Top 10 writers’ favourite haunts

3: John Keats – Spaniards Inn, London 

Built in 1585 as a tollgate inn, this north London pub has a colourful history. Legend has it that highwayman Dick Turpin was born at the inn and later used it as a base for his nefarious operations. Turpin’s pistols hung above the bar until recently, before being stolen. The pub takes its name from two former landlords, Spanish brothers Francisco and Juan Porero, who fought a duel over a woman in which Juan was killed.

Buried near the inn, his ghost is said to haunt the pub, along with that of Turpin, who has been seen on the road outside and heard in the upstairs rooms.

Mentioned in both Charles Dickens’ The Pickwick Papers and Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the Romantic poet John Keats was a regular at the Hampstead haunt and reportedly wrote his famous Ode to a Nightingale in the pub’s large garden one summer afternoon. Fellow scribes Robert Louis Stevenson, Mary Shelley and Lord Byron were also patrons.

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