Top 10 Haunted Places You Can Visit In London For Free - Broke in London

Top 10 Haunted Places You Can Visit In London For Free

Give yourself, not your bank balance, a fright!

By Steph Dye (follow Steph on Twitter: @HelloIAmSteph)

London is a city steeped in history and is home to some wonderfully historic architecture, one of the reasons it is such a popular hot spot with tourists. However, all of that centuries-old architecture comes with some baggage: the history of these locations can sometimes be gruesome and wholly unpleasant. That’s why we bet if walls could speak, some of the ones on our list would have some horrible tales to tell.  There are so many ways to enjoy Halloween without spending lots of money, but if you fancy chancing your luck on a ghost sighting, give some of the places below a go. Happy ghost hunting, let us know if you see one!

#1 | The Queen’s House | Greenwich

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Queen’s House Greenwich ©

What is it?: Now 400 years old, The Queen’s House was the first classical building in England and was commissioned by James I’s wife, Anne of Denmark. Passed on through the royals that followed, the house now has an amazing collection of art. Among the esteemed painters that have work on the walls are George Stubbs, Hans Holbein, William Hogarth and Thomas Gainsborough. You can also see THAT painting of Queen Elizabeth celebrating Spain’s failed attack on the British Isles.

Why is haunted?: In 1966, a retired Canadian reverend and his wife visited the house, having heard about the amazing architecture. One of the pictures they took was of the famous Tulip Staircase, however when they had the pictures developed, they realised not all was as it seemed. In the photograph, a shrouded figure could be seen going up the stairs, possibly following one or two other figures. The following year, a ghost club held a seance but were not able to find any substantial evidence of the paranormal. The most recent sighting however, was in 2002, when a gallery assistant saw a figure in white and grey glide across a balcony and straight through a wall.

Where is it?: Romney Rd, Greenwich, SE10 9NF

When is it?: Monday-Sunday, 10am-5pm.

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Ghost on the stairwell ©

#2 | Bruce Castle Museum | Seven Sisters

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Bruce Castle Museum ©d4nn7.b via Instagram

What is it?: This grade I house is not only one of the oldest brick houses in London but it’s grounds also make up the area’s oldest public park. Built in the 16th Century, it has been home to several barons and lords and is now a museum on the surrounding areas of Tottenham and Harringay. It also holds all of the historical archives for the London Borough of Harringay.

Why is it haunted?: Rumour has it that on finding out that her husband was regularly unfaithful, Lady Constantia (married to 2nd Baron Coleraine) committed suicide by throwing herself and her child from the top of one of the towers on the 3rd November 1680. Every year on the anniversary of this date, it is reported that she can be seen repeating the act. An ear piercing cry as she falls, can also be heard. The first written account of this phenomenon was printed in the Tottenham and Edmonton Advertiser, in 1858, however no recent sightings have been recorded.

Where is it?: Lordship Ln, N17 8NU.

When is it?: Wednesday-Sunday, 1pm-5pm.

#3 | The Spaniards Inn | Golders Green

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The Spaniards Inn ©

What is it?: One of London’s oldest pubs, that sits on the edge of the equally creepy Hampstead Heath.  As well as a history of hauntings, it also has a strong literary background, having been mentioned in the Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens, as well as the place where Keats is rumoured to have written ‘Ode to a Nightingale’. A ghost story told a the pub is also claimed to be the inspiration behind Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The pub was also posssibly the favoured watering hole of highway man Dick Turpin.

Why is it haunted?: There are two main ghosts associated with The Spaniard’s Inn. The first is that of one of the Spainish brothers -who gave the pub it’s name- who owned the pub. Juan Porero, fought with his brother Francesco after they both fell in love with the same woman. After dying in the ensuing duel and being buried nearby, Juan is still thought to haunt the pub. The ghost of a woman (supposedly killed by Dick Turpin) is also regularly spotted in the beer garden. However, many have also heard the galloping of ghostly hooves, a sound which is thought to belong to the hooves of Dick Turpin’s horse, Black Bess. He is also thought to have been spotted, riding towards the inn from the heath.

