We recently received what appeared to be complaint from a customer saying that the property they were staying in was haunted. Customer satisfaction is very important to us so we took their word that the mysterious owl-like noises they heard were not in fact from an owl but from a ghost…possibly doing an impression of an owl.
But it turned out that the customer wasn’t complaining, they were actually delighted to be sharing their holiday cottage with owls ghosts. So with Halloween fast approaching we thought there might be more of you who’d like to explore the ghoulish side of UK history on a Halloween break.
So sit tight and keep a light on as we explore some of the UK’s most haunted regions….
Chillingham Castle, Alnwick, Northumberland
Some might say Sir Humphry Wakefield was asking for trouble by naming his castle ‘Chillingham’, he might as well have called it ‘Ghostville’ or ‘Polterhouse’. And if attracting ghosts was his plan, it seemed to work. As well as the ghost of Lady Berkely, who walks the corridors looking for wayward lover, there are stories of a spook that leaps out of a painting at night. Unfortunately, for those of a nervous disposition, the picture is not of a group of dogs playing snooker.
The castle’s library allegedly houses a pair of ghosts who talk loudly, making the position of librarian at Chillingham Castle one of the least satisfying jobs in the UK. And if you’re thinking of escaping the ghouls outside the castle…think again! Even the lake in the castle’s grounds is said to be haunted, presumably by the ghosts of spurned goldfish…
The Tower of London
With the ghosts of Sir Walter Raleigh, Queen Ann Boleyn and Lady Jane Grey allegedly roaming its corridors late at night, the Tower of London is not only one of the most haunted places in the UK but also like a supernatural version of Hello magazine.
But it’s not just notable historic figures who are rumoured to haunt its darkened corridors late at night; in 1816, one sentry stationed outside the jewel room, reported seeing a bear advancing towards him. The lack of physical evidence (such as an actual giant bear) caused some cynics to question the story’s legitimacy, so in return the sentry offered that it must have been the ghost of bear. Although it’s entirely possible he may have been exposed to other kinds of spirits at the time.
The Red Lion Inn, Avebury, Wiltshire
And speaking of spirits of one kind and another, The Red Lion Inn seems to have both in abundance. One of the most famous ghosts is that of Florrie, a 17th century lady who is rumoured to appear from the well in the bar area. Unfortunately for the owners of the pub, Florrie seems to be a bit of a troublemaker and there have been reports of items being mysteriously thrown around the bar area – though we can’t confirm that this only happens at last orders.
Guests staying at The Red Lion are rumoured to have left in the middle of the night and there are reports of rooms feeling freezing, even in summer. And when you consider that one of the ghosts has a ‘thing’ for men with beards, those of a nervous disposition or an excess of facial hair might prefer to stay in a holiday cottage nearby and leave The Red Lion well before closing time!
Okehampton seems to be a commuter town for spirits, a bit like Ipswich but for the supernatural. One of the most impressive tales is that of Lady Howard, who lived in the town’s castle and reportedly married wealthy men before murdering them for their fortune.
Lady Howard’s ghostly penance is to visit the castle every night to pick one blade of grass before returning to her family home. And when you consider the fact that she supposedly does this in a carriage made of bones pulled by a black dog with flaming eyes, even the most unobservant ghost hunter should be able to spot this spook!
Bodelwyddan Castle, Rhyl, Wales
Bodelwyddan Castle is now home to the National Portrait Gallery, so even if you’d rather not be on the lookout for spooks, you can still see some beautiful works of art. But you may not be alone when you do! The castle used to be used as a hospital for soldiers from the First World War and visitors have reported seeing the ghostly figure of a soldier admiring the pieces of art hanging throughout the galleries.
If paintings and ghosts of soldiers aren’t really your thing, then you can always pay a visit to Sculpture Gallery, which is rumoured to be haunted by the spectral shape of a lady. And if you decide to escape the art, you may still find yourself sat with the ghost of a lady in blue in the tearoom! So if your interests are both art and ghosts, you could do worse than pay a visit to Bodelwyddan Castle.
Have you had any spooky experiences on your travels around the UK that you’d care to share? Leave a comment below and have a great halloween!