The UK’s 8 Spookiest Halloween Destinations

Glamis Castle in Scotland

Glamis: Scotland’s most haunted castle

There is one day of the year when rattling windows, icy cold bedrooms and things that go bump in the night are acceptable… Halloween. If you want to embrace the scariest night of the year this year, what better than heading to one of the UK’s most haunted destinations for a ghostly getaway.

Below is our list of seven creepy UK destinations that are sure to thrill you this Halloween holiday…

Berry Pomeroy, Devon

berry pomeroy

This small village just outside of Totnes in Devon is eerily isolated. The main focal point for ghost hunters is Berry Pomeroy Castle, which was built during the late 12th century. The King of England had gifted the land housing the castle to Ralph de Pomeroy. However, for years to come, it seemed that the house had a bad omen over it; being ravaged during the civil war and badly damaged by a fire in the early 18th century. The castle is said to host a number of ghosts, including the White Lady who haunts the dungeons and rises to the castle ramparts. Some have identified her as the ghost of Lady Margaret Pomeroy, who had been imprisoned in the dungeons by her sister, Lady Eleanor.

Pluckley, Kent

Pluckley in Kent is often described as the most haunted village in Britain. It has been said that at least a dozen ghosts are residents, including a screaming man, who is believed to have fallen to his death at the village brick works, and a highwayman, who haunts an area named Fright Corner, where it is alleged he was pinned to a tree with a sword. Arguably the favourite ghost is that of an old woman who sits on a bench drinking gin and smoking a pipe. However if you’re planning to visit Pluckley, be aware that you may be met with some frostiness by locals as well as the ghosts, as residents can get annoyed by the ghost hunters that descend upon it each Halloween.

Prestbury, Gloucestershire

Another village argued to be the most haunted in Britain is Prestbury, in Gloucestershire. A quaint, unique village with a distinctive look, Prestbury is coloured with beautiful honey toned buildings built from timber frames. It’s a stunning place to visit, with Cleve Hill offering fantastic views of Cheltenham. The most famous ghost to reside here is the Black Abbot Ghost. Folklore suggests that he visits the area three times a year, on Christmas, Easter and Halloween. You can find him with his head bowed in the churchyard at Saint Mary’s, so make sure to pass through here on your travels.

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle is believed to be one of the most haunted destinations in Scotland. In fact, Edinburgh itself is said to be the most haunted city in Europe. At this majestic 900-year-old castle, which sits in a glorious location sandwiched between hills and the sea, is said to be a variety of ghosts. The most famous ones have to be the phantom piper, headless drummer and a ghostly dog. A 2001 survey including 240 volunteers who visited the castle, found that nearly half of them experienced ghost sightings and spooky phenomena, including tugging at their clothes.

Dorchester, Dorset

Dorchester, in Dorset, houses one of the most haunted residences in England: Athelhampton. If you’re staying at Athelhampton, you’re likely to hear stories about Cooper, the ghost, who lives in the wine cellar and enjoys tapping on the adjoining wall of the Great Hall. There is also a monk who roams the corridors, who is believed to be the Catholic priest of the Martyn family. However, arguably the most famous and unusual spectre is the ape, formerly a pet who was accidentally entombed in a secret passage behind the Great Chamber. No one has ever seen this ghostly ape, but his scratching is said to be heard often as he tries to escape.

Angus, Scotland

Angus is home to one of the most haunted castles in Britain: Glamis Castle. The stories of ghosts and ghouls here are particularly rich and embedded in Scottish folklore. The Queen Mother was born at this castle and gave birth to the Queen’s sister, Princess Margaret here too. The family chapel is said to be haunted by an old woman who was accused of witchcraft and burned on a stake on Castle Hill in 1537. Nicknamed the Grey Lady, this ghost is very active and has been spotted many times in recent years: normally above the clock tower.

Blickling Hall, Norfolk

Blickling Hall is a tremendous Jacobean building that covers more than 4,000 acres in the rolling Norfolk countryside. The National Trust building is absolutely glorious, but is not without its ghostly tales. One of the most popular stories at Blickling Hall is that of Headless Anne: a ghost that is said to visit the building each year on 19th May, arriving in a ghostly carriage. If you’re planning to visit this Halloween and will miss Anne, worry not. The ghosts of former residents Henry Hobert and Sir John Fastolfe are said to roam the corridors as well.

Pendle Hill, Lancashire

Storm over Pendle Hill

The Pendle Witch trials of 1612 saw twelve people from the local area accused of witchcraft. Ten were hanged at Gallows Hill near Lancaster Castle – a figure that represents 2% of the total throughout English history. It’s no wonder the trials are so well-remembered. It’s also not surprising that visits to Pendle Hill peak around Halloween! But there are plenty more reasons to recommend Pendle Hill than its ghoulish legacy. Nearby market town Skipton is highly recommended for its historic architecture, boutique shops, pubs and eateries,  and if you fancy getting away from it all the Trough of Bowland is one of the UK’s best kept secrets for stunning scenery and unbridled tranquility.

