The UK’s top six spooky stopovers

Updated Friday, October 30, 2015 It's Halloween this weekend, the perfect excuse for a spooky getaway - why not pack a food hamper, some holy water and make your way to one the UK’s top six spooky stopovers?

The Tower of London

A lot of bad things have happened at the Tower of London during the course of its 900 year history. It’s said to be home to some aristocratic apparitions such as the mournful spirit of Henry VI, alongside Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard, two unfortunate wives of Henry VIII, who met typically gruesome endings. A headless Anne Boleyn is said to roam the Tower while Catherine Howard can be heard screaming behind the door of the room she was kept in before her execution. Every ancient building worth its salt has a lady of colour and the Tower is haunted by a ghostly White Lady. In addition there have been many sightings of ghostly soldiers and of the ghosts of a 12-year-old King Edward V and his 9-year-old brother Richard Duke of York who are said to have been imprisoned in the Tower by Richard III.

Ruthin Castle, Denbighshire

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Any building dating back as far as the 13th century is most likely going to be riddled with all manner of things that go bump in the night - so Ruthin Castle,  which boasts dungeons, a whipping pit and a drowning pit, is a sure thing if it’s ghosts you’re after. (You can imagine the builders having a meeting: “D’you think we’ve enough pits?” “Maybe a ‘Throw them to the ravenous dogs’ pit if we’ve got the budget?”) One particularly famous spectre to keep an eye out for is the Grey Lady, who was executed after murdering her husband’s lover with an axe, and is now doomed to an eternity spent wandering the castle’s chapel and battlements. The Grey Lady aside, Ruthin Castle is also home to the spectre of an old soldier and other ghostly entities that make a racket and cause the temperature to drop inexplicably.

Jamaica Inn, Bodmin Moor, Cornwall

[embed width="600" height="415"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kuQynFw6_vA[/embed] Once home to all manner of smuggler and ne’er do wells, Cornwall’s Jamaica Inn was the subject of the 1936 Daphne du Maurier novel, and subsequent Alfred Hitchcock film, which followed a group of murderous ‘wreckers’ who would run ships aground, kill all on board and make off with their loot. Nowadays, it houses a smuggling museum, hotel and family inn – but there’s more spirits than those kept behind the bar, as tales of ghostly figures in tricorn hats and mumbling murder victims abound, along with cart wheels and horses’ hooves careering across the cobbles and eerie footsteps in the empty corridors. The more romantic souls can stop in one of the hotel’s four-poster rooms, while any budding Ghostbusters should try a night in room 4.

Tulloch Castle, Dingwall, Ross and Cromarty

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Another ancient castle, this one dating from the 12th century. The natives here seem particularly restless and will often try to spook visitors in the dead of night – one story goes that a man was woken up by two ghostly girls who were sat on his chest trying to suffocate him, while others have reported apparitions at the bottom of their beds or been disturbed by spectres rattling door handles. And no haunted castle would be complete without a mysterious lady and Tulloch has its own Green Lady, presumably called this as this is the colour she went as she fell down one of the castle’s spiral staircases. If all that wasn’t spooky enough, the castle also has secret doors and passages and sits atop a secret tunnel.

Pluckley Village, Kent

[embed width="600" height="415"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MAg5iA_jCc[/embed] Getting a reputation as the most haunted village in Britain is no mean feat, and it’s one this picturesque little village near Ashford effortlessly carries off. Set close to the North Downs, the village is reported to be home to up to 16 ghosts, notably ‘The Screaming Man’ – there can be fewer things more terrifying than a screaming spectre – whose painful cries are the result of being crushed to death by a collapsing wall. Then there’s the ghost of the Watercress Woman, who sits on a bridge, plying herself with gin and smoking a pipe while trying to sell watercress to passers-by.  Calamity struck one day though when she accidentally torched herself after lighting her pipe while soaked in gin. Such a violent ending inevitably means she haunts the bridge – real thrill-seeking ghost hunters should go armed with a bottle of ‘mother’s ruin’.

Edinburgh

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There aren’t many parts of this picturesque city that aren’t haunted, and if you take trip out with a haunted tour guide you’ll soon realise why – the city’s streets have seen death at every turn. Mary King’s Close is said to have been bricked up in 1645 and its inhabitants left to die to contain an outbreak of bubonic plague, while Edinburgh Castle is home to the eternally damned souls of a drummer, a dog, a woman accused of being a witch who was burned at the stake and several prisoners. Sir George Mackenzie’s tomb, meanwhile, is said to be the site of over 500 poltergeist attacks – there’s clearly a great many restless souls still gunning for King Charles II’s advocate who was responsible for the deaths of around 18,000 covenanters during the 1600s. Then there’s the vaults under South Bridge – an area of slums where thousands lived and died without ever seeing the outside world. The vaults were also used as storage areas by the city’s infamous body snatchers, including Burke and Hare. In short, ghosts everywhere! Enjoy your stay…

Have you any stories of spooky stopovers, ghostly guesthouses or demonic dwellings? Let us know below...

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