Is York haunted?
For a place that has as much history as the city of York it is bound to have its fair share of ghost stories so I went along to find out if York is haunted and how scary are the ghosts stories in York actually were.
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 am 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 am 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 haunted pubs in York.
The Golden Fleece
This pub 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 am definitely not doing that on my own. In 2005 they were visited by the most haunted tv team which is a paranormal hunting TV show in the UK.
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 an Canadian airman and there has been sightings of him in full uniform in the room where he stayed. His icy touch regularly wakes sleeping hotel guests – 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 and at some of the other haunted hotels in York.
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. For more details see website
Ghost Tours in York
There are many York ghost tours to choose from. I did the ghost bus (not technically a walk but it did involve a bit) as this is the most accessible. 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 and the tours are not fast paced as they involve walking to haunted places in York and then stopping to hear the ghost stories.
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 in York
The ghost bus tour was a bit 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 quite 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 the ghost tour flier it claims to be a “comedy horror sightseeing show”. It was quite funny in some part the tour guide is very entertaining as it is dramatized.
The tours run daily at 13.30 and 19.30 from the bus stop (RE) by York Train Station and I would recommend for a bit of fun ghost hunting in York.
The History of Dick Turpin in York
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.
Did Guy Fawkes come from York
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 assassinate 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. It is 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 have been to a few of them now including London and San Francisco.
I did miss having someone to hold on to as walking into each room as it can be nerve racking as you don’t know what to expect and someone normally jumps out on you.
If you are afraid of the dark, then don’t enter as it does take some time to get used to the very low lighting. It is a great fun way to find out the history of York Click here for more details
The old fashioned street just makes the perfect backdrop for any horror film and I am surprised it’s not used more. Apparently it is 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 it was 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?
It is 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 can not confirm.
If you enjoyed this post then read about the best Ghost tour in Edinburgh which also sent a few shivers down my spine.
Share with me in the comments, a haunted city you have visited or even if you have seen anything spooky!!