Is there anything better than a good old detective story? Thrilling twists, grisly murders and a brainy hero, as a nation we’re frankly obsessed with them. Whether it’s popping on the latest true crime documentary or queueing in the rain to see The Mousetrap, there’s an ever-so-slightly unsettling edge to the way we go after murder mysteries – but let’s not delve too deeply into that!


Murder mystery has many sub-genres, from classic crime novels like the Woman in White, which kicked off the idea of the amateur sleuth, to the recent trend of the police procedural with shows like Happy Valley and Line of Duty ruling the screen. But, at the end of the day, it all boils down to the simple whodunnit, where there’s a body, a list of suspects, and someone to solve the riddle.

Murder Mystery is thought to have started with The Murders in the Rue Morgue, by Edgar Allan Poe, a short story that has later been described as the first detective novel. Then in 1887, a certain writer came along to introduce the world to Sherlock Holmes who, no matter what Batman says, is the world’s greatest detective. Once the game was afoot there, many more writers tried their hand at crime stories, but none could ever compare to Dame Agatha Christie, who remains the best-selling novelist of all time with 66 novels and 15 collections to her name.

This guide has a marple-ous range of activities to try, taking place up and down the UK. We’ve got the more traditional murder mystery evening, which usually includes a three-course dinner with a side of corpse, or the more modern interpretations, which involve Law and Order-style forensics. These experiences can be set in remote hotels, luxury trains, or even on the River Thames. Oh, and just one more thing: these days out vary in price range, so you don’t have to worry about splashing out on an extravagant evening if you don’t want to.

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So, if you fancy putting your own little grey cells to good use, we’ve put together the top murder mystery experiences to try in the UK. Let’s just hope you’re more a Poirot than a Clouseau. Now, you better get through this list before we can say “Elementary”!

For more spooky experiences, be sure to check out our guides on the best York ghost tours, best London walking tours, and the best Edinburgh ghost tours.

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Best murder mystery experiences at a glance:

What happens at a murder mystery experience?

If you're nervous about gore, jump scares or potentially being thrown into the spotlight, then don't worry, we're here to tell you what you can expect from a murder mystery evening.

At the classic murder mystery experience, you'll arrive with plenty of other guests around you and be given your persona for the evening. Your character will usually be a background figure, like a foreign duchess or a stable boy. You'll have a bit of backstory and maybe sometimes a fun accent, but the main thing to know is you won't be made the murderer.

Instead, the evening will centre around a core group of characters played by actors, one of whom, yes, is the murderer. Over the course of the night, the actors will mingle in the crowds and you'll be encouraged to chat and ask them questions about the crime. There's also likely to be a few fights and reconciliations between the actors as certain secrets are revealed: 'They were having an affair with the murder victim!' for example.

At the end of the night, you'll have your chance to guess the criminal by writing it down on a card. Then, the big reveal!

Best murder mystery experiences for 2023

Murder Mystery Evening for Two

London murder mystery
Virgin Experience Days

To start us off, this murder mystery evening is exactly the kind event we described above. A traditional Cluedo board-style whodunnit complete with a line-up of suspects, a string of clues, and one murderer. You'll be served up a three-course meal before getting the chance to cross-examine the actors over coffee and make your accusation. Dramatic and full of twists, this experience is available at 17 locations and is the perfect introduction to the world of murder mystery.

Buy Murder Mystery Evening for £155 at Virgin Experience Days

Solve a Murder Mystery Experience with Tour for Two

solve a murder experience

Prefer to go it alone? Well now you can unlock your inner vigilante with this Solve a Murder tour, available in London or Edinburgh. After being given a set of cryptic clues, you'll be free to take yourself around these historic cities and get up close to all the sites. At the same time, you'll be trying to accomplish tasks and solve puzzles that will get you to the root of a case based on a real crime. Make sure you grab your magnifying glass and a pair of sensible shoes!

