Easy Peasy Weekends: 7 Creepy Breaks in Haunted England

Posted on 19th Oct 2022. In , , , ,

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If you like your autumns with a does of real spine-tingling action, then forget the scary movies and head out into haunted England instead. Our green and pleasant land has such a deep, complex and often violent history that hauntings are part of the fabric of many villages, towns and cities.

We’ve selected our 7 best haunted England destinations for you to check out this year where you can book a weekend break and uncover the gruesome and ghastly past. Only if you dare, of course!


All destinations are independently selected by our editor. If you book something through the links on this page, we may earn an affiliate commission.


HAUNTED PLACES IN ENGLAND

1. Prestbury, The Cotswolds 

Prestbury in Gloucestershire is a small village on the edge of Cheltenham with a big reputation. Reputedly home to more than two dozen spooks, Prestbury looks like any other typical Cotswolds’ village: timber-framed cottages, thatched roofs, and honey-coloured buildings. Don’t be fooled. As night falls and the village’s living residents snuggle up by their log-burners, the supernatural come out to play. Beware the village’s most famous spook: The Black Abbot, regularly seen in the church and churchyard (and reputedly caught on camera by a local photographer).

The ghosts: The Black Abbot; the charging horseman galloping through Shaw Green Lane; the Headless Horseman rides through Mill Street; the girl at Sundial Cottage; horses hooves are often heard at The Plough Inn.

Stay here: Clarence Court Hotel near Prestbury is a popular hotel to sleep spook-free. The beautiful Regency building was once owned by the Duke of Wellington. Rooms start at £149 per night.

Nearby terror: Also visit the 14th century New Inn in Gloucester, one of the most haunted in Gloucestershire. This is where Lady Jane Grey was pronounced Queen of England in 1553, whether she was staying here at the time is unclear. Woodchester Mansion in Stonehouse is also worth a detour. This unfinished Gothic mansion is said to be home to many ghosts – one of which I’ve seen, but that’s another story. Stay on the UK’s only stay-aboard lightship in Gloucester Docks: SULA

The directions: Prestbury lies on the northern outskirts of Cheltenham, junction 11a/10 on the M5. ///plates.clean.props

Pic Credit: Haunted Rooms


HAUNTED PLACES IN ENGLAND

2. Chillingham Castle, Northumberland 

Like any English castle, Chillingham Castle has had its fair share of gruesome history since its creation in the 12th Century. With its fierce medieval exterior, dungeons, torture chamber, bloody sieges and family executions, it’s little wonder the supernatural enthusiasts are rattling its ancient doors keen to get a slice of the undead. The Castle runs ghost tours from October through to December, but they get booked up fast so don’t corpse – hurry.

The ghosts: The White Pantry Ghost; the Ghost in the Chamber; voices in the chapel; the Blue Boy; Lady Mary Berkeley ghost.

Stay here: If you’re brave enough to do a weekend overnighter, then you can stay in one of Chillingham Castle’s self-catering apartments. Alternatively, you can chose modern over ancient and stay here in this gorgeous self-catering apartment nearby Beadnell.

Nearby terror: After visiting Chillingham Castle, head to the coast and soak up the haunting beauty of Northumberland’s beaches and the other famous Northumberland castles. If you can, also visit Beamish Museum in Co. Durham for its incredible Halloween spectacular.

The directions: You’ll find Chillingham Castle about 4 miles off the A1 between Alnwick and Berwick Upon Tweed. ///lush.design.tacky


HAUNTED PLACES IN ENGLAND

3. Whitby, Yorkshire

Ever since Bram Stoker’s Dracula came ashore in Whitby on a stormy night, this Yorkshire fishing town has been a magnet for fans of all things gothic and ghoulish. Stoker came to the town in 1890 as the business manager of actor Henry Irving.

During his time there, he read an historical account of a 15th-century prince called Vlad Tepes who was said to have impaled his enemies on wooden stakes. He was known as Dracula – the ‘son of the dragon’. Inspired by this legend and the dramatic Whitby coastline, Stoker’s Dracula was born.

