Experience spine-chilling thrills at some of the most hauntingly atmospheric houses and castles across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. With ghostly tales from centuries past, the houses, castles and abbeys of the National Trust are happy hunting grounds for an assortment of ghosts and ghouls. For a truly spooky Halloween, don’t miss these top 5 most haunted National Trust places:
Blickling Hall, Norfolk The present Jacobean house stands on the site of the former medieval manor which was home to the young Anne Boleyn, whose unhappy ghost is believed to wander the grounds of Blickling in the form of the Grey Lady. Other ghostly residents allegedly include Sir John Falstofe, and Sir Henry Hobart, whose dying groans can be heard emanating from the West Turret Bedroom on the anniversary of his death.
Halloween, 27 October 6pm-9pm Costumed mayhem and spooky goings-on in the house and gardens as Blickling opens after dark to celebrate All Hallows Eve. Suitable for families and brave children. £9 per adult, £5 per child or £25 per family. Booking is essential, please call 01263 738030. Croft Castle and Parkland, Herefordshire With centuries of history residing within its ancient walls, it is perhaps no surprise that Croft is reputed to be the most haunted house in the Midlands, with a total of seven spectres supposedly in residence. Of these, the most imposing is undoubtedly a 7-foot figure of a man clad in a leather jerkin, believed to be the ghost of Welsh freedom fighter Owain Glyndwr, from whom the Croft family are descended.
Halloween trails, 20 October – 4 November 10am-4.30pm Take part in one of our spooky trails around the gardens; find all the clues to win a prize. Make sure you keep a look out for the bats in the castle! Normal admission charges apply, plus £2 per trail. Booking not needed. Evening ghost tour, 31 October 7pm-9.30pm Adults-only exclusive tour depicting the stories of Croft's infamous ghosts followed by supper and wine. £20 per person. For booking and more information, please call 01568 780246. Dinefwr, Carmarthenshire Set in the middle of this eighteenth century landscape park is Newton House which, it is rumoured, is haunted at night by Lady Elinor Cavendish. Lady Elinor was betrothed to a man she didn’t love and to escape him she sought refuge with her family at Dinefwr, but she was followed by her enraged suitor who then strangled her to death.
Staff believe that there is a presence still haunting the house. Lights switch themselves on and off, muffled voices reverberate around empty rooms and from time to time there is the unmistakeable aroma of pipe or cigar smoke. History and hauntings, 31 October 7pm – 11pm Learn the history and ghostly goings at this spooky event at Dinefwr. Join staff for an evening of darkness, led by torchlight around the house, learn the history and haunting stories behind the property. Normal admission charges apply. Booking not required. For more information please call 01558 825918. Hughenden Manor, Buckinghamshire With such strong personalities as Benjamin Disraeli and his wife Mary Anne as its most famous inhabitants, perhaps it is no surprise that they appear to have imprinted themselves on the house. On numerous occasions visitors have glimpsed ‘Dizzy’ Disraeli near the portrait at the foot of the stairs, many assuming he is a costumed actor or interpreter until they realise that the figure has mysteriously ‘dissolved’. Female visitors have also reported him grinning at them from this very spot.
Hallowe'en witchery, 27 October – 4 November 11am-4pm Spooky activities for all the family. Wear your creepiest costume! Normal admission charges apply. Booking not needed. Haunted Hughenden, 28, 30 and 31 October 5.30pm-6.30pm Explore Hughenden by night with the resident house manager and learn of the spooky happenings in the manor. Includes a spooky-themed tea. £10 per adult and £8 per child. Booking is essential. For more information, please call 01494 755573. Lanhydrock, Cornwall The largely late-Victorian house has long had a reputation for being haunted by an impressive variety of ghosts. A dapper gent wearing Victorian clothes complete with a top hat is frequently glimpsed; there is a grey lady, and a man supposedly hanged by the Royalist army during the Civil War. In addition there are accounts of sudden whiffs of cigar smoke and the sounds of children’s laughter in other rooms.
Spooky garden trail, 27-31 October 10am-5pm Prize trail in the garden with a spooky theme. Pick up a trail from the gatehouse...if you dare! Booking not needed. £1.50 per trail. Lamplight tours, 19 and 26 October 7pm-10pm Join the Victorian tour guides for a ‘pre-electricity’ tour around the house and meet some spooky past occupants… Booking is essential. £15 per person, including a two-course supper in the restaurant. For more information, please call 01208 265950. For more information about National Trust haunted houses and days out, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/visit.