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Scarborough Ghost Tour

Scarborough Ghost Trail

Join us on a spooky tour around Scarborough and learn about our most famous hauntings - from poltergeists and headless spectres, to cackling witches, spooky smugglers, murders and monks.

Click the map image to download, and follow the route. Each ghost story will be available on this page so you can follow along on your phone or device.

Already purchased the full trail and want to access the rest of the ghost stories? Click the button below:

Merchant's Row Ghost Scarborough

1. Merchant's Row - A Smuggler's Warning

This is the story of Mary, the pious housekeeper for a well-off family who lived in Merchant's Row. After Mary discovered underground tunnels beneath the house, and that the family were heavily involved in smuggling, she tried to seek justice, but met a gruesome fate...

Upon finding the smugglers tunnels, filled with illegal goods, Mary was livid and sought retribution from the authorities. When Mary reported her findings to the police, she expected her employers to be immediately arrested. This did not happen - in those days everybody was involved in smuggling, and even the police turned a blind eye for the right amount of compensation. In fact the corrupt copper actually told Mary's employers about her telling tales.

A few weeks passed, and with no arrests a disgruntled Mary decided to take matters into her own hands - she began to hammer away at the ceilings of the tunnels in the hope of destroying them. Little did she know the smugglers and her employers were well aware of her efforts.

They caught her in the act, and these were not the kind of people to mess around with! They tied her up inside the tunnel, blocking the exits and tried to flood the tunnels in order to drown Mary while keeping the tunnels intact.

This also backfired - as within a few hours the tunnels began to completely collapse, burying Mary alive.

Scarborough Ghost Tour Mary of Merchants Row

Mary sadly passed away in the tunnel - but on a night, you can still hear the sounds of her banging in the tunnel, calling for help and sobbing relentlessly. Many of the buildings on Merchants Row still have double-floor cellars which used to link up to all of these tunnels - and the ghostly cries of Mary can be heard in the cellars of surrounding buildings.

calf cafe ghost scarborough

2. 62 Eastborough (Britannia Inn)

Last used as a Vegan Cafe and B&B, this building used to be a pub called the Britannia Inn. It has several ghosts - including one in the old owner's accommodation where a cheeky poltergeist hides objects for weeks at a time, before they eventually reappear.


There have also been reports of a chimney sweep child ghost - a small figure wearing a flat cap and a dirty face has been seen wandering the pub. And another poltergeist used to move beer mats as soon as they were put out onto the tables.


A few visitors had reported feeling as though they were in a crowded, busy room, with no room to move, despite sitting in an almost empty pub.

And then there's Albert - a dark figure who sat in the corner of the pub quietly enjoying a pint or two. Several people have sat in Albert's seat and reported feeling his presence, and somehow they all report that he is called Albert despite not having any information about him prior to their visit - coincidence, or a ghostly encounter?

Scarborough Ghost Tour Ghost Man
Scarborough Ghost Tour Lydia Bell

3. South Bay Beach - A Tragic Tale

The story of Lydia Bell is quite a well-known ghost tale in Scarborough - and we cover more of the story at checkpoints 15 and 16 (Bell Mansion & Hotel).

Countless people have reported seeing the ghost of a woman running down the beach towards the Spa before she vanishes into thin air. Some reports say the ghost is wearing a crimson dress, others say it was a pink dress, but many believe it is the ghost of Lydia Bell. Lydia suffered a tragic fate when she was strangled by her married lover one foggy night - her screams drowned out by the foghorn. Her lifeless body was discovered the next morning by fishermen.

People say that you can still hear her faint screams across the beach in between the hum of the foghorn, on a misty night. Perhaps she was unable to rest as the wrong man was convicted of her murder, with the true murderer confessing his grim deeds on his deathbed years later.

Vanishing Houses & The Holbeck Hotel

If you look out towards the Spa on a foggy day, and where the Holbeck Hotel used to be, you might just spot the "South Cliff Vanishing Houses" floating in the sea.

Erosion, land slips and the changing landscape over the years has meant many buildings have ended up slipping into the North Sea over the years - and a row of houses that used to sit on the cliffs above South Bay now appear as apparitions in the sea.

When the outdoor swimming pool was still open, some people even reported seeing the reflection of the old Holbeck Hotel in the swimming pool water. Recent reports have told a similar tale - on a clear, calm day when the sea is as still as a millpond, you might just catch this reflection if you stand in the right spot.

Scarborough Lighthouse in 1904 on a postcard

4. The Lighthouse - The Lighthouse Keeper's Ghost

There have been several reports by old Lighthouse Keepers and Harbour Masters about the ghost of Captain Appleyard. 

