Life

Would you stay in one of these haunted houses for a scary Halloween staycation?

Posted by
Megan Murray
Published

If you’re a hardcore Halloween fan, ditch the fancy dress parties and immersive experiences for something a little harder to stomach – a haunted house staycation. If you dare, that is…

Although we loved reading about Nearly Headless Nick in Harry Potter, we’re not sure we’d want to snuggle up to him on our next UK getaway. But then again, you could describe us as being easily scared. 

For those who consider themselves Halloween enthusiasts, so much so that they get a thrill from being frightened, October is the perfect time to take a staycation. But instead of a snuggly Scottish castle or quaint bed and breakfast, a more spooktastic option is a haunted holiday home which is guaranteed to up the ante this Halloween. 

So, with the bravery of Melissa McCarthy in Ghostbusters, we challenge you to spend the 31 of the most frightful month of the year reading ghost stories in an abandoned castle or paranormal graveyards to make this Halloween your most thrilling yet.

We’ve equipped you with everything you need, the rest is up to you.

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

You may also like

“How a chance encounter led me to become a professional witch”

Pluckley in Kent

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

Lancaster Castle and the surrounding moors 

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

Oxford University 

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

Greyfriars Kirkyard in Edinburgh 

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

Croft Castle in Herefordshire 

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

Images: Getty / Courtesy of brands / Vadim Sherbakov

Topics

Share this article

Author

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.

Recommended by Megan Murray

Travel

14 sumptuously cosy hotels that will make you want to snuggle up

From Scottish castles to 14th century manor houses

Posted by
Megan Murray
Published
Travel

15 of the most gorgeously romantic hotels in the UK

Think four poster beds, free standing baths and lots of velvet

Posted by
Megan Murray
Published
Long Reads

Why Practical Magic is the ultimate feminist film

It may be 20 years old – but here’s why Practical Magic is more relevant than ever…

Posted by
Kayleigh Dray
Published
People

“How a chance encounter led me to become a professional witch”

Semra Haksever's life changed forever when she was 17.

Posted by
Semra Haksever
Published
Books

The 15 scariest books of all time to terrify you this Halloween

Scare yourself silly with these classic and modern tales

Posted by
Sarah Shaffi
Published