We don’t know who did the sums on the spectres, but York is famously brimming with spirits (and that’s not just the York Gin). This October half term, there are family activities a-plenty in the home of Halloween and you can find our top picks here. While you’re out and about on the Little Ghost Hunt or taking in a ghost tour or wizard walk, be sure to keep an eye out for ghostly goings-on. After all, we all love a ghost story, and what could be better than starring in one of your own. Don’t hold us responsible for any nightmares or sleepless nights, but here are our top locations for spooky sightings in York and a few of York’s most famous ghost stories. Be sure to share your pictures and videos with us and Visit York, and we’ll add them to our ghost count!
York Dungeon – You’d expect scares and frights galore from the incredible team at York Dungeon, but it’s also known as a haunted place. Who scares the scarers? Nobody knows, but staff locking up
the building have regularly reported a presence following them around on their rounds. In 2018, a visitor caught an unusual face in the background of a photograph. Cameras aren’t allowed within the attraction, so try and capture your shots near the entrance or when you are
leaving. Visit the York Dungeon website.
Clifford’s Tower – One of the best places for panoramic views of York, Clifford’s Tower has a dark history. The wooden tower that preceded the Norman stone building burnt down in 1190, apparently at the hands of Jewish families who had taken refuge in there. Rather than face torture, death or being forcibly baptised, it is said that they
took their own lives. The Tower that replaced it played many roles, from a fortified hold for the King’s
valuables to a prison for nobles and a weapons store. According to legend, on more than one occasion, blood has been observed dripping from the masonry inside the keep, which defies explanation. Visit the Clifford’s Tower website.
Micklegate Bar – Now home to the City Walls Experience, Micklegate Bar is famously the ‘Royal’ entrance to the city, with visiting Royals still observing the tradition of being welcomed into the city by the Lord Mayor of York. The gatekeeper would have been the guardian of the keys to the city, and the ghost of Sarah – the daughter of one of the gatekeepers who reportedly lost her father’s keys – is said to haunt the building. All three floors are open to the public now as a visitor attraction, so do keep cameras handy in case the child hunting for the missing keys crosses your path during a visit. Visit the City Walls Experience website
York Theatre Royal – Spotting a ghost in a theatre ahead of a production is said to bring good luck to the show, so if you
are in the audience and spot a spectral figure anyone around the building, you’re probably in for a spectacular evening! One of the most famous ghosts is said to be the Grey Lady, thought to be a nun who lived on the site long before the theatre was built. This was the location of St. Leonard’s Hospital, and the story says that a nun who broke her vows was bricked up in a wall as penance for her crimes. Visit the York Theatre Royal website
Treasurer’s House, Minster Yard – This National Trust house is best known for the Roman legion seen walking through the cellar of the building, following the Roman road which is known to have run through this site. The soldiers were said to have been visible only from the knees upwards corresponding with the level of the original Roman road beneath the floor. Keep your nostrils primed for the smell of cigar smoke: spirit of the man who donated the property to the National Trust, Frank Green, is said to keep an eye on things, and his presence is usually accompanied by a strong aroma of fresh cigar smoke. Visit the website
Antiques Centre York, Stonegate – Keep your eyes peeled for a young girl who is said to have been in the building since the
turn of the 20th century. The daughter of a local doctor, famed for the parties he threw, is said to have lost her balance and tumbled down the stairs and died. But her father believed that her spirit remained there, and a mysterious child has been spotted on the stairs. Visit the website
York Castle Museum – Little of the original castle remains, but the current Castle Museum includes original cells from York Prison, which hosted some infamous guests
including highwayman Dick Turpin, and the last woman to be burnt at the stake in Yorkshire. There’s been many a ghost sighting, including a strange Victorian girl appearing in photos in 2014 and a spectral young boy seen disappearing into a
wall in February 2023. Visit the York Castle Museum website