You’ll find plenty of creepy places in Leeds, many of which attract paranormal enthusiasts from around the world. Yorkshire’s industrial capital, Leeds was established in 1626 and has experienced many tragic events such as the Leeds Blitz during World War II. It's hardly surprising that some of the city’s pubs, old mills, and even universities are still frequented by the dearly departed.

    Want to explore the dark side of Leeds? Read on for our guide to the city’s spookiest spots. If you’re lucky (or unlucky) enough, you might hear the disembodied laughter of children or apparitions of Victorian-era figures on your ghost-hunting adventures.

    1

    Temple Newsam

    A fine example of Tudor-Jacobean architecture

    Temple Newsam is an attractive Tudor-Jacobean house dating back to 1500. It has around 40 rooms displaying extensive collections of fine and decorative arts, including furniture, textiles, silver, and ceramics.

    The stately home of Lord Darcy also holds many dark stories, making it one of the most haunted places in Leeds. It's said that 2 prominent ghosts lurk in its halls. The Blue Lady of Temple Newsam is believed to be Lady Mary Ingram, the granddaughter to Sir Arthur Ingram, who owned the estate until 1922. The ghost of a murdered nursemaid also haunts the house. Phoebe Gray was brutally murdered by a servant named William Collinson, supposedly under the control of evil spirits.

    Location: Temple Newsam Rd, Leeds LS15 0AE, UK

    Open: Tuesday–Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +44 (0)113 336 7460

    Map
    2

    Thackray Medical Museum

    Explore the history of healthcare

    The Thackray Medical Museum on Beckett Street is a fascinating place, telling the often gruesome story of the development of medical technology around the world. The building was once a workhouse that became part of the neighbouring hospital, so it’s fair to say that there are probably quite a few ghosts around. In fact, it’s said to be one of the most haunted buildings in Leeds, which you might get to see during one of the special evening openings.

    It's worth mentioning that some of the exhibits are quite harrowing. The genuine Victorian-era operating theatre can be a bit too much for some, especially when the guide starts explaining what operations at that time were like.

    Location: Beckett Street, Leeds LS9 7LN, UK

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)113 244 4343

    Map
    3

    Armley Mills

    Home of the Leeds Industrial Museum

    Armley Mills is a Grade II-listed building in Armley, about 3 miles west of Leeds. Once the largest wool mill in the world, the structure was destroyed in a fire back in 1805. It’s now home to the Leeds Industrial Museum, which displays vintage textile machinery and railway equipment.

    Locals believe that Armley Mills to be haunted by the spirits of mistreated workers, many of whom were young women and children as young as 6 years old. Over the years, past visitors have heard disembodied footsteps and crying, as well as catching glimpses of a woman in a black Victorian-era dress.

    Location: Canal Rd, Armley, Leeds LS12 2QF, UK

    Phone: +44 (0)113 378 3173

    Map

    photo by ClemRutter (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    4

    Kirkstall Abbey

    Explore centuries-old history

    Kirkstall Abbey is a monument to West Yorkshire's rich history, located on the north bank of the River Aire. Built in 1152, these well-preserved Cistercian ruins are among the oldest in all of England. They are so picturesque that famous painters such as Thomas Girtin and John Sell Cotman have used them as their subject.

    You're free to explore this official Scheduled Ancient Monument – the nearby visitor centre makes the journey easier than ever. The best part is that access is completely free. You can even enjoy guided tours for free occasionally. There's a donation box available if you're feeling generous and want to help support the maintenance of this striking location.

    Location: Abbey Rd, Kirkstall, Leeds LS5 3EH, UK

    Open: Tuesday–Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +44 (0)113 378 4079

    Map
    5

    Leeds Town Hall

    Visit its haunted bridewell

    • History

    Leeds Town Hall is one of Yorkshire’s premier ceremony venues, as well as the city’s conference and concert halls. The centrepiece of Leeds dates back to 1858 and was designated a Grade I-listed building in 1951. You can join a guided tour to explore some of its historic sections, including the old borough courtroom, bridewells, and clocktower.

    It’s also said that Leeds Town Hall is haunted by Charlie Peace, a notorious burglar and murderer who was executed in 1879. There are also sightings of a woman in white floating through the hallways. If you want to see if the rumours are true, Leeds Town Hall often hosts ghosthunting experiences, especially around Halloween.

    Location: The Headrow, Leeds LS1 3AD, UK

    Phone: +44 (0)113 378 6016

    Map
    6

    The Abbey Inn

    A canal-facing pub with a dark history

    The Abbey Inn is a lively pub that offers live music, real ales and homecooked dishes with a casual setting. It has seen its fair share of paranormal activity throughout the years, mostly because it used to be a mortuary.

    Bodies of suicide victims were often pulled from the nearby Leeds-Liverpool Canal and Aire River and sent to The Abbey Inn between the 1800s and 1950s. Ghost sightings include a cloaked apparition, a lady in grey, and a man resembling Guy Fawkes.

