York prides itself on being the most haunted city in England.
sightings are claimed. Roman soldiers, highwaymen on horseback, crying
babies, medieval nuns, Mad Alice, a Lady in Green, an old-fashioned
cyclist and large, black hounds all have their believers. Apparitions are claimed for buildings old and new, pubs and snickelways.
So it’s perhaps unsurprising that there are numerous ghost tours
to tempt visitors. These should be regarded as entertainment with
melodramatic playacting, rather than historical tours. If you expect
this, and up for some fun, you will enjoy yourself more. Some tend to
emphasise spookiness, others (such as the Ghost Hunt of York) involve a good deal of audience participation and tomfoolery.
If you want more serious information about the subject, you’re probably better of with a book and a self-guided tour. (See below.)
• The Original Ghost Walk of York, starting by the river at Kings Arms Pub (8pm), is perhaps the most popular of those on offer.
All these tours last around 2 hours and cost about a fiver for adults.
• A shorter (1 hour 10 minutes) tour, The Ghost Trail of York starts at the West Door of the Minster at 7.30, is a pound cheaper, and has been scaring visitors for over 20 years.
• A guide in top hat and black Victorian cloak leaves from the Shambles with The Ghost Hunt of York and combines entertainment with tricks on unsuspecting restaurant diners.
• Less atmospheric and more expensive (£15, children £10), but also with the same theme, there is a double-decker Ghost Bus Tour. This starts near the station, and is a possible option for the foot-weary after a day’s serious sightseeing.
Tip If you are more interested in reading about the numerous ghostly
apparitions, Waterstone’s bookshop (by City Screen) has several
informative titles to satisfy your curiosity. The information centre also usually has a guide on sale in their shop.