The picturesque splendour of Richmond Park will reveal a macabre side for the first time as guests are not tricked but treated to tales of its ghoulish history.
The Royal Parks Foundation is running guided evening tours this weekend in horse-drawn carriages through the park, detailing stories of ghosts and a Victorian murder which was solved only three years ago.
Despite the chilling history, the tours have been organised to support Operation Centaur, a charity which champions the value of working horses in the royal parks, with all ticket sales going directly to them.
A foundation spokesperson said: “The Halloween dray rides in Richmond Park go directly towards the Equine Programme of the Royal Parks Foundation.
“One could argue that at £48 per person, the tickets are a bit on the side expensive side but fundamentally it is for an excellent cause.”
This is the first time that the Royal Parks Foundation has put on such an event at Halloween although there are similar carriage trips through the park over the winter period.
The hour-long tour starts at Sheen Gate and can seat eight people in one carriage, as actors regale attendees with stories of highwaymen and rumoured haunted spots.
However the most famous incident discussed on the tour is the history of the 1873 murder of Julia Martha Thomas by her maid Kate Webster.
The head of Ms Thomas was never found after her murderer dumped the other parts of her body into the Thames, but in 2010, workmen on Sir David Attenborough’s home found a skull during an excavation.
It was formerly identified at the head of Ms Thomas in 2011, bringing an end to the 132-year ‘Barnes mystery’ and the missing head.
Hopefully the tour will be more delightful than frightful as guests hear the history and take in the surroundings under a warm blanket and sipping sloe gin.
Picture courtesy of net_efekt, with thanks