Haunted houses UK: The eight spookiest places to visit for Halloween

Ghost hunter Mark Vernon visits Derby Gaol

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New data from Hilarys has revealed one in seven UK homeowners believe their house is haunted, and just over a third of Britons think they have had an experience with the supernatural in their lifetime. If you’re not in this group but you’re keen to change that, you’ll probably want to go to a known haunted house on the scariest day of the year – Halloween. Not sure where to go? Don’t worry, Express.co.uk reveals the eight spookiest places to visit for Halloween this year.

The Old Queen’s Head or York Theatre Royal, Yorkshire

A study carried out by PaulCamper, analysed the Paranormal Database’s huge record of sightings, submitted by the public, to discover the most haunted cities and counties in the UK and found that Yorkshire tops the list of spookiest counties in the UK.

The team on the study said: “Boasting the most amount of fairy sightings as well as 16 reports of UFOs and enough ghosts to send a shiver down anyone’s spine, Yorkshire was found to be the county with the highest number of paranormal reports with a whopping 786 sightings.

“The county takes the top spot as the most haunted location ahead of Greater London which has had more than 100 fewer reports of paranormal activity.”

There are a few haunted houses and other venues in the county, but the two that stand out the most are the Old Queen’s Head and the York Theatre Royal.

The team explained: “The Old Queen’s Head is a pub where several ghosts and spirits are said to make regular appearances, York Theatre Royal have a ghost called The Grey Lady, who is reputed to be one of the nuns who ran the medieval hospital of St Leonard’s.”

The Vyne, Hampshire

According to the National Trust, The Vyne in Hampshire isn’t one to miss at Halloween.

This Tudor home with links to Henry VIII is swarming with ghosts, according to staff, visitors and volunteers.

Not only have ghosts been spotted, but they’ve also interacted with the living through other senses.

About 20 years ago a ghost pushed a member of staff into the back of a cleaