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
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 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.
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 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, 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 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
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.