1. The Tower of London
No trip around London's scariest spots is complete without a visit to the Tower of London. Originally a palace, the tower was London's most notorious prison and became the go-to destination for torture and executions. Edward V, Richard of York, Arabella Stuart and the famed White Lady are just a few of the ghostly souls reportedly still imprisoned in the tower.
2. Ghostly horror at Hampton Court Palace
At 502-years-old it’s not surprising that Hampton Court Palace is backed up to its medieval rafters with ghouls, ghosts and blood-curdling history. Two of King Henry VIII’s wives are reportedly common spectres – Catherine Howard was placed under house arrest at Hampton Court shortly before she was executed and visitors have seen her dressed in white, shrieking while walking the halls. Jane Seymour, another of Henry’s wives, died giving birth and Henry commanded that her heart be buried beneath the altar. She’s been seen in the courtyard walking with a candle.
3. Visit the most Haunted Castle in Britain
No one is quite sure what happened to Berry Pomeroy castle, the shell of a once great castle is all that’s left, and while architecturally striking, it does leave visitors unsettled. Apart from a cafe, Berry Pomeroy is scarily empty. Allegedly a ‘Blue Lady’ is known for luring in passersby only for them to fall to their death; a ‘White Lady’ also haunts the dungeons after being imprisoned there. Many other spooks inhabit the eerie castle giving it the moniker of ‘The Most Haunted Castle in Britain’.
4. It’s all in the execution – The Prospect of Whitby
The Prospect of Whitby in Wapping (built around 1520 close to the infamous Execution Dock), is said to be haunted by the ghosts of Mary Frith (AKA Moll Cutpurse) and the cruel Judge John Jeffreys. Frith was a larger-than-life virago, pickpocket and madame in 17th century London, and the subject of a play (The Roaring Girl). Jeffreys often drank in the Prospect, which was his local; he died in 1689 while incarcerated at the nearby Tower of London, after being identified by a former victim in another Wapping pub. The Prospect was once known as the Devil’s Tavern because of its gruesome reputation. There are amazing views over the river and a noose hangs outside, commemorating Jeffreys’ grisly deeds.
5. Something’s lurking in the dark – Scariest Pubs in London
Jack the Ripper’s famed local bar, The Ten Bells, is a hotbed of paranormal activity. Customers and bar staff alike report hearing footsteps in empty corridors and experiencing unexplained cold spots in the bar.
North London’s The Spaniards Inn is one of London's oldest pubs so it's no wonder it has a ghost up its sleeve. The ghost of infamous highwayman Dick Turpin (and that of his horse) are said to haunt the pub in which he once drank, and it has a bar named in his honour. The cosy pub is also mentioned in Bram Stoker's Dracula!
Another of London’s haunted pubs, The Viaduct Tavern, was built above former prison cells, which are now used to store barrels – one cell in particular is rumoured to be haunted. So much so, workers are often too scared to go down at night for fear of being locked in!
6. Grizzly ghouls from every tomb - Hype Park
Cemeteries are creepy territory and London is home to plenty. This burial ground in Hyde Park (just behind Victoria Gate Lodge) is an especially surreal one. It's not open to the public but look out for special tours (around £15 and they sell out in a flash). The graveyard dates back to the 1880s and contains the remains of more than 300 pets, many in graves marked by tiny headstones. The garden graveyard isn’t far from Tyburn, the site where thousands of people have been executed over the centuries. And you thought Hyde Park was just a nice spot for a picnic.
7. Darkness falls across the land - Bruce Castle Museum
That’s right, Tottenham has its own castle. There’s a downside, though, it’s a little on the haunted side. On bleak winter nights in November, you might catch the ghostly silhouette of Lady Constantia Lucy staring out the window. Lady Lucy killed herself by leaping off the balcony of the castle in the seventeenth century, taking her child with her. They say ‘great mystery’ surrounds the Lady’s death, but the fact that her husband kept her under lock and key in a tiny room might have something to do with it.
8. Your body starts to shiver - Epping Forest
This corridor of woodland in Essex has likely been the site of many dodgy and hastily done burials thanks to its size and collection of semi-deserted open spaces. Stories abound about ghostly sightings, no doubt thanks to Roman battles, Norman invaders, Boudicca’s Iceni tribe and highwaymen. Dick Turpin, notorious robber and murderer, is said to have used the Loughton Camp lookout spot as a hideout, and supposedly still haunts the place. He and the Essex Gang would use the forest as a hideout when they were busted for stealing deer.
9. Follow the bloodstain trail of Jack the Ripper
Journey back in time to that long ago Halloween of gaslight and fog and book a Jack the Ripper tour. Your guides will creep through the old alleyways, street and courtyards of the East End of London to the very places where the Jack the Ripper murders occurred. Throughout the evening you will hear the full story of the Jack the Ripper murders and even go to the cobbled square where the body of Catherine Eddowes was found on 30th September 1888 and where her ghostly form is said to be seen on the anniversary of her death.
10. Creatures crawl in search of blood - The London Dungeon
Travel through more than 1,000 years of London’s horrible history at The London Dungeon, one of the most surreal of London's scary attractions. Jump out of your skin at live actors, spine-tingling rides and alarmingly realistic models, which bring London's dark past to life. Terrifying surprises lurk in every corner.
For more bone-chilling immersive experiences, avoid walls dripping with blood, creepy clowns and menacing spiders, and even become a zombie for the day at The London Tombs, part of The London Bridge Experience.
Note: Whilst we make every effort to be accurate at the time of writing this, we are living through uncertain times, so please check before you travel.