We really got in the spirit of Halloween this week (mind the pun) and found ourselves on a Haunted Pub Tour in London with Lantern Ghost Tours! This was not only very fitting for the time of year, it was also an interesting and exciting way to spend an evening in London.
Our tour started at Temple Tube Station, which was only a few stops from London Victoria. When we arrived, our lovely tour guide Camelia was waiting for us with a ‘Haunted Pub Tour’ sign. We waited for the rest of the group and set off at around 7pm. It had become dark and slightly misty by then, which added to the effect! Our first stop was the ‘oldest steps of London’. These were built in the 1600s and at the time, were the only steps that led down to the bank of the river Thames. These steps were walked by hundreds of Londoners and as the population increased, helped spark the need to build more bridges over the Thames!
First pub stop on the list was The George, known for its many celebrity regulars such as Charles Dickens and Samuel Johnson. The pub was founded in 1723 and was originally a ‘men only’ coffee house. Legend has it that this pub is haunted by the Laughing Cavalier, a 17th-century character that has had repeated sightings for centuries. The pub has also dedicated a specially brewed beer to the phantom, named after the Cavalier and only sold in The George.
We continued on with the tour, stopping at various historical landmarks along the way, such as The City of London gates and the Royal Courts of Justice. The next stop on the agenda was The Old Bank of England pub, a beautiful building with a rich history behind it. We stopped outside to admire the building first and were told that this was where Sweeney Todd, ‘The Demon Barber of Fleet Street’, opened his original barber shop where he committed his first murder! The building was previously the first Bank of England and still has original artefacts from the First World War.
After our second drink, we all gathered once again, and the tour continued down Fleet Street, past the oldest building in London, and the narrowest pub named ‘The Cock Tavern’. We walked through hidden squares, accessed by small alleyways you wouldn’t otherwise know were there, learning all the different facts and history of London’s haunted past. We were sad to see the tour coming to the end and our final stop was Ye Old Cheshire Cheese. This is one of the most famous pubs on Fleet Street, taken out by the great fire of London, and rebuilt in 1667. This pub is infamously known as being haunted by the ghost of a dog, which often appears when someone is in danger. With the Haunted Pub Tour finished, we made our way back to Temple station, which was a 10-minute walk from Ye Old Cheshire Cheese.
This was truly a once in a lifetime experience, and something we would highly recommend anyone to do at least once. We would like to say a massive thank you to Camelia, our tour guide for making the experience fun and interesting, and to Lantern Ghost Tours for inviting us along! The Haunted Pub Tour runs throughout the year and can be enjoyed on your own or as a group.