London is known to be one of the most haunted cities in the world. And it’s no surprise that some of the spookiest spots are also some of the oldest and most frequented: our pubs. According to research from holiday specialists Stay In Cornwall, London is home to over 117 haunted pubs, the highest number in the UK. So, as Halloween approaches, we’ve rounded up some of the capital’s most eerie drinking haunts for those looking for some real-life scares.
7 of London’s Most Haunted Pubs
The Grenadier, Belgravia
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Belgravia’s The Grenadier was originally built to house The Grenadier Guards back in the 1970s. Its cellar became a regular drinking and gambling den for lower ranking officers, and the story goes that a soldier named Cedric was beaten to death there after being caught cheating at cards. Ever since, odd footsteps and mysterious moans have been heard and objects have disappeared – particularly during the month of September, when Cedric was killed. Pop in for a pint today and you’ll find the ceiling covered in bills from those keen to help Cedric pay off what he was owed, plus newspaper clippings of spooky sightings framed all over the walls.
18 Wilton Row, London SW1X 7NR, grenadierbelgravia.com
The Flask, Highgate
Found next to Highgate Cemetery, The Flask is said to be haunted by a former Spanish barmaid, who allegedly hung herself in the pub’s cellar after her relationship with the pub’s landlord ended. To this day, many believe they can feel her spirit there – whether it’s in the unsettling sensation of someone blowing down their neck, lights swaying or a sudden drop in temperature. Spooky…
77 Highgate W Hill, London N6 6BU, theflaskhighgate.com
The Bow Bells, Bromley-by-Bow
At East End pub The Bow Bells, a ghost frequently makes itself known to visitors by flushing the loos while they’re in use. That might not be enough to warrant deeming a pub haunted, but there’s more. After getting fed up with the disruption, the pub landlord decided to call a seance and when the spirit was asked to make itself known, the women’s toilet door swung open so hard it smashed one of the pub’s mirrors.
116 Bow Rd, Bow, London E3 3AA, thebowbellspub.co.uk
The Rising Sun, Smithfield
Back in the early 19th century, The Rising Sun next to Bartholomew’s Hospital was allegedly the praying ground of body-snatching gangs. According to the gruesome tale, groups would drug and kill pub-goers and sell their bodies to the hospital for medical research. For over two centuries since there have been reports of supernatural happenings there: from the landlady who felt an icy hand on her back while showering to the barmaids living above the pub who claimed a spirit would sit on the end of their bed and slowly pull off the duvet.
38 Cloth Fair, Barbican, London EC1A 7JQ, risingsunbarbican.co.uk
The Ten Bells, Spitalfields
The Ten Bells on Shoreditch’s Commercial Street is one of London’s most famous haunted pubs. It’s supposedly home to one of Jack The Ripper’s victims, Annie Chapman, who was murdered after a night drinking at the pub. Ever since, landlords, pub workers and pub-goers have reported signs of paranormal activity there, leading many to believe Annie’s ghost haunts the pub to this day.
84 Commercial St, London E1 6QQ, tenbells.com
The Spaniard’s Inn, Hampstead
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Not one, but three ghosts are said to haunt Hampstead hangout The Spaniard’s Inn. Upstairs lingers the ghost of infamous highway robber Dick Turpin, who used the pub as a hideout during the 1700s while his father worked there as landlord. Secondly, mysterious neighs and hooves are often heard out front, leading many to believe the ghost of Dick Turpin’s horse haunts the pub’s car park. And finally, unsuspecting drinkers on the lower level have reported having their sleeves tugged by a spirit, which is reportedly the ghost of a moneylender who was knocked down by a horse and cart on the road outside many years ago.
Spaniards Rd, London NW3 7JJ, thespaniardsinnhampstead.co.uk
The Volunteer, Baker Street
Located just a stone’s throw away from Regent’s Park, The Volunteer is steeped in history and acted as a recruitment station during the war. But its haunting dates back much further: during the 1600s it was home to the Neville family, who were killed by a fire in 1654. Over the years there have been reports of flickering lights and strange sightings of a well-dressed man wandering about the pub’s cellar, widely believed to be wealthy Londoner Rupert Neville.
245-247 Baker St, Greater, London NW1 6XE, thevolunteernw1.co.uk