A “haunted” 475-year-old pub will serve a £4.75 pint to mark its anniversary year.

The Ship Tavern in Gate Street, Holborn, dates back to 1549, making it one of the oldest pubs in London.

It has long been rumoured to be haunted, with staff and customers claiming to have seen mysterious figures sitting at tables after hours, and glasses swinging unaided.

It is believed to take its name from shipping on the now-subterranean River Fleet, which ran through Holborn in the 16th Century.

Over the years it has served as an underground Catholic church during the reign of Edward VI and was consecrated as a Masonic lodge in 1786.

But by the end of the 20th Century, The Ship Tavern, had become “run down and little-used”.

It was in 1999 that the current publican, Ross Evans, took over the pub and set about transforming it into the destination it is today.

The pub is known for its Dickensian-style candlelit oak-panelled dining room, as well as its very own ‘Holborn gin’.

It's old-fashioned feel may be artificial - it is said to have been rebuilt in 1923 but still has its original cellar and layout. Mr Evans is keen to find out more about the history of the building.

Mr Evans’ quarter century of work has recently been rewarded by Star Pubs, The Ship Tavern’s owner, which presented him with its ‘dedication award’.

Max Allen of Star Pubs presents Ross Evans with his dedication awardMax Allen of Star Pubs presents Ross Evans with his dedication award (Image: Star Pubs)

Now, to celebrate the pub’s 475th anniversary, the pub is serving Ship Tavern 475 at £4.75 a pint.

A venison and prune pie will also be on offer, a nod to the pub’s 16th Century roots.

Mr Evans, who is the fourth generation of his family to run a pub in central London, said he wants to ensure The Ship Tavern can be enjoyed for many years to come.

He explained: “Having grown up in pubs, I always wanted one of my own. It’s in my blood, like osmosis.

“I feel very lucky we found The Ship Tavern all those years ago. I still love running it as much as I did back then.

“Independently-run traditional London pubs are part of the capital’s heritage and need to be cherished to preserve their legacy.

“I see myself as The Ship Tavern’s custodian; my ambition is to keep it thriving.”

The Ship Tavern dates back to 1549The Ship Tavern dates back to 1549 (Image: Star Pubs)

The Ship Tavern is Cask Marque accredited, and has six real ales on tap – including some from London breweries – with two rotating on a weekly basis.

The food focuses on home-cooked British cuisine, with the menu including snacks like pork pies and sausage rolls, and beer-battered fish and chips as a main.

Max Allen, Star Pubs business development manager for central London, said: “It’s a great honour to present this award. Ross has worked tirelessly to restore The Ship Tavern as a quintessential London pub – it’s like stepping back in time when you walk through the door.

"It’s a fantastic achievement to have kept it at the top of its game for so long when there is so much competition in central London. It’s all down to Ross who never rests on his laurels and is always adapting what he offers to customers’ changing tastes. We wish him many more happy years at the bar!”

The Ship Tavern is open seven days a week, 12pm to 12am, and can be found at 12 Gate Street in the corner of Lincoln's Inn Fields.