You’ve never experienced true fear until you’ve navigated the King’s Road amongst all the upmarket pushchairs. But London also offers a lot of haunted corners, aside from the King’s Road. In fact, it’s a cesspit of gruesome tales and nightmarish apparitions. If you were thinking of planning a weekend visit – don’t.
1. Cock Lane, Smithfield
In the medieval period, Cock Lane was a veritable boiling pot of brothels and patrons. The narrow street is worth visiting only for the inevitable array of innuendos and jokes you can impress your (exasperated) friends with.
Cock Lane isn’t all about gratuitous vulgarity, though. There’s also the preposterous story of the Cock Lane Ghost. Fanny Lynes came back as a ghost proclaiming that she’d been poisoned with arsenic by her partner, who was then subsequently tried off of the back of the ghost’s testimony. In the end, it was deemed that the ghost’s word didn’t hold up.
Regular séances were held to determine “Scratching Fanny’s” motives, so called because her apparitions were accompanied by scratching noises, and certainly not for any other reasons you might suspect.
2. Bleeding Heart Yard, Farringdon
With a name like that, this nondescript courtyard in Farringdon was always going to make this esteemed list. It looks, admittedly, alright, with pleasant bay Victorian windows offering a harmonised aspect to the Yard, and charming cobblestones.
But only 400 years ago this Yard was host to the brutal murder of Lady Elizabeth Hatton, who’s limbs were strewn about, leaving only her still-beating heart intact. Crikey.
3. The Flask, Highgate
All good pubs should have these 3 attributes: a fireplace, Guinness on tap, and a ghost. The Flask in Highgate has all of them. After your pint, on the way to the loos, you might wander into the ghost of Spanish barmaid who hung herself in the pub’s cellar.
If that wasn’t enough to surfeit your gruesome thirst, then one of the first-ever autopsies was performed in the side room, using a body from nearby Highgate Cemetery.
4. Handel & Hendrix Museum, Mayfair
Famous for classic hits such as Messiah, Water Music, and Zadok the Priest, George Frederic Handel also came back to haunt the house he lived in for most of his life.
The Handel + Hendrix Museum ordered a Roman Catholic priest to perform an exorcism, 40 years after Jimi Hendrix – who also lived at the house in Mayfair, albeit a little later – first spotted Handel’s apparition. Either it’s haunted, or the two Handel House fundraisers who spotted the ghost were ingesting whatever Hendrix had ingested.
5. Bruce Castle, Tottenham
Apart from the illustrious, yet comprehensive, history of Haringey on display, you can also visit Bruce Castle on your final . If you go on a dark enough afternoon, the Castle’s marketing team say you could spot the ghost of Lady Constantia Lucy, her silhouette looking out of a second floor window.
Jumping off a balcony to get away from her controlling husband, the spirit-world is ruthlessly ironic, it seems, as that’s where she now spends all of her posthumous time.
Find out more
If this list of the most haunted places in London doesn’t satisfy you, then we’ve also compiled a list of the most creepiest corners of London. Take a look at it here.
If all this has got you thinking about death, and how you’d like to be remembered, then record your Farewell Wishes here.
Want to read more interesting death-related articles? Here’s our latest on nanotechnology and ageing.