The UK has a long, bloody, and downright terrifying history
Every inch of this storied isle is dotted with paranormal activity. Whether it’s fabled ghost stories from centuries past or haunted houses that have lain abandoned for decades, there’s something insidious lurking in Britain…
So, just in time for Halloween we’ve rounded up the 11 most haunted places to visit in the UK to scare yourself silly. Or, if you’re feeling extra adventurous, check out our article on The 12 Most Haunted places in the World. Who knows? You might discover that you have a ghost-infested castle near you, primed for a ghost hunting expedition on All Hallows Eve…
1. Conjure the Witching Hour on Pendle Hill, Lancashire
If you’re at all spookily inclined, you’ll have probably heard of Pendle Hill. It’s home to the twelve Pendle Witches who were hanged at Lancaster Castle in 1612 and buried on the ominous Pendle Hill looking over the village of Newchurch. Ghost hunters often climb the hill on Halloween to see if they can catch any ghostly activity. If you don’t encounter any hauntings, don’t despair, the nearby Rising Sun pub has witchy brews like Witchfinder General and Broomstick Bitter. Spooky and delicious.
At 502-years-old it’s not surprising that Hampton Court Palace is backed up to its medieval rafters with ghouls, ghosts and blood-curdling history. Two of King Henry VIII’s wives are reportedly common spectres – Catherine Howard was placed under house arrest at Hampton Court shortly before she was executed and visitors have seen her dressed in white, shrieking while walking the halls. Jane Seymour, another of Henry’s wives, died giving birth and Henry commanded that her heart be buried beneath The Altar. She’s been seen in the courtyard walking with a candle.
3. Visit a Haunted House at the Skirrid Mountain Inn, Wales
The Skirrid Mountain Inn is situated in the beautiful Brecon Beacons. This beauty is drastically contrasted with this pub’s brutal history as a courthouse where, legend has it, 180 criminals were found guilty and hanged. Standing at around 900-years-old the pub has become infamous for its ghostly visitors. Not shying away from this reputation the pub has a noose above the bar and staff will show you where an oak beam in the ceiling bears the marks of ropes from centuries past.
4. Ghost Hunting at St Briavels Castle, Gloucestershire
Britain is so littered with ancient castles we turn the ones we’re not using into spooky youth hostels. Yes, St Briavels Castle is a Grade I listed building built in the early 12th-century that can now be booked out for weddings, school trips and other events – as long as you don’t mind the scary stories that prevail about the ancient castle. Feeling extra brave? Stay in the bed in the oubliette (a secret dungeon with access only through a trapdoor in its ceiling) where a ghost apparently likes to tug at your sheets.
5. Discover the Most Haunted Castle in Britain at Berry Pomeroy, Devon
No one is quite sure what happened to Berry Pomeroy castle, the shell of a once great castle is all that’s left, and while architecturally striking, it does leave visitors unsettled. Apart from a cafe, Berry Pomeroy is scarily empty. An audiobook provided by English Heritage guides you through the ruins of the castle and enlightens you to the horror stories that still haunt it. Allegedly a ‘Blue Lady’ is known for luring in passersby only for them to fall of their death; a ‘White Lady’ also haunts the dungeons after being imprisoned there. Many other spooks inhabit the eerie castle giving it the moniker of ‘The Most Haunted Castle in Britain’.
6. Ghoulish Activity at Glasgow Necropolis, Glasgow
This mega-cemetery was created after increasing demand of more cemeteries in Britain in the 19th-century. Typical for the time there are around 50,000 people buried in the Necropolis, but only a small percentage have gravestones, and even fewer have names. In the 1950s a police officer was shocked to find hundreds of children armed with knives and sticks patrolling the graveyard after hearing that a 7ft vampire had killed and eaten two local boys. Nicknamed the Gorbals Vampire, the rumour still persists to this day.
7. Paranormal Activity in the Village of Pluckley, Kent
The Guinness Book of Records used to have a category for ‘the most haunted village in Britain’ especially for Pluckley but have since done away with it. Probably because some stick-in-the-mud argued that it’s difficult to ‘prove’ the existence of ghosts, but Pluckley has a whopping 12 reported ghosts kicking around this teeny village. A highwayman who was allegedly murdered and pinned to a tree has been seen stalking around his murder scene, a phantom of an old woman also haunts the town and lastly a schoolmaster who hung himself has been seen patrolling the grounds of fields.
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The poet Longfellow aptly described the ghost stories and hauntings at Chillingham in the 19th-century. Today the castle is a popular place for film and television studios due to its ornate, and mysterious exterior, weddings have also been held here, and any old Tom, Dick or Harry can stay a night in the coach rooms. Expect to hear whispered voices in the chapel, a pale figure begging for water in the pantry and, the most famous ghost, the ‘blue boy’ who haunts the Pink Room in the castle creating blue halos of light.
9. Prepare to be Terrified at The Ancient Ram Inn, Gloucestershire
The Ancient Ram Inn has been calling itself the most haunted house in Britain for a long time. It’s hard to dispute the title when you hear the pubs gory history. Among the supernatural and dark events that have been reported, there are: the burning of a witch, an innkeeper’s daughter hanged in the attic and the several of ritually murdered children buried under the floor. Suffice to say this 872-year-old inn won’t give you a good night’s sleep, but it will give you an experience you’ll never forget.
10. Hear a Ghost Story at Highgate Cemetery, London
Highgate Cemetery is a London institution. Many famous people are buried there (Douglas Adams, Karl Marx) and many more common folk were buried here in unmarked graves, meaning no matter where you step it’s likely lots of souls rest below your feet. Rumours of occult meetings, Satanists and witches gathering in the cemetery have persisted for years. However, in the 1970’s and as recently as 2013, there have been reports of a Victorian dressed man floating in the park, whispered to be a vampire looking for prey…
11. Visit the Haunted Mansion of Borley Rectory, Essex
If you’re a haunted house expert then the story of Borley Rectory shouldn’t be new to you. Called the most haunted mansion in Britain due to the ghost stories that stretch over 100 years, it was unfortunately destroyed by a fire in 1939. However, even after the fire, there have been reports of disturbances at either the local parish and dotted around the village of Borley, much to the chagrin of the locals. Be careful though, the apparitions around the grounds like to throw stones at prospective ghost hunters…
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