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The 5 creepiest places to visit in the UK for Halloween

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Megan Murray
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Fancy a staycation this Halloween? Head to one of the UK’s creepiest, most haunted places, from abandoned castles to paranormal graveyards. If you dare, that is…

If you love Halloween, you’ll probably love celebrating this spooktastic holiday in as many ways as you can. Think practising your dark magic skills with other Harry Potter fans, watching bone-chilling horror films, planning a terrifyingly good night out at one of London’s many Halloween events, and creating the perfect Halloween costume (using inspiration from our favourite feminists, iconic films and pop culture), to name just a few. 

Heck, to get yourself ready for the 31 October, you’ve probably been cooking hearty stews, Hygge-ing the shizz out of your flat (and desk) and heading to some of the autumnal foodie events popping up all over the country since the last day of August, too. 

So why not take things to the next level and plan a Halloween visit some of the spookiest, creepiest and most haunted places around the country?

That’s right, we challenge you to make like Melissa McCarthy in Ghostbusters and head to some of the graveyards, castles and villages that are most known for their paranormal activity. 

We’ve equipped you with everything you need, from guides to the area, train times and autumnal fashion inspiration to help you pack. The rest is up to you.

So what are you waiting for, scaredy cat? Happy ghost-hunting…

Pluckley in Kent

Creepiest, scariest, most haunted places to visit in the UK

Said to be the most haunted village in Britain, Pluckley is a particularly spooky spot to choose for a staycation. Despite its picture perfect appearances, this sleepy, little corner of Kent is known for having at least 12 resident ghosts, which in 1989 earned it a place in the Guinness Book of World Records

There have been reports of spectres by locals and visitors for years, but among the apparitions that come up again and again are the headmaster that was found hanging by his students and the Watercress Woman, who is said to sit on Pinnock Bridge, smoking her pipe and drinking gin.

BEFORE YOU GO:

Read the book
If you’ve got a supernatural fascination in the Garden of England, check out the Haunted Places of Kent, which regales ghostly tales from around the county including Pluckley. Not only could you learn a little more about the ghosts that are said to inhabit the village before you get there (so you know what you’re looking for) but you might even want to extend your trip once you find out about the paranormal activity in the towns nearby. 

Pack your suitcase 
We’re guessing you’re not a Pluckley local, so if you’re going to take a trip away for the weekend you’ll need to be cosy, and stylish, of course. See below for our edit of what clothes to pack for a spooky autumnal weekend away.

Book your trip
Getting to Pluckley is pretty pain-free, with trains running from London every half an hour, priced at around £8.50 for a single or £21 for an off-peak day return. Once you’re there you’ll want somewhere cosy to go back to, especially after a day of ghost-hunting, for which the Pluckley Pad B&B looks perfect. 

Lancaster Castle and the surrounding moors 

Creepiest, scariest, most haunted places to visit in the UK

Lancaster Castle may now be a busy tourist hotspot, flooded with families and group tours every weekend, but, hundreds of years ago, things were far more… well, far more sinister. In August 1612, in one of the most famous witches trials ever recorded, 12 women known as the Pendle Witches were accused of practicing dark magic and charged with the murder of 10 people, whom townsfolk believed they had killed with witchcraft.  

Lancaster Castle’s dungeon is where the majority of them were kept before the trial, and where one of the women died after apparently being chained to the floor and receiving brutal treatment from the guards. Once the trial was over, the women were taken to the nearby moors and hanged, and it is said that their spirits still haunt the land today.

BEFORE YOU GO:

Read the book:
A History of the Pendle Witches and Their Magic by Joyce Froome  details the events that took place in Lancashire in 1612, drawing on a plethora of sources, including books of magic and trial records to give you an insight into the history behind the Pendle Witches case. 

Pack your suitcase:
Walking around castle ruins, breezy hill tops and open moors doesn’t sound like the warmest of weekend away activities, so you’ll need to make sure you pack accordingly. Wrap up in warm layers and on-trend accessories, as suggested in our staycation fashion edit below. 

Book your trip
Trains to Lancaster can be quite expensive, so we recommend booking as far in advance as you can for a cheaper fare. If you’re coming from London, you’ll probably need to catch a train from Euston station, which can cost around £90 for a return and takes around two and a half hours. And, seeing as you’ll be staying in the countryside, why not find yourself a cottage-style abode to put your feet up while you’re there? We like the look of Basil Barn and Spen House, both of which could be at home in The Holiday.

