There’s more to England’s historic buildings than meets the eye. While many now welcome visitors daily, some have their own paranormal visitors that call them home.

As Halloween creeps ever closer, join Alnwick Castle as we discuss the most haunted places in England and the UK more widely. With many of the locations in our list open to the public, read these spooky stories and plan your visit today…if you dare!

1. St Briavals Castle

St. Briavals Castle is often referred to as the most haunted castle in the UK. Today, the castle is used as a youth hostel, but with high levels of paranormal activity reported, it may not be the best choice for getting a good night’s sleep!

Some of the strange goings-on that have been reported include hearing the cries of a baby coming from King John’s Bedroom, while other visitors have felt their clothes being tugged by unseen hands. Ghostly figures spotted at the castle include a black dog who wanders the rooms, a grey lady at the top corridor and a knight walking the castle’s grounds.

Overall, visitors have reported an overwhelming feeling of oppression, as if something otherworldly is present. In fact, some guests have reportedly left midway through their stay because of it.

2. Chillingham Castle

Chillingham Castle” by Andrew Stawarz is licensed for use under CC BY-ND 2.0.

Pay a visit to Chillingham Castle and you could well get chills, as the castle boasts some of the highest levels of paranormal activity in the country.

Many ghosts and ghouls have been sighted at the castle, with some even becoming notorious. The White Pantry Ghost is a frail white figure seen around The Inner Pantry. The pantry was formerly used to store silver, with a footman employed to sleep in the room and keep guard. One night, he was visited by a lady in white who begged him for water. Obliging thinking the woman was a castle guest, the man quickly realised the pantry was locked and no one could have entered!

Other paranormal activity includes the feeling that someone is watching you in the chamber, as well as the voices of two men in the chapel that suspiciously stop when you approach where it’s coming from.

3. Whitby Abbey

Image by TimHill from Pixabay.

Whitby may be best known as the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula, but there is more linking this Northern fishing village to the paranormal than just vampires. In fact, Whitby is supposedly home to no less than 12 sinister beings.

According to popular belief, if you look into the well at Whitby Abbey at midnight, you’ll face one of two fates. Those with a pure heart will see the face of St. Hilda, while those without are believed to be swept away by the devil.

Also sighted in the area is a ghostly hearse complete with headless horses and driver, which has been seen in front of St Mary’s Church before racing along the clifftops and into the sea.

4. Tower of London

Image by Pierre Blaché from Pixabay.

With a history defined by imprisonment and death, you’d expect a few ghosts and ghouls lurking around the Tower of London. There have been many reports of paranormal activity in the tower over the years, with some even claiming to see apparitions of former monarchs walking the grounds.

Visitors have reported seeing the ghosts of two young princes — believed to be Edward and Richard who mysteriously disappeared in around 1483. The boys are often sighted in the White Tower.

Another royal spirit said to visit the tower is the headless ghost of Anne Boleyn, who was beheaded at the tower in 1536. Her ghost has been spotted in many areas of the tower both inside and out, including the Chapel of St Peter where she was buried.

5. Edinburgh’s South Bridge Vaults

Edinburgh Vaults” by Nelo Hotsuma is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

For the next entry in our list of the most haunted places in the UK, we travel to Scotland for Edinburgh’s South Bridge Vaults, located deep underground.

While some buildings become haunted over time, it’s widely believed that the South Bridge Vaults were cursed from the off. In 1788, the city’s oldest resident was due to make the first official crossing into the vaults, but she died before its completion. Her coffin was the first to cross the bridge, leading many residents to believe the bridge was cursed.

With the vaults neglected by businesses and taken up as a residence by some of the most desperate in society, it’s reported that Burke and Hare would use the vaults to find bodies.

Many ghosts are said to haunt the vaults today, with visitors reporting seeing ghostly apparitions and some even suffering scratches and bruises. Most eerily, one radio recording from 2003 made in the vaults was unusable due to a Gaelic voice reportedly warning the presenters to “go away!”.

6. Black Swan Hotel, York

Because of its status as a historic city, York is home to many haunted locations, no less than The Swan Hotel, which dates back to the 15th Century.

There have been many supernatural goings-on at the hotel over the years, to the point where the hotel now attracts regular ghost hunters on the lookout for paranormal activity. According to reports, the ghost of a man wearing a bowler hat is often spotted at the bar, while the figure of a young woman in a white dress has been seen staring into the fireplace.

Perhaps the strangest of all is the reports of two legs — independent of a body — spotted walking around the hotel.

7. Pendle Hill, Lancashire

Image by mark2112 from Pixabay.

Pendle Hill in Lancashire can be regarded as one of the most haunted places in England thanks to its connection to the Lancashire witch trials.

The location was home to twelve accused witches in the 17th century, who were believed to have murdered 10 people. While one died during the trial, 10 of the witches were hung while one was found not guilty.

Today, the witches are said to haunt the buildings and villages of Pendle Hill. Visitors to the ghost tours which take place are said to feel anger, with some even feeling like they were being strangled by ghostly hands.

8. Hampton Court Palace

Image by waldomiguez from Pixabay.

A royal ghost is said to haunt Hampton Court Palace. Henry VIII’s wife Catherine Howard is believed to haunt a specific section of the Palace. Legend has it that when Howard was arrested at the palace, she escaped the guards and ran along the corridor to the Chapel Royal.

Believing the King to be in prayer, Catherine screamed for mercy. She was later executed at the Tower of London. Visitors to the palace have reported strange sensations when walking the corridor, believed to be the presence of Catherine’s ghost.

The palace is also reportedly home to the ghost of Sybil Penn, a former servant who died of small pox after nursing Elizabeth I when she suffered from the disease. Ghostly activity began in 1829 when her tomb was moved, with visitors reporting hearing the whir of a spinning wheel — which was later discovered in a small sealed chamber.

9. Felbrigg Hall

Felbrigg Hall” by Brian Snelson is licensed for use under CC BY 2.0.

Next up on our run-down of haunted places in the UK is Felbrigg Hall in Norfolk. Legend has it that the hall is haunted by book-lover and former resident William Windham III.

In 1809, a fire broke out in Windham’s friend’s library. As a lover of books, he couldn’t bare to see the books perish in the fire, so he risked his life to salvage some of the editions. Sustaining terrible injuries, Windham died a few weeks later.

The ghost of Windham has been spotted in the library at Felbrigg on multiple occasions, either at the table or seated in a chair. Many believe he has returned to the library to finish reading his collection, while some reports suggest the ghost only appears when certain books are open.

10. Alnwick Castle

Last but not least on our list is our very own Alnwick Castle. While it mightn’t be the most haunted place in England, there have been some strange goings on over the years, namely from the Alnwick Vampire!

Legend has it that a man who served the lord of Alnwick Castle suspected his wife of having an affair. Aiming to catch her in the act, he climbed onto the roof of their dwelling and fell to his death after breaking his neck.

Despite being buried, the man was spotted around the town! When illnesses spread and livestock began dying, the locals naturally suspected the man. They dug up his corpse to find it engorged with blood. Once the body was disposed of, the appearances and illnesses mysteriously stopped.

To this day, the man is known as the Alnwick Vampire. The name derived from medieval chronicler William of Newburgh, who used the term ‘bloodsucker’ to describe the man in his account of the tale – the first recorded use of the word in England.

If you’re brave enough, why not book your tickets to our special event, Alnwick Castle After Dark: Below Stairs? Running throughout October, it’s the perfect warm up for Halloween, as we take you into the walls of Alnwick Castle to discover the sinister secrets of this medieval castle.

Tickets are priced at £15 each and are available to buy from the 27th September 2019.