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Boo-ware! These are five of the most haunted buildings in Leeds

Are you brave enough to visit?


Though Halloween might be a global celebration, this year, we thought we’d look a little closer to home to find out exactly what spooky secrets Leeds has to hide.

For a city so rich in history, we soon earthed up its skeletons in the closet (you’re welcome for the pun) and discovered that it’s certainly a hotbed for haunted houses, theatres and pubs. Sure you’re not scared? Read on to find out which of your favourite spots might be a little more frightening than you think.

1. Kirkstall Abbey

With its gothic ruins, it’s not hard to imagine Kirkstall Abbey as something straight off the Edward Scissorhands set.

Dating back to the 12th century, the abbey was abandoned following Henry VIII’s Dissolution of Monasteries, and, despite falling into disrepair, today it still remains as one of the most physically impressive tourist attractions that Leeds has to offer.

The grounds are rumoured to be home to the ghost of a woman called Mary, who witnessed her husband committing a murder and gave him up to the authorities; it’s said she’s wandered the abbey ever since, forever haunted by the guilt of betraying her spouse…

2. City Varieties Music Hall

Featured image via Google Maps

First opened in 1865, City Varieties Music Hall on Swan Street is Leeds’ oldest working theatre, and a Guinness World Record holder for the nation’s longest running music hall!

Perhaps unsurprising for a building with so much history, there are plenty of rumours about the ghosts and ghouls roaming its corridors. Over the years, everything from a man in a bowler hat sitting by the piano to a red-haired woman who patrols the theatre whilst performances are on, has been reported. Our favourite, however, has to be the theory that paranormal activity supposedly affects the paintings adorning the walls, warping them and striking fear into their subjects. Scary stuff.

3. Cardigan Arms

Featured image via Google Maps

Aside from being a popular spot for a pint with students (check it out if you haven’t already), The Cardi Arms is apparently also a go-to with ghosts, as admitted by the team themselves.

Once a vital venue in Leeds’ thriving music venue, the Victorian pub on Kirkstall Road is said to be home to an old grey/white-haired lady who stalks the cubicles of the female toilets – someone claims they even saw her in the reflection of the bathroom mirror. After that news, you wouldn’t catch us going to the loo alone.

4. Leeds Beckett Headingley Campus

Featured image via Google Maps

Uni Of students, you can breathe a sigh of relief. Beckett students, not so much.

The Leeds Beckett Headingley campus, apart from being a beautiful spot for a stroll, is rumoured to be a minefield of spooky mysteries – while some people have reported hearing strange noises along the corridors of the James Graham Building, others swear they’ve caught the end of conversations in Macauley Hall. Don’t even get us started on The Grange, the oldest building on-site – story tells it that the cleaners refuse to go in alone!

5. Temple Newsam

Featured image via Google Maps

A little further out, on the east side of Leeds, Temple Newsam is one of Leeds’ must-visits. More than a great day-trip destination, however, the Tudor-Jacobean estate is one of the most haunted places in the city and is allegedly home to two famous ghosts.

Resident ghoul number one is the blue lady of Temple Newsam, thought to be Lady Mary Ingram, granddaughter of Sir Arthur Ingram, the estate’s first owner, who died after being robbed. The second local spectre is said to be Phoebe Grey, a nursemaid, who was brutally murdered on by fellow servant, William Collinson. Both spirits are alleged to still roam the grounds, so keep your eyes peeled when wandering Temple Newsam’s halls and gardens…