Britain has a rich and often grisly history, which means plenty of ghouls and ghost stories. From vampires created in seaside towns to witches burnt at the stake that are still haunting the land, our interactive map features some of the spookiest places to visit, that are guaranteed to give you the chills on your trip.
Tap on the map locations:
The most haunted city in Europe?
Edinburgh certainly has a few grisly secrets under its sporran. From the Black Death, which claimed countless victims, to Mary King’s Close where plague victims were sealed up to die, Edinburgh is as ghoulish as it is beautiful. There are rumours of phantom pipers, spirits from prisoners of war and even a headless drummer.
This village has its own Fright Corner
Pretty Pluckley in Kent has been hailed the most haunted village in Britain – backed by the Guinness Book of World Records in 1989. With no fewer than 16 reported sightings, you can see why. There’s a screaming man, a highwayman who appears at Fright Corner, a schoolmaster hanged by children and an old woman who sits on a bridge smoking. Bet Halloween here is fun.
This is no pussycat
If you find yourself on the wild and windswept moors of Cornwall at dusk, try not to dwell on The Beast. He’s the product of some 60 sightings: a panther-like big cat, 3-to-5 feet (1.5m) long with white-yellow eyes. He’s also partial to the local livestock, with several mutilations reported. Evidence has been so compelling, the government ordered an official investigation in 1995.
Monoliths, huts and graves, oh my!
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was rather spooked by his stay at the Duchy Hotel – now the Dartmoor National Park Visitor Centre – and it inspired him to write Hound of the Baskervilles. He said the moors held “dwellings of prehistoric man, strange monoliths, huts and graves”. And little has changed – Dartmoor remains a truly atmospheric location.
At 800 years old, St Briavels Castle – now a YHA hostel – has seen it all. But its gatehouse still holds horrible secrets. Visitors here report a strange atmosphere, and its walls bear graffiti carved by ancient prisoners: “Robin Belcher. The day will come that thou shalt answer for it for thou hast sworn against me, 1671” reads one example. Dare you to stay over!
Joined in unholy matrimony
Henry VIII himself is said to haunt Hampton Court Palace, along with 2 of his wives – Jane Seymour has been seen gliding around and Catherine Howard has been heard shrieking in the gallery. But in 2003, they were all joined by a new ghoul called the "Skeletor". He was caught on CCTV opening a fire door near Clock Court with great force. He disappeared before security could get there.
Britain’s most notorious witches
Lancaster Castle holds a sad secret. More than 400 years ago, 10 people were found guilty of witchcraft here and executed on the nearby moors. Evidence against them was flimsy, but religious persecution was rife in 1612. It became Britain’s most notorious witch trial and you can retrace their final steps from the wild and rugged Pendle Hill to the grand court of Lancaster.
Victorian Crime Scene Investigation
London’s most notorious homicidal gent, Jack the Ripper needs no introduction. Darkest Whitechapel, Jack’s old gaff, still has dark corners, cobbled streets and echoes aplenty. Hunt the killer yourself with an Original Jack the Ripper Crime Scene Investigation tour, or dive into the atmospheric Ten Bells pub in Spitalfields, where 2 of his victims were said to drink.
A ghostly Roman fort
It’s said to be one of the UK’s most haunted castles. And local archaeological work may have revealed why: Muncaster Castle near Ravenglass, Cumbria was built close to a large Roman fort. The third generation of the Pennington family continue to live there, despite the ghosts who are said to live there too.
Frightening phenomena at Warwick
Warwick hosts an enormous castle. And with battle, execution, plague, plotting and witchcraft within its ancient walls, it’s no wonder the place is brimming with ghosts. It’s a hive of paranormal activity where people have witnessed some truly frightening phenomena. The world famous castle even offers an overnight ghost hunt. Fancy it?
Sad monk of Pontefract
Tourists from all over the world have reported the same thing at this ancient castle – a monk dressed in black. He walks from the ruins of the kitchen, up the steps to the remnants of the Queen's Tower. Always from west to east, and always at 5pm. Some visitors say he shakes and looks sad. Judge for yourself.
Pints and poltergeist in Norwich
The cosy old Adam and Eve Public House in Norwich dates back to 1249 when it was a monastic brewhouse. So it’s no surprise its spirits are of the paranormal kind too. A ghost called Sam appears most often, and likes to ring bells, move ashtrays and run his fingers though customers’ hair. “Sam” is thought to be Lord Sheffield who died here during Robert Kett’s rebellion. Dare you stop by for a pint?