Buy Solve a Murder Mystery Experience with Tour for £39.99 at Buyagift

If you're a fan of things that go bump in the night, be sure to check out how to get Fright Night tickets and how to get Scarefest tickets, for the best UK Halloween events at a theme park near you.

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River Thames Murder Mystery Cruise for Two

comedy on the thames best shows london
Getty / Richard Newstead

If you want a slightly more dramatic setting, why not try this murder mystery evening set on the River Thames? Granted it's a bit chillier than the Nile, but on this three hour cruise you'll be sailing into a thrilling crime story while enjoying the gorgeous views of London at night. Plus, you'll be given a three course meal with a complimentary drink.

Buy River Thames Murder Mystery Cruise for Two for £182 £171 (save £11 or 6%) at Red Letter Days

Like the idea of an evening on the water? Why not check out some of the other London boat tours and Thames river cruises you can try in 2023.

Murder Mystery Overnight Stay Experience for Two

Murder mystery stay
Virgin Experience Days

With five fabulous hotels to choose from, you can step right into the world of a detective novel with this murder mystery overnight stay. Like characters in a book, you'll be the guests at this fateful hotel where a terrible thing is about to happen. The mystery starts to unravel during cream tea on the first day and will carry on right through dinner and to breakfast on day two – where you'll be served a Full English, by the way.

Buy Murder Mystery Overnight Stay Experience for Two for £440 at Virgin Experience Days

A murder mystery evening could make for a great date night, and for even more inspiration, be sure to take a look at the best London date ideas.

Murder Mystery Lunch for Two on the Belmond British Pullman Luxury Train

murder mystery train
Virgin Experience Days

A sequel to Murder on the Orient Express, this dastardly deed takes place on the Belmond British Pullman steam train. Combining stunning views of the countryside with a five-course lunch, this train journey will have you feeling plucked out of time and transported back to the golden age of travel. But don't be too focused on the sights – there's still a murder to solve.

Buy Murder Mystery Lunch for Two on the Belmond British Pullman Luxury Train for £680 at Virgin Experience Days

Like the idea of an evening on the water? Why not check out some of the other Thames river cruises you can try in 2023.

Junior CSI Detective Workshop

csi experience
Into the Blue

If your children have ever expressed a wish to be a detective, this is your chance to give them a taste of real forensic work. Taking place in Liverpool, this experience is for children aged 11-16 and was designed by former members of the police. Throughout the day, your kids will learn what it takes to be a CSI detective, from gathering fingerprints and fibres to understanding the core values and ethics of detective work. Educational and fun, this is a great idea for the summer holidays.

Buy Junior CSI Detective Workshop from £34.99 at Into the Blue

CSI and Forensic Experience Day

murder mystery police tape
david-von-diemar | Unsplash

Now for the adult version. In West Yorkshire, you can become a crime scene detective for the day and become an expert in forensics. At the start of the three-hour experience, you'll be briefed on the crime before having to go in and secure the scene.

Then, you'll use real life techniques to search for DNA evidence as well as interviewing witnesses and looking at blood spatter patterns to determine the cause of death. This one isn't for the faint-hearted so think carefully about if you're ready to be in this kind of real world setting.

Buy CSI and Forensic Experience Day for £69 at Into the Blue

Agatha Christie London Tour for Two

Agatha Christie tour
Virgin Experience Days

How could we make this list and not include Dame Agatha? Without her, none of this would be the same. Well, now you can learn all about the life and works of the Queen of Crime by taking a tour around London.

You'll see the spots that inspired some of her best stories and characters, and will stop outside the longest running play in the world, The Mousetrap. With the help of an expert guide, you'll come away knowing so much more about this incredible lady.

Buy Agatha Christie London Tour for Two for £30 at Virgin Experience Days

Now you’ve finished reading this article, why not check out some of our other thrilling activities, including the best zombie experiences, best London escape rooms, and best immersive experiences.


Plus, if you want to give one of these days as a gift, why not read our guide to how to give a Virgin Experience Days gift card?