A night out in London is generally washed down with a liberal helping of spirits, but around Halloween this goes well beyond a G&T…
Given the free press from having a ghost, it’s a wonder that more PRs don’t simply invent them for the clicks… But from Jack the Ripper victims to demented ghostly chicken, here are some of the spookier places to eat this Halloween, Be scared silly, all while you enjoy a nice meal and maybe the spectre of dessert. Or Anne Boleyn.
The River Restaurant By Gordon Ramsay
The new name for Kaspar’s, the restaurant at The Savoy that isn’t either The Grill [also] By Gordon Ramsay or Simpson’s In The Strand, is The River Restaurants By Gordon Ramsay. It’s Ramsay’s swish fish joint overlooking The Thames and it’s got a ghoulish past.
It's Ramsay's swish fish joint overlooking The Thames and it's got a ghoulish past...
Legend has it that South African diamond magnate Woolf Joe dined at The Savoy in 1898 along with thirteen guests. Except one cancelled at the last minute. Dinner went on with an ‘unlucky’ 13 guests, making one superstitious diner announce that death would befall the first person to leave.
Joel took the gamble and only a matter of weeks later he was shot dead in Johannesburg. Since that time tables of 13 are urged to dine with Kaspar, a three-foot high sculpted cat, to avert future cat-astrophes.
Where: Strand, Covent Garden, WC2R 0EU
The Ten Bells
Relax with a pint and take in the clientele at the Ten Bells. Because that’s probably what Jack The Ripper was doing 130 years ago as she looked for his next victims.
It’s thought that it was where he (or she) lay in wait for his prey at the pub...
At least two of the Ripper’s victims were last seen at The Ten Bells and it’s thought that it was where he (or she) lay in wait for his prey at the pub. Last seen at the pub, 25 year old Mary Kelly was found with her throat slashed, heart removed and her nose, cheeks, eyebrows and ears partly missing.
Where: 84 Commercial Street, Spitalfields, E1 6LY
The Flask in Highgate is the ideal end for a walk on the heath. But it was a different kind of end for a certain Spanish barmaid who hanged herself in the pub’s cellar after her love for the publican went unrequited.
Said to be haunted by Sir Francis Bacon’s chicken…
Now part of the dining area, guests often report sudden drops in temperature, glasses mysteriously moving and apperitions. When it’s not the lovesick barmaid a Cavelier is also said to put in the odd appearance, crossing the room and disappearing into a pillar.
For good measure, after dinner you’re only a short walk from Pond Square, which is said to be haunted by Sir Francis Bacon’s chicken…
Where: 77 Highgate West Hill, Highgate, N6 6BU
Old Queen’s Head
Although somewhat spuriously linked to Sir Walter Raleigh, it’s a little tudor girl who haunts The Old Queen’s Head in Islington.
Staff regularly hear her steps running across the floorboards...
Staff regularly hear her steps pattering across the floorboards and on the occasions she appears she’s dressed in period clothes and appears to be around 8 years old. On the first Sunday of the month, presumably the spirits operate on a strict rota-basis, she is usually accompanied by a middle-aged lady.
Where: 44 Essex Road, Islington, N1 8LN
Highwaymen were known to frequent and hide-out at The Spaniard’s Inn back in the 18th century. Indeed, a tree at the end of the road marked a spot where many of them were hanged. It seems that they then returned to their old local as ghosts, with Dick Turpin said to haunt the upstairs room.
Meanwhile a highwayman’s horse, possibly Turpin’s Black Bess, is still spotted in the car park...
Meanwhile a highwayman’s horse, possibly Turpin’s Black Bess, is still spotted in the car park while ‘Black Dick’, a moneylender knocked down and killed by a coach just outside The Spaniards, is known to tug the sleeves of unsuspecting drinkers.
Where: Spaniards Road, Hampstead, NW3 7JJ
The Volunteer sits on the site of a large houses dating back to the 17th century. The property, owned by the Neville famliy, caught alight in 1654 and the entire family were tragically killed.
However they still put in frequent cameos in the pub’s cellar, believed to be the only part of the building that remains from the original house, and Rupert Neville, repleat in breeches, stalks up and down.
