The Krays In London Walking Tour

(23 customer reviews)

Bethnal Green tube station (West exit), London

Guided by Adam

Walk Times

Day Walk Type Start Time End Time
16 June 2024 Tour du Jour 10.45 am 12.45 pm Summer
18 August 2024 Tour du Jour 10.45 am 12.45 pm Summer Reserve Online
15 September 2024 Tour du Jour 10.45 am 12.45 pm Summer Reserve Online
13 October 2024 Tour du Jour 10.45 am 12.45 pm Summer Reserve Online

The Krays In London

The East End, Gangland & The Dark Side Of The Swinging 60s

The legend of the Krays looms large in London… this walking tour sets out to find the legend AND the true story.

Twin brothers Ronald and Reginald Kray were born in Hoxton, East London in 1933 and began their career in crime with protection rackets in their native East End. They soon graduated to Long Firms – fraudulent businesses trading on credit and selling the goods on without payment. The public face of their business was represented by their nightclubs – a touch of West End glamour in the East End.

The Krays: True Stories, Myth & Legend…

Their violent modus operandi would eventually lead to killing – indeed a central part of the Kray myth is that each brother goaded the other when it came to their “graduation” to what Ronnie Kray in particular is said to have viewed as the ultimate criminal badge of honour.

Events came to a head when Ron became the first of the twins to take a life – the shooting of rival gang member George Cornell in the Blind Beggar Pub, Whitechapel Rd on 9th March 1966 is central to the Kray myth.

Gangster Tour of London

The Krays had their portrait taken by famous photographer David Bailey and published alongside those of Mick Jagger and Michael Caine. That famous picture is the very model of that phrase from the baptismal rite, the glamour of evil. It is part of the National Portrait Gallery’s collection… it’s the image that branded the legend… and it’s the picture that hit the front page in 1969 when real-life finally caught-up with the legend and they were finally brought to book.

Our tour will weave a path between the legend and the truth looking at every facet of the Kray’s life and criminal career – as murderers, as East End Robin Hoods, as gay and bisexual men in post-war working-class London, as army deserters and as icons.

Wherever possible we’ll stop to look at film locations used in the Tom Hardy movie Legend. In this 2015 movie, Hardy plays the roles of both Kray twins. His twin performances are a legend in their own right.

Cast of Characters

London is as much a star of this tour as the Kray twins themselves. We’ll explore Bethnal Green and Whitechapel with a detective’s eye for clues. How did Bethnal Green shape the life of Reggie Kray? How did Ronnie Kray’s short-lived boxing career prepare him for life?

On this Krays tour we’ll also meet George Cornell and Jack “The Hat” McVitie – the two most notorious murder victims in the East End since the days of Jack the Ripper. We’ll pick up gangsters, rival gangs and victims; family and feuds; actors, photographers and pop stars along the way.

We’ll look at the bit-part players of the tale and hold conspiracy theories up to the light.

From Vallance Road to the Blind Beggar

We’re in Bethnal Green & Whitechapel to see the famous Kray locations including…

The Blind Beggar Pub – where Ronnie shot George Cornell.

Pellicci’s Cafe – Ronnie and Reggie’s favourite place to eat and film location from Legend.

The Carpenter’s Arms – East End boozer run by The Krays.

178 Vallance Road – Does the Kray brothers’ house still exist? In was demolished in the late 60s – Violet and Charlie, Ronnie and Reggie’s mum and dad, moved out in 1967. But there is enough of the architecture of East London still standing for us to create an accurate picture of the neighbourhood back in the day.

Where True Stories Meet Legend

This is more than just a Krays walking tour. We’ll look at the background history of East London, the social history of Bethnal Green. We’ll put the Kray Twins in the wider context the 1960s when London was the capital of the world. What were they up to in posh Knightsbridge? Why were they rubbing shoulders with real-life toffs? Whitechapel Rd may well be long and straight… but our tale is as crooked as a fish hook. Oh… did we mention murder?

Welcome to the dark side of the Swinging Sixties.

Tour ends at the Blind Beggar Pub, Whitechapel. (Nearest Tube: Whitechapel Tube Station.)

This tour is NOT suitable for children.

A Note From Adam, Your Guide

Adam Scott-Goulding

What is it about England and the English? We love an underdog. And if you’re looking for real-life underdog stories in London, look no further than just beyond Aldgate…

In many ways, the story of the Kray twins IS an underdog story. But it’s so much more.

I’d like to be clear from the outset: I’m not asking you to attend this Krays tour to listen to my opinions. I’m sure you’ve already made your mind up about Ronnie and Reggie. I’m not staging this walking tour to pass judgement on anyone – least of all Ronald and Reg Kray who have already been judged by jury of their peers and found wanting in 1969.

Neither is this Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (great movie). I’m not Guy Ritchie (great director). I’ll be telling stories as a tour guide – some tall, some true – while never losing sight of the fact that the Kray twins were notorious gangsters. We’ll also consider the impact of the Kray brothers crimes on real-life East London people. Not just George Cornell and co. Not just the gangsters. If you check the customer reviews below, I’ve been doing a decent job (so far) of presenting a balanced picture.

I’m here to neither glamourise nor condemn.

Having said that… If YOU have opinions on the Krays and their story, then do feel free to chip-in as we go along. Leading tours in the East End of London is a unique experience for a tour guide. There’s nowhere else like it. I meet more people on tours in this part of town whose family roots are here (in Bethnal Green and Whitechapel) than I do on any other London Walks tour. It’s always good to hear from you.

It’s a mad ride and no mistake. From boxing club to pub, from nightclub to the gutter, I’m aiming to cover Ronnie and Reggie’s old stomping ground from every angle. I look forward to your company.    

IT ALL COMES DOWN TO THE GUIDING

Don’t just take it from us…

Happy true crime fans at the end of the tour with guide Adam

23 reviews for The Krays In London Walking Tour

  1. Diane & Sarah Irwin & Friend Lucia

    Did the Krays walk on Sunday 20th November with Adam. We thoroughly enjoyed the tour! It was in a part of London that we did not know all that well and filled with some fascinating details about the Krays that we had not heard before. Although quite a dark subject, Adam made us laugh inbetween the gruesome stuff and certainly brought the history to life. He pointed out lots of interesting buildings and we ended up outside the Blind Beggar pub, which was open so we could pop in for a drink! Thanks Adam, we would walk with you again!

  2. Jeremy S

    Really enjoyed the tour with Adam! The Krays story was told in an engaging, entertaining, and balanced way. It was a great way to learn about what the Krays part of East London would have been like, and to see the traces of it that are still there.

  3. HW & VB

    Adam, our tour guide, provided some fascinating insights into the murky world of the Krays and pointed out several of the places associated with them as we retraced their footsteps through the East End of London. If you want to know more about the lives and times of these two notorious gangsters and get a real feel for the London they inhabited, Adam’s tour is the one for you.

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