The English capital is renowned for being the most haunted city in the world. From headless queens to phantom highwaymen, London is spoilt for choice when it comes to ghost stories.
This list will look at the eleven most haunted places in London, though the city’s history is so inextricably intertwined with the paranormal that it may be easier to list the eleven least scary places in London.
1. The Clink Prison, Southwark
From its opening in 1144 to its closure six-hundred years later, The Clink in Central London became so synonymous with misery and suffering that its name is now used as a slang term for all prisons.
Those in positions of authority at The Clink are said to have been sadistic, sociopathic, and lacking in empathy for their fellow man. The church permitted cruel and unusual punishments in the jail, including starvation, solitary confinement, and savage beatings.
It is no surprise that these “rehabilitation” methods have left many lost souls wandering the prison, still paying for their crimes.
Those who have visited The Clink have reported seeing the ghosts of both prisoners and guards and hearing mysterious footsteps and slamming doors. Repeated sightings of specific spirits are rare here, but one apparition witnessed frequently is that of a woman fumbling with the chains used to bind her during her life.
2. The Spaniards Inn, Hampstead
Built in 1585 and still serving thousands of eaters and drinkers every year, The Spaniards Inn is historic, atmospheric, and, of course, haunted.
Dick Turpin, an infamous British highwayman, is said to have spent much time in The Spaniards Inn, eying unsuspecting travellers and plotting his next heist. It has been said that Turpin’s ghost still haunts the inn and the surrounding area, occasionally being seen travelling to the building on horseback.
Visitors to The Spaniards Inn have also witnessed the ghost of a woman dressed entirely in white, though little is known about her or her relationship with the property.
Perhaps she is one of many to have fallen in love with the quaint inn and doesn’t want to check out just yet. Or perhaps she is one of Dick Turpin’s many victims.
3. London Tombs, Southwark
If you’re a horror fan, you have probably already been to – or plan to go to – The London Tombs. The London Tombs are one of many attractions across England which combine a manufactured eerie atmosphere with dozens of actors masquerading as ghosts and ghouls, with the sole purpose of terrifying all who enter.
However, some reports suggest that something a little more sinister is going on at the attraction.
The London Tombs, which are part of The London Bridge Experience, are an optional part of the tour and open only to those over eleven. They are built on the site of what was once a plague pit, a mass grave for those who perished during the Bubonic Plague.
Staff members have reported seeing the dark shadow of a man moving around the building, which is particularly frightening if you’re familiar with the tales of black shadows appearing in English villages just before plague outbreaks.
Staff and regular visitors are familiar with Emily, a young woman frequently lurking in the tombs. By all accounts, Emily is aware of what is going on around her.
Numerous dissatisfied tour groups have complained about a woman, who they believed to be an uninspired actor, simply staring at them during their tour and doing nothing to frighten them. If only they knew the truth.
4. Ragged School Museum, Tower Hamlets
Kids can be pretty scary even when they’re alive, so it is no surprise that The Ragged School Museum has built up a reputation as one of the creepiest spots in all of London.
Opened in 1877, The Ragged School was intended to provide children from the impoverished Mile End with basic education.
It was closed in 1908 when the area began to improve and was deemed no longer necessary. The building was used for various purposes for the next several decades before being opened as a museum in 1990.
Those who visit the school hoping for an insight into the Victorian education system often see a lot more than they bargained for. Many have reported hearing both laughter and ear-piercing cries. Some even claim to have come into contact with the spirits of the boys and girls who spent their childhood years in the stuffy classrooms of The Ragged School.
The museum has also been the site of some of the most startling poltergeist activity ever reported in London, which is really saying something.
Due to its reputation, it has been the focus of many paranormal investigations. Ghost hunters invited to inspect and explore The Ragged School Museum have encountered mysterious floating orbs and disembodied voices, some of which have even been captured on tape.
5. Tower of London, Central London
It would be remiss of us to put together a list of the most haunted places in London and not include the infamous Bloody Tower.
From 1100 to 1952, The Tower of London was used as a prison for those particularly disliked by the Royal Family. As we all know, prisoners here were usually beheaded – though it seems even this did not end their time confined to the building.
Visitors and employees at the tower have long reported voices and apparitions, which they attribute to the many ghosts believed to dwell within the tower walls.
The ghosts of historical figures such as Guy Fawkes, Lady Jane Grey, and Henry VI are said to still lurk in The Tower of London. Less famous prisoners have also gained notoriety in the afterlife for their refusal to leave the scene of their suffering.
Perhaps the most famous of all ghosts at The Tower of London is the ghost of Anne Boleyn, the beheaded wife of the merciless King Henry VIII. Many who claim to have seen Boleyn’s spirit say she walks with her head tucked beneath her arm.
Others have spotted her from the courtyard, staring out the window of the room in which she was held captive by her maniacal husband.
