York claims to be Europe’s most haunted city. Not surprising considering its rich history, from Romans and Vikings to medieval monarchs and highwaymen. Held up as a worthy prize, the city was frequently invaded, leading to plenty of tales of horror. To get the best out of York’s spookiest places, visit at night, if you dare. But don’t worry, you can always return to a ghost-free York hotel when your exploring is done.
York’s ghost tours
Join a group of ghost hunters led by someone who can bring it all to life, so to speak. Several evening ghost tours are held around York, most of them suitable for children.
- Gather in St Mary’s Church graveyard for The Ghost Creeper Tour, which takes you around the city’s little-known alleys.
- York Terror Trails start from the infamous Golden Fleece pub and reveal the city’s darker underworld.
- The Ghost Trail of York begins at the Minster and takes you to sites of Victorian tragedies and modern-day ghostly phenomena.
You might not want to linger in Lund’s Court, between Swinegate and Low Petergate. It used to be known as Mad Alice Lane after Alice Smith, who lived here until she was hung in 1825 for a crime she didn’t commit. She is said to haunt the lane.
Take care around Chapter House Street as well. In 1953 a plumber working at nearby Treasurer’s House was startled to see Roman soldiers marching through the cellar’s walls. Weirdly, their legs ended at the knees. He then realised the original Roman road had been lower than the modern street level. Their feet were clearly marching on the Roman stones.
Behind York’s closed doors
Children will squeal with delight or horror in York Dungeon. Here you can see witches burned at the stake, putrefying plague corpses and hanged highwayman Dick Turpin.
Eating at The Golden Fleece? At last count, it had five ghosts.
At the Church of All Saints, on Pavement, look out for a long-haired wraith. She’s beautiful, apparently, and particularly likes funerals. Some say she was denied a Christian burial.
A headless corpse has been spotted in Holy Trinity churchyard on Goodramgate. It’s believed to be the Catholic Earl of Northumberland, beheaded in 1572 for plotting against the Protestant Queen Elizabeth l.