Secret Society & Occult Walks in London worth the $$$?
August 23, 2019 2:10 PM   Subscribe

We're hoping to go on at least one Secret Society and/or Occult Walk while we're in London this October and want to know if they're worth the $$$

We're still planning what we want to do while we're visiting London in October. We came across a couple of Secret Society and Occult Walks, this one in particular (the other one seems to have disappeared into the Googleverse). This one touches on most of what we're interested in, but we're just wondering if it would be worth the US$66. (Or can we just wander around said locations on our own?)
posted by gtrwolf to Travel & Transportation around London, England (10 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
While I haven't done that specific walk, I did several tours with London Walks a few months ago that I really enjoyed. Those are only £10 per person (I recommend tipping if you have a good time, though!) and they last for two hours. I have to say, three hours seems like a really long time for a walk. Two hours was pushing it for me. And $66 seems like a lot unless it covers refreshments or building entry fees.
posted by mollywas at 3:46 PM on August 23, 2019 [2 favorites]

Came here to recommend London Walks.
posted by caek at 3:52 PM on August 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

Same. Was lucky enough to see the Jack the Ripper walk with Don Rumbelow, and it was a transcendent experience.
posted by Rock Steady at 3:55 PM on August 23, 2019 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Yeah, I noticed the one review (in German) gave it an overall 4 but only gave it 3 out of 5 for value (don't know if we'll make any stops at an Occult café or if there are any building entry fees involved). Any other suggestions (such as the aforementioned London Walks) would definitely be appreciated.
posted by gtrwolf at 4:14 PM on August 23, 2019

You can definitely walk around all of those locations on your own - I imagine what you are paying for is the three hours of commentary (the actual distance from St James’s Palace to the British Museum via Charing Cross is probably only about 30mins’ walk so I imagine there must be a fair amount of talking to bring it up to 3hrs). Things like the British Museum and Cleopatra’s Needle are free, and Freemasons Hall does free guided tours, so I don’t think there are any entrance fees included from the itinerary you linked to.

I cannot imagine it could possibly be worth £66, but Freemasons and Aleister Crowley are not really my thing so I’m probably not the best judge.
posted by tinkletown at 8:15 PM on August 23, 2019

London’s best occult bookshop is Treadwells and they have events and talks there several times a week. It might not be exactly what you’re after, but the place has a wonderful atmosphere and is definitely worth a visit if you’re interested in the esoteric.
posted by Ted Maul at 11:20 PM on August 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

Yes, I recommend Lee Gerrard-Barlow's tours of the British Museum. Advice to visit Treadwells is good. Have a look at what the South East London Folklore Society are doing or discussing as their interests skew to the occult. Certainly check out the events of the London Fortean Society. None of these should cost that much money and they will be largely composed of London residents.
posted by einekleine at 11:48 PM on August 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

There's also Atlantis Bookshop on Museum St.

This is a couple of years old but might be worth a look:
posted by mippy at 3:16 AM on August 24, 2019

Treadwell's also will do walking tours - we did a good one on occult objects of the British Museum from there years back and it was great. There are a few books on occult London as well - things are not always close together so you can read up to see if things are worth going (or be like me and full of weird trivia no matter where we end up).

For occult books, Treadwell's and Atlantis are good, but Watkins is a must go. I had a particular book I've been hunting for a few years rather than pay the 50+ pound asking price. Not only did the folks at Watkins have a copy, but they sold it to me for 4 pounds knowing it was in theory worth much more than that online.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:48 PM on August 24, 2019

Historic tour guide here. At that price point, I'd expect that the person giving the tour was a serious scholar or devoted amateur of the subject matter, able to go off on tangents to fine tune the experience to the specific interests of attendees, and knowing much more than could possibly be shared during the course of the walk. You should leave such a tour with a list of other things to see on your own.

With the right person, this could be a fantastic experience. If you're still considering it, ask for the tour guide's bio.
posted by Scram at 6:14 PM on August 25, 2019

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