5 Ghostly Walking Tours To Do In London

5 Ghostly Walking Tours To Do In London
The unique tomb of concert pianist William Henry "Harry" Thornton in Highgate Cemetery. Photo by Ralf Siegel in the Londonist Flickr pool

Whether you're a firm believer in otherworldly spirits, or simply enjoy a chilling yarn now and again, these London ghost tours will keep you spooked out over the Halloween season, and beyond. Well, the fifth one probably won't...

1. London Ghost Walks

The Viaduct Tavern, said by some to be the 'most haunted pub' in London. Image: Viaduct Tavern

Paranormalist Richard Jones has been doing ghost tours for over 30 years, so he's certainly got the wherewithal to leave you quaking in your boots. His Halloween day tour is already sold out, but there are oodles more chances to scare yourself silly in the lead up to Christmas. Try the Hidden Horrors of Haunted London tour, which whisks you through the City's narrow alleyways and past London's 'most haunted pub', the Viaduct Tavern. Maybe you'll even encounter a 'she-wolf'...

Friday 6, 13, 20, 27 November. Tickets £12.

2. Ghost, Ghouls and Gallows

Image: Ghosts, Ghouls and Gallows

If heading into central London is a no-no for you right now, one virtual alternative is Ghosts, Ghouls and Gallows. Tune into Zoom from home, and 'visit' Green Park (situated, we're told, on cursed ground); the Houses of Parliament (where it's apparently illegal to die); and Berkeley Square, home to a townhouse said to be haunted by a young women who flung herself from the window.

Various dates. Tickets £5.

3. Highgate Cemetery

Image: Friends of Highgate Cemetery

Resting place of the great and the good, Highgate Cemetery is teeming with celeb graves, including those of George Eliot, Douglas Adams, Malcolm McLaren, Christina Rossetti and, of course, Karl Marx. You can wander the East Cemetery on your own for a modest fee, but the West Cemetery guided tours are well worth the extra cash. It's not a ghost tour as such, but you will hear scary stories, like that of the vampire hunters who used to roam Highgate at night. The tombs and gravestones, half engulfed in wild plants, make for an unbeatably spooky setting, too.

West and East Cemetery open Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at various times. Booking essential. Tickets £4.50-£14.

4. Ghost Bus Tours

Who you gonna call? Image: Ghost Bus Tours

Not so much a walk, as a ride on a sightseeing bus/theatrical hearse. Ghost Bus Tours is angled at the tourist market, but seeing as there isn't a huge one right now, this is a chance for Londoners to see some of the city's flagship landmarks in a darker, er, light. A cheesy but entertaining 'Necrobus' guide tells stories of beheaded traitors, executed monarchs — and enough ghosts to send your EMF meter crazy — passing the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey and the Tower of London. Expect the occasional power cut and a disconcerting passenger along the way.

Every Friday, Saturday, Sunday. Tickets £26.50 (inc booking fee).

5. Ghost Signs Tours

Deane & Co. Chemists ghost sign. Clapham
A ghost sign at 17 The Pavement, SW4. Deane & Co. was a chemist in Clapham that was open between 1910 and 1973.

Not all ghosts float through walls — some are painted onto them. Ghost sign expert Sam Roberts has compiled a series of downloadable tours, which lead you to advertisements of yore slathered onto the sides of buildings — often well over a hundred years ago. See beer and coffee ghost signs in Bankside; an ad for fountain pen repair in Stoke Newington; and vintage marketing for Gillette shaving in Clapham. This one's less terrifying, more terrifically interesting.

The ghost signs app is free to download, but do leave a tip.

Last Updated 19 October 2020

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