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800 years of history and mystery


The Haunted Red Lion Hotel

The Red Lion Hotel in Salisbury was built in the 13th century, dating back to medieval times, and seems to be a paranormal hotspot.

The TV show ‘Most Haunted’ and many other mediums have visited us and detected paranormal activity, so it’s no surprise that many hotel guests have also had haunting experiences over the years.

Here are some of the stories recounted by staff and visitors about our haunted hotel. Many have been reported more than once…

Room 33

 Several guests staying in room 33 have mentioned footsteps coming from the room above and asked why there’s no carpeting to absorb the noise.

Room 33 is located on the top floor, the only space above is a difficult-to-reach attic.

Alderman Suite

Keen ghost hunters should head to the Alderman Suite where a tall, thin man is sometimes seen standing in the corner.

A medium was asked to explore the room and discovered the ghost of this man. The man explained that he’d been there since 1920 but he now felt lonely as few people venture to that part of the building these days.

Rather cheekily, he’s known to whistle at women and cough in the company of a man. As he gets to know you he’ll come right up to you and cough until you look up, then he disappears.

Room 55

One evening, the night porter was doing a regular check of vacant rooms. He heard the TV on in room 55 so he knocked on the door and walked in. He heard a woman’s voice asking, “what do you think you are doing?”

He immediately left the room and went back down to reception, double checking whether the room was indeed vacant. It was.

Upon venturing back, the TV was off and there were no signs of anyone ever being there.

Room 29

Try taking a couple’s selfie in room 29 and see how many faces are in the photo. On more than one occasion couples have told us that they’ve seen three faces in the picture, instead of two.

Room 93

Two staff members staying in room 93 reported the sound of a baby crying. They investigated by climbing into the small loft space above the room and found a very old baby crib and clothes, but obviously no baby.

Once the clothes and crib were discarded, the crying was never heard again.

Stairs by The Boardroom

A woman is said to roam around the stairs by the boardroom. Many housekeepers we’ve spoken to over the years are familiar with her, she’s affectionately known to them as ‘Betsy’.

Betsy is small and plump, wearing a long skirt and a white cap. However, she’s shy and disappears when you look at her.

Vine Restaurant Table 3

Many people sitting at table 3 in our restaurant have mentioned their chair rocking for no reason. Other guests have reported being tapped on the shoulder and upon turning around, there was no-one to be seen.

Room 17

The large, antique four poster bed in room 17 seems to move on its own. Several guests have reported the bed rocking. We can’t be sure if this is connected or not, but the bed is located directly over table 3 in the Vine Restaurant.

Room 42

A guest staying in room 42 reported her personal belongings starting to float around the room, with no explanation as to why.


Many centuries ago, a river ran directly in front of the hotel.

Outside what is now the boardroom window, there was a ducking stool where women suspected of being witches were dunked under water. If they came up alive they were guilty, if they stayed down they were innocent.

These days, if you stand in that space of the boardroom, you may notice a cold spot. The TV show ‘Most Haunted’ has visited this area and detected paranormal activity.

Main Stairs

Countless reports of the presence of a woman have been felt on the stairs and landing. Mediums have visited the area and met the ghost of a lady. Thankfully, she seems to be a pleasant, happy ghost.

Lion Window in The Bar

Mediums have visited the area under the window towards the back of the bar and met with an unhappy man. The ghost told the medium that he witnessed a death and felt he could have done something to prevent it.

Haunted Wiltshire

We’ve all heard ghost stories about the most haunted places in England. It’s unusual that so many of these stories are about haunted buildings in Wiltshire.

With its history dating back over 10,000 years ago, Wiltshire boasts some of the oldest settlements in England, including the magnificent Stonehenge. And you just need to wander around Salisbury city centre to see the old medieval buildings still in place.

Here are some of the most haunted places in Wiltshire that are well worth a visit…

Old Debenhams Department Store

The old Debenhams in Salisbury supposedly hosts the ghost of the 2nd Duke of Buckingham, Henry Stafford.

Stafford was beheaded outside the store in 1483 for treason, and prior to this, he spent his last hours in the attic. Many people report seeing him wandering around the store along with many unexplained sounds occurring in the attic.

The Haunch of Venison Inn

Built in 1320, this is one of the most haunted places in Salisbury and reportedly home to several paranormal beings, including “The Demented Whist Player”.

This is the ghost of a man who was suspected of cheating during a card game by the locals, who cut off the cheat’s hand!

The mummified hand was discovered in the cavity of a wall and is still on display now.

The Rifles Berkshire Museum

The Rifles Berkshire is thought to be one of the most haunted places in Wiltshire. There have been many reports of a Cavalier and grey lady wandering around, as well as cold spots and flashing lights.

In addition, footsteps and slamming windows have also been reported.

Salisbury Cathedral

Not all ghosts are people, as Salisbury Cathedral is said to be home to two ghostly birds that fly around from time to time.

These birds have been reported on the grounds as far back as 1885 and were thought to originally announce the death of important clergy within the cathedral.

Another rather ghostly sight is the noose of Lord Stourton. Accused of murder, Stourton was executed and entombed within the cathedral.

Upon his death, the noose was placed on top of his coffin but then removed years later. Some have reported a ghostly sighting of the noose which then disappears.

About The Red Lion Hotel

At over 800 years old, The Red Lion Hotel Salisbury is the oldest purpose-built hotel in Europe, making it one of the most unusual haunted hotels to stay in.

We’re certainly one of the most unique hotels in the world. Here’s a few strange and quirky things about our hotel…

Medieval shoes in the wall

When we last refurbished room 19, we noticed some loose bricks in the top right hand corner, just below the ceiling.

We removed the bricks to discover a pair of medieval children’s shoes hidden in the wall!

After researching this, we found out that in earlier centuries shoes were often hidden within walls to ward off evil spirits and other supernatural threats.

We carefully placed the shoes back and bricked up the hole.

Skeleton and Organ Clock

This spectacular clock has stood in our reception for over 100 years.

The clock case is said to be carved by Spanish prisoners of war in the original Dartmoor jail in 1588 following the defeat of The Armada.

The clock face and movement was made in Plymouth around 1810 and the organ is thought to be made in Germany at the beginning of the 1700s.

There are skeleton figures above the clock face which ring the bells above them when the organ plays. This used to operate on the hour and the tune changed automatically.

Seamstress Suite

The Seamstress Suite is without a doubt the most spectacular room in our hotel. Once home to the resident seamstress, it features a cast iron bath tub at the end of the bed!

When we built this room in the attic levels of the hotel, one of the wooden beams we uncovered had the signature of the carpenter who built the roof scratched into it. This signature is over 800 years old.

But above that was the signature of the shipwright who had used the piece of wood to build a ship before it was used for the roofing. That makes that piece of wood over 1,000 years old.

Visit Our Haunted Hotel for a Ghostly Night

With Wiltshire boasting so many haunted buildings, anyone serious about ghost hunting needs to pay a visit to this part of the UK.

The Red Lion Hotel is the perfect base to explore Salisbury and the surrounding area. Our 4 star hotel features both modern and ancient bedrooms, some with with oak beams, feature fireplaces and carved wooden beds.

Our resident ghosts are waiting for you…

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We’re located right in the heart of Salisbury city centre, just a 10 minute walk from the train station.

Best Western The Red Lion Hotel
4 Milford Street, Salisbury,
Wiltshire, SP1 2AN

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