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Photograph: Mark Milligan/Flickr

The most haunted places in London

Feeling scared? For a genuine fright, venture to some of London’s seriously spooky locations and most haunted places

Written by
Ellie Walker-Arnott
,
Katie McCabe
&
Joe Mackertich
Contributor
Nick Thompson
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London is an objectively scary place. It’s often dark. We don’t make much eye contact with each other. Pints now cost more than six pounds. What’s even scarier is that there are plenty of buildings and places in the city totally crawling with history, gruesome stories and alleged ghost sightings: Hampton Court Palace and the Tower of London are among the most well-known, but there are tons more. Prepare thyself for our definitive list of spooky spots in the capital, from haunted inns and pubs to weird stretches of woodland, crumbling cemetery catacombs and London’s exceptionally creepy museums

RECOMMENDED: Our guide to Halloween in London.

Extremely spooky locations in London

  • Attractions
  • Sightseeing
  • Hyde Park

Chill factor πŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ’€

Cemeteries are creepy territory and London is home to plenty. This burial ground in Hyde Park (just behind Victoria Gate Lodge) is an especially surreal one. It's not open to the public but look out for special tours (around £15 and they sell out in a flash). The graveyard dates back to the 1880s and contains the remains of more than 300 pets, many in graves marked by tiny headstones. The garden graveyard isn’t far from Tyburn, the site where thousands of people have been executed over the centuries. And you thought Hyde Park was just a nice spot for a picnic.

The Parkland Walk Spriggan
  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • Finsbury Park

Chill factor πŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ’€

Abandoned railway lines do get creeperier than this – the Parkland Walk, which runs between Finsbury Park and Alexandra Palace, is lush with vivid greenery – but there is still something unsettling about wandering along the overgrown cutting. The part that passes Crouch End is the spookiest stretch of the route, where a looming ‘spriggan’ spirit watches from a disused railway arch, ready to startle unsuspecting passers-by. 

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  • Museums
  • Classes and workshops
  • Tottenham

Chill factor πŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ’€

That’s right, Tottenham has its own castle. There’s a downside, though, it’s a little on the haunted side. On bleak winter nights in November, you might catch the ghostly silhouette of Lady Constantia Lucy staring out the window. Lady Lucy killed herself by leaping off the balcony of the castle in the seventeenth century, taking her child with her. They say ‘great mystery’ surrounds the Lady’s death, but the fact that her husband kept her under lock and key in a tiny room might have something to do with it. As well as an unhappy spectre, the castle is home to a mini museum (open Wed-Sun 1pm-5pm), where you can see archive photos and documents on Haringey history.

Old Operating Theatre Museum
  • Museums
  • History
  • London Bridge

Chill factor πŸ’€πŸ’€

It sort of goes without saying this place is probably haunted; it was an actual surgical practice back when surgery was pretty, well, raw. Surgical anaesthetic wasn’t invented until 1846, that's after the doctors in this practise were getting scalpel-happy. Most patients died despite the best intentions of the surgeons. It’s the oldest surviving surgical theatre in Europe, and has a certain ghastly edge because of it. 

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The Ten Bells
  • Bars and pubs
  • Spitalfields

Chill factor πŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ’€

Once called the Jack the Ripper, this Spitalfields pub can't get away from its gory former namesake. In 1996, the landlord claimed The Ten Bells had been taken over by the ghost of Annie Chapman, murdered and mutilated by the Ripper in 1888. If that's not spooky enough, poltergeist activity and the possible ghost of an old landlord have been reported by staff. 

  • Attractions
  • Greenwich

Chill factor πŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ’€

You know that moment when you’re on the Eurostar, and it suddenly dawns on you that you’re sitting 380ft below sea level? Imagine that, but you’re strolling on foot through a long cast iron tunnel beneath the Thames. Enter the green dome by the Cutty Sark and you’ll find yourself in its dimly lit passage, accompanied only by the echoing footsteps of the walkers chasing your path and the drip-drip-drip of the leaky roof. Make it through that menacing shaft, and you’ll reach the pretty Island Gardens on the opposite side of the river. 

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Epping Forest
  • Attractions
  • Forests
  • Essex

Chill factor πŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ’€

This corridor of woodland in Essex has likely been the site of many dodgy and hastily done burials thanks to its size and collection of semi-deserted open spaces. Stories abound about ghostly sightings, no doubt thanks to Roman battles, Norman invaders, Boudicca’s Iceni tribe and highwaymen. Dick Turpin, notorious robber and murderer, is said to have used the Loughton Camp lookout spot as a hideout, and supposedly still haunts the place. He and the Essex Gang would use the forest as a hideout when they were busted for stealing deer. Oh, Dicky!

The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities
  • Museums
  • Art and design
  • Hackney

Chill factor πŸ’€πŸ’€

Viktor Wynd’s Museum of Curiosities is just that, a cramped shop filled to the brim with oddball curios for the public’s viewing pleasure. It’s a bit creepy: you’ll find the bones of a dodo, occultists’ paintings, two-headed kittens and, erm, old McDonald’s kids’ toys. It’s endearing in that it's beautiful and interesting artefacts sit alongside the everyday dross and gross, subverting the notion of what and how a museum should function. It will scare the bejesus out of you, but it’s not necessarily haunted.