Oxford University 

Creepiest, scariest, most haunted places to visit in the UK

With such a rich history, it’s no wonder that Oxford is the setting for more than a few haunted tales. Indeed, from the ghost of Obadiah Walker, a Catholic master of University college in the 17th century who stills paces the quad, to the library of St John’s College, where the headless ghost of Archbishop William Laud can be found kicking his detached noggin across the floor, the university almost has more ghosts than it does students. 

BEFORE YOU GO:

Read the book
If you’re interested in all that’s happened at this iconic university then the first place to start is by reading The University of Oxford: A History, which will fill you in on everything from its beginnings in the 11th century to the present day. Armed with this knowledge, we reckon you might even end up discovering some new spooks. 

Pack your suitcase
Taking a stroll around the university buildings shouldn’t be too taxing, so we can leave the walking boots at home for this one. Although it’ll still be chilly, so make sure to don something warm (as seen in our edit below). 

Book your trip 
Getting to Oxford is simple enough, with trains running from London every five minutes for as little as £5.40, depending on what time you go. And finding a lovely place to stay is simple too: we particularly like the look of this five bedroom townhouse in the centre of the city.

Greyfriars Kirkyard in Edinburgh 

Creepiest, scariest, most haunted places to visit in the UK

In the 19th century, a Scottish policeman was killed, prompting his devoted pet dog to set up vigil alongside his grave in Greyfriars Kirkyard for 14 years after he was laid to rest. The Skye Terrier (Greyfriars Bobby) is said to have died on the 14 January 1872, but those who walk the graveyard’s grounds at night say the old dog still makes himself known, haunting the burial site of his beloved master. 

There’s also been reports of a far more threatening ghost known as George MacKenzie, who was once a persecutor of the Scottish Covenanters (a Presbyterian movement in the 17th century). Believers say that, after a homeless man disturbed his final resting place in 1999, MacKenzie’s ghost became troubled and has triggered some strange goings on in the cemetery ever since.

BEFORE YOU GO:

Read the book 
Why go to Edinburgh to see just one graveyard, when you can go to Edinburgh and explore all of the city’s paranormal places instead? Haunted Edinburgh gathers together real life accounts of spectre-spottings throughout Scotland’s capital, regaling true-life tales of apparitions in buildings, convents, cellars, churches and attics.

Pack your suitcase
For a weekend in the capital, you’ll need a wardrobe that’s fit for anything from ghost hunting to some good old fashion Scottish revelry. Get started with our suggestions below. 

Book your trip
Flights to Edinburgh from London go throughout the day and will take you about an hour and 20 minutes, with prices varying depending on how far you book in advance. You can also get the train, which takes considerably longer at six and a half hours, but it does give you plenty of time to catch up on our recommend new books for autumn, right? Having been named the most attractive city in the UK, it’s not surprising that there’s loads of great places to stay and things to do but we think booking this 17th-century stone dovecot is a good place to start. 

Croft Castle in Herefordshire 

Creepiest, scariest, most haunted places to visit in the UK

This National Trust property in Herefordshire is said to be haunted by more than one spooky visitor. In fact, there’s a total of seven different ghosts that have been reported by those brave enough to explore this ancient fortress, the most imposing of which is a seven-foot man, who’s thought to be Welsh freedom fighter, Owain Glyndwr.

Glyndwr was a Welsh ruler and the instigator of a bloody and unsuccessful revolt against England in the 14th century. Since his uprising failed, he was eventually driven out of his homeland and his death was recorded by one of his followers. Other ghosts in his ghoulish gang include a wailing baby, a man donning 17th century dress and a woman wearing crinoline. Spooky.

BEFORE YOU GO:

Read the book 
Learn all about Croft Castle’s fascinating history in the National Trust’s guidebook, and, if you’re going to make a weekend out of it, you might want to read up on these lovely country walks around the area, too. 

Pack your suitcase
We recommend a cosy, warm coat and a comfy pair of trainers if you’re planning on exploring Herefordshire’s rolling countryside. Check out our autumnal fashion inspiration below.

Book your trip
Trains to Herefordshire run every half an hour from London, but it will take you three and a half hours to get there, and there’s a change involved with fares averaging at about £30 one way. Our advice? Take your laptop on the journey and indulge in a Netflix binge, or better yet get stuck into some of these terrifying horror films to prepare yourself for Halloween. If you fancy staying somewhere that’s suitably Gothic looking while you’re there, check out The Godwins Hotel, which has dramatic architectural features dateing back to 1879. 

Images: Getty / Courtesy of brands / Vadim Sherbakov

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Megan Murray

Megan Murray is a digital journalist for stylist.co.uk, who enjoys writing about London happenings, beautiful places, delicious morsels and generally spreading sparkle wherever she can.

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