The capital has plenty of windy cobblestone lanes and creaky old buildings with a past. Find out about the lives of Victorian prisoners, visit haunting Highgate Cemetery and Clink Prison and discover why a London university has philosopher Jeremy Bentham’s body in its basement. We take you on a spine-tingling trip to the creepiest places in London. Expect the unexpected.
Visit Highgate Cemetery, London’s best known burial ground. It opened in 1839 and Highgate Cemetery’s famous graves reach from Karl Marx and George Eliot to Douglas Adams and George Michael. With gothic tombstones displaced by tree roots and wonky gravestones wrapped in vines: it’s no surprise it was a great film location for 1970’s Dracula films. This evocative place is also a haven for wildflowers and home to the rare cave spider. Today, you pay to enter and you can book a Highgate Cemetery history tour or get a ticket for a self-guided walk around the cemetery.
Jeremy Bentham’s Body at UCL
Alongside young students wandering the campus of University College London sits Jeremy Bentham. Well, most of him. Jeremy was an English philosopher and social reformer whose beliefs influenced the university founders. He died in 1832 and left his body to be dissected and turned into a self-image auto-icon containing his preserved skeleton, dressed in his clothes as if he’s still alive. The mummification process left the skin of his face too gruesome to put back on the body, so his head is now kept separately and occasionally goes on display. Today, his body sits on a chair in a glass case with a wax head on top. You can see Jeremy, the rare auto-icon, at the entrance of the UCL Student Centre.
The Hunterian Museum
This is not one for the squeamish. Discover the history of surgery, from superstition in ancient times to robotic help today. The Hunterian Museum, at the Royal College of Surgeons of England’s headquarters, is dedicated to the art and science of surgery. Named after 18th-century surgeon John Hunter, the museum displays his collection of thousands of surgical curiosities as part of England’s largest public display of human anatomy. While some jars contain shockingly real specimens, it’s also an informative museum that encourages knowledge and curiosity.
The Clink Museum London
A scary thing to do in London for Halloween is visit this interactive museum on the site of possibly England’s oldest prison, operating from 1144 to 1780. The Clink Prison London is dark and gruesome with costumed guides, prison artefacts and stories of prisoners who had to survive in terrible conditions. It’s also where Charles Dickens’ father was jailed for failing to pay a debt. Hear tales of escape, torture, mutinies and notable characters as you explore this dark part of London’s past.
Our elegant heritage hotels The Clermont, Victoria and The Clermont, Charing Cross each have fascinating histories too. So step outside your Central London hotel and explore London’s creepy past and relax in comfort with us.