If you’re planning to come to the UK capital at the end of this month, then your stay in London’ll coincide with Hallowe’en and there’s many suitably spooky spots in the city to give a visit on the day – and evening – itself…
Spirits in the wings
Unsurprisingly, it’s London’s oldest theatre, Drury Lane’s 350 years-old-plus Theatre Royal, that’s supposed to be its most haunted. Indeed, it’s said this playhouse, which has occupied its current site for more than two centuries, is the favourite ‘haunt’ of not the just the legendary pantomime clown Joseph Grimaldi, but also Edwardian music hall hero Dan Leno and a spirit referred to enigmatically as the ‘Man in Grey’.
It was as recent as 2001 that apparition sightings were reported at the one-time Mayfair residence of great German-born composer George Frederic Handel – among other things, he wrote his ‘Messiah’ during his time at the 25 Brook Street address (1723-1759) – it’s now a museum dedicated to his memory, combined with the apartment next door where iconic rocker Jimi Hendrix lived. Indeed, following these ghostly discoveries during its turn-of-the-millennium restoration and transformation into a museum, the place’s present-day owners were so perturbed they called on the services of a Catholic priest to perform an exorcism. Yes, really. In fact, Hendrix, whom lived in the building two centuries after Handel, claimed to have once seen the latter’s ghost in a mirror. Perhaps it inspired his own compositions?
Sate a haunting thirst
Don’t be put off by the presence of hipsters sipping away at craft beers and picking at gourmet bar snacks at Spitalfields’ Ten Bells pub, for this traditional boozer is worth the visit for its genuine historical import. It was the last place where Mary Kelly, final victim of notorious Victorian serial killer Jack the Ripper, was seen – on November 9th 1888 (her body was discovered down the road in Dorset Street the following day). Its spectral credentials, though? Well, over the years since, an old shadowy feller dressed in Victorian garb has often been sighted on the site; he’s thought to have been a previous landlord. An eerie location all round then – and a good spot to stop by for a Hallowe’en beverage, not least if you’re staying at one of relatively nearby luxury hotels London, such as The Montcalm Brewery hotel on Chiswell Street London.
Tombs and catacombs
Finally, where better for a Hallowe’en jaunt that one of the greatest gothic graveyards you’ll ever come across? The renowned Highgate Cemetery opened way back in 1839 and owes much of its fame to being the resting place of the writers of different stripes that are Karl Marx, George Eliot and Douglas Adams. Yet, this eerie site full of grandiose tombs and catacombs is also known for being haunted by a seven-foot-tall, long-black-coated chap with a top hat (whom may be a vampire?), the so-called pointy-eared sprite Spring-Heeled Jack and even a nun who’s supposed to float over the graves. Imagine spotting any of those on your visit; imagine, indeed!