Witness justice in action on these Old Bailey tours! We are offering two different itineraries for all you crime buffs. The Legal London tour visits the Royal Courts of Justice and the Old Bailey or you can go in-depth on the Old Bailey Insight tour.
All Legal London tours start at the Law Courts (the Royal Courts of Justice buildings) on the Strand home to both the High Court and Court of Appeal for England and Wales. Your host who’s fully versed on the world of criminality and law will explain the role of these courts to you before leading you inside the building. Court 4 is where the Lord Chief Justice sits and when it’s in session it’s normally open to the public. This tour of legal London includes time to witness an appeal trial as it’s actually going on. Thoroughly fascinating stuff for anyone slightly curious about legal goings on in this country!
Then you’ll walk behind the Law Courts to Lincoln’s Inn Fields where impressive buildings arranged around a pretty grassed square are the chambers of many of the country’s top legal eagles. Your tour continues with a visit to the famed Old Bailey which is about a half a mile stroll form the Royal Courts of Justice. Once again your host will introduce you to the building and you’ll be provided with a court listing for the day so you see what trials are in session all ready for you to witness justice in the making.
Those who book the Old Bailey Insight tour will meet at the Viaduct Tavern opposite to hear all about this history of this area. The main domed building you see today dates from 1907 but there’s been a court on this what was Newgate Prison for centuries. Indeed you might be surprised to hear that it wasn’t all that long ago when the public floggings and hangings were finally abolished in 1868.
With the golden Lady Justice sitting pretty atop the dome clutching her scales of justice in one hand and her sword of retribution in the other visiting the Old Bailey officially called the Central Criminal Court is quite an eye-opener. The wood panelled courts of the old building are notoriously cramped and uncomfortable (former liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe on trial for conspiracy to murder in 1979 knew this as he arrived at court with his own cushion!) and with the newer extension there are 18 courts spread across three floors.
Courts one and two are where the most serious murder and high security cases are heard with the likes of Oscar Wilde the Kray twins Peter Sutcliffe and Ian Huntley appearing in the dock to face judge and jury. In fact more murder trials are heard at the Old Bailey than any other court in the land.
All courts are open to the public so these Old Bailey tours allow time to watch an afternoon court sitting. Will you be there at the moment a defendant is found guilty of their heinous crime for the judge to order them to be ‘taken down’ to start their punishment at her Majesty’s pleasure to the gasps from the public gallery?