A Poltergeist With Your Pint? A Guide To London’s Haunted Pubs

The spookiest night of the year is rapidly approaching, but if the thought of adorning yourself in a ghoulish outfit sends shivers up your spine then not to fear! With the city built on thousands of years of history that is juicier than any soap opera, London is full of establishments that have many a tale to tell. So why not spend the evening in a haunted pub? From highwaymen, ghosts living in the loo to witches – the history of these pubs is enough to spook even the toughest drinker! 

The Bow Bells Pub

The Bow Bells

Despite a 1974 attempt to “flush” the ghost from the building, the Bow Bells Pub has a resident spirit who is in the habit of flushing the ladies loo when they are occupied. Pay attention – a green mist has also been spotted on the floor of the bar. 

The Grenadier

The Grenadier

In the delightful area of Wilton Mews, The Grenadier is one of the world’s most haunted pubs. Once home to the officer’s mess of a nearby barracks (and frequented by the Duke of Wellington), rumour has it that a young whippersnapper was caught cheating at cards and flogged to death by his comrades. The date of this flogging is unknown, but it is believed to be in September, as every September the pub encounters a flurry of supernatural activity.  From footsteps in empty rooms, strange lights to a mysterious face appearing in photos, The Grenadier is certainly a destination for ghost hunters!

The Black Cap 

091220 - 008 The Black Cap, Camden

This Camden bar has been licensed since the 18th Century when reputably a witch used to brew up poisonous ale. After her parents were hanged for killing a girl with black magic, people mysteriously started disappearing and kicking the bucket in her presence. Not a landlady you want to cross!

The Old Queen’s Head

Old Queen's Head, Islington, N1

Once a local to Tudor celebs such as Sir Walter Raleigh, this Islington establishment was rebuilt in 1829. Visit on the first Sunday of every month to hear the rustle of a dress and soft footprints as a young girl runs up the passageways. Probably a good thing for the ghost that Halloween is on a Monday this year, as the Old Queen’s Head is giving a special screening of Ghostbusters to mark the occasion!

The Old Bull & Bush 

Old Bull and Bush, Hampstead, NW3

Dating back to 1721, this Golders Green pub has been haunted for hundreds of years! A recent discovery could be the cause of ghostly activity – during renovations a skeleton and Victorian surgical instruments were found bricked up behind the old cellar. 

The Spaniard’s Inn

The Spaniard's Inn, Hampstead, NW3

Ghosts galore in one of London’s oldest pubs!  Immortalised by Charles Dickens in The Pickwick Papers, The Spaniard’s Inn on Hampstead Heath was home to Highwayman Dick Turpin’s father, and the man himself supposedly used this as a safe haven. Dick Turpin is said to haunt the upstairs rooms, keeping out of the way of Black Dick, a moneylender who met his fate outside the inn and now haunts the main bar. Not only that, Dick Turpin’s faithful steed Bess haunts the car park.   

There are loads more haunted establishments in London to spend your Halloween (if you dare!); however this author has developed the heebie-jeebies just writing about them! 


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About Kimberly Golding

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