Steeped in history, the nation’s capital is home to stunning architecture, gruesome tales and supposed ghost sightings. With Halloween and the long winter nights approaching, this will only add to the spooky atmosphere. So where are the scariest, most haunted places in London?
The Tower of London
As a famous prison from 1100-1952 and the setting for a number of executions, it comes as no surprise that The Tower of London is at the top of the list of the most haunted places in the city. It is supposedly still home to the ghosts of Anne Boleyn, Guy Fawkes and Henry VI, and let’s not forget how ‘The Bloody Tower’ got its name. After supposedly being imprisoned in the tower by their uncle, the future Richard III, in 1483 12-year-old Edward V and his younger brother Richard disappeared, leading to rumours of their murder.
Also in the same area is the Old Operating Theatre Museum, where operations were carried out before the use of anaesthetic. Brave enough to stare danger in the face? Then grab a friend, partner or family member and head on the London Bridge Ghost Walking Tour for Two. Graveyards, secret alehouses and bear baiting pits are just some of the things you’ll see during the 2-hour guided walk, which costs £28.
The Ten Bells
While it’s now a great place to go for craft beer, live music and quiz nights, the Spitalfields pub has a much more sinister history. The Ten Bells went by the name of The Jack the Ripper between 1976 and 1988, owing to its links to two of the famous serial killer’s victims, Annie Chapman and Mary Kelly. If that’s not enough reason to fear ghost sightings, staff also claimed to see a man in Victorian clothing walk the halls of the pub in the 1990s. So if you’re looking for a fright with your drink, The Ten Bells is the place to be!
Hampton Court Palace
Another popular landmark not for the faint-hearted is Hampton Court Palace. It is thought to be home to a number of spirits, including two of Henry VIII’s wives: Jane Seymour who died after giving birth in 1537, and Catherine Howard who was executed for adultery in 1542. There have been sightings of Jane on the Silverstick Stairs, while Catherine has been seen floating down the gallery dressed in white.
But they aren’t alone. Sybil Penn, or The Lady in Grey, was servant to four Tudor monarchs, and her ghost is also reported to lurk in the area. Although she died in 1562, the sightings of a grey lady began after her tomb was disturbed during the church renovation in 1829.
With over 1000 years of history, we would expect Westminster Abbey to be a perfect location to find some supernatural activity, especially considering it is the burial place of more than 3300 people, including 17 monarchs. The gothic architecture of the major London tourist attraction, formerly known as Collegiate Church of St. Peter, sets the scene for some ghostly activity after dark. Tourists have claimed to see the ghost of monk John Bradshaw, also known as Father of Benedictus, who is said to have haunted the area since around 1900. Often sighted around the cloisters, the ghost is supposedly a friendly one, engaging in conversations with some tourists. He is joined by a soldier who appears near the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior, which is a World War One memorial.
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Theatre Royal, Drury Lane is known as London’s most haunted theatre, and is home to The Man in Grey. According to tradition, his presence is associated with successful theatre productions including The Dancing Years and Miss Saigon. So maybe a visit by this ghost is not one to be feared! The theatre is also home to the ghost of Joseph Grimaldi who often performed as a white-faced clown before he died in 1837.
So look twice when you go past some famous landmarks, theatres and pubs in London, there may be more to them than it seems.