London has more than its fair share of haunted pubs and, on this walk, we seek out four of the most paranormally active hostelries in the City.
Your evening begins with a look at one of the City’s most stunning church exteriors, known as “Wren’s Lantern” and a true joy of a find. Why include a church on a haunted pub walk? Well, it’s haunted.
Indeed, there is a truly strange tale behind the ghost that roams its interior. It has to do with the finding of a mummified body; which was put on display in a glass case in the church porch; which then tempted impish choir boys to sit it next to unsuspecting parishioners; which indignity proved too much for the spirit of the cadaver’s unfortunate owner; which caused him to cross the line between this world and the next and haunt the church. You’ll hear the full bizarre tale on the haunted London pub walk and you’ll learn all about the paranormal activity that takes place within the church’s walls.
So unusual is the tale, and so chilling the hauntings, that you’ll need to steady your nerves. Cue the first pub – a rambling hostelry that stands, if you’ll pardon the pun, at the dead centre of the City of London.
Now, when it comes to ghostly goings on, the very approach to this old pub presents the intrepid ghost hunter with a challenge as “something” lurks here waiting to administer a well aimed shove in the back to those entering the narrow alleyway via which we approach the pub.
Having negotiated, and hopefully overcome, this malignant force, we cross the threshold of the hostelry to confront the restless revenant that roams its rooms and corridors. You will learn how it used to be particularly active on Saturday nights and how, in the 1930′s, it even drove its owner to such depths of despair that he abandoned it to its “ghosts and its shadows” and put the pub “on the market.”
A delightful medley of ancient streets then follows, their names steeped in the eventful history of this time-warped quarter of the old City. Bread Street, Milk Street, Gutter Lane, Staining Lane and Love Lane, are all reminiscent of the area’s bustling past, whilst three of them have been home to ghostly presences for as long as anyone can remember.
By way of a Roman fort, where a ghostly sentry – shorn of his lower limbs – has been sighted, we make our way to our next haunted pub.
This is a City treasure where a spectral Roman Legionnaire, who may or may not be the same one who haunts the aforementioned fort – we can’t be certain since no-one who’s seen him has ever stuck around long enough to make the necessary comparisons – has been sighted in the cellar. There’s also a ghostly girl who haunts the upper floor and a poltergeist who lurks on the staircase.
You’ll have plenty of time to sample the pub’s hospitality and search for the resident wraiths before setting out on a traipse through some truly sinister side streets and passages for more creepy tales.
Emerging blinking into the cold light of one of the City’s few surviving Elizabethan streets, we cross the threshold of our next pub. This one’s an 18th century hostelry which was once the haunt of the bodysnatchers.
If you don’t know what a bodysnatcher was, fear not oh fearless ghost hunter for your guide will regale you with chilling tales concerning their nefarious activities over a drink. You’ll also hear of the eerie legacy that their comings and goings have bestowed upon the very fabric of their former haunt
The last leg of our journey strays into film location territory as we pass a church that featured in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Sherlock and Shakespeare in Love, to name but a few of the movies in which it has taken a starring role. Then it’s the old underground railway that became the headquarters of MI6 in the James Bond film Skyfall.
Not to be outdone by the movie stars that have roamed these streets, the ghosts put up a dramatic show to grab your attention. Victims of long ago executions, their screams, carried upon the night time breezes; and a ghostly nurse who has been known to bring a soothing cup of tea to dying patients at London’s oldest hospital, are just two of the ghosts you will encounter on the last leg of this eventful journey.
Then comes the piece de resistance, the spectral climax to an evening crammed with haunted locations. For we cross the threshold of the most haunted pub in the City of London. A spectacular Victorian gin palace no less where a mischievous phantom frequently makes his (or her) presence felt in both the pub cellar and the ladies toilet!
What better ending to a delightful evening strolling amongst the spectral fragments of London’s past, hearing ghostly tales, seeking paranormal activity, photographing haunted locations in the hope that a passing phantom will honour you with a guest appearance, and enjoying a drink, or two, in four of the City’s most haunted pubs.