by Lori Cates

The minute you hit British soil, you will be bombarded by leaflets and advertisements for guided walking tours of London. There's a tour for every interest--from Sherlock Holmes to the Beatles to Princess Diana--and at least ten tour operators vying for your business and claiming to be the best.

You'll probably wonder whether going on such a walk is a good use of your precious time in London. And you might think queuing up with the rest of the herd will brand you as the ultimate American tourist. Maybe so. But a guided walking tour can be a memorable and educational experience.

Your next dilemma might be which tour operator to select. The Original London Walks has been deemed the best by several respected travel publications. This operator does seem to be the most professional and well-organized, offering a wide variety of tours and a full stable of very qualified guides.

There's a considerable buzz around its "Jack the Ripper Haunts" tour, especially regarding one of the guides, Donald Rumbelow, who is "internationally recognised as the leading authority on Jack the Ripper."

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