With a history reaching into prehistoric times, the city of York is ripe for the pickings when it comes to paranormal activity. The cobblestone streets, brick buildings, and old pubs are teeming with stories to be told — some of which the ghosts have taken into their own hands. Some ghost hunters will flock to the countryside for spooky asylums or to London for high-brow hauntings, but York is easily one of the top ghost destinations in the U.K.

While there are countless pubs and theatres to find ghosts in York, the city’s hotels offer an especially up-close look at the spectral activity and the unexplained. Stay in one of these hotels or see them on a ghost tour of the city, of which there are plenty to pick from. Here are York’s five most haunted hotels.

1. The Black Swan Hotel, Helmsley

Haunted Black Swan Hotel Helmsley York
Market Pl, Helmsley, York YO62 5BJ

Located near North York Moors National Park, this historic inn is a great place to stop to learn more about the history of North York. Black Swan Hotel — not to be mixed up with the also haunted Black Swan Inn — came to be in the 1400s, giving it plenty of fodder for spooky happenings. The bar and hotel are filled with spirits wanting to be seen and heard.

Guests will be graced with the presence of a young blonde lady, known by locals to be a mother who died while she was giving birth in room four. A tragic and too-common tale, the sombre woman is known to don a long white gown while she stares out the window before floating through the wall.

Stay at the Black Swan Inn

2. Dean Court Hotel

Haunted Dean Court Hotel York
Duncombe Pl, York YO1 7EF

Located in central York, this boutique hotel has a small-time feel with a luxurious varnish. With the York Minister across the way, you’ll be right in the hubbub if you stay at Dean Court Hotel. Interestingly, the hauntings didn’t begin here until the hotel was refurbished a decade ago, making for a fascinating paranormal investigation. Now, the hotel’s 37 rooms are modern and posh while still being cosy and welcoming despite the spirits that lurk within.

Most famous is the Mad Maid, who perhaps haunts the place because of the horrid nickname she’s been given! She’s an unhappy chambermaid who is often seen grimacing through the corridors, cleaning supplies in tow. Her main strife seems to be her perpetual task of keeping up the hotel, but she’s not nearly as nefarious as the spirit of room 36. Guests in this room have reported the classic slamming doors and moving objects, but more upsettingly some say they felt someone pushing on their chests while laying down. The ghost supposedly carries a cold chill around, too, making room 36 a visit only for the bravest ghost hunters.

Book The Dean Court Hotel

3. The Golden Fleece

The Golden Fleece Inn
The Golden Fleece, 16 Pavement, York YO1 9UP

As one of the oldest inns in York, the Golden Fleece is a must-see pub and hotel for anyone visiting the city of York. It’s also one of York’s most active paranormal locations, with tons of known ghosts tempting ghost hunters worldwide. The hotel supposedly dates back to the early 1500s, when it functioned as a coaching inn where horses and their riders could rest between transports. Now, it has just four bedrooms upstairs — perfect for an isolated ghost hunt.

Lady Alice Peckett is one of the hotel’s most well-known ghosts, the wife of a former York mayor who lived next door in his heyday. She likes to walk the halls and move furniture around, a light haunting compared to the fabled ghost called One-Eyed Jack. Jack supposedly sits in the pub wielding a pistol as he’s clad in an old red coat from the 1500s — perhaps one of the hotel’s oldest ghosts. The spirit of a Canadian pilot who accidentally fell from a window in the hotel and died supposedly haunts the place as well. The tales of those who have stayed overnight at the hotel amount to more than 15 spirits in total, so you’ll surely see something spectral if you spend a night here at York’s most haunted hotel.

Stay at the Golden Fleece

4. Black Swan Inn, Peasholme Green

The Black Swan Inn Peasholme Green York
23 Peasholme Green, York YO1 7PR

The Black Swan Inn, in Peasholme Greene, is also known to host unsettling apparitions in tens. The hotel is also as old as the 1400s, when it was a private home, although the ghosts are from much more recent centuries. The place truly embraces its ghostly past, hosting ghost suppers in which attendants will take a walking tour of all the city’s ghosts before sitting down for a haunted meal at the pub.

This hotel’s hauntings include another spooky woman, also known to don a long white dress and either glowing white hair or ominous black locks draped over her face. Some say she only appears when the fire is lit, which she stares into with contempt or regret. She’s joined by a man wearing a 1900s bowler hat, who is known to sit by the bar and fidget in his seat as if he’s waiting for someone to arrive — maybe it’s you! At the bar, guests claim to hear a watch ticking incessantly. Even scarier, the hotel is home to two disembodied feet that like to roam the halls. Yes, you read that right. If the pub hauntings aren’t enough for you, book a room at the hotel to see the bowler hat man walk from room to room, eventually fading into spectral nothingness.

5. York Pavilion Hotel

Haunted York Pavillion Hotel
45 Main St, Fulford, York YO10 4PJ

Located in Fulford, this hotel is ripe for hauntings. The old Georgian country house is home to several hauntings throughout its history, including the typical slamming doors that staff have witnessed over the years. This hotel is open for bookings, in which guests may see one of the accommodation’s several spectral beings.

Most famous is the woman who likes to stand at the top of the staircase, which is also a sight in itself as an original Georgian set of stairs. Guests have also reported seeing a man dressed in 1800s attire. He apparently frequents the restaurants and enjoys a cigar now and again, perhaps as the apparition that causes the cold spots and disembodied laughter. Room phones ring to no answer, doors open and close on their own, and empty rooms call the front desk at this beautiful and worthwhile Georgian hotel.

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Haunted York

York is such an amazing city to explore, with its ancient architecture and old streets and buildings. The Shambles is a perfect example of a medieval street for instance. Away from its magnificent tourist spots this unique city harbours many ghostly secrets, it is in fact one of the most haunted cities in the UK!

Those are just of the most haunted hotels in York there are more of course. If you want to suggest a haunted hotel in York we’d be delighted to hear what you have for us. Just click on the contact us link in the footer at the bottom of the website.

As York is one of the most haunted cities in the UK, if not the world, it contains some of the most haunted places in the UK as well. Take for instance 41 Stonegate (Most Haunted House in York), Castlegate House, York Castle, Clifford Tower, Clifton Lodge, and the Shambles – the list goes on!

Regarded by many as the ‘Most Haunted City in England’, York has gained an infamous reputation with its sheer number of haunted locations. With the number of ghosts in York so high in addition to what we’ve already stated, it’s also become known as ‘the city of a thousand ghosts’. It’s rare you’ll find a building or location that has a history dating back over 100 years that isn’t haunted!