The UK’s Scariest Halloween Attractions

Blackgang Area 5 at night Stegosaurus

Ghosts and dinosaurs team up to make the Isle of Wight terrifying this Halloween!

With the October half term coming fast around the corner and Halloween shortly afterwards, now’s a better time than ever to find the best scary sights up and down the country to celebrate. Halloween is a festival with something for everyone – whether you enjoy witches and wizards, ghost walking, or jump frights at every corner, attractions tend to offer several events all at once to accommodate families and horror fans alike this time of year. We’ve taken a look through some of the more interesting sights and sounds of this spooky time of year and compiled them in the list below. Whilst you’re deciding what you want to do for Halloween, take a look at travel and hotel deals in the area to see if making your day trip a week’s break is worth it.

Isle of Fright – Isle of Wight
October 25th – November 2nd 2014

The Isle of Wight has a reputation for being haunted, and has been named as one of the Top 10 Scariest Islands in the world by paranormal experts. It’s therefore the perfect place to host the annual Isle of Fright festival, celebrating all things Halloween – there’s plenty to do to suit all ages and in fact many local hotels are offering good half term deals, meaning you can turn a day out into a supernatural break. In fact, South West Trains are running an October half term discount, allowing buyers to save 50% on adult and child off-peak day returns.

Some of the highlights of the event include Spooky Castle at Carisbrooke Castle; reputed to be full of ghosts and phantoms, children and adults alike will have fun with creepy crafts and going ghost hunting – there’s even a prize for the best costume! With Dark Nights celebrating the end of British Summer Time on October 25th, the cliffs at Shanklin will play host to a beautiful illumination show. Finally, the Halloween Walk at Ventnor Botanic Gardens on October 31st is sure to have to perfect blend of daytime beauty and night time horrors – the same walk on November 1st finishes with a spectacular bonfire to finish.

House of Halloween – Dickens’ World, Kent
October 31st – November 2nd 2014

What better place to spend Halloween than in the world of the king of ghost stories? Charles Dickens’ works feature some of the most famous phantoms to grace literature, and the House of Halloween attraction this year promises to be as frightening as any novel. The attraction combines two separate events – The House That Jack Built, and The Ministry, which are mazes where participants can walk through and observe the action, whilst being terrified by live actors in the various roles.

Full details of the events are under wraps so as not to spoil the surprise, but previous years’ events have been raved about in both local and national press. However, the organisers have released some details about both events to whet the appetite of those eager to go. The House That Jack Built tells the tale of an old house inhabited by cutthroat convicts by the order of a wealthy benefactor, known only as ‘The Man In Black’. Meanwhile, if you choose to explore The Ministry you’ll encounter the mysterious brotherhood of the Crimson Wax, who are preparing for their annual Ceremony of the Crimson Cull in the heart of the Ministry. But be wary; those who witness this ceremony tend to disappear without a trace…

Halloween at York Maze
October 17th – November 1st

We don’t know about you but the thought of getting lost in a maze fills us with fear at the best of times, so to try and attempt to navigate the UK’s biggest maze in the dark surrounded by 5 unique ‘haunted attractions’ makes us a little reluctant to book tickets for ‘Hallowscream’. If you’re braver than us then the nights between 17th October and 1st November are probably just the ticket to get your pulses racing.

Halloween days at York Maze are a little more family friendly with pumpkin carving, treasure hunts, a haunted house, face painting, crazy golf, a special maze attraction and much more to entertain younger visitors. Halloween by Day runs from 25th October until 1st November.

Blackpool Tower Dungeon & Pasaje del Terror – Blackpool
Year Round

Blackpool Tower Dungeon is probably one of the most famous attractions on this list, and for good reason – it’s had rave reviews from critics and visitors alike, and can give your Halloween holidays a hint of horrible history. The attraction is a live show that covers over one thousand years of history in the Lancashire region and delving into some of the legends about the area – there’s even an exciting drop rid in the attraction where you might not expect it. It’s a great attraction for those with children as it’s an educational and funny exhibit for the family.

As for the Pasaje del Terror, this Spanish attraction is famous across the world with branches in Barcelona, Madrid, Tokyo and Rome – however, the Blackpool attraction in the deepest basement of the Casino is one you certainly don’t want to miss. Like other exhibits on this list, you’ll enter a walkthrough maze with live actors, but it’s filled with the most famous horror characters from fiction, rather than history – it might be the best chance of catching all your old favourites in the flesh, but be wary of jump scares!