Where is it?: Spaniards Road, Hampstead, NW3 7JJ.

When is it?: Monday-Saturday, 12pm-11pm; Sunday, 12pm-10:30pm.

#4 | Finsbury Park | Finsbury Park

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Finsbury Park ©

What is it?: Originally named the Albert Park, the green space was opened to the public in 1869, copying the French fashion of using green spaces in the city to balance out the rapidly growing urban areas and to improve conditions for the poor. After a recent modernisation, the park is now popular, attractive green space that attract thousands of visitors every year, especially to it’s summer festivals and concerts. Finsbury Park also has a lake, playing fields for English and American sports and formal gardens.

Why is it haunted?: Just off from Finsbury Park is Gloucester Drive, which was voted the fifth most haunted road in Britain by The Guardian. There have been hundreds of reports by both visitors and residents of footsteps, walking up and down the street, as well as sightings of ghostly children playing in the street. Noone knows where these paranormal figures have come from.

Where is it?: Gloucester Drive, Finsbury Park, N4 2LN.

When is it? You can obviously visit the street anytime you like but be respectful of the people who live there! Finsbury Park is open dawn until dusk.

#5 | The Old Bailey | St Paul’s

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The Old Bailey ©suzanne_williams via Flickr

What is it?: The Central Criminal Court in England and Wales, known as the Old Bailey, a name taken from the street on which it stands. Standing on the original site of the medieval Newgate Gaol, it deals with any major criminal cases that take place in Greater London, as well as special cases from the rest of the UK.

Why is it haunted?: One of London’s most famous ghosts, the Black Dog of Newgate, supposedly haunts the Old Bailey. In 1596, prisoners of the jail were starving during a famine and the ghost is said to be that of a prisoners who was murdered by his cell mates and eaten alive. He takes the form of a black dog and is still sighted to this day. Another ghost, which appears during important or high profile cases has also been seen in the court and though people dispute the sex and age of the figure, accounts of the ghost have been reported by barristers, judges and policemen.

Where is it?: Central Criminal Court, Old Bailey, EC4M 7EH.

When is it?: The court sits at 10am-1pm and 2pm to 4.30pm. There are also several tours that start outside of these times. Those wishing to visit the Old Bailey must remember that it is a working criminal court and therefore there is a list of prohibited items, as well a dress code which you can check here.

#6 | Ten Bells | Liverpool Street

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The Ten Bells ©

What is it?:  A traditional pub in the city, The Ten Bells has been a public house since the middle of the 18th century. The pub has links to Jack the Ripper, as two of his victims were patrons. It is thought that Annie Chapman had her last drink there before being murdered, whilst it is also said that Mary Kelly used the venue to pick up men.

Why is it haunted?: On top of these grisly connections, there have been several paranormal experiences and sightings. In the 1990’s, live-in staff reported seeing a man in Victorian clothing, sometimes being woken early in the morning to find him in bed with them! A tenent in 2001 reported footsteps and laughing in the bar area and when going to investigate, found himself pushed by unseen hands on several occasions. Most intriguingly, a psychic was taken to the pub, to if she could pick up any paranormal activity. Outside one of the rooms, she refused to enter saying the brutal murder of an infant had taken place in the room in the 19th century. Later on, a Jack the Ripper researcher visited the pub and found a sack, pushed behind the water tank. Inside were a Victorian babies clothes, all of which had been slashed to pieces with a knife. The tank stood directly above the room the psychic refused to enter.

Where is it?: 84 Commercial St, Spitalfields, E1 6LY.

When is it?: Monday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, 12pm-12am; Tuesday, 12pm-11pm; Thursday and Friday, 12pm-1am.

#7 | Bethnal Green Tube Station | Bethnal Green

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Bethnal Green Tube Station as a Blitz Shelter ©

What is it?: Bethnal Green Tube Station was built as part of a planned eastern extension of the Central Line. However, before the station opened in 1946, it’s underground facilities were opened to use as a raid shelter during the Blitz on London. In March, 1943, after one heavy raid which brought 500 into the station, the air raid sirens sounded again, the panic caused another 1,500 people to rush down the stairs into shelter. Rain during the evening caused the stairs to be slippery and the stampede, along with people falling caused 173 people to die of asphyxiation in the crush. It was one of the worst domestic disasters of World War II.

Why is it haunted?: A hugely famous story of London’s ghostly past, a station worker, who had remained alone to lock up and finish paper work after the last train had departed, thought he could hear children crying. Shrugging it off, the crys began to get louder, and the man began to hear women screaming and shouting for help. The sounds lasted for 10-15 minutes, until the man ran in terror. Since that night, the same sounds have been heard on several occasions.

Where is it?: Cambridge Heath Rd, E2 0ET.

When is it?: The tube station is open from the first to last tube, Sunday-Thursday. It is open 24 hours on Fridays and Saturdays.

#8 | Bleeding Heart Yard | Chancery Lane

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Bleeding Heart Yard ©

What is it?: A tiny cobbled courtyard that was potentially named after the Bleeding Heart pub which stood on a nearby street in the 16th century. The yard is referenced in several literary texts, including Dickens’ novel Little Dorrit, as well as several other poems and novels.

Why is it haunted?: Legend has it that the extremely beautiful and wealthy Lady Elizabeth Hatton made a deal with with the devil to help her husband advance in society. In 1626, a mysterious man took Lady Hatton for a dance during a ball and to the surprise of guests, danced her straight out of the door into the garden. Many of the ball-goers guessed that she had eloped with the young man, until her body was found in the courtyard the next morning, ‘torn limb from limb, but with the heart still pumping blood’. Many think the man who stole her away was the Devil, come to claim his side of the deal. Gruesome!

Where is it?: Bleeding Heart Yard, Greville Street, Farringdon, EC1N 8SJ.

When is it?: The courtyard is available to visit at anytime.

#9 | Hampstead Heath | Hampstead

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Hampstead Heath ©

What is it?: Records first show that Hampstead Heath was first mentioned in 986, making it a seriously old and historic part of London. The area is huge and is the largest area of common land in the city. It covers over 144 hectares and includes ponds, conservation areas as well as a fantastic view of the city.

Why is it haunted?: There have been many sightings of ghosts, all around heath. One of the most popular sightings is the murdered wife of a doctor, who rattles the windows of the William IV pub, which they both once lived in. Other sightings include a sad young girl who stands in the middle of Hampstead High Street and the sound of footsteps on the piers that swimmers use to dive into the ponds. They are thought to be the footsteps of those who have committed suicide. Use this great, free walking tour if you want to find out more.

Where is it?: West Gate Lodge, Hampstead Lane, Hampstead Heath, NW3 7JP.

When is it?:  You can visit the Heath at any time!

#10 | Charterhouse Square | Barbican

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Charterhouse Square ©

What is it?: This large square has had many uses over it’s lifetime. In 1348, it was used as the site of a plague burial pit, before being founded as the site of a monastery a few decades late. Since that time, it has served as a burial pit for plague victims on a further two occasions: in 1361 and then in the early 15th century, as further outbreaks occurred. When remains were recently discovered by Crossrail workers, they estimated that 35,000 people were buried at the site.

Why is it haunted?: With so many souls jammed into one place it is unsurprising that there are a few hauntings! However, the most frequent sightings are of a monk who was hung, drawn and quartered after refusing to acknowledge Henry VIII as the new head of the church. The ghostly monk is said to share his nighttime vigils with the beheaded Duke of Norfolk. The duke descends the stairs on which he was arrested; his head tucked under his arm.

Where is it?: Charterhouse Square, EC1M 6EA.

When is it?: The Square is free to visit at any time!

Fancy something a little less spine-tingling? Check out some of these unusual, free museums. Feeling hungry? Get prepared with these great brunch joints!