instead just listen to what I am saying - it'll hopefully be interesting - and at the end, as I stop speaking and turn to go to the next thing, loudly shout 'Photo' and THEN we wait for the shot, no problem. But you yourself do have to shout 'Photo', since I am not a mind-reader. I promise you will get your photo - just don't take it while I am talking to you. Also I don't allow camcorder or phone recordings to be made because a) that is making a product of my show, which I don't allow, and b) it is even more distracting (and people are listening even less).
If you turn up early (a good idea), there are few places to eat at Barbican at night-time, although there are a couple of shops selling sweets and soft drinks etc, 30 seconds from the station if you turn left after leaving the exit. There are also a number of pubs within 3 minutes walk, particularly in the street called Long Lane. To get to Long Lane you exit the station and turn right and it is then the first street on the right.
You must go the toilet before you arrive at Barbican. If you don't, finding somewhere to go once you arrive at Barbican will be difficult if not impossible, especially for the late night walks. Going to the toilet in an alley with a group watching can be embarrassing for all concerned...
Dress appropriately for the weather. It's a two hour walk and an amazing number of people wear summer clothes when it isn't summer and then quickly freeze over the course of the two hours.
Do I need to check to see that the walk is taking place if there is bad weather?
Do bring an umbrella but you do NOT need to anxiously ring me up to check if the tour is on if there is bad weather. I have NEVER cancelled a tour due to bad weather, no matter how horrendous, I just get on with the show. I have learnt that the reputation of this walk is such that people will sometimes come no matter what the weather is like. A few years ago there was a scary thunderstorm with torrential rain, lightning and thunder: you could practically see Dracula's castle every time the lightning flashed. I thought it would be a complete waste of time but arrived at Barbican station to find four New Zealand women ready and enthusiastic. I have great respect for New Zealand women since then!
If you come back to do the tour more than once (I am humbled to say that many people do), you get £1 off but there is an important little rule which I am afraid I have to emphasise. On a repeat visit you are not allowed to answer any of the questions I ask during the tour. The reason for that is obvious but I will spell it out - if you have done the tour already, then you know the answers already to certain questions! If you are not willing to observe this rule, because you want to show off to your friends or whisper answers to them, then please don't come back a second time because it spoils it for everyone. Some people just seem to find it impossible to keep quiet in this situation. However, despite not being able to answer the questions, many people very much enjoy their second time on the tour because it's a lot of fun watching friends attempt to answer the questions and seeing if they do better than you did.
Exact money please.
If you have not booked in advance and are just going to turn up, that's absolutely fine (except at Halloween when you MUST have booked or you will be turned away!) but please can you bring the EXACT MONEY rather than giving me £10 or £20 notes. Constantly having to give change from £20 notes is a real hassle, especially if there are quite a few people. If you are part of a group, have the exact money collected from your group and ready to give to me BEFORE you arrive.
Given that it is a fully two hour tour, leave enough time afterwards to comfortably get to the next thing you are going to do. Remember those pesky tube train delays!
Finally, expect the unexpected psychologically - oh, and bring a sense of humour :)
I am going to put my wish list here in case any kind soul reading this wants to buy any of these books for me. You will be helping me in my researches for future books plus I will do my best to list benefactors - so long as you provide me with your name - in the 'Thanks section' in a future book...
MY OTHER WALK
I am a former professional actor and for 13 years I have also been doing the critically acclaimed 'The Shakespeare City Walk' which is about Shakespeare's life, friends and work. This is a 90 minute walk in which I take people to various little-known Shakespeare monuments and sites in the City of London, including hidden courtyards etc. I illustrate the walk by Shakespeare's own words in the form of lines and speeches delivered by me at the appropriate locations. The 'Independent' newspaper has awarded this tour 'One of the grand Tours' status. You can find out more about the walk at:
People who have attended 'The Blood and Tears Walk' are rewarded by being able to come on 'The Shakespeare City Walk' for only £5 per adult, or £3.50 per child. When you arrive for the Shakespeare walk, tell me you have been on 'The Blood and Tears Walk' and I will remember you.
Finally, I very much look forward very much to meeting you all in the rest of 2013...
This photo of me is by my brother Feldore McHugh.
Check out www.flickr.com/photos/feldore/ for more of his brilliant work...