Berry Pomeroy, Devon
This small village just outside of Totnes in Devon is eerily isolated, and the main focal point for ghost hunters is Berry Pomeroy Castle. Built during the late 12th century, the King of England later gifted the land the castle stands on to Ralph de Pomeroy. But for years to come it seemed that the house had a bad omen over it, as it was 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 up to the castle ramparts. Some have identified her as the ghost of Lady Margaret Pomeroy, imprisoned in the dungeons by her sister, Lady Eleanor.
Pluckley in Kent is often described as the most haunted village in Britain. At least a dozen ghosts are said to be 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!). Perhaps the friendliest ghost is that of an old woman who sits on a bench drinking gin and smoking a pipe.
So renowned is Pluckley that locals effectively cancelled Halloween a few years ago, as so many ghost hunters descended on this small, sleepy village that they effectively brought it to a standstill.
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-coloured 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…if you dare.
Edinburgh Castle is believed to be one of the most haunted destinations in Scotland, and Edinburgh itself is said to be the most haunted city in Europe. The 900-year-old castle, which sits in a glorious location sandwiched between hills and the sea, is said to offer a variety of ghosts, including the phantom piper, a headless drummer and a ghostly dog!
A 2001 survey found that nearly half of 240 visitors experienced ghostly sightings and spooky phenomena within the castle, including a mysterious spirit tugging at their clothes…
Dorchester, in Dorset, houses one of the most haunted residences in England in Athelhampton Hall. 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.
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 at Glamis Castle. The stories of ghosts and ghouls here are particularly rich and embedded in Scottish folklore. 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!
If you’d prefer a more historic tour, it’s worth noting that the Queen Mother was born at this castle and gave birth to the Queen’s sister, Princess Margaret here too.
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 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, so it’s not surprising that visits to Pendle Hill peak around Halloween. But there are plenty more reasons to recommend Pendle Hill than just its spooky 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 tranquility.