Of all York's many haunted pubs and inns, The Black Swan is the one that wears the feather in the hat.
A coaching inn dating back hundreds of years, much has been done to preserve its authenticity, especially in its main bar - a dark, cosy and distinctly medieval place to enjoy real ale in front of a wonderfully atmospheric fireplace.
We've stayed here several times, and while we've never had a bad trip, since new owners took over, the place has improved further - especially the rooms. While they have maintained the olde worlde atmosphere (which is an essential part of staying here - if you don't want that, please don't book, cos it makes it harder for us), they have refurbished the bathroom and other fittings to spectacular effect.
Breakfast is sumptuous and will keep you going for most of the day - but it isn't the food but the atmosphere and history that you stay here for. The upstairs function room (accessed by a wonderfully uneven, historic staircase) is alleged to have once been the meeting place for covens and occultists, and indeed there remains a crowd of bizarre figures and faces inscribed into the walls - you need to look closely to see them, but they're there in vast numbers.
Is the place actually haunted? I went in there with a healthy dose of scepticism for matters of this nature - for example, "orbs" are just how your camera picks up and represents particles of dust - you can reproduce that anywhere. However, with loud knocks on the bedroom and bathroom doors, with flashes of light in the room, strange scents and sounds, you better believe this place is haunted! It's absolutely fascinating.
- Also Known As:
- Black Swan Hotel York