These London drinking dens have something sinister in common. With haunting histories guaranteed to send a shiver down your spine, here are six of the spookiest haunted pubs in London.
Perched on the edge of Hampstead Heath, The Spaniards Inn dates back to 1585 and still retains much of its old-world charm. It gets its name from two former Spanish landlords, brothers Francesco and Juan Porero, who fell in love with the same woman and fought a duel. Juan was killed and his ghost wanders the pub to this day. Legendary highwayman Dick Turpin is said to haunt the upstairs rooms, while ‘Black Dick’, a moneylender who was killed by a passing coach, likes to tug on the sleeves of drinkers in the bar.
The upper floors of this historic pub were once used as an officers’ mess frequented by King George IV and the Duke of Wellington. The cellar was a gambling den for soldiers, and this is where a young man named Cedric was apparently killed for cheating at cards. Cedric now haunts the pub, rattling the tables, moving things during the night, and moaning from the cellar. Visitors hang money from the ceiling to pay his debt, but poor Cedric seems unable to leave. You may find yourself keen to linger, too. Despite its resident ghost, the pub is famous for its warm welcome and menu of English pub classics.
This parkside pub is no stranger to paranormal activity. There are have been unexplained bangs and footsteps for many years, plus sightings of a shrouded Victorian figure at the bar. Creepier still, renovations in the 80s uncovered a skeleton surrounded by surgical equipment behind one of the cellar walls. It has since been buried, but the haunting has continued. Locals appear undeterred by these spooky occurrences – it’s a popular spot for after-work drinks and you’ll need to book ahead if you want to sample their superb Sunday roasts.
This east London pub is best known for its association with Jack the Ripper, as several of his victims were seen drinking here before meeting their untimely end. The pub is believed to be haunted by Annie Chapman, who was murdered by Jack just a few hours after leaving the pub, and an old man in Victorian clothing who used to terrify staff living above the pub in the 90s. These days, the only spirits you’re likely to encounter are the ones in bottles. The Ten Bells has a serious gin menu, some excellent cocktails, and a bourbon den upstairs.
With its plush leather sofas, ornate ceiling, and teal tiled bar, this Essex Road pub is a bit of a stunner. It hosts regular quizzes, gigs and club nights, and Lucky Chip are in the kitchen dishing up burgers, roasts, and Saturday brunch. The building itself dates back to 1830, with some features – like the carved stone fireplace – dating back to the 17th century. It’s said to be haunted by a young girl who follows staff up and down the stairs and can sometimes be heard giggling, crying, and slamming doors. Pop in on the first Sunday of each month and you might witness the ghost of a woman in Tudor clothing who walks around the pub before fading away.
This Highgate pub is steeped in history, with some parts of the building dating back to 1663. The beer garden is packed through the summer and on colder days you can warm up in cosy corners or beside the fire. Suddenly feeling a bit chilly? You may have just encountered the ghost of a Spanish barmaid who hung herself in the cellar when her love from the landlord went unrequited. Her ghost is rarely seen but locals have spotted a man in Cavalier uniform crossing the room in the main bar and disappearing into a pillar.
Hungry for more ghostly encounters? Head to The Bow Bells, where a mischievous spirit likes to flush the ladies’ toilets, or The Volunteer on Baker Street, where the ghost of Richard Neville is said to haunt the cellars.