    Location: 99 Pollard Lane, Bramley, Leeds LS13 1EQ, UK

    Open: Daily from noon to 11 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)113 258 1248

    Map

    photo by Jezzerk (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    7

    City Varieties Music Hall

    Catch a show at this Victorian-era theatre

    • Nightlife

    City Varieties Music Hall in Swan Street is a Victorian-era concert venue dating back to the 1860s. It regularly hosts stand-up comedy and music concerts – Harry Houdini, Eartha Kitt, Charlie Chaplin and Marie Lloyd are among those who have performed here.

    There have also been many unexplainable incidents throughout the years, including the sound of a piano playing late at night and sightings of a woman patrolling the concert venue during popular performances. Some have even seen an apparition dressed in World War I-era clothes.

    Location: Swan St, Leeds LS1 6LW, UK

    Open: Monday–Friday from 9 am to 6 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)113 243 0808

    Map

    photo by Storye book (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    8

    The Cardigan Arms

    Have a drink with the pub’s dearly departed patrons

    • Nightlife

    The Cardigan Arms is a restored Victorian pub on Kirkstall Road, about 2.8 miles west of Central Leeds. The original structure dates back to the 1800s, with an adjoining brewhouse and stables. While it’s an excellent place to enjoy local beers and pub grub, many paranormal activities have taken place over the years here.

    An elderly, white-haired lady supposedly stalks the pub’s female toilets – a woman even claimed to have seen her reflection in the mirror. Patrons have also heard footsteps and the sounds of children’s laughter, and seen coats being thrown off their hooks.

    Location: 364 Kirkstall Rd, Burley, Leeds LS4 2HQ, UK

    Open: Tuesday–Thursday from noon to 11 pm, Friday–Saturday from noon to midnight, Sunday–Monday from noon to 10.30 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)113 226 3154

    Map

    photo by Chemical Engineer (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    9

    Thwaite Watermill

    A fully restored mill from the 19th century

    • Budget
    • History

    Thwaite Watermill is a working water-powered mill and industrial museum dating back to the 1820s. You can join guided tours of the mill building, which contains plenty of vintage machinery, and watch live demonstrations in the engineer’s workshop. While it offers plenty of things to see and do, the watermill is also one of the most haunted places in Leeds.

    Over the years, many people have encountered paranormal goings-on at Thwaite Watermill. Reports of hearing disembodied footsteps and feelings of being watched are very common – some have even seen the mysterious figures of a woman and young child walking around the premise.

    Location: Thwaite Lane, Leeds LS10 1RP, UK

    Phone: +44 (0)113 378 2983

    Map

    photo by Stephen Craven (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    10

    Leeds Library

    The oldest surviving subscription library in the UK

    • Budget
    • History

    The Leeds Library has been around since 1768, making it the UK’s oldest surviving subscription library. There are around 140,000 books within this 3-storey Grade-II Greek revivalist building, from the latest bestsellers to Victorian-era novels.

    Ghost stories at the Leeds Library date back as far as 1884, when chief librarian John McAllister encountered an apparition of his predecessor, Thomas Sternberg. Over the years, library staff have reported hearing sounds of moving furniture and books falling off the shelves. A paranormal investigator even managed to record a video of a ladder moving on its own.

    Location: 18 Commercial St, Leeds LS1 6AL, UK

    Open: Monday–Wednesday from 9.30 am to 6 pm, Thursday from 9.30 am to 7 pm, Friday from 9.30 am to 5 pm, Saturday from 9.30 am to 1.30 pm (closed on Sundays)

    Phone: +44 (0)113 245 3071

    Map

    photo by Michael D Beckwith (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    11

    Leeds Beckett University’s Headingley Campus

    A picturesque campus with a morbid past

    The Headingley Campus of Leeds Beckett University has many old buildings, some of which date back to 1908. Spanning 100 acres of parkland, it also has modern sport science laboratories, animation and music studios, computing labs, and sports facilities. Besides serving as an important education hub in Leeds, Headingley Campus is quite famous for its haunted history.

    One of the oldest sections on campus is The Grange, where resides the ghost of a butler who took his own life by jumping off a 3-storey spiral staircase. Many people have also heard strange noises coming from the corridors of the James Graham Building, which was a hospital during World War I.

    Location: Leeds Beckett University, Leeds LS6 3QT, UK

    Open: Monday–Friday from 8.30 am to 7 pm (closed on Saturdays and Sundays)

    Phone: +44 (0)113 812 0000

    Map
    12

    The House of the Hassett’s

    A haunted home of the Hassett family for over 20 years

    The House of the Hassett's is one of the most haunted homes in the UK – it’s even been featured in paranormal TV shows like Haunted Homes. The Hassett family have been living here for over 20 years, though the building is well over 300 years old. 

    They have reported hearing strange noises from the fireplace and small spaces, seeing photos falling off the walls and doors slamming for no reason. Owner Phil Hassett also claims he was violently woken by someone shaking him by the shoulders – no one else was at home at the time. 

    Location: Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK

    Penny Wong | Compulsive Traveller

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