Known as the most haunted capital city globally, London certainly has its fair share of haunted locations and, of course, haunted pubs. With some of the oldest buildings in the city being pubs, it’s little wonder that these London boozers have so much paranormal history.
With over one hundred haunted London pubs to choose from, we thought we’d make your paranormal knees up a little easier to handle. Below is a quick rundown of the most haunted pubs London has to offer, along with the stories of the spirits and the ghost stories that plague them.
1. The Grenadier Pub, Belgravia
This historic pub is widely regarded as the most haunted in London. Located in Belgravia in a secluded side street, this atmospheric Old Tavern was once the officer’s mess for the Duke of Wellington’s Grenadier Guards. The Duke of Wellington himself has reportedly drunk here.
During its time as an officers mess, the cellar was used as a gambling den for common soldiers, and it was here where the death of a young soldier believed to be haunting The Grenadier occurred.
He was caught cheating in a game of cards and therefore took a heavy beating by his fellow soldiers, consequently dying from his injuries. It’s believed he died in September, as this is when the paranormal activity in the pub picks up.
Several customers have reported witnessing the misty outline of a figure walking across the room, vanishing suddenly. Poltergeist activity has also been reported, with objects being moved overnight, only to appear in different places the morning after.
Staff and customers have also witnessed chairs rattling and moving on their own. Sudden unexplained cold spots are often felt, footsteps are often heard coming from an empty upstairs, and staff have also reported groaning voices coming from the cellar.
Also, a film crew on location pictured a soldier’s head, looking back at them through the pub window.
2. The Volunteer, Baker Street
The building in which the Volunteer resides, was once a 17th Century mansion, a home to the powerful Neville family. The original cellars are still used to this day, and on many occasion staff have been terrified by the manifestation of a well dressed man, believed to be the ghost of Richard Neville.
3. Spaniard's Inn, Hampstead
Dating back to 1585, this listed building was once under the landlordship of the father of the famous highwayman, Dick Turpin. It is believed Dick spent a lot of time at the inn, either hiding out or keeping an eye on the road for potential coaches to rob.
The inn’s name came from two of its previous owners, Francesco Porero and Juan Porero. According to beliefs, Juan and Francesco fell in love with the same woman and fought a duel over her. Juan was killed and is buried near the inn. It is his ghost that still haunts the pub to this day.
There are also reportedly two more ghosts that haunt the Spaniard’s Inn. One is a woman in white, who has been seen many times in the garden, and the other is Dick Turpin himself. He is reputedly seen on the road outside the inn and heard in the upstairs rooms.
4. Morpeth Arms, Westminster
Under this Grade II listed pub is a corridor of holding cells used to hold prisoners ready for deportation to the colonies. They were usually held here in solitary confinement for six months, living in basic squaller, which led to an outbreak of scurvy and cholera.
It is believed the pub is haunted by a prisoner who is thought to of committed suicide rather than be sent to the other side of the world. There are also reports of another spirit who died in the tunnels after escaping Millbank Prison.
Many customers have complained of their drinks being knocked out of their hands within the main bar area by an unseen force. Bottles and glasses have also smashed to the floor when no one is near them.
5. The Old Queens Head, Islington
Dating back to the early 19th century, this well-known music venue entices world-class bands and DJs and is a venue that ghosts often frequent. Sir Walter Raleigh is thought to be connected to The Old Queen’s Head somehow, most likely down to him owning the inn at one time or a regular customer.
The pub is haunted by the ghost of a young girl and a woman. Many people have heard the sound of running footsteps upstairs, believed to be the young girl’s. Staff have reported hearing the running footsteps ahead of them as they make their way up the stairs. People have also reported hearing the young girl crying and witnessing her slam doors.
The ghost of a woman has also been seen, apparently wearing Tudor clothing, and mainly on the first Sunday of the month.
6. The Ten Bells, Spitalfields
Located on Commerical street in Shoreditch stands one of the most famous haunted drinking holes in London. The Ten Bells in Spitalfields is reputedly haunted by the victims of Jack the Ripper, Annie Chapman and Mary Kelly.
After all, it’s in the Ten Bells where Jack the Ripper reportedly stalked his victims, Mary Kelly’s body was found just a 1-minute walk from the pub, and Annie Chapman was known to have been drinking in the pub the night of her murder.
As well as the ghosts of his murder victims, many people believe Jack himself haunts the pub, with staff and pub-goers witnessing an apparition of a Victorian gentleman.
7. The Bow Bells, East End
The ghost at this East End pub isn’t keen on punters spending too long in the lavs. The spirit is particularly fond of flushing the toilets and urinals even if they’re still in use. Not something that would warrant being called a haunted pub. However, it’s when the landlord held a seance that truly warrants this pub being named one of the most haunted in London.
Sick of the issue with the toilets and plumbers finding no problems, the landlord and other staff members held a seance one night. Telling the apparent spirit to leave or make itself known, the door to one of the lavs suddenly burst open with tremendous force, smashing one of the pub’s mirrors.
8. The Rising Sun, Cloth Fair
Located on the historic street of Cloth Fair, lies an unassuming little pub dating back to the 18th century. However, soon after its opening, The Rising Sun began attracting some of London’s most sinister clientele.
Regular punters were scared away by the gang of body snatchers or ‘resurrection men’ as they were known, who would convene at the pub, plotting their evil deeds.
The story of hauntings started back in the 1980s after the pub was renovated. Two Brazilian barmaids moved into the property and would report an unseen presence sitting on their beds at night. In other instances, this unseen presence would rip their bedsheets off in the middle of the night.
9. The Viaduct Tavern, Newgate
The Viaduct Tavern on Newgate is the next historic boozer on our list of the most haunted pubs in London. Ominously located opposite what was formerly Newgate prison and now the Old Bailey, the Viaduct Tavern is the city’s last remaining example of a Victorian gin palace.
The stunning Victorian interior is still intact, with its deep mahogany furniture, intricate ceiling roses, and the Renaissance-style art that adorn its walls. However, it’s not just the beauty of the building that draws people in, this London boozer is one of the most haunted places in the capital.
In the basement, you’ll come across several disused prison cells, which were used back when the original site was part of the “Giltster Compter”, a debtors prison that operated from 1791 to 1853. It’s in these cells that most people have experienced terrifying paranormal activity, with things being thrown and people being locked inside with no means of escape. You may also hear the agonising screams of one of the past inhabitants.