Parenting Travel

A Welcomed Missed Opportunity in London: Getting Lost on a Ghost Tour with My Son

Time and again, something happens that causes me to miss out on an opportunity. It could be a schedule thing, wires crossed, or an error on my part. The last one is the one that hurts the most. Everyone hates that time when they mess up, causing others to miss out on an experience. This is one of those moments where I messed up, but don’t regret the outcome.

Read these stories from my trip to the UK with my son:
Attending a Chelsea Match with My Son and Missing My Other Son
Walking in Shakespeare’s Footsteps: A Father/Son Story
3 Day Itinerary for Visiting Shakespeare’s England
Climbing Over the O2 Arena in London
Flying on The Thames in a Speedboat

I love ghost tours. Whenever I go to a city on vacation, I try to schedule a ghost tour. I don’t believe in ghosts. I’m not ruling out the possibility of them, but I’m a skeptic. That doesn’t take away from my love of a good ghost tour. I don’t go on ghost tours to get scared, or for a possibility of seeing an apparition. I go on them because you can hear stories that aren’t covered on most tours. You get to visit places that have historical significance and hear the stories about the people who lived through a dark time.  Most of the time, these places and stories don’t show up in guidebooks.

While I was in London with my son, we were eating lunch and talking about our trip and past trips. The conversation led to going on various ghost tours. I mentioned that there are probably some pretty good ghost tours in London. My son excitedly suggested we go on one. I looked up some ghost tours and found one that was labeled “PG-13” and it seemed like a good one. I bought tickets on the spot and cleared our evening schedule.

Fittingly, the meet-up spot for our tour was at The Green Park in London. My son and I laughed at the occurrence and took selfies and posed for pictures. Once our group gathered together, our guide told us the story of Green Park.

Green Park is one of the Royal Parks in London. Most of the Royal Parks were once hunting grounds for the royal family, which have turned into free public spaces. Green Park has a dark history of being a place for duels and bandits. It was also a plague pit. It is estimated that thousands of bodies have are beneath the park and nearby above the Tube. In the 60s, excavators found so many bodies while building the Tube that they had to dig deeper to go under the massive grave.

The “Pig Woman” tree is in the middle. You can barely see the fence.

Also, while in Green Park, we heard a story about the Pig Woman, who would visit men and women in their dreams if they slept alongside one tree. This belief was so strong that Parliament decided in the early 1800s to put a fence around the tree to keep people from sleeping against it. We could only see the tree and the fence from a distance. I suggested to my son that we take a rest by the tree, but he didn’t go for it.

From there, we walked around London and enjoyed our group’s company. We heard stories of murder and terror. During a half-way point of the tour, we boarded a ferry to take us down the Thames to another site full of mystery and intrigue. While on the ferry, my son and I laughed, goofed around, and told one another stories. At one point, we were trying to one-up the other by seeing who could make the weirdest face. We rolled our eyes in the backs of our heads and accompanied our looks with weird noises. We also sat at different places on the ferry to see some sights and waited to be told when to get off.

As we sailed down the Thames, I looked around and noticed that nobody from our group was on the boat. I got up and walked around and couldn’t find our guide or other members. Somewhere along our journey that night, the group exited the boat while we stayed on. I assume amid one of our funny faces and roaring laughter, our group continued on their tour while we continued on the Thames.

And I don’t regret it.

Sure, I would have loved to hear more about the dark history of London and walk in the footsteps of the city’s villains. I’ll visit London again one day and can always hear the stories. Making crazy faces with my son while on a ferry on the Thames; that’s not guaranteed. The sound I love more than anything is to hear my kids laugh. Laughing with my son on the Thames combined two of my loves; my son’s laughter and travel. We probably would have had a great time on the tour, but nothing can top looking into my son’s stretched out face and open mouth, making a strange noise while holding in combustible laughter.

Once we realized the tour was no longer on the boat, we laughed they left us behind. We got off at the next stop and my son asked if it was possible to catch up. I told him I did not know where they could be and our tour was over. We boarded a bus and then went to the Tube, and headed back to our hotel. It was our last night in London and I couldn’t have asked for a better night. We ended our vacation laughing until tears developed in our eyes. That’s an ending to a good trip.

Check out these other travel stories:

How an Ice Cream Truck Saved the Day While Hiking Across England
Reliving the Dads4Kesem Hadrian’s Wall Hike
Dodging Farts on Mount Vesuvius
Hugging Sloths in Honduras
Dolphins Will Romance You and Leave You Behind
Sailing with The Moorings
My kids spent $160 on rubber ducks on a Royal Caribbean Cruise
Dog Sledding in Quebec
Having the Time of Our Lives on a Disney Cruise
Lost in Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina

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