As Halloween approaches, our thoughts turn to the dark and macabre. Cemeteries become spookier, old houses creak louder, and the fall air is a bit chillier. London, of course, is not without its places to give you a fright. Whether a tourist attraction or a naturally creepy location, London is full of its own spooky places to visit, even when it isn’t Halloween. Do you dare recommend scarier places in the comments? Mwahahaha!
1. Greenwich Foot Tunnel
Opened in 1902 as a means for dock workers to get to the Isle of Dogs from the opposite side of the Thames, the Greenwich Foot Tunnel runs 50 feet deep and a distance of 1,217 feet. It’s possibly the look of the tunnel itself that makes it seem so creepy. It’s a stark place with hospital-white painted bricks, eerie yellow lights, and no decorations or anything to make it appear more comforting. Since it’s classified as a public highway, it’s kept open 24 hours a day, which can make it seem very spooky at night. However, during the day, it’s a great way to get from Greenwich to Canary Wharf, and is certainly worth checking out if you’re in the neighborhood and like it when the hairs on your neck stand on end.
2. The London Dungeon
Possibly the most touristy of the tourist traps on this list, but don’t let that dissuade you from visiting. London is a city with a very gory history, and the Dungeon brings these years of horrors to life with a bit of gallows humour to make it not so scary. Plenty of London’s worst moments are on display for visitors to see, including the Black Death, Jack the Ripper, and even fictional horrors such as Sweeney Todd. Once simply a museum dedicated to the darkest events from the city’s past, now it is a much more interactive experience with actors putting on a darkly comic show.
3. Hunterian Museum (Royal College of Surgeons)
Created from the collection of 18th Century surgeon John Hunter, the Hunterian Museum shows that some of the creepiest things are inside your own body. The museum has a great collection of anatomical pieces and oddities, including the skeleton of the “Irish Giant”, Charles Byrne. Another piece on display are the Evelyn Tables, a collection of tables that were one used as a teaching tool and made by removing the veins from a corpse and stretching them out over the table. Numerous other surgical teaching tools on display are sure to send a shiver down your spine.
4. Highgate Cemetery
Like something out of Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula, Highgate Cemetery is a place of gothic beauty that quickly becomes scary once the sun sets. Opened in 1839 and is one of the “Magnificent Seven” of London cemeteries built during the period to alleviate overcrowding in parish churches, it is a Grade I registered place. The statuary in the cemetery is absolutely gorgeous, from angels and cherubs to the tombs known as the Circle of Lebanon and Egyptian Avenue. Some of the tombstones and monuments, however, have not fared well with age and are in a state of decay that adds to the place’s spookiness. The cemetery also has its share of famous “residents” worth visiting, including Karl Marx, Douglas Adams, and Henry Gray, the author of Gray’s Anatomy. People often visit at night in hopes of seeing one of the cemetery’s ghosts and there was once an urban legend of the Highgate Vampire who haunted the place.
5. The Tower of London
If you were not a friend of the crown, the Tower of London was once a very scary place. Dungeons at the Tower still keep their instruments of torture on display for individuals, showing them the very gruesome fates that fell upon traitors to the crown. The Tower also saw its share of famous prisoners over the years, such as Anne Boleyn, Sir Walter Raleigh, and the infamous Guy Fawkes, who was taken here for “questioning” following the Gunpowder Plot. It also has its share of ghosts, prisoners of the Tower who met particularly gruesome ends. One of the most well-known are “The Princes in the Tower”, King Edward V and his brother, Richard, Duke of York, who were imprisoned there by their uncle, King Richard III, and reportedly murdered so that the elder Richard could take the throne. With deep dungeons, ghosts, and a history of blood, The Tower is perhaps the creepiest place to visit in London.