Is York haunted?

Is York haunted?

For a place that has as much history as the city of York it’s bound to have its fair share of ghost stories so I went along to find out is York haunted and how scary are these stories.

historic pub walk during the york food and drink festival

Pubs we visited during the walk

Historic Pub walk

Firstly by doing a historic pub tour I got an insight into the local myths and legends. This tour was done in the afternoon so it was daylight and was more interesting rather than scary.

I’m a big fan of ghost stories and enjoyed hearing the history behind these stories. The tour is given by Keith Martin who is a trained city tour guide and definitely knows his history of York and translates this in a fun informative way.

If you would like to go on a historic pub tour which I would highly recommend email Keith on or phone 0750 6570234 he will do private tours of 6 or more.

So it seems that most of the ghosts in the city are hiding out in the pubs, this might be due to them being in old historic buildings or they might just be thirsty I don’t really know.

I’m not going to give away all the pubs as you need to go on the tour to find out more but here are the two most famous.

The Golden Fleece

This pubs is said to be the most haunted in the country. I didn’t actually go inside but I would love to spend a night here although I’m definately not doing that on my own. In 2005 they were visited by the most haunted tv team.

The most famous ghost is Geoff Monroe, he was staying at the pub in 1945 and met his death by falling from one of the windows. Geoff was a Canadian airman and there has been sightings of him in the room where he stayed in full uniform, his icy touch waking sleepers up – OMG I would absolutely  wet myself if this happened to me although how cool a story would it make. I really really want to  stay here!!!

The Black Swan

Just looking at this pub you know its going to have its ghost stories as it just looks so old. It dates back to the 15th century

There seems to be three resident ghosts in this pub. A man in a bowler’s hat who fidgets and tuts, implying he is waiting for someone or something, he gradually fades away or walks from room to room as though looking for someone maybe he got stood up on a date. He is said to resemble Charlie Chaplin.

There is a young lady in a white dress who stands at the bar gazing into the fireplace and then there are some men’s legs which are seen descending a staircase and wanders around the staff quarters. More details see website. history

Ghost Tours

There are many ghost tours to choose from. I did the ghost bus as this is the most accessible as it didn’t involve any walking whereas the other tours are walking tours of the city which last on average for one hour. However, York is flat and quite accessible apart from a few cobbles.

Original Ghost Walk – 8pm every night from the Kings Arms Pub, Ouse Bridge

Terror Trail – 6.45pm every night from outside the Golden Fleece Inn

Bloody Tour of York– Feb-Mar 6pm Apr-Nov 6pm & 8pm outside St Williams College Thur-Sat

Ghost Hunt – 7.30pm every night from the Shambles

Ghost Trail – 7.30pm every night from the west doors of York Minster

Ghost bus

The ghost bus tour was abit different to the historic pub tour as it was at night. I was slightly scared but  this was more due to apprehension of what was going to happen than anything else.

I did the ghost bus tour on a windy wet night, so the sound effects of the wind howling were already giving quote an eerie scene

I stupidly choose the seat by the stairs so spent the whole journey paranoid something was going to run up the stairs and grab me so I was a bit jumpy

I shouldn’t do these type of tours on my own as I had to get a taxi back to my hotel as my imagination was running wild and I was a little spooked

On its flier it claims to be a “comedy horror sightseeing show”. It was quite funny in some part the tour guide is very entertaining as its is dramatized.

The tours run daily at 13.30 and 19.30 from the bus stop (RE) by York Train Station

Dick Turpin

Dick was a famous highway man who originally from Essex, ran away to hid in York and changed his name before being found out and meeting his death of hanging. His grave is in York and you go past it on the hop on bus and the ghost bus tour.

If you want to find out more about Dick Turpin watch this horrible histories video it’s a fun way to find out the history of this dangerous man.

Guy Fawkes

Before my visit to York I wasn’t aware that this was the birthplace of Guy Fawkes born in 1570. He is most famous for the gunpowder plot, a small group of Catholics who planned to assasinate the Protestant King James by blowing up the Parliament House in London.

He was captured toured and finalised confessed to then be hanged but he fell of the podium breaking his neck. As it was London where Guy Fawkes met his death I would imagine he is haunting the city of London and only pops home for a visit


Again might not have been the best idea going to the dungeon on my own. Its quite interactive and I was more scared about being picked on than anything else. To be clear the dungeon is not a real historic attraction but more of a theme attraction. You walk into different rooms that will tell you the local stories. In York it was telling you about the Vikings, Guy Fawkes and Dick Turpin to name a few. I do enjoy the dungeons I’ve been to a few of them now including London and San Fancisco.

I did miss having someone to hold on to as walking into each room can be nerve racking as you don’t know what to expect and someone normally jumps out on you. If you’re afraid of the dark, then don’t enter as it does take some time to get used to the very low lighting. A great fun way to find out the history of York

For more details

The Shambles

The old fashioned street just makes the perfect backdrop for any horror film and I’m surprised it’s not used more. Apparently it’s the inspiration for the harry potter films

The street is now full of shops cafes and restaurants voted as googles most picturesque street but this wasn’t always the case as its originally a street of butchers and houses with Livestock also being slaughtered here. An interesting fact if the channels along the street where the pavement has been raised this was to wash away the waste meat and offal so I imagine it was as sweetly smelling as it is today.

A famous resident of this street was St. Margaret Clitherow who harboured Roman catholic priests, she was crushed to death as a punishment. This was an awful way to die and I bet she’s definitely still haunting these streets.

In conclusion Is York haunted?

Its pretty scary if you believe all the stories although I didn’t see anything I would love to stay in the haunted pubs for the night to see if anyone pops in to say hello. The stories sound believable but until I see something with my own eyes I cant confirm.

Next I’m off to the city of Edinburgh in Scotland again steeped in history with its many ghost stories find out if it managed to spook me. Share with me in the comments, a haunted city you have visited or even if you have seen anything spooky!!

I used Wikipedia my trusty friend to get some of this information plus what I was told by the various tours guides. Also thank you to Visit York for a complimentary pass for these attractions. All opinions are as always my own and have not been influenced in any form

is york haunted


10 thoughts on “Is York haunted?”

  1. I’m not sure I would believe they are haunted but it would be fun to do one of those tours or stay in a pub like the Golden Fleece just to see what happened.

  2. I haven’t done a ghost tour in so long. Not sure if I would want to stay in a place overnight that is haunted, but would like to hear the stories.

  3. You’ll love Edinburgh if that’s next on your list – we experienced many a ghost story on our tours through Scotland!! I’m not a big believer in the actual existence of ghosts but I do always find it entertaining to join these tours for insights into the local myths and legends of a new destination 🙂

  4. Sounds spooky…and fascinating at the same time! I do enjoy going inside dungeons as well even though I know something in there will most likely make me jump!

  5. No I didn’t see anything as I was on my own I think I would have wet myself if I did lol

  6. I love hearing ghost stories about various haunted places in a city. York seems to have it’s fair share. Although I love hearing about the stories as part of the tour, I have no desire to ever experience it / have a ghost encounter myself 🙂

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