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Top 5 Haunted London Pubs

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by Bastion Harrison (subscribe)
Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from
Published May 30th 2014
Pints, Pies, and Poltergeist
Can ghost sightings in pubs really be trustworthy? After all you might be expected to see all kinds of things after a few pints. While you might dismiss these, there are been plenty of encounters by the sober, whether it be a ghostly figure or game of trickery. Here are five of London's haunted pubs you might like to brave a meal at:

1. The Viaduct Tavern

the viaduct tavern
Image from

The Viaduct Tavern on Newgate Street was built in 1875 on a former prison for people who were in debt. Down in the basement, it is still possible to see the remains of five jail cells. Numerous poltergeist events are said to have happened, there, but whether the hauntings are from the ghosts of prisoners in unknown. There are some fairly recent examples of hauntings, such as one morning in 1996, when the manager was in the basement. The lights went out and the door slammed shut. He tried to open it, but the door was locked. When his wife came to help, she opened the door from the other side with ease.

2. The Bull and Bush

Built in 1721, The Bull and Bush in North Hampstead is opposite Golders Hill Park. Inside there are open fires, cosy armchairs, and freshly prepared food. When renovators dug a little deeper, however, they discovered a skeleton and surgical tools behind the walls of the cellar. Not so comfy. What did this poor person endure, and is he the reason behind the hauntings?

3. The Volunteer

Who volunteers to go ghost hunting? Sky TV, that's who. For an episode of their series of Most Haunted, they visited Baker Street pub, The Volunteer. It was built using the framework of a burnt-down seventh century manor house. It is believed to be haunted by an evil patriarch from the House of Neville. The noble family came to England during the Norman conquest, and has been an important part of history, having fought in The War of the Roses.

4. Hoop & Toy

It sounds like such a sweet and innocent name, doesn't it? But the Hoop & Toy is indeed haunted. The Kensington pub was built in 1760, on top of a former grave site. On this grave site were the buried bodies of priests. These priests were quite happy being dead, as they still managed to make their trips to church. Unfortunately, when construction began for a tube station, it disrupted the ghosts' route, and they are stuck at the pub, unable to reach their destination.

5. Bow Bells

The ghost at Bow Bells on Bow Road has a crude sense of humour. It likes to flush the toilet when people are sitting on it. In 1974, the landlord held a seance to rid the ghost, but in the middle of the ceremony, the toilet door burst open, and the window shattered. They decided to put up with the flushing. I recommend going to the loo before leaving home.
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