5 most haunted places in London

London is ripe with ghost stories  (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
London is ripe with ghost stories (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Apart from being a historically important and culturally relevant city, London is home to thousands of ghost stories and spooky chronicles.

Given the city’s sinister past with witch trials, public executions and royal rivalries that led to massacres, it’s not surprising that a good number of people believe there are spirits with unfinished business, heavy hearts and disagreeable dispositions roaming around the capital.

Some claim to have seen or interacted with the ghosts, sometimes pinpointing exactly whose phantom they had run into.

From prominent castles to quaint pubs, as Halloween approaches and our hunger for scary stories skyrockets, here is a look at some of the most haunted places in London.

Tower of London

The Tower of London as seen from Potters Field, London (PA)
The Tower of London as seen from Potters Field, London (PA)

Given the immense number of people who were imprisoned and beheaded at the Tower of London, it might not be surprising to hear that many believe it to be haunted.

The most famous legend claims that the ghost of Anne Boleyn, the beheaded wife of King Henry VIII, can sometimes be seen as her spirit walks around with her head tucked beneath her arm.

Others believe that the royal brothers, Edward V and Richard Shrewsbury, who plotted to seize the throne and were locked in the tower by Richard III and left to die, still roam the fortress looking for revenge.

50 Berkeley Square, Mayfair

The building used to house a former Prime Minister (Real Unexplained Mysteries)
The building used to house a former Prime Minister (Real Unexplained Mysteries)

The Grade II listed mid-terraced four-storey townhouse in Mayfair was once home to former Prime Minister George Canning, until his death in 1827.

In the late 19th century, it became known as one of the most haunted houses in London. A murderous unnamed thing was said to be responsible for several deaths in the home, but there were other suspects mentioned throughout the years.

One 19th century tenant, Thomas Myers, was even excused from paying taxes after the magistrate heard he lived in this haunted house, which Myers eventually died in.

Other tenants have supposedly reported feeling the presence of ominous spirits, and the house is supposed to be so haunted, just touching the walls releases a burst of supernatural energy.

But maybe that’s because of how much it would cost to rent, with the property recently being advertised for £3,000 a week.

The house’s haunted reputation was mentioned in Charles Harper’s bookHaunted Houses, published in 1913. In it he says that despite it having a reputation as being the “Most Haunted House in London,” as of 1913 it was no longer thought to be haunted.

He also says that many people believe that the house was never haunted, and that the ghost stories were invented by a popular novelist.

The Spaniard’s Inn, Hampstead

Charles Dickens’s old haunt, The Spaniard’s Inn (Ewan Munro/Flickr)
Charles Dickens’s old haunt, The Spaniard’s Inn (Ewan Munro/Flickr)

The 16th-century inn is one of the oldest pubs in the capital, with famed author Charles Dickens being a regular customer back in the day.

Those who visit the fancy gastropub nowadays are often unaware of the tavern’s eerie past.

The story goes that previous co-owners Francesco and Juan Porero fell in love with the same woman and fought each other for her affection, leading to Juan’s death.

He was buried in the inn’s garden and many think that he’s been haunting the building ever since.

Ragged School Museum, Tower Hamlets

The museum opened in the premises of the former Dr Barnardo's Ragged School (Peter Dazeley)
The museum opened in the premises of the former Dr Barnardo’s Ragged School (Peter Dazeley)

The infamous school opened back in 1877, when Mile End was an impoverished area that needed support.

As conditions improved in the area, the school permanently closed its doors in 1908.

Almost a century later, in 1990, the building was converted into a museum focusing on the Victorian education system.

However, visitors report getting a lot more than they bargained for when they bought a museum ticket, with some saying they heard ear-piercing cries and came into contact with the spirits of the children that went to school there all those years ago.

Highgate Cemetery, Highgate

Karl Marx’s grave at Highgate cemetery (Gregory Wrona / Alamy Stock Photo)
Karl Marx’s grave at Highgate cemetery (Gregory Wrona / Alamy Stock Photo)

After opening in 1839, Highgate became the final resting place for more than 170,000 people.

As World War I and World War II made it impossible to keep financing its upkeep, the cemetery was left to be reclaimed by nature.

It was after then that people started sharing the story of the Highgate Vampire, a medieval nobleman who is said to have practised black magic in Romania.

The legend goes that his coffin was brought to England and buried where the cemetery was and that those who practise dark arts awoke him with satanic rituals after the cemetery’s closing.

In recent decades, people have reported spotting a tall, dark figure gliding around the historic cemetery and feeling a sudden chill in their spine.

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