Do this: Take the 199 steps up to Whitby Abbey and St Mary’s Church, both featured in Dracula. Plus, it is said that the ghost of St. Hilda, who founded Whitby Abbey is rumoured to roam the Abbey, where she peeks from one of the highest windows. One thing’s for sure, the views from this spot over the battleship grey sea are epic. Then explore Whitby’s jet shops patronised by Queen Victoria. Visit on Halloween Weekend and it’s the goths roaming the town’s tiny streets that’ll turn your head.

Stay here: Of all the Whitby hotels that are said to be home to ghostly visitors, the oldest is a Tudor mansion built in 1516. Bagdale Hall is said to be haunted by its former owner, Browne Bushell, who was executed for his acts of piracy. Alternatively, do as we did: travel Yorkshire in a Land Rover Defender, wild camping as you go.

Nearby terror: Legend has it that the ‘devils’ dog’ lurks among the North Yorkshire Moors, near Whitby. The Whitby Barquest, as its known, is a jet-black large dog with red eyes and it is believed that should you hear the hound’s howl, death is close by.

The directions: Getting to Whitby by car is easy: the main road in and out of town is the A171, whichever direction you’re headed from. There’s a railway station right in the middle of town and Northern Rail trains run to and from Whitby. To make the trip extra special climb aboard the North Yorkshire Moors Historical Railway – one of the world’s greatest heritage railways – heading to Whitby. We caught the train from Pickering Station during a Long Weekend in North Yorkshire, but you can get it from other stations. //fond.winds.crusted


HAUNTED PLACES IN ENGLAND

4. Pendle Hill, Lancashire

Pendle Hill was home to possibly the most well-known witch trial in English history. In 1612, 10 people were executed on the moors having been found guilty of witchcraft at Lancaster Castle.  Over 400 years later, their spooky presence still remains. You can follow the journey taken by the accused witches by following the Pendle Trail yourself – if you’re brave enough. Or, if you want high adrenalin supernatural action, book onto the Haunted Happenings’ Pendle Hill ghost hunt.

Do this: Head to Lancaster for a guided tour of imposing Lancaster Castle. It was the setting for the imprisonment and the trial of the women, and will bring the story to life.

Stay here: Barley Mow sits at the foot of Pendle Hill. With a hunt lodge interior, open fires and cosy corners, it’s a ghost-free escape from the witches lurking in the shadows outside.

The directions: Pendle is at the end of the M65 with easy access to other major motorways, like the M1, M6, and M62. ///rush.crabmeat.passport


HAUNTED PLACES IN ENGLAND

5. The Jamaica Inn, Cornwall

For nearly 300 years, the Jamaica Inn has offered shelter to those braving the wild and treacherous Bodmin Moor. Most famous of all the Inn’s travellers was Daphne Du Maurier. She and a friend lost their way in thick fog whilst riding out on the moor, eventually finding their way to the inn. She stayed at the inn to recover from the ordeal and was inspired to write her novel, Jamaica Inn, after hearing its ghost stories and tales of smuggling.

The ghosts: Sounds of carriages on the cobbles; a tall man in a hat and coat walking through walls; phantom footsteps in corridors; foreign conversations in empty rooms; the wayfarer who sits in the corner, then disappears.

Stay: Book a ghost-hunting weekend at the Inn for the ultimate fright-fest. Includes a stay in one of the most haunted rooms at a discounted rate, with a three-course evening meal, plus one night’s ghost hunting. Alternatively, if you’d rather not sleepover and just want to visit, stay nearby at the newly-converted Bodmin Jail.

Nearby terror: The Smuggler’s Museum housed in the Jamaica Inn, with one of the finest collections of smuggling artefacts in the country. Also, if you’ve time, take yourself Bodmin Jail for the day – it too is rife with ghostly activity.

