Haunted Hampstead to Highgate Pub Crawl (London)

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On Friday, I headed over to Hampstead after work so that I could take part in the Haunted Hampstead to Highgate Pub Crawl. Friday was the first day that the day properly felt like autumn with clear skies and crisp, cold temperatures. I've never been to Hampstead before either, so this was my first visit. The meeting point was on Hampstead High Street.


We met outside the King William IV pub, which was decorated for Halloween inside. Some of the patrons were also dressed up in unique costumes. Cobwebs, pumpkins, candles, a fake severed hand inside a piano lid in the pub, and a poem on the outside pub sign made it feel like Halloween. "Ghosts and spooks galore, scary witches at your door, King William shining bright, wishing you a haunting night." That poem on the pub sign was just a small taste of what we were in for.


The King William IV pub is just one of four haunted pubs in the area that we visited, and we were told of a couple of unfortunate stories and the hauntings of the pub. This happened with dramatic tones and actors/actresses available to enlighten us. 


The idea was to grab a drink in each pub; we had half an hour at the next two pubs and finished at the fourth one. This was adequate time to get a much-needed drink to help aid us in keeping warm and jolly.


After the first pub, we were led down a couple of alleyways and told a few more stories about hauntings or gruesome deaths that happened.


We were also shown significant buildings in the area, such as the home of writer H.G. Wells (possibly my favourite writer), which I have posted below. 


The next pub that we stopped at is The Holly Bush, which I know is a local favourite and a pub that I have heard of before. We had a thirty-minute wait here, which was enough time for a glass of wine.



We were then led down a few more streets and told more stories about local history and characters before coming to the famous Hampstead well. I was not aware of the local history of this part of London, but it became popular for having a well with rumoured healing powers, similar to Bath, Cheltenham, Harrogate, and Tunbridge Wells. The well brought in tourists and pilgrims, and many of the streets around the well sold trinkets and flasks for the water. A monument to the well can be seen.


We then trekked across the very dark Hampstead Heath, where we were told about the frightening history of this area and the heath's popularity with highwaymen who would rob caravans passing through. We also learned about some local characters and their stories. 



After the long trek across the dark Hampstead Heath and a short stop at the pond for another story, we had to climb a hill in order to get to the next (third) pub, The Flask. This pub is opposite George Michael's home, and a tribute has been set up in the grass area in front of his home.


We had time to get another drink, and after walking up the hill and feeling too warm, I soon felt really chilly as the evening was a crisp one.


We were, of course, told the haunting stories of this pub, which is rumoured to be haunted by three different spirits. These included a camp Cavalier, who made an entertaining appearance.


After we finished our drinks and meeting the 'ghost', we wandered across the road to St. Michael's Church where we were told the next story, involving vampires in Highgate Cemetery behind the church. This is one of the popular London cemeteries.




We were then led via Pond Square to learn about the chicken haunting the square to the Gatehouse pub. This was our final haunted pub on the walk. 


The Gatehouse was decorated for Halloween with cobwebs and pumpkins, and the staff were all in costume.




We did not stay for a drink or food here. Those who booked the tour could get a discount on food and drink purchased at this final pub, which would have been great because I was famished as I didn't have any lunch and walked quite a lot; however, I did have to get back to Ruislip, which isn't the easiest from here. Instead, I walked down to Archway station (instead of Highgate, though the pub is in between both stations) and went to get fast food there.

Overall, it was a fun night although I was exhausted at the end of it as we trekked a long way and almost continously for four hours. 

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