Halloween is just around the corner, and for those seeking a spine-tingling experience, the United Kingdom offers a plethora of haunted and eerie destinations from ancient castles to ghostly graveyards to desolate moors, the UK is steeped in haunted legends and chilling history. In this blog post, we will explore a selection of the spookiest places to visit in the UK this Halloween, where you may just encounter something otherworldly!
Edinburgh, Scotland: The Haunted Capital
The city of Edinburgh has a dark and mysterious history, making it a must-visit for all supernatural enthusiasts at Halloween. The cobbled streets and ancient buildings have witnessed countless stories of ghostly apparitions and eerie occurrences. Don’t miss the chilling tours of the Underground Vaults, a dimly lit space considered to be haunted by many who have visited. Learn about the darker side of Edinburgh’s past as you wander beneath the bustling streets of the city with nothing but candlelight illuminating your path. Visit the infamous Greyfriars Kirkyard, one of the most famous graveyards in the world and home to the terrifying Mackenzie Poltergeist, the ghost of Sir George Mackenzie, the Lord Advocate for Scotland who was responsible for the capture of Presbyterian Covenanters during the reign of Charles II. These prisoners were cruelly treated, and many lost their lives because of this poor treatment or were executed. Mackenzie is said to haunt the Kirkyard along with the tortured souls of his victims. For a more immersive experience, explore the haunted chambers of Edinburgh Castle. The castle is known as the most haunted place in Scotland, with hundreds of unexplained reports from visitors including ghostly sightings, inexplicable cold spots, the feeling of being watched, and being physically touched or pulled.
Pluckley, Kent: Britain’s Most Haunted Village
A picturesque but eerie location, Pluckley in Kent is home to 12 “official” ghosts! With spine-tingling locations such as the Screaming Woods, the Dering Woods, and the Black Horse Inn, where the spirits of highwaymen and ill-fated lovers are said to roam, Pluckley’s chilling history is sure to be a hair-raising experience this Halloween. There have been literally hundreds of ghostly apparitions spotted in and around the tiny village of Pluckley with reports spanning several hundred years. The most common ghoulish sightings are a phantom coach and horses seen and heard galloping around several areas of the village, the Lady of Rose Court who is said to have poisoned herself in despair over a love affair gone wrong, and the Red Lady and her small white dog, seen haunting the churchyard of St Nicholas’ Church and the Dering Woods. These sightings have landed Pluckley in the Guinness Book of Records as the most haunted village in Britain!
The Tower of London, London: A Haunted Fortress
With thousands of years of bloody history under its belt, the brooding Tower of London is no stranger to a supernatural experience. Having witnessed hundreds of executions, murders, and torture, it’s no surprise that ghostly figures have been seen wandering the many corridors of the tower. The ghost of Henry VIII’s ill-fated second wife Anne Boleyn is said to wander the grounds of the tower where she was executed in 1536. The lonely, solitary figure of the Nine Day’s Queen, Lady Jane Grey, has been spotted wandering the battlements of the tower. She was executed here at only 16 years old. Join a guided ghost tour and explore the tower after dark, listening to the tales of the royal spirits that continue to linger.
Pendle Hill, Lancashire: A Witch’s Haunt
Pendle Hill is synonymous with the infamous Pendle Witch Trials of 1612. This desolate hill in Lancashire is home to the harrowing tales of the accused witches and their grim fates. Twelve villagers from the tiny hamlets at the foot of Pendle Hill were accused and tried for witchcraft, all but two of them were found guilty and sentenced to death by hanging. It is said that the ghosts of those who met their untimely deaths in the witch trials roam the towering Pendle Hill, terrifying those who try to contact them. This has not stopped regular guided ghost tours of the hill, especially on Halloween where many visitors will ascend the hill in hopes of experiencing the supernatural. These tours are also very informative and allow visitors to learn more about the dark history of the area and the unjust nature of the witch trials that happened here.