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The Flask
  • Bars and pubs
  • Pubs
  • Highgate

Chill factor πŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ’€

It doesn’t look scary, but Highgate's historic pub 'The Flask' boasts not one, but two hauntings. It's said that the ghost of a Spanish barmaid, who hanged herself in the cellar having been left broken-hearted by the publican, looms around the premises, as does a man in a Cavalier's uniform, who likes to wander the main bar. To add to the fright factor, one of the first-ever autopsies (most likely illegally conducted on a corpse stolen from nearby Highgate Cemetery) is said to have taken place in the pub's Committee Room.

  • Restaurants
  • Farringdon

Chill factor πŸ’€πŸ’€

The name of this small square is enough to give you chills. It might look pleasant enough, but Bleeding Heart Yard in Farringdon has a horrific history. Legend has it that on January 27 1626 the mutilated body of society beauty Lady Elizabeth Hatton was found in the cobbled courtyard. She had been murdered and her limbs strewn across the ground, but her heart still pumped blood. Gruesome stuff. 

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  • Museums
  • History
  • Smithfield

Chill factor πŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ’€

Barts is the oldest hospital in Britain (dating back to 1123), but sadly walls can’t talk, so it’s distilled its history into a museum in its north wing, where you can feed your morbid urges with displays of old surgical equipment, marble heads and dusty documents (including one signed by Henry VIII). The real attraction here, though is William Hogarth. Two giant canvases by the artist can be seen from the museum, just above the grand staircase. Apparently, Hogarth was so pissed off about the hospital planning to commission an Italian artist for the job, he painted these haunting Scripture stories for free. 

Old Queen's Head
  • Nightlife
  • Angel

Chill factor πŸ’€πŸ’€

This Islington boozer is said to be the location of dark goings-on – The Old Queen's House is haunted by both a lady and a little girl. You might not be able to hear her over the sound of karaoke, but the little girl has been reported to weep, slam doors, run around the pub and up the stairs, even overtaking punters as they climb. 

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  • Attractions
  • Manor Park

Chill factor πŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ’€

Since the mid 1970's locals have complainted about a brilliant orange light emanating from one of the tombstones in the western section of the City of London Cemetery in Wanstead. Despite repeated attempts, investigators have been unable to find any light source outside the graveyard that could account for the phenomenon. Spooky, eh? 

  • Attractions
  • Cemeteries
  • West Norwood

Chill factor πŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ’€

Ah, a crepuscular evening among a stack of rotting coffins. How does that sound? That’s just what you’ll find in the dank chambers of the West Norwood Catacombs, an underground resting place for London’s Victorian dead. It might not look it, but these body pigeon holes were built out of a respect for the dead, a way of escaping the unkempt, swampy cemetaries that were overloaded with bodies from the cholera outbreak. The catacombs are rarely open to the public, save for occasional tours from the Friends of West Norwood Cemetery. Remember, it’s a resting place, not a box on the goth bucket list.

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15. Paxton Tunnel

Chill factorπŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ’€

An old railway line running from Lordship Lane to Crystal Palace is part of Sydenham Hill Woods, its tunnels now inaccessible to walkers. Not that you’d want to step inside; there are (uncorroborated) whisperings of a train carriage that was found inside the blocked-up tunnels, full of skeletons fully dressed in Victorian finery. Sydenham Hill Wood. Sydenham Hill rail.

Spaniards Inn
  • Bars and pubs
  • Gastropubs
  • Hampstead Heath

Chill factor πŸ’€πŸ’€

A joint steeped in criminal activity, this Hampstead drinking hole has tight connections with the legendary highwayman Dick Turpin, with one of the pub's bars named after him and some of his weapons on show to punters. The locals will tell you that The Spaniards Inn was Dick's birthplace, then later the location where his many crimes were plotted, and his ghost can supposedly be seen wandering the premises. Other dead dwellers include a former Spanish landlord, Juan Porero, who haunts the pub having been murdered by his brother, Francesco, over a shared love interest. The ghost of an unidentified lady wearing white has also been spotted.

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  • Museums
  • Science and technology
  • Holborn

Chill factor πŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ’€

Note: The Hunterian Museum is closed until 2021

Bottled human foetuses, preserved monkey heads and misshapen skeletons are some of the creepy specimens that famed Georgian surgeon Sir John Hunter (considered to be the father of scientific surgery) collected to research disease - and they are all on display here (or, they will be, when the musuem re-opens in 2021) at the Royal College of Surgeons musuem. If deformed bodies and organs don't scare you, the early failed attempts at tranplants might. 

  • Hotels
  • Marylebone

Chill factor πŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ’€

Europe’s first Grand Hotel wowed European royalty with electric lights, hydraulic lifts and air conditioning when it opened in 1865, and it still pulls fans in from around the world – some of those are ghosthunters. The rumours go that room 333 is the hub of all the activity. Apparently, a man in Victorian clothing is often spotted there, while other ghosts have been reportedly seen roaming the corridors. 

Read our guide to Halloween in London

Halloween in London
  • Things to do

If you're going to celebrate Halloween this year we suggest you go all out. Luckily, we've put together an ultimate guide to Halloween to hold your hand through this scary time

WTTDLondon

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