York is an extremely haunted city and so it is no surprise that one of its oldest pubs, built in 1503, is haunted. One of the most haunted pubs in York, there are thought to be fifteen spectres in residence at the hotel, but the most noted of which and the most talked about is Lady Alice Peckett, wife of John Peckett, who used to be the mayor of York and also the owner of the hotel. Many guests have reported seeing Alice wandering the corridors of the hotel, moving furniture around and walking up and down staircases in the small hours of the night.
Another of the ghosts is a Canadian airman who fell to his death from one of the upper windows of the hotel during World War II. After his untimely demise, he took up residence at the hotel as a non-paying guest.
Other ghosts include a man known as One Eyed Jack, who is often seen wearing a 16-17th century red coat, carrying a pistol, in the bottom bar of the pub. He’s joined by a grumpy old man, also regularly seen in the bottom bar, and by a young boy from Victorian times who was trampled to death by horses who is regularly seen in the top bar.
Roman soldiers have also been seen in the cellar of the hotel, which is where dead criminals used to be stored as a temporary measure until their relatives came to identify them.
There’s no doubt about it, if you’re looking to experience ghostly goings-on, you’ll definitely be in for a treat at the Golden Fleece – it was even investigated by the Most Haunted television programme in 2005!
Although not much is known exactly about the hotel’s history, we do know that it has been standing since at least 1503 when it was first mentioned in the York Archives. The hotel definitely looks its age and is a delightfully misshapen and almost squashed building, housing four bedrooms, two bars and a function room.
The hotel overlooks the medieval shops of The Shambles, one of York’s oldest rows of shops. You can immediately tell how old the building is as soon as you step inside, as there was no such thing as building regulations back in the 1500s and so this charming building was built with a wooden frame and no foundations, making the floors, ceilings and doorways all crooked and at times, gravity-defying.
One of the rooms at the hotel, the St. Catherine’s room, has a bathroom that disappeared off building plans for more than 200 years, when it was discovered in 2000. Lady Peckett’s room boasts a wonderfully preserved ceiling rose, The Shambles room looks over the aforementioned medieval street and the Minster Suite boasts unparalleled views over the Shambles to the towers of the Minster.
This quaint and deeply traditional pub/hotel is definitely the place to stay if you’re looking to enjoy the real York. It has only four bedrooms, but each of them is en-suite and they are all very different. The Shambles room has a king-size four poster double bed and overlooks the medieval street, the St. Catherine’s room is a twin/triple room, housing an en-suite bathroom in a secret room, the Lady Peckett’s room is a cosy double with a preserved ceiling rose and the Minster Suite is a stunning en-suite room that includes a king-size four poster double bed and a private lounge area.
All rooms include breakfast as standard, served from 9.00am, and you can choose from a traditional English breakfast, a continental breakfast or a vegetarian breakfast. For your evening meals and lunches, the Golden Fleece offers a number of eating choices, including soups, pate, nachos, burgers, luxury burgers, hot and cold baguettes and the quintessential giant Yorkshire pudding served with your choice of topping.
A function room is available at the hotel for meetings, banquets, private events and functions, and this room contains its own private bar. The two bars at the hotel both offer a wide range of liquors, local beers and ales, spirits, mixers and cocktails, as well as an extensive wine menu – so you’ll definitely be spoilt for choice.
If you’re looking for an entirely different sort of stay, the Golden Fleece is the place for you. With warm, cosy surroundings, a delicious choice of food and drink and a friendly and relaxed atmosphere, this hotel is the perfect place to explore some of the delights that York has to offer.
- 4 very quaint en-suite rooms
- Breakfast included in room rate
- Restaurant and bar
- Function room with bar
- Bags of character
- Cosy furnishings
- Delightful antique furniture
- Quirky features such as wobbly floors
Things to do
If your time at the Golden Fleece isn’t taken up by ghost-hunting, explore what York has to offer by going shopping in some of the medieval shops or go for a bite to eat in one of the many restaurants, cafes or bars. There are also a huge number of things to see and do, including gardens, museums, art galleries, the Minster and a few stately homes. Check out Flamingo Land if you have children as it’s a fantastic day out.
- The Shambles room is available from £90 per night, based on two people sharing, breakfast included.
- St. Catherine’s room is available from £90 per night based on two people sharing and from £135 per night based on three people sharing, breakfast included.
- Lady Peckett’s room is available from £90 per night, based on two people sharing, breakfast included.
- The Minster Suite is available from £90 per night based on two people sharing, £135 per night based on three people sharing, and £170 per night based on four people sharing, breakfast included.