most haunted places in London

Most haunted places in London

Most haunted places in London

Chilling tales from the top spooky spots in the capital. By Anize Keers

Thrill seekers’ favourite holiday is right around the corner with ghosts, ghouls and goblins already popping up in the decorations aisles. Horrifyingly enough, London is home to some of the most chilling ghost stories and macabre locations in the country. For something different this Halloween, we have compiled a list of the scariest spots for a local ghost-hunting trip if you dare…

Ham House and The Daunting Duchess

Said to be one of the most haunted locations in Britain, this eerie mansion is said to have around 15 resident spirits roaming the halls – including a potentially murderous past Duchess and a heartbroken servant.

In the 17th Century, the National Trust’s Ham House was the home of Elizabeth Murray, Duchess of Lauderdale. After the unexpected death of her husband, Elizabeth came under scrutiny, suspected of his death after her quick remarriage to the recently widowed John Maitland, First Earl of Lauderdale. Eventually, Elizabeth could outrun her troubles no longer, with financial problems flooding in after the death of her second husband, Elizabeth fell ill and confined herself to a single ground-floor apartment.

Today, the home of Elizabeth is said to surround you with a strange oppressive atmosphere, with a large looking glass dating back to Elizabeth’s time that people have reported being unable to stare into due to a feeling of intensity. The staff of the mansion have reported they call out ‘Good afternoon your ladyship’ before entering just to be on the cautious side. Visitors have also speculated they have heard the wails of a suicidal servant who was rejected by a potential love.

And before you think of bringing your loyal guard dogs, pets are rumoured to be extremely reluctant to enter…

New Wimbledon Theatre and The Grey Lady  

Housing a little more than theatrics, New Wimbledon Theatre is rumoured to be haunted by a mysterious, dark looming figure, dubbed as ‘The Grey Lady’. Stage door supervisor and author of Paranormal Surrey, Marq English, has told the tale of how a woman in a wheelchair was left spooked after reporting she had seen a dark figure staring directly at her from the end of the row. It has also been speculated by other theatregoers that a large black shape can be spotted moving along the corridor towards the back of the auditorium.

Hampton Court Palace and Roaming the Halls Royals  

A place that tells a thousand tales, Hampton Court Palace is said to be one of the most historically haunted buildings in the country. Stories have been told since the early 1900s that two of Henry VIII’s wives remain patrolling the halls. A floating white wraith carrying a lighted taper is said to be the sad spirit of Jane Seymour, Henry’s third wife. Jane died from complications after finally bearing Henry an heir, a fate which left him devastated by the loss of his ‘perfect’ queen. The pale spirit is said to be spotted lurking on the Silverstick Stairs, which once led to the room where Jane gave birth.

The spirit of Henry’s fifth wife is said to be causing much more of a ruckus in the palace. History buffs will be familiar with the ill-fate Catherine Howard met after committing adultery against the King. Catherine was beheaded at the tower when she was just 19. It is alluded she broke free from the guards and ran along the Haunted Gallery screaming out for mercy. It is rumoured her anguished spirit roams the same hall, screaming through eternity.

Credit: Tom Podmore

Liverpool Street Underground ‘Burial’ Station

In the 16th and 17th centuries, Bethlehem Royal was an institution for the mentally ill and was rumoured to grossly mistreat its patients. It was colloquially known as the Bedlam burial ground, which today stands as one of London’s busiest underground stations. In 2015, an excavation project of Bedlam uncovered 30 bodies buried under Liverpool Street Station. If that wasn’t chilling enough, there have been countless reports of sightings of a strange spirit of a man, wearing white overalls, appearing to be waiting on a train that is never to arrive…

Credit: Ed Robertson

Ten Bells Pub and Jack the Ripper

For years the Spitalfields pub was rebranded the ‘Jack the Ripper Pub’ due to the close links with the notorious case. Two of the Ripper’s victims were said to have connections to the pub. Allegedly, Mary Kelly would be seen just outside the pub looking for business, while Annie Chapman spent the evening at the pub on the night she was murdered. Annie is alleged to still haunt the now-called Ten Bells Pub today, with her spirit appearing and causing the pub to file several reports about poltergeist activities.