Captain Appleyard was a much loved Harbour Master who fell to an untimely death and drown in the harbour. He has since been spotted walking through walls of the Yacht Club, to where his office would have been.

The most recent (and last ever full-time) Harbour Master, Richard Oakes, reported seeing his ghost on several occasions, and smelling the smoke from his pipe when no-one else was around.

Richard Oakes even called the police one night, after seeing someone entering the lighthouse at 2am. Believing it to be someone breaking in, the police were called, and after a thorough search turned up nothing, Richard believed it was Captain Appleyard clocking on for his shift.

Copeland shipwreck ghost ship

The Ghost Ship of The Copeland

In 1861, off Scarborough South Bay, the Copeland, a ship from South Shields bound for France, met a tragic fate in a malevolent storm. The tempest raged, waves like titans. The Copeland fought valiantly, but fate conspired against her. Despite multiple lifeboat attempts, the crew was lost.

The ship crashed against the rocks near the Spa and vanished beneath the sea's depths, a silent tomb for the brave souls who perished.

But the Copeland's story didn't end there. In South Shields, locals reported a ghostly vision of the ship returning to the harbour, its tattered sails defying logic. Some saw it as an omen of treacherous seas, while others believed it was the restless spirits of the lost crew, seeking refuge.

Scarborough, too, held its dark secret. On stormy nights, residents on South Cliff heard anguished screams from the sea's depths. They thought these were the voices of the long-lost crew, forever bound to the abyss.

The legend of the Copeland shipwreck, a tale of tragedy and the supernatural, continues to haunt both towns. Whether it's the ghostly ship's inexplicable return or the mournful wails from the depths of the sea, the legacy of that fateful night in 1861 refuses to be forgotten, a ghostly echo of the mysteries beneath the ocean's surface.

Three Mariners Ghost Trail

5. The Three Mariners Pub - Ghosts of Pirates, Captains and Fishermen

A well known smugglers haunt, we cover the history of this building extensively in our Old Town Heritage & Folklore Trail.

It is also home to several ghosts and ghouls - including a greedy privateering Captain protecting his precious stash of contraband, a headless woman, and rumours of the ghost of John Paul Jones (who famously captained the Bonhomme Richard, which sank after a battle just offshore at Flamborough Head in 1779).

Filled with hiding holes, secret passageways, hidden doors and even a priest hole, it has long been associated with pirates, smugglers and those on the other side of the law. Although it was also used as a morgue, storing the bodies that had washed ashore from shipwrecks, battles and tragedies out at sea. Some of the spirits of those men are said to aimlessly wander around the building. It is now holiday accommodation - but probably not for the faint hearted!

ghost pirate scarborough tours
ghost horse quay street scarborough trails

6. Quay Street - A Galloping Ghost Horse

There are several other ghosts residing on Quay Street - but the most regularly seen (or rather heard) is the hooves of horses and the clattering of carriage wheels up and down the tiny cobbled street. By the time anyone gets to the windows to look, or to the place the noise came from, there is nothing there. There have been a couple of reports from old residents, claiming they saw a huge black horse and carriage run along the street, and that is was so large that the carriage disappeared into some of the buildings.

Other ghouls that have been linked to this area over the years include an arguing couple outside the old Three Mariners pub, and a headless female ghost who knocked on the doors of the resident fishermen to warn them not to go to sea that day. An old fishermen's superstition says that should someone knock on your door the morning you are due to leave port, and when you answer no one is there - it is a definite bad omen for your voyage and you should not go out to sea. Apparently many fishermen over the years have ignored the warning only to succumb to a watery grave.

Dog and Duck Lane Scarborough Tours

7. Dog & Duck Lane - Love and Murder

A couple's tiff is the subject of our next ghost story.

It is said that a couple left one of the pubs on Quay Street, and as they were heading home along Dog & Duck Lane (which in those days was lined with houses on both sides) began having a lovers' quarrel. The argument ended in murder - the husband strangled the wife, and then is said to have slit his own throat as he didn't want to face the consequences of his actions.

The couple in question were rumoured to have been possessed by an evil spirit, as according to their neighbours and friends, they were very much in love and rarely argued. Many in the town were in disbelief at the events, and since then couples in love have been warned against using the lane on a dark night.

Residents in the area have since reported the sound of arguing late at night, but when they look out to see if anyone is there, the lane is empty. Some people have reported seeing a female ghost grasping her throat, while others have seen a male mumbling under his breath and pacing up and down the lane frantically.

You've Reached the end of the Free Ghost Trail

We have another 10 Ghost Stories to share with you - If you'd like to complete the rest of the Ghost Trail - click to unlock the full route.

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