Caerphilly Castle, Wales: Haunted by the Green Lady
This magnificent medieval fortress in South Wales is celebrated for its historical significance, but also infamous for its haunted reputation. Over the centuries, the imposing structure has been a silent witness to countless stories of ghostly encounters and eerie phenomena. Visitors and staff have reported strange occurrences including echoing sounds of footsteps, chilling whispers in the dark corners of the castle, and shadowy figures who seem to vanish into thin air. The most famous spectral resident of the castle is the Green Lady, a ghostly apparition often seen in the western tower. Her identity remains a mystery, but her presence has left an indelible mark on the castle’s haunted legacy. For those seeking a supernatural experience, Caerphilly Castle allows visitors to delve into the mysteries that lie between its ancient walls.
The Dark Hedges, Northern Ireland: A Hauntingly Beautiful Experience
The Dark Hedges, located in County Antrim in Northern Ireland, is a hauntingly beautiful avenue of beech trees that has garnered international attention, mainly due to its appearance in “Game of Thrones” but also due to the sightings of spirits that have been known to peek out from behind these gnarled, ancient trees. The twisted branches and trunks create an eerie atmosphere, one that is an almost perfect setting for a paranormal playground. Many locals believe that wandering spirits inhabit the avenue, making it one of these most supernatural places in Northern Ireland. Visit in the daytime and watch as the trees create a mystical tunnel-like effect, transporting you to another realm as you wander. If you are brave enough to visit in the evening, the setting sun casts long shadows behind the crooked trees, creating an almost otherworldly experience. The Dark Hedges is a place where the natural and supernatural worlds blend seamlessly, leaving visitors with a sense of wonder and a touch of trepidation.
Central Station, Glasgow: The Haunted Railway
Glasgow Central Station was opened in 1879 and is currently the busiest railway station in Scotland and second busiest throughout the UK, with over 34 million passengers using the station every year. However, what they may not know is that underneath the bustling modern Glasgow station lies a deep, dark, foreboding labyrinth of sprawling passageways which hold their fair share of unsettling history. While the station managed to survive the Blitz without damage, the bodies of soldiers who were not so lucky were laid out underneath the station in a makeshift mortuary. There is also the curiously grim tale of a man who reportedly murdered his wife underneath the station to claim her life insurance during the Great Depression. It is now believed that the souls of both the man and woman linger on at the station; both being spotted by unnerved staff in the boiler room. Perhaps the most famous legend involves a phantom known as the “Grey Lady”, said to be a former station cleaner who perished in a tragic accident and now roams the platforms. Whether you’re a sceptic or a believer, there is an undeniable sense of mystery that clings to Central Station, making it a place where the thin line between the living and the departed may occasionally blur.
Skaill House, Orkney: A House of Hauntings
Skaill House, located on the main island of the historic Orkney Islands in Scotland, is an elegant mansion with a long and storied history. However, the house’s architectural charm and cultural significance isn’t all that draws visitors; the house is also renowned for its haunting tales. Overlooking the windswept Orkney coastline, Skaill House carries an aura of mystery and the supernatural. While the house was being renovated, a total of fifteen skeletons were found under the floorboards. Prior to the removal of these skeletons, anyone who inhabited or visited the house found it to be a peaceful setting with no reports of paranormal activity. However, this is said to have changed with the displacement of the skeletons. Tourists have reported speaking to members of staff dressed in 17th century costume only for it to be later found that there were no staff in that area of the building at the time. Perhaps the most enduring legend involves the restless spirit of the “White Lady” who is said to roam the dimly lit corridors, occasionally glimpsed in her spectral form. Some accounts suggest she may have been a former resident or maid, forever bound to the house for unknown reasons. These tales of apparitions, unexplained noises and eerie encounters have earned Skaill House the reputation of one of Orkney’s most haunted locations, adding a layer of history and intrigue to this already captivating mansion by the sea.
This Halloween, if you’re seeking a thrilling and chilling adventure, look no further than the United Kingdom. The UK’s rich history is rife with ghostly tales and haunted locations, offering an unforgettable experience for those brave enough to explore these spine-tingling destinations. Whether you prefer haunted castles, eerie woods, or quaint, historic villages, there’s something for every ghost hunter and thrill-seeker in the UK. So, pack your lantern and your courage and be ready to embark on a hauntingly good time this Halloween!
Best of Scotland Holidays offer several spooky and mystical tours for the whole of the UK. These tours are completely customisable and can be viewed here.