Credit: Hulki Okan Tabak

Greenwich Foot Tunnels and the Ghost Couple

Passing directly under the River Thames lies the convenient yet creepy underground walkway connecting Greenwich and the Isle of Dogs. Rumoured to be one of the most haunted spots in the country, the tunnel has been in use since 1902. Many of those who have visited during the dead of night have claimed things were eerie and the dead roamed within. The most reported haunting comes from numerous reports of sighting a ghostly couple dressed in Victorian-era fashion, strolling through the tunnel holding hands before disappearing into thin air. Others have commonly reported hearing disembodied wailing voices, footsteps that appear to be unaccompanied by a person and the feeling of a sudden unexplainable temperature drop.

Credit: Maria Teneva

The Tower of London and The Many Entities

With 900 years of existence, it is no wonder the infamous tower is speculated to be haunted by a plethora of ghosts.  The most reported sighting has been the headless ghost of Anne Boleyn. She has been seen wandering near the place where she was beheaded.

The Bloody Tower is said to be as horrifying as the name suggests. A story about two young princes is commonly told with them rumoured to still haunt the castle today. Edward V and his brother Richard were declared illegitimate and sent to the Bloody Tower and were commonly seen playing outside but suddenly vanished one day. It was assumed their deaths were ordered by their uncle the Duke of Gloucester after two child skeletons were later recovered beneath a staircase in the White Tower. Guards and visitors have reported seeing the spirits of the children wearing nightgowns clutching each other in terror.

Another haunting of the White Tower comes in the form of a white lady ghost who has been spotted waving to little children and guards have allegedly reported smelling her perfume so much that it has made them feel ill.

Credit: Nick Fewings

50 Berkeley Square and Bloody Bones Attic

Known as the ‘most haunted house in London’ this Mayfair house is said to have so much poltergeist activity you can feel a sinister sensation just from touching the exterior. The house was once home to Prime Minister George Canning until his death in 1827 and then home to Miss Curzon until her death. Thomas Myers lived in the house next, rumour has it that when he was rejected by his lover, he slowly turned mad and moved into the attic, slept during the day, and roamed the halls at night with only a candle, never interacting with another person.  Ever since there have been a number of incidents and strange happenings reportedly seen at the house.

The ghost of a little girl who was tragically murdered by a servant is said to occupy the attic. A common tale is also told of a man who was locked in the attic until he went mad and died. The house was then said to be haunted by ‘Bloody Bones’ by Mayfair Magazine in 1879.  It reported that a maid had allegedly experienced a sinister encounter in the attic which turned her mad and forced her to move to an asylum where she would ultimately die. It was said she was found on the floor, frozen in terror mumbling “don’t let it touch me” on repeat.

Ragged School Museum and the Crying Children

The Ragged School opened in 1877 with the purpose of educating the impoverished children of the Mile End. The building would later become a museum in 1990 displaying an example of school life in the Victorian era. It is common for visitors to report hearing both laughter and high-pitched cries. Some have claimed to have encountered the spirits of children who once attended the school. Due to the high volume of reported poltergeist activity, the school/museum has become the focus of many paranormal investigations, with eerie floating orbs and disembodied voices being caught on tape. The museum has recently undergone refurbishment and is back open to the public.

Highgate Cemetery and the Highgate Vampire

It would not be a haunted list of places without mentioning a classic graveyard – the home of the dead. Highgate Cemetery is the final resting place of over 170,000 people. In the early 1800s, Highgate had such a high death rate that graves would be crammed in so close together to meet demand they would be erected between shops and taverns. Many people would be horrifically buried in shallow graves covered with lime. The government was forced to build seven more cemeteries around London, the third of which was Highgate Cemetery. By the end of WWII, the cemetery had been abandoned, weeds were left overgrowing while buildings slowly tumbled in on themselves, and it became the use of studios as the set of new horror films.

From then the stories began emerging, tales of men in dark robes partaking in sinister rituals. People reported seeing red-eyed demon figures staring at them through the fence. The most popular is the tale of the Highgate Vampire, believed to be a medieval nobleman who practised dark magic in Romania. His coffin was said to have been brought to the cemetery where he lay to rest before Satanists woke him. The tall dark figure with a deathly hypnotic stare is reported to glide through the graveyard, announcing himself with a sudden chilling drop in temperature.

Credit: Stuart Timms