Sights worth seeing,
October 13 2023
It’s that time of year when children turn into sugar-seeking witches and zombies prowling the streets at night. London has a long, dark history of dastardly deeds and plenty of creaky old buildings with resident ghosts. So shake off the cobwebs and embrace the city’s freaky side as we enter these creepy London haunts.
Dennis Severs’ House in Spitalfields is a house museum like no other. Step into the imaginary Huguenot family home, created by the late Dennis Severs. He bought this house in 1979 and set about carefully creating the Huguenot family home, while living in it himself. He imagined generations of the family lived in the home from 1724 to 1919 and filled it with authentic Georgian and Victorian artefacts. It feels like the family has just stepped out for a moment, and this is your chance to tiptoe around. Dennis died in 1999, but the museum continues the tours he once conducted. This is not a museum of facts and figures. It’s an immersive and theatrical experience designed to put you in a time warp.
Forget Hamleys, take your little monsters to the shop they really need and pick something up for yourself too. Hoxton Street Monster Supplies shop opened in 1818, and today continues to cater to the living, the dead and the undead. Kids love it, and regulars have been visiting for centuries. Whether you’re looking for the heebie-jeebies (delicious, by the way), fancy a touch of fairy dust or you want to bathe in a bath filled with tears of anger, this place has it all. There’s also a well-stocked online shop if you live with a vampire and daylight opening hours aren’t suitable.
Visit The Last Tuesday Society’s delightfully strange museum and cocktail bar in Hackney. The museum is a collection of curiosities and taxidermy that appealed to the artist and founder, Viktor Wynd. He has filled every inch of space to the rafters with the macabre. In the museum is the Absinthe Parlour, mixing unusual elixirs and serving traditional absinths. The society hosts regular drinking rituals, horror movie nights and unique tours with Viktor Wynd himself, giving an insight into his unusual collection.
Climb the spiral staircase to the church attic in St Thomas’ Hospital and visit Europe’s oldest surviving Victorian operating theatre. In the Old Operating Theatre museum, you can learn about the history of medicine and how doctors performed surgery without anaesthetic or sterile tools. There are regular talks (with live demonstrations) that spare no gory details. Book tickets in advance and look out for extra-spooky events around Halloween, with ghostly performances and stories of blood-thirsty vampires.
Don’t choose a hotel that will give you nightmares. Instead, turn out the lights and dream of freaky adventures in London when you stay in one of our unique Thistle Hotels. We have hotels across London, including right in the centre, so you don’t have to travel far.