It’s Halloween. You’re home alone. It’s dark and cold outside. Wind and rain are lashing the windows. A tree creaks loudly. The neighbour’s dog is howling. You hear a strange noise coming from the hallway. A knock. Then scratching. Now there’s a noticeable draft, a soft cackling laughter floating through. Another knock. More of a bang this time. It can only mean one thing.
These days it’s practically impossible to be spooked on Halloween. Depending on where you live, any odd goings on are almost certainly going to be the result of impish kids. But for every other night of the year, such peculiarities are less readily explained. Especially in the destinations in this article, which are all (in)famous for haunting happenings. You have to know where to look, though, and this is where we step in. Click through if you dare.
The Haunted and Hidden Walking Tour, which departs College Green every Friday night at 8pm, is one of the most established and popular of its kind in Bristol. You’ll see a host of ghostly buildings, including a haunted 17th Century pub, coaching inn and 16th Century church, and hear spooky stories, including one about a ghost dwarf highwayman.
Tel: +44 (0) 776 625 8407; email: email@example.com; price: £5.00
The Arnos Manor Hotel, located just outside Bristol’s city centre, dates back to the mid-18th Century and is built in the Georgian style. It is reputedly haunted by a nun who committed suicide. Other than that, the hotel hosts 73 en-suite bedrooms, a bar and a restaurant.
Tel: +44 (0) 117 971 1461; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; price: from £85.00 per night
Image credit: Jamie Koster
Sausmarez Manor is said to be one of the most haunted houses in Britain, and therefore a highly fitting location for a ghost tour. The guided walk is usually led by the Lord of the Manor himself, Peter de Sausmerez, which adds a deliciously authentic touch. The house is over 800 years old and the ghosts have been spotted regularly over the centuries.
Tel: +44 (0) 148 123 5572; email: email@example.com; price: adult £7.50, child £5.00
Hop on a ferry to nearby Sark (a small island which is part of Guernsey’s territory) and check into the Stocks Hotel, a tranquil establishment which has recently been refurbished. Originally a farmhouse, the building dates back to 1741 and numerous guests have reported supernatural activity over the years. Many who have stayed in Room 107 have said that the toilet has flushed of its own accord in the middle of the night.
Tel: +44 (0) 148 183 2001; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; price: from £215 per night
Image credit: gustaffo89
The Isle of Wight holds the rather unexpected honour of being the most haunted island in the world, so a ghost tour is a must. The Isle of Wight Ghost Experience will fit the bill perfectly: the company offers a choice of six spooky walks that take place in different locations across the island. One of which is Ventnor Botanic Gardens, which are on the site of an old hospital where thousands died from TB in the 1800s.
Tel: +44 (0) 198 329 4651; email: email@example.com; price: adult £7.00, child £5.00
Nestled in the midst of a 60 acre estate, the Priory Bay Hotel is housed in a beautiful, old manor overlooking the east coast of the island. The accommodation ranges from luxurious suites to eco-friendly yurts, and the onsite restaurant is spectacular. On a slightly more chilling note, the hotel is haunted by the ghosts of a little girl and her dog. The girl has been heard sobbing and running down hallways.
Tel: +44 (0) 198 361 3146; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or drive with them, rather, for this is a ghost tour with a difference. The Ghost Bus Tour is fantastically entertaining, and more than a little unnerving when taking into account the history of the bus it takes place on, which until 1967 was used in a private funeral business. A spooky conductor provides commentary for haunted places, and on-board actors and special effects give an extra menacing touch.
Tel: 0844 5678 666; price: adult £20, child £14
The Langham Hotel is a rather grand old place and, alas, out of most people’s budgets. If you do have the cash to spare, however, you could be in for a decidedly spooky stay. It is said to be one of the most haunted hotels in the country and there has been no shortage of ghost-sightings. Room 333 is particularly paranormally active; there have been numerous reports of a man dressed in Victorian garb floating towards guests in bed in the night.
Tel: +44 (0) 207 636 1000
Image credit: Jay Bergesen
York is positively saturated with history and, like all historical places, it comes with its fair share of ghost stories. The best way to get acquainted is on the York Ghost Walk Experience. The guide dons a Georgian black cloak and tricorn hat and will lead you though the honeycombed passages and alleyways of the most atmospheric parts of the city, regaling stories and performing re-enactments along the way. One of the more harrowing tales involves the Grey Lady – a nun who was walled up alive.
Tel: +44 (0) 780 944 2282; email: email@example.com; price: adult £5.00, child £3.00
Look no further than the Golden Fleece. Built in the early 1500s, this pub, which has four themed rooms (The Shambles, St Catherine, Lady Peckett’s Yard and The Minster Suite) on offer, has been dubbed the most haunted pub in the country. One of the more frequently sighted ghosts is that of Geoff Monroe, a Canadian airman who fell from a window and died in 1945. Guests staying in his room have been woken in the night to see him dressed in full uniform, standing over them.
Tel: +44 (0) 190 462 5171; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; price: from £90 per night
Image credit: whereareyousimon
"People travel to faraway places to watch, in fascination, the kind of people they ignore at home" - Dagobert D. Runes