Where: 245-247 Baker Street, Marylebone, NW1 6XE
All is not well in Knightsbridge. The upper floor of the pub was, at one time, used as the officers’ mess for a nearby army barracks. A young officer is known to have been caught by his comrades cheating at cards and, in order to teach him a lesson, was severely beaten.
However, the beating was so severe as to kill the poor subaltan, and at The Grenadier he remains, pacing the low ceilinged rooms, smoking (whisps of smoke are still seen) and, unsurprisingly, sighing.
Where: 18 Wilton Row, Belgravia, SW1X 7NR
Bleeding Heart Yard
The Bleeding Heart Restaurant takes its name from Bleeding Heart Yard, where it’s located and which, legend has it, was named to commemorate the murder of Lady Elizabeth Hatton, second wife of Sir William Hatton, the local landowner in the 17th century.
Torn limb from limb, but with her heart still pumping blood...
Lady Hatton’s body was discovered in 1626, “torn limb from limb, but with her heart still pumping blood”. Perhaps avoid ordering your steak bloody.
Where: Bleeding Heart Yard, Farringdon, EC1N 8SJ
The Langham may be one of London’s grandest hotels with a great selection of bars and restaurants, but best avoid room 333.
The room is haunted by a Victorian doctor who murdered his newlywed wife, then himself, while on honeymoon in the room. He’s regularly seen in the room sporting a cloak and cravat.
The corridors of the hotel are largely frequented by former guests Emperor Napoleon III...
Of the four other ghosts said to make their presence known two more also favour room 333, a German Prince who jumped from a window and another ghost who enjoys tipping guests from their beds.
Meanwhile the corridors of the hotel are largely frequented by former guests Emperor Napoleon III, a man with a gaping face-wound and a footman in pale blue livery.
Where: 1c Portland Place, Marylebone, W1B 1JA
Old Bull & Bush
Long said to have been haunted by a figure standing, unsmiling, by the bar, there were few clues as to the cause of the apparition at the Old Bull and Bush in Golder’s Green.
However rennovations in the 1980s revealed a human skeleton, surrounded by Victorian era surgical equipment, trapped in an old ventilation shaft. It’s not known how he got there or how he died. Interestingly there have always been suspicions that Jack The Ripper was linked to surgeon Sir Thomas Spencer Wells, who lived opposite the pub and worked in the hospital close to where the ripper operated.
Could the haughty man at the bar somehow be The Ripper himself?
Where: North End Way, Golder’s Green, NW3 7HE
Stood opposite the Old Bailey this Victorian gin palace is the ideal place to grab a post-work drink in the city. Although you may find unworldly powers moving your glass. The pub is known as a hub of poltergeist activity which may be down to the fact it stands on the site of a former prison (you can still see the cells in the cellar).
In particular one manager reports being in the cellar when the lights went out and the door slammed shut. Try as he might the door was impossible to push open. His wife, hearing his calls, went to help and found the unlocked door swung open. Similarly two carpet-fitters found themselves the target of a prank by spooks when an entire and heavy roll of carpet lifted into the air in front of them to then crash back down onto the floor.
Where: 126 Newgate Street, Holborn, EC1A 7AA
Double spooks at Andaz London. Anyone who has visited the Liverpool Street hotel will be well versed with the story of the creepy A.F. temple that was discovered at the heart of the hotel during renovation works. The masonic masterpiece is a perfectly preserved Edwardian temple replete with ornate fittings and a painted ceiling.
As if that wasn’t weird and spooky enough, the hotel is built on the site of Bedlam Hospital, the original asylum for the insane. Established in 1247 as a hospice the building had become so decrepit by 1598 that it was declared too “loathsome and so fifthly kept, as not to be fit to be entered” with inmates referred to as prisoners and only allowed out to beg.
She can still be heard wailing and asking where her ha' penny is...
When the underground arrived in 1874 the site was cleared but the hotel and station are said to be haunted by former patients and many witnesses reporting hearing a female voice crying and screaming that has been apparently identified (how?) as Bedlam inmate Rebecca Griffins who was noted for always frantically clutching a coin in her hand. She can still be heard wailing and asking where her ha’ penny is…
Where: 40 Liverpool Street, The City, EC2M 7QN