The directions: Jamaica Inn is high on Bodmin Moor about midway between Launceston and Bodmin by the A30.


HAUNTED PLACES IN ENGLAND

6. York, Yorkshire

York’s rich history is undeniable. The past is found on every street corner; and almost every building has a story to tell. With such a rich seam of human comings and goings, ghostly activity is inevitable.  In 2002, the Ghost Research Foundation International labelled York as the most haunted city in the world, when they recorded 504 hauntings around the city. For ghost-hunters, York is a must.

The ghosts: Bleeding Clifford Tower; the headless Earl of Northumberland; the screaming orphans of Bedern; the Grey Lady, who haunts the room behind the dress circle of the Georgian Theatre Royal, and Queen Catherine Howard’s ghost at the Principal’s House at the King’s Manor.

Stay: We love York’s only 5-star hotel and spa: The Grand Hotel and Spa – excellently placed within York’s city walls, with a view of the Minster on the skyline, and only a five-minute stroll across the river to the city centre. For an alternatively self-catering option with as much luxury, that’s also dog- and family-friendly, TOFY is just 16mins away from York by car.

Nearby terror: Probably the most famous of all ghostly sightings in York is the lost Roman Legion. This terrifying crew was spotted by Harry Martindale an apprentice plumber installing a heating system in the cellars of the Treasurer’s House. Claire, our Chief Weekender, took a trip down to the haunted cellar last year… read about it now. Would you dare this Halloween weekend?


HAUNTED PLACES IN ENGLAND

7. Heptonstall, Calder Valley

Perched on the edge of the wild Brontë moors in West Yorkshire, with a main street that hasn’t changed in nearly 200 years, Heptonstall is one of West Yorkshire under-the-radar destinations. Here, time feels frozen. There are no cinemas, no clubs, very little in the way of shops and virtually no cars. What Heptonstall does boast, however, is an eerie beauty that makes it a must for anyone who likes to feel their spine tingle.

If there’s one thing that will haunt your mind about Heptonstall it’s the churchyard, which must be one of the most fascinating in the country. It supposed to hold the remains of possibly more than 100,000 people – the visible gravestones represent just some of those buried there. In fact, Heptonstall’s dead are crammed together in such a way that the nearby house has its patio chairs and table arranged on the ground entirely made of graves. It’s quite a sight.

The ghosts: The village was the site of a battle during the English Civil War in 1643 and is reputed to be haunted by the ghost of a Roundhead on horseback. There is also a grisly connection to the Cragg Vale Coiners (a band of 18th-century counterfeiters) can be found in The Cross Inn. In 1771, members of the gang murdered a farm labourer called Abraham Ingham by throwing him in the fire. The fireplace is still there today.

Do this: Many visitors come to Heptonstall to pay their respects to the American poet Sylvia Plath who is buried here. Her grave is in the newest part of the churchyard across the Back Lane. Plath was the first wife of the late Poet Laureate Ted Hughes who spent his early years in nearby Mytholmroyd. She committed suicide in 1963 and her gravestone was attacked on several occasions by feminists trying to remove her married name. Her grave bears the inscription: “Even amidst fierce flames the golden lotus can be planted.”

Stay: 10 mins’ away from Heptonstall at Daisy Camp Bank. It’s a dog-friendly glamping site rooted in the moors with stunning views and an abundance of wildlife. From £80pn.

Nearby terror: Ghost hunters are known to flock to nearby Todmorden Unitarian Church to get a slice of its haunted past. It has also been visited by the Most Haunted cameras with visitors seeing shadowy figures and hearing phantom footsteps.

The directions: Heptonstall is located in the Upper Calder Valley in West Yorkshire, about 8 miles from Halifax. The drive from Halifax to Heptonstall is about 20 minutes, 40 minutes from Bradford and 45+ minutes from Leeds. Our advice: park in Hebden Bridge and walk up to the village, which takes around 30mins. ///sundials.fries.armrests


 

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Claire Robinson Founder of Weekend Candy
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