Cosy seat by a chimney
Dorothy Forster is said to haunt The Lord Crewe Arms in Northumberland. She was sister to Tom Forster, Jacobite army general in the 1715 uprising. Tom hid in a giant fireplace in this romantic pub nestled in a honey-stone village. Take a peek inside the chimney to spot the hiding hole.
The haunted Haunch of Venison
Have a pint in the presence of a Grey Lady and a one-handed whist player who had his hand chopped off after cheating in a card game. Held up by giant oak beams thought to come from ancient sailing vessels, this eerie Salisbury inn dates back to the early 1300s and once housed craftsmen working on Salisbury Cathedral’s spire.
Fragrant ghost of Cambridge
The Haunted Bookshop sits in a quiet passage in Cambridge. Over the last decade, a female ghost has started to haunt the stairs of the bookshop, smelling faintly of violets. Many believe she is connected to the shop’s former life as an alehouse and the violent history that came along with it. Go along and browse the bookshelves and see what smells waft your way.
A marooned village
The seemingly charming village of Eyam in the Peak District is infamously known as the location where the Great Plague of 1665 started after the village tailor received plague- ridden material from London. To stop the disease spreading, the village cut itself off from the outside world. Inevitably, this has brought a slew of ghosts to look out for – there’s a haunted pub, a haunted cottage and Eyam Hall is haunted by a young serving girl.
What became of the drunken sailor?
Portsmouth has a dark history of murder, mayhem, plotting and politics. At its heart stands the Spice Island Inn, in the city’s old quarter. This hearty drinking hole has seen many a drink-sodden sailor staggering through its doors, plus many a crook and pirate. Does this atmospheric pub have ghosts? Oh yes. See for yourself m’ hearties.
Dark happenings on the Isle of Skye
The Isle of Skye may look beautiful, but there are dark happenings underneath. Venture out at night and you might just run into the ghost of an outlaw named MacRaing. Or head to the eerily beautiful Loch Coruisk where a dreaded water horse – known locally as a kelpie – is said to dwell.
The ghostly procession of Chillingham Castle
Chillingham Castle has remained largely unaltered since its ancient battling days, so it comes as no surprise that it’s said to be awash with paranormal activity. Sightings range from the wandering Lady Mary to the ghostly royal procession. Best of all you can spend the night in one of their apartments…if you dare.
The White Lady of Samlesbury Hall
Renowned as one of the most haunted locations in Britain, Samlesbury Hall has its own resident spirits including the legendary White Lady, Dorothy Southworth, who died of a broken heart. The hall, embracing its spooky charm, hosts regular ghost-hunts, and is a stunning place to stay and dine – when the ghosts keep at bay of course.
The Headless Horseman of Lincoln
The site of an ancient Roman city and of a 13th-century battle just screams spooky. One of its most haunting stories, perhaps, is that of the headless horseman. Said to be a highwayman cut down by a soldier as he attempted to flee his death-sentence, it seems the headless horseman is doomed to repeat his failed escaped forever.
Murder at Cawdor Castle
The most chilling sighting at the castle is the ghost of a handless girl, rumoured to be the Earl of Cawdor’s daughter. Legend has it that after flattering an enemy chieftain’s son, the insulted Earl chased her to the highest tower, where she attempted to lower herself from the window only for him to chop off her hands sending her to her death.
The vampire of Whitby Abbey
The dramatic ruins of Whitby Abbey are guaranteed to send shivers down the spine of even the most lionhearted explorers. It’s no wonder then that Bram Stoker concocted the infamous and chilling story of Dracula in this seemingly sleepy seaside town. We recommend, if you haven’t already, not reading the book before you visit…
The lost city of England
The Anglo-Saxon town of Dunwich once stood as the proud capital of the Kingdom of the Eastern Angles, matching 14th-century London in size. However, after a huge storm and eroding cliffs, the town now lies beneath the waves off the Norfolk coast and some say you can hear the old church bells still ringing…
The Island of 20,000 saints
Once the site of an ancient monastery, tiny Bardsey Island off the coast of Wales is said to be the burial site of thousands of saints. Some believe it’s the location where King Arthur is buried, while others believe it’s a burial site for countless monks – which would explain the ghosts of robed figures said to haunt the island…
The most haunted pub in Wales?
The Skirrid Mountain Inn in Abergavenny is one of the oldest, and many say, the most haunted pub in Wales. With a history dating back to the Norman Conquest this building has seen every horror from executions to witchcraft. Stay overnight for a daunting experience - slamming doors, loud footsteps and even hushed voices await you on your ghost hunts here.