Forget ouija boards and trick or treating this Halloween – why not grab a pint and give yourself a real ghost story? We’ve hunted down the UK’s most haunted pubs so hold on to your pint and try out one of these spooky watering holes this Halloween.
Ye Olde Man & Scythe
6 – 8 Churchgate, Bolton, Lancashire, BL1 1HL
Dating back to the middle ages, this ancient drinking tavern is the fourth oldest pub in Britain and is reputedly haunted by James Stanley, the 7th Earl of Derby, who was once beheaded outside. Recent CCTV footage filmed in February shows a creepy ghostly figure standing at the bar, and the live-in manager once reported mysteriously waking up with wet feet for no reason. It serves a fantastic range of beers on tap, including the northern favourite Robinson’s Dizzy Blonde, seasonal ale Summer Lightning and the classic Timothy Taylor, making it a perfect pub to grab a pint with a poltergeist.
18 Wilton Row, London, SW1X 7NR
This Victorian haunt was first host to the Foot Guards Regiment, and has been frequented by the royals King George IV and Prince William to even the likes of pop star Madonna. It’s also home of ghostly Ceric, a young Grenadier who was once beaten to death there one night after cheating at a game of cards. Since then terrifying footsteps have been heard in empty rooms and disturbing moans have been heard from the depth of the cellar. Visitors have also seen objects appear or move without explanation. Pop down on Hallows Eve for a great selection of hand pumped ales, and an eclectic range of craft beers, including the fantastic Brooklyn Lager and the much-loved Brewdog’s Punk IPA. Just a note – we’d recommend against a game of cards…
The White Hart Inn
34 Grassmarket, Edinburgh, EH1 2JU
This eerie inn may look like your typical Scottish pub, but it comes with a sinister history. It used to be visited by the infamous William Burke and William Hare, who used to entice customers back to their lodgings and murder them to sell their corpses to the medical school on the next street. The most recent spooky incident was a photograph of a menacing dismembered hand just by the bar, taken by an elderly woman. Tourists flock here not only for the haunting atmosphere, but also to try the great assortment of Scottish beers, such as Belhaven Black stout, Edinburgh’s much-loved Innis and Gun, and the classic Tennents lager.
25 Townfield Street, Chelmsford, Essex, CM1 1QJ
A classic British pub but with an apparitional atmosphere, White Horse is famed for a classic ghost story that would make anyone shudder as they sup on a cold one. Many years ago, a farm worker murdered a bell-ringer on the stairwell. There’s an interesting mix of brews to try, including the likes of Mighty Oak’s Oscar Wilde and a few of London’s Redemption beers. A warning before you dare to visit – the howls heard from the stairwell will leave you paler than any IPA you’ve tried…
The Skirrid Inn
Llanvihangel Crucorney, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, Wales NP7 8DH
Declared Wales’ oldest pub, this historic joint dates all the way back to around 1100, and has all the trappings for a truly terrifying experience. First used as a courtroom for those that deserved capital punishment, convicted felons were hanged from an oak beam above the staircase. Since then, visitors and workers have reported having their hair pulled, glasses being thrown across the room and doors mysteriously being slammed. Grab one of their real ales such as the Welsh Brains Reverend James or Greene King IPA – if you can stand the sinister screams at night.
If heading out on a haunted night isn’t your thing, head over to the Let There Be Beer website for great recipes and advise on picking a brew or two to pair with your scary spaghetti or pumpkin pie.