Life Offbeat

By James Somper


A hotel is offering the chance to spend a night with Nelson’s ghost.

The Talbot Inn, which dates back to 1453 is one of Britain’s oldest coaching inn’s.

The inn has its fair share of ghosts but its most spooky resident is that of national hero Admiral Horatio Nelson.

In December 1798 Nelson was dispatched to rescue the Neapolitan royal family when he fell under the spell of Lady Emma Hamilton, wife of Sir William Hamilton, the British ambassador to Naples.

The inn, which is conveniently located in the Surrey village of Ripley is close to London and the naval hub of Portsmouth, is said to have been the romantic bolthole for the couple upon his return to England.

A plaque on the wall in the hotel’s Emma’s room marks the spot where Nelson is said to have enjoyed a quiet moment with his love.

Over the decades, locals have sworn that the bar is haunted by the ghost of an old sailor – possibly even Nelson himself.

General manager Francesco Bartolomei said that guests and visitors have had a fair share of spooky experiences over the years.

He said: “We don’t see the sailor much but he is here. The legend is that he haunts the bar, falling over at night. There are loads of legends.

“When you’re here at night you can definitely feel something.

“It’s an old building so it can be quite creaky but there are moments when you’re locking up and it feels like someone else is with you.

“Some say a lady in black walks through the courtyard.

“Occasionally a visitor or guest will say they’ve seen or felt someone.”

Nelson, who was married to wife Frances was forced to return to sea after his affair with Lady Emma became public.

The naval hero’s place in history was sealed following his death at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

A portrait of the great naval hero stands by the hotel’s reception, a reminder of its place in one of Britain’s most famous love tryst’s.