London may be best known for the royal family, double decker buses, and bangers and mash ... but every city has a dark side. Go behind the scenes of some of the city's most legendary, haunted places.
London’s castles crawl with spirits. The most haunted of them all? <a href="http://www.travelchannel.com/video/londons-haunted-tower">The Tower of London</a> — where "off with her head" wasn't just a saying, it was reality. In 1536, Queen Anne Boleyn was arrested and beheaded at the Tower Green, a green space within the Tower of London. Other royal ghosts lurk in the castle, too. Arbella Stuart, cousin of King James I, was allegedly murdered in the Tower of London. While you’re there, be sure to check out the Bloody Tower, where two young princes, Edward V and Richard, were believed to be murdered by the Duke of Gloucester. These young boys’ voices and screams are heard throughout the tower.
Located just outside London, <a href="http://www.travelchannel.com/video/haunted-hampton-court-palace">Hampton Court Palace</a> swarms with royal ghosts. Catherine Howard, the adulterous wife of Henry VIII, supposedly loiters around at night. In 2003, CCTV cameras at the palace reported a strange sighting: The alleyway doors at Hampton Court burst open in the middle of the night. If you’re not too scared, visit the place yourself and check out the great hall, royal chapel, maze and gardens. You’ll feel the haunted vibes all around you.
This traditional British pub has a very spooky past. In the 1800s, a young man known as Cedric cheated at cards at <a href=" http://www.travelchannel.com/video/ghosts-of-the-grenadier">the Grenadier</a> and was beaten to death on-site. As a way to pay off the young man’s debts, modern-day visitors can attach money to the ceiling of the pub, which is covered with currency from all over the globe. Even if you’re not a believer of the supernatural, you’ll love the patriotic look of this place.
The front bar at the Grenadier may be covered with British military memorabilia, but a small crucifix hangs in the cellar to protect the pub from harmful spirits. Strange occurrences still happen here to this day. Guests report objects moving or disappearing without any explanation, and occasionally, visitors will also report rattling bar stools and moaning from ghosts. Grab a pint at this haunted pub to see if the rumors are true.
Located in the borough of Islington, this London Underground station has a haunted reputation. In 1758, Anne Naylor, a young girl, was allegedly murdered by a hatmaker and his wife in a building that was torn down in the 19th century to make room for the new train station. From the station’s opening in 1863 to the present day, travelers on the Tube claim to hear Anne’s cries and screams in the train’s haunted tunnels.
The London Underground’s Bank station gets its name from the nearby Bank of London, an architectural sight to see on your trip to the city. At Bank station, one ghost repeatedly stalks the underground. Sarah Whitehead, who is known as the Black Nun and was the sister of Philip Whitehead (a fraudulent banker at the Bank of London), searches for her convicted brother in an all-black outfit. Travelers at Bank claim to see Sarah’s ghost on platforms and passageways in the station. Some visitors also complain of an unexplainable stench coming from the station’s tunnels.
The Covent Garden Tube station is a must-see. This London Underground stop places you smack dab in a great shopping area and one of London’s best theater districts. Before heading up the elevators of the station, channel ghosts at this spooky destination. Allegedly, an actor named William Terriss haunts the station occasionally. Staff members at Covent Garden claim that they have seen Terriss walk across the platforms in a gray suit. Other employees have heard bizarre noises on the platforms when no travelers are there.
London’s renowned <a href="http://www.travelchannel.com/video/ghostfinders-go-to-the-theatre">Theatre Royal</a>, Drury Lane has had countless haunted sightings over the years. Both actors and staff members have claimed that they saw Joseph Grimaldi, inventor of the modern clown, and the so-called “Man in Grey.” The latter was allegedly stabbed in the Theatre Royal, and his bones were discovered in a side passage in 1848. The theater isn’t too spooky, though: Rumor has it that an appearance by one of these ghosts is good luck for performances.
Bruce Castle, which is located near Tottenham Cemetery in London, was the site of a gruesome suicide. It’s said that in the latter half of the 1600s, a woman named Lady Constantia Coleraine jumped from an upstairs balcony of the castle and died instantaneously. Folklore has it that every November, around the time of the lady’s death, a figure can be seen jumping from the same balcony. If you dare, take a trip to the castle and nearby cemetery.
The Central Criminal Court, otherwise known as the Old Bailey, has a disturbing past. The court sits on the former site of Newgate Prison. Ghosts seem to wander the area surrounding the Old Bailey. If you’re looking for a ghost-filled pub, sit down for a drink at <a href="http://viaducttavern.co.uk/" target="_blank">the Viaduct Tavern</a> on Newgate Street. One ghost, Fred, apparently pours out guests’ drinks and flickers the lights at this spooky pub.
Westminster Abbey is an inevitably haunted destination, considering that it houses more than 3,000 buried bodies. The most common spirit that haunts Westminster Abbey is Father Benedictus, a former Benedictine monk of the abbey. In 1900, a woman reported a vivid sighting of him. After about 25 seconds, Father Benedictus vanished into the walls of the church. In 1932, two visitors reported talking to him. He’s typically thought to appear between 5 and 6 p.m.
<a href=" http://www.travelchannel.com/video/londons-st-pauls-11202 ">St. Paul’s Cathedral</a> is definitely an eerie place to visit. Its most well-known ghost is a whistling clergyman, who haunts the west end of the chapel. In Ghosts of London, author Elliott O’Donnell recalls meeting an American couple who witnessed a black cloud suddenly appearing in the chapel. Regardless of the legitimacy of the folklore, St. Paul’s Cathedral is a wonderful place to visit. Cross the nearby Millennium Bridge for pedestrians and visit the Tate Modern museum for a culture-filled afternoon.
This creepy cemetery opened in 1839 and was the go-to burial spot for Victorian socialites. But by the 1960s, Highgate Cemetery fell into a state of disrepair and decay. On Swain’s Lane, a street that cuts through the cemetery, several paranormal incidences have been reported. Some Londoners even claim to have seen a vampire lurking in the darkness. If you’re brave enough, check out Hampstead Heath, a large London park close to Highgate Cemetery that is also reportedly haunted.