We’ve all been on a red bus before whether it be to get to and from work or to nip to the shops. But have you ever considered hopping on The Necrobus? I hadn’t until I found out about The Ghost Bus Tours - the comedy-horror theatre show on wheels. Immediately I was intrigued by what this meant - is there audience participation? Is this just for Halloween? Will I be able to get off if it’s too scary?
Questions and doubts aside, I knew I had to experience it. I managed to persuade my husband and teenage daughter to come along for the ride so I booked three tickets on the Kidadl app - still unsure what I was getting myself and my family into! I have to say that booking on the Kidadl app was so easy - the process was seamless and I was granted three seats onboard the Necrobus in no time. I opted for the 7:30pm slot over the 9:00pm one - I would highly recommend the 7:30 one if you’re planning on bringing along your children. The atmosphere was still dark and spooky but not late enough that we had to worry about catching the last train home. The tour lasted around an hour and 15 minutes so we were back home in time for bed.
Finally, the night of our bus tour arrived. We gathered, along with others waiting to board the bus, in both anticipation and excitement outside The Grand Hotel in Charing Cross. It was a rainy and cold evening but this just added to the spooky feel already present in the atmosphere - even my husband jumped at his own shadow! And after what felt like hours (but was probably just minutes!) of speculating and waiting in apprehension, a vintage Routemaster, painted a midnight shade of black appeared as if from nowhere. Where did it come from?
Clutching the hands of my teenage daughter and husband, we boarded the bus and presented our Kidadl booking confirmation. We were then ticked off the list and invited to the upper deck. I would definitely recommend getting there early because it is first-come, first-served and that way, you can ensure that you are sitting in the best spot to witness all the spooky goings-on. The seating on the upper deck is what you’d expect for an old-fashioned Routemaster - there were seats in pairs or in fours and you were allocated where to sit. Fear not, they won’t purposefully separate you from your family but if there are three of you, like myself, you may find that you are seated next to someone you don’t know. But in my opinion, this added to the experience - sitting next to a complete stranger one moment and then squeezing their hand as if you’d known them your whole life the next!
Now, I don’t want to give away any spoilers but if you’re looking to experience a historic tour of London with a difference then look no further. Complete with countless special effects including smoke, bangs, flashes, strobe lights and two incredible actors, one posing as the bus conductor and the other as a health and safety inspector, The Ghost Bus Tours is not one to be missed. I found myself hiding behind my daughter’s coat at times but also laughing my socks off! There is a lot of tongue-in-cheek humour that goes right over the children’s heads but makes for an entertaining ride for the grown-ups.
A personal highlight of mine was when we drove past 10 Downing Street. And no, we didn’t spook the PM, but instead got the armed police outside to wave back at us! Having lived in London for most of my life, that was an entirely unique experience and one that I won’t forget.
We laughed from start to finish despite being spooked and freaked out by some of the tales told - it was scary and completely bonkers at the same time. With a great mix of history, facts and gore, I would recommend this to families with more mature children, Londoners who think they know London, out-of-towners and anyone who’s looking for a spooky night out!