Since its opening in 1839, Highgate has become one of London’s most infamously haunted locations. This historic cemetery is the final resting place for over 170,000 people, across an estimated 53,000 graves.
At the turn of the 20th century, this one-time oasis of peace suffered a turn of fortunes. Following the outbreak of World War I and later World War II, finances for the upkeep dried up, and the staff were decimated, leaving the cemetery all but abandoned.
By the 1960s, the gates to Highgate Cemetery were closed and left to be reclaimed by nature.
It was after this time that stories of the occult started to surface. People would often report seeing figures dressed in dark robes, chanting and practising dark rituals.
These stories gave birth to the legend of the Highgate Vampire. Supposedly he was a medieval nobleman who practised black magic in Romania. His coffin was brought to England and buried where the Highgate Cemetery was to be located.
It’s reported that the Satanists awoke him using one of their rituals. His tall, dark figure is known to glide around the cemetery, with his presence being felt with a sudden drop in temperature.
Today, it’s open for tours and is a popular location for enthusiasts of the paranormal, occult, and vampires.
7. Charlton House, Greenwich
Charlton House is a historic building located in the London borough of Greenwich. It is considered one of the country’s finest examples of Jacobean architecture and is a designated Grade I listed building.
The house was built in 1607 by Sir Adam Newton, a tutor to Henry, Prince of Wales, the elder brother of King Charles I.
It has also served as the family home to Sir William Langhorne, who purchased the property in 1680 and lived there until he died without an heir in 1714. Sir William’s ghost still haunts the mansion to this day, reluctant to believe he died childless.
Another spirit known to haunt the mansion is the grey Lady. People often report seeing her full-bodied apparition, as clear as you’d see another person. She always seems to be carrying what seems to be a baby huddled in blankets.
8. Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey
Hampton Court Palace is a historic royal palace in the borough of Richmond upon Thames in London. It served as Royal Residence for over 500 years after it was originally built for Cardinal Thomas Wolsey (a favourite of King Henry VIII) in the early 16th century but later passed into the ownership of King Henry VIII.
The palace witnessed many important historical events, including the trial of Queen Catherine Howard and the birth of Elizabeth I, and has served as a residence for many monarchs throughout the centuries. Furthermore, the palace is known for its ghostly sightings, adding to its mysterious and intriguing aura.
King Henry’s third wife, Jane Seymour, is one of the ghosts that is said to haunt the palace. She is said to have died at the palace shortly after giving birth to Henry’s son, Edward VI.
According to reports, her ghost has been spotted in various parts of the palace, including the Silverstick Stairs, the Haunted Gallery, and the Clock Court.
Some visitors have reported seeing a lady dressed in a white gown, carrying a lighted taper, while others have felt an inexplicable chill or heard the sound of a woman’s cries.
9. Bethnal Green Underground
The Bethnal Green underground station disaster was a tragic event during World War II in London, England, on March 3, 1943.
During an air raid, a large crowd rushed into the station seeking shelter from the bombing. However, in the confusion and darkness, 173 people, mostly women and children, were crushed to death in a narrow staircase leading to the station’s platform.
In the years following the tragedy. Some people claim to have seen the ghostly apparitions of the victims, while others have reported hearing unexplained noises or feeling a sense of unease in the area.
10. The Ten Bells Pub, Spitalfields
The Ten Bells is a historic pub located in the Spitalfields neighbourhood of London, and its storied history has made it a popular destination for horror fans.
The pub has long been associated with the notorious serial killer Jack the Ripper, who is believed to have frequented the establishment and may have even selected some of his victims from among its patrons.
In fact, two of Jack the Ripper’s victims, Mary Jane Kelly and Annie Chapman, are believed to have had their last drinks at the Ten Bells before their murders.
Many visitors to the pub have reported seeing the ghost of a woman dressed in Victorian clothing, believed to be Annie Chapman.
Another common ghostly sighting at the Ten Bells is that of a man in a top hat. Some believe this could be the ghost of Jack the Ripper himself.
11. The Langham London
The Langham Hotel is a fancy hotel in London’s West End that’s been around since 1865. It’s had loads of famous guests like Mark Twain and Charles Dickens, and was even the location of the first ever live BBC broadcast in 1927.
But, the Langham Hotel also has a spookier side to it. It’s supposedly haunted by a German prince who jumped to his death from one of the windows, and his ghost still hangs around.
Some say they’ve seen a doctor who killed his wife and offed himself in one of the rooms, a butler who was done in by his own wife, and a guy who was stabbed to death in the basement.
According to a Daily Mail article in 2014, England cricketers Ben Stokes and Stuart Broad experienced something spooky during their stay at the Langham Hotel. The players reported having trouble sleeping due to strange noises and the feeling of a presence in their room, which they believed to be caused by ghosts.
While there are certainly other haunted hotels in London, the Langham Hotel’s history and reputation as a haunted location, combined with its luxurious amenities and central location, make it a top choice for those seeking a spooky stay in London.