Halloween 2021: London’s most haunted pubs – and their stories

the skeleton drinks some wine

Putting the ‘bow’ in the booze (Image: Getty)

Halloween is on the horizon, and while last year’s spooky festivities may have fallen victim to the Covid pandemic, this year it’s set to look far more normal now that restrictions have been lifted.

If you feel like marking the apartment with something a little different, you can be inspired to visit new and famous pubs throughout the city, with London home to many pubs that have a rich and colorful history.

Some of these pubs have been standing for over 200 years, so of course there has been a report of a haunted one or two.

As if the last year and a half has not been scary enough, as it is, why not gather a brave group to see if you have the courage to visit one of London’s pubs that puts buh in the booze.

London’s most haunted pubs – and their stories

No corner of London is without its old tales of spectral figures, bumps at night and mischievous jokes by poltergeists, but here are some of the most shocking stories behind some of the capital’s most sinister public houses …

Bow Bells, Bow Road

Bow Bells pub in London

Complicated plumbing or a restless spirit? (Image: Getty)

This The Mile End boozer has a reputation for being a naughty ghost who likes to annoy its owners by playing with plumbing.

The Ghost of the Bow Bells makes itself known by flushing the toilet in the women’s bathroom when there happens to be someone in there.

Tales of this ghost with a penchant for toilet humor go back to the 70s, when the landlord back in 1974 even went so far as to organize a session to rid the bar of its poltergeist plague.

When the ghost was asked to make himself known, the door to the woman’s toilet apparently flew open with such force that it shattered a window.

A powerful draft with your draft beer, anyone?

Viaduct Tavern, St. Paul’s

Viaduct Tavern Gin Bar

Viaduct Tavern is one of London’s last Victorian gin palaces (Image: Getty)

The Viaduct Tavern, located opposite The Old Bailey, dates back to 1875.

It’s one of London’s last traditional Victorian gin palaces, and happens to be built on the site of a former prison, so of course it’s haunted!

There have often been reports of strange chills in the air and sounds echoing through Fuller’s pub, but there have been two stories in particular that have cemented its reputation as an eerie booze.

In 1996, the manager was innocently in the process of cleaning up the basement when the door suddenly slammed and all the lights went out.

As he continued to leave the basement, he found that he could not open the door no matter how hard he tried. After shouting, his wife opened the door from the outside with no problems at all – had a spirit kept him inside?

Another incident in 1999 saw two electricians working in one of the rooms upstairs – after rolling up a layer of carpet, they claim to have felt an icy blow on the shoulder before seeing the rolled carpet lifted from the ground and falling with a tassel.

Grenadier, Belgravia

Grenadier Pub was used to house Grenadier Guards after the Battle of Waterloo (Image: Getty)

You will find The Grenadier just off the Hyde Park Corner, where it dates back to 1720.

It was used to house the First Royal Regiment of Foot Guards, later known as the Grenadier Guards, as a show of gratitude for their service during the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

Upstairs was used as an officers’ mess, while the basement became the home of the lower-ranking soldiers, who would use it as a place to drink and play.

As the story goes, a soldier known as Cedric was caught cheating with cards and was beaten to death by his drunken comrades – and allegedly his spirit has haunted the basement ever since.

Ghostly incidents are said to occur around September, which is when he is thought to be dead – an icy cold is said to come out of nowhere, while objects have been known to disappear or move in an inexplicable way.

Borrowers have begun to put banknotes on the ceiling of the pub in an attempt to pay off Cedric’s card game debt, but that figure has apparently not yet been reached.

So you want to have a drink with Cedric and help pay off his debts?

The Ten Bells, Spitalfields

Ten Bells Pub in Spitalfields is said to have been visited by Jack the Ripper (Image: Getty)

The Ten Bells have become synonymous with its connection to the killings on Jack the Ripper back in the 1880s.

It is said to be the last place Mary Kelly visited, the last victim of Jack the Ripper, who was murdered in 1888, meaning that Jack himself may well have enjoyed a drink or two at the establishment.

But its horror does not stop with Jack the Ripper, for The Ten Bells has a long dark story all to itself.

One of the pub’s Victorian landlords, George Roberts, was murdered with an ax, and his ghostly ghost is said to have terrorized staff staying on the pub’s upper floors.

The upper floors are said to have scared even the most experienced media, so maybe keep your drinking to the ground floor.

The volunteer, Baker Street

Located near Regent’s Park, The Volunteer is named as it was used as a recruiting station during World War II.

But its haunted history goes back even further than that, as the site was the original site of the large 17th-century house that once belonged to the wealthy Neville family.

A fire destroyed the house with the family inside back in 1645, and now the former man of the house Rupert Neville is said to be pursuing the pub’s basement.

The pub has even been featured in an episode of the show Most Haunted, where Neville is said to have an evil and malicious nature.

The Spaniards Inn, Hampstead

Spanish Inn, Hampstead Heath

The Spanish Inn, home of the infamous countryman Jack Turpin’s spirit (Image: Getty)

This pub was immortalized in Charles Dickens’ The Pickwick Papers, and is said to be home to the infamous robber Dick Turpin’s ghost.

He is said to roam the rooms of the pub upstairs and constantly make a racket with bangs and clashes all night.

He is not the only ghost on the premises, as the area below is believed to have been haunted by a man known as Black Dick, who was run over by a horse and a carriage outside the premises.

Speaking of horses, the ghost of Turpin’s faithful horse is reportedly haunting the parking lot, so be careful where you park your car.

Kolben, Highgate

'The Flask' beer house

Do you dare brave a pint on The Flask? (Image: Getty)

Hell has no rage as a woman who is despised, and that is certainly true of the spirit that is said to haunt The Flask in Highgate.

The ghost of a Spanish barmaid is said to plague patrons – she allegedly hung herself in the basement back in the 18th century after discovering that her landlord-girlfriend had not been faithful to her.

Staff and guests have shared stories of strange reflections, icy chills and strange behavior in the lights, which has created an eerie atmosphere across the booze.

Hoop & Toy, Chelsea

The Hoop & Toy is one of the oldest pubs in Kensington (Photo: Getty)

The Hoop & Toy has stood since 1760, making it one of the oldest pubs in the world The Kensington area – which means it also has a long history of gruesome events.

When the nearby subway station was built, workers broke through the wall in the basement of Hoop & Toy and made an eerie discovery.

Apparently, the pub’s basement had been used by local churches to bind and bury the bodies of their priests who had died, meaning the pub was built on top of a burial ground.

The spirits are now believed to have been trapped as they were disturbed by the local underground works.

They are now wandering around the pub lost, restless while waiting for their pint of lager and packet of chips.

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