Bath is one of the loveliest cities in the United Kingdom. It features winding streets, superb museums, fabulous shopping, and a history including Roman ruins.
Fans of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ will enjoy the famous Regency-era Pump Room as well as the Jane Austen Centre.
However, more than plaques and museums document Bath’s colorful history. Its ghosts do, as well.
Around the city of Bath, ghostly figures and apparitions so commonplace, locals often take them for granted.
In other words – for ghost hunters – Bath is a perfect destination for an extended holiday or vacation.
Here are a few of Bath’s most famous ghosts:
The man in the black hat
Easily Bath’s most famous and most-seen ghost, the man in the black hat is dressed in late 18th-century attire and sometimes wears a billowing black cloak. He’s regularly seen around the Assembly Rooms. For the best results, look for him at Saville Row and Bennett Street. [ map ]
Several ghosts have appeared in the vicinity of Freezing Hill, just outside Bath. Most of these phantoms are from the 17th century, when this hill was the site of the bloody Battle of Lansdown.
The best opportunity to see these ghosts is from The Park, a 240 acre estate featuring a Jacobean mansion that is now an hotel. You can also enjoy a fine meal at The Oakwood Restaurant, and play golf at their Crown and Cromwell courses. [ map ]
The Royal Crescent [ map ]
It’s not a movie that’s being filmed at the Royal Crescent when you see an elegant coach drawn by four horses. Instead, you’re witnessing a residual haunting, repeating the elopement of Elizabeth Linley of No. 11, with Irish playwright and politician Richard Brinsley Sheridan.
Sheridan was not Miss Linley’s only suitor. Captain Thomas Mathews (a married man) and Lord Sheridan fought two duels–with swords–over the lovely Miss Linley.
Sheridan may have won her hand in marriage, but he later proved unfaithful. Elizabeth contracted tuberculosis and died at age 38. A bronze plaque at number 11 Royal Crescent marks the address from which she eloped.
The Theatre Royal the Garrick’s Head pub, at St. John’s Place and Saw Close [ map ]
The Theatre Royal and Garrick’s Head are next door to each other. Their ghost stories seem to be interwoven, and the ghosts congenially wander from one building to the other.
At least two ghosts appear in this area. One is an unfaithful wife and the other is her lover, from the 18th century. The lover was killed by the husband, and the wife committed suicide. Look for a woman (some say there are at least two) in a grey dress. The lover is handsome and well-dressed.
A second anomaly is noted at the Theatre Royal: A tortoiseshell butterfly appears there during the pantomime run each year, which is not butterfly season.
The Garrick’s Head pub offers both smoking and non-smoking sections, and is less than a half mile from Bath Spa rail station. (It’s also near Popjoy’s Restaurant, listed below.)
For more info: Call the Garrick’s Head, tel. 01225 318368, or visit the website of the Theatre Royal.
Popjoy’s Restaurant, Saw Close, tel. 01225 460494
Many visit this former home of Richard “Beau” Nash for the fine food. However, the restaurant hosts at least two ghosts, both of them women. One is Juliana Popjoy, the 18th-century mistress of Beau Nash.
The other ghost is Janice (or perhaps Janet). She is more modern, dressed in attire best suited to the 1960’s. She dines alone and looks perfectly normal until she vanishes.
The Beehive Public House, 3 Belvedere – Lansdowne Road, at the corner of Julian Road
‘Bunty’, a serving girl from the Victorian Era or slightly earlier, appears in the kitchen of The Beehive, a popular Bath public house.
Crystal Palace Tavern, 10-11 Abbey Green, tel. 0870 3305191 [ map ]
A hooded figure — perhaps a monk — appears at this tavern when he is concerned that the structure may change, such as during repairs or redecorating. He usually appears briefly and is fairly transparent.
Julia, of Queens Square
This jilted bride has been seen strolling around the Square in her white gown.
References and recommended sites:
Join Haunting Breaks for real, paranormal investigations. They’re among the UK’s premiere ghost hunters.
Photos of Bath, England are courtesy of Ingrid Rasmussen and VisitBritain.com.