Every Ghost-Lover Should Visit These 5 Haunted Pubs in London
London is a town rich in history, conflict, and Victorian-era love triangles, which, as we all well know, means it has a lot of f*cking ghosts. And outside of cemeteries, catacombs, and former dungeons, pubs seem to be where most of of the city's spirits are passing their time. From autopsies performed in committee rooms to dueling brothers and notorious gangsters, here's a look at the stories and apparitions hiding in five of the most haunted jaunts in London.
Cheers to booze and boos!
Tucked between Highgate Cemetary and Hampstead Heath, The Flask is said to host not one but two ghosts: the first, a Spanish barmaid who broken-heartedly hung herself in the cellar, and the second, a gentleman in a Cavalier uniform who's been spotted strolling through the main bar. Rumor has it one of the first-ever autopsies was (very illegally) performed in the pub's committee room as well, supposedly on a body pulled from a nearby grave.
Despite its grisly history, The Flask has a vibrant energy and surprisingly cheerful vibe filled with natural light and English charm. On a scale of one to five skulls (five marking the ultimate spookiness, of course), I'd give this pub a mere one and a half.
The Flask, 77 Highgate West Hill, Highgate, London, N6 6BU
The Blind Beggar
The Blind Beggar earned its place in East London's bloody history back in 1966, when Ronnie Kray shot rival gangster George Cornell dead at the bar. In the 50 years since, visitors have often alluded to supernatural happenings here, perhaps put on by Cornell himself (though any suspicious noises or flying glasses are likely the doing of a ginger cat who calls this spot home). When asked if he'd seen any ghostly gangsters roaming around, the bartender simply replied, "No ghosts, just cats."
The pub's red walls do feel a bit sinister, though . . . so we'll give this one a solid two-skull rating.
The Blind Beggar, 337 Whitechapel Rd, London E1 1BU
The Volunteer served as a popular recruitment station during wartime (which is also how it got its name), though no fallen soldiers are said to haunt this space. Instead, legend suggests that Richard Neville — patriarch of the Neville family, whose mansion burned to the ground at this site in the 17th century — wanders the cellars in his breeches. Bartenders mentioned doors slamming shut, sudden gusts of wind, and even the sensation of someone pulling at their ears (eek!).
Fortunately or unfortunately, I didn't see any breech-wearing, ear-grabbing ghosts on my visit. That said, The Volunteer's bar staff insisted its haunted reputation went beyond rumors, so I'd say three out of five skulls for this Baker Street institution.
The Volunteer, 245-247 Baker Street, London, NW1 6XE
The Spaniards Inn
Given its well-lit interior and cozy wood-paneled walls, guests might be surprised to learn that The Spaniards Inn is home to a whopping four ghosts: three human, one horse.
As the staff explained, the Inn was once run by the father of famed highwayman Dick Turpin, who spent much of his time here scoping out (and robbing) passing coaches. His ghost now haunts the upstairs rooms and his horse, Black Bess, is the one that's said to clank around the car park at odd hours. The second ghost is also named Dick (Black Dick, to be specific) — who, in an unfortunate twist of fate, was allegedly run over and killed by a horse outside the pub. And finally, the ghost of Juan Porero: he and his brother Francesco owned the Inn for a time as well, and after falling in love with the same woman, decided to settle matters with a duel. Juan was killed in the altercation, but has chosen to stick around, in ghost form, for several centuries.
As mentioned, the pub feels more homey than haunted, but I did notice some flickering lights in the rooms upstairs . . . Three out of five skulls for The Spaniards Inn.
The Spaniards Inn, Spaniards Road, Hampstead, London, Greater London, NW3 7JJ
The Ten Bells
The Ten Bells is perhaps the city's most notorious pub, as several of Jack the Ripper's victims made their final toasts at here (including Elizabeth Stride, Mary Kelly, and Annie Chapman; it's even earned a spot on the Jack the Ripper Tour). And this place actually feels haunted. It's got an eerie energy and nothing but candlelight, with apparitions supposedly spotted in the bar upstairs; perhaps the Ripper himself?
While I didn't spot any ghosts myself, I definitely felt a little spooked sipping a pint here — The Ten Bells comes in at four out of five skulls.
The Ten Bells, 84 Commercial Street, London, E1 6LY