The Grenadier has served as a public house for centuries and is a favourite among the Hollywood elite. But it’s the pub’s history of paranormal activity that has made it as enduring an attraction as the debt-ridden ghost who doesn’t seem to want to leave…
Meet… Cedric, the ghost of The Grenadier
Located next to Hyde Park Corner, stucco-fronted townhouses conceal from passers-by a quaint little pub called The Grenadier. It’s situated on Wilton Row, a street so quiet and narrow that if you visit, you might wonder if you’ve accidentally taken a back entrance to one of the embassies there.
The Grenadier is one of the neighbourhood’s favourite spots for a tipple. It has a celeb clientele, having attracted the likes of Brad Pitt and Lady Gaga, while British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe came up with the idea for a new car concept over a few pints here with friends, and thus named his recently launched 4×4 the INEOS Grenadier. However, notwithstanding these glitzy patrons, its enduring popularity owes much to the fact that it is also one of the most haunted pubs in London.
In the early 18th century, the venue served as an officers’ mess for the Grenadier Guards, an infantry regiment in the British Army. Soldiers and officers often socialised and gambled in its cellar. To eat or drink there today is to enjoy the space as they once did, gathering around tables in their leisure time.
The story goes that a junior officer named Cedric was once caught cheating at cards. In the street, his colleagues beat him fatally. Before dying, however, he managed to crawl back inside the building, which many believe his spirit haunts to this day.
Nowadays, a sea of banknotes covers the pub’s ceiling. Drinkers traditionally staple money there in order to pay off a debt Cedric allegedly owed. There is one particular corner at the front to which many of the oldest notes are glued. The collage of currencies – some international, others obsolete – attests to the number of people who have, for many years, enjoyed drinking in Cedric’s midst.
The quantity of cash also suggests Cedric’s must have been an immensely large debt. Some among the bar staff claim resolutely to have seen the apparition. According to different anecdotes, the ghost either stands still or ambles slowly around the pub before vanishing into thin air. Customers, too, have heard moans coming from the cellar. A crucifix kept there was once used in an attempt to expel Cedric from the premises. If you’re lucky, you might be taken downstairs on a small tour.
Providing you aren’t distracted by spooky sounds, you’ll likely eavesdrop on some weird and wonderful conversations on the preternatural in The Grenadier. And even the most hardened sceptic can still enjoy the cosy ambience of this quaint, traditional pub with its classic British fare. Speaking of which, the hearty beef Wellington is almost as famous as The Grenadier’s phantom (and permanent) patron.