All of these events are easy to arrange and visit, as they request payment on the door and can be visited to suit you. They can also be planned into a much longer trip should you wish, meaning that they can be the perfect half term break if you have children. However, if you’re already planning for Halloween 2015 without youngsters (or perhaps with teenagers) then might we suggest one final attraction to whet your appetite…

Zombie Experiences – Across the UK
Year Round

If you’re looking for something unique and thrilling for the holidays, it might be worth looking up Zombie Experiences to take the next step into the world of horror. These experiences are different from the usual live mazes and walk through shows listed above, as it requires audience participation – you’ll be right in the thick of action, fighting zombies and trying to become the last survivors in your group experience. It’s a great activity for either couples or larger groups who want to connect and become closer, but the organisers are just as welcoming to single runners as well.

The experience can vary depending on where in the country you’re based and what sort of activities you prefer. For example, the Zombie Experience in Reading is based in an abandoned shopping mall, after a mysterious attack cut communications from the rest of the world and you must investigate what has happened to the survivors. However, for those who prefer camping in the open air, a trip to The Desolate Lakes in Cumbria could be a future adventure to consider. Believed to be starting up next year, this one is a full camping weekend with additional zombie hunting on the side – perfect for those who love the great outdoors and the sound of axes in the morning.

The places on these experiences fill up very quickly – although there are a few places left for this Halloween and you might get lucky, it may be best to consider preparing for this experience next Halloween – at least you’ll have plenty of time to prepare!

Check out our website if you fancy booking a holiday cottage this Halloween.  We offer castles, cabins and an assortment of historic hideaways to make for a very memorable stay!

Your suggestions…

‘Your Images of Autumn’ Competition

autumns

Ochre coloured leaves, frosty mornings, golden sunlight and fireworks bursting in the sky – there’s something about the advent of autumn that is uniquely glorious.  With that in mind we’ve launched ‘Your Images of Autumn’, a photo competition designed to celebrate the wealth of scenic beauty that occurs as summer transitions into winter.

Think you have the perfect image of autumn?  You can submit your stunning seasonal photos on the cottages4you Facebook page or post to us via Twitter. The first prize is a £100 Blacks outdoor clothing voucher while two runners-up will each receive a bottle of champagne.

Good luck and happy snapping!

Civita di Bagnoregio, Italy

View of the old town of Bagnoregio

100 km from Rome, located on the border between Lazio and Umbria, lies the wonderful Civita di Bagnoregio – a true Italian hidden holiday gem. Founded 2,500 years ago by the Etruscans, it offers truly amazing views of the Tiber river valley. It also sits atop a fragile volcanic plateau, which is why its population dwindled to only 6 residents in the 20th century!

It now gets a little more crowded in the summer months, but residents are still happy to welcome the few tourists who make the effort to visit this beautiful and unforgettable location. Take a look at our featured holiday accommodation in the region.

Cottage of the Week – Trevellan House nr. Falmouth

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Trevellan House. cottages4you ref: TPF

An architect designed, detached house located in the creek side village of Mylor Bridge, perfect for families or couples looking for a comfortable house to relax. Trevellan House sits in a quiet private road and is perfectly placed for exploring some of Cornwall’s finest beaches and creeks.

Approximately 15 minutes’ walk along narrow country lanes will take you to Weir Point, where there is a peaceful and secluded shingle beach. The lovely, sandy beaches of Falmouth are just a 10-minute drive away. Visit its busy port and marinas, The National Maritime Museum and Pendennis Castle. Take a sea safari to watch dolphins, basking sharks and seals, or take a fishing trip or a small ferry to nearby St Mawes and the beautiful Helford River.

Trevellan House itself sleeps 6 and provides a selection of options to keep holidaymakers entertained, including WiFi, two bedrooms with TVs and one with wonderful water views. You can find more info and make a booking on the property listing on our website, and take a look at some customer comments below…

‘This is a truly outstanding property, the village shop was very large & well stocked for meals -with large superstores only a couple of miles away in Falmouth. The views both back & front were truly breathtaking. we stayed 1st week of school summer holidays- it was blissful!!’  Heather, Crawley, West Sussex.

 

 

The Great South West Walks – loving the South West Coast Path!

Last week Bill Brown, one of our intrepid Regional Managers, completed the cottages4you sponsored New Polzeath Coastal Conservation Walk, organised by the South West Coast Path Association.

The event was just one of many organised as part of Great South West Walks 2014, a celebration of the South West Coast Path comprised of 100 popular circular walks around the Coast Path in Somerset, Dorset, Devon and Cornwall.

You can see a few of Bill’s brilliant photos below. If you fancy taking part, or learning more about the great work that the South West Coast Path Association do to preserve this beautiful stretch of Britain, then head over to their website and get involved!

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Bill (centre) with guide Justin Seedhouse (red jacket) and other intrepid walkers

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Some of the stunning scenery on offer

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Peppercombe to Bucks Mills is one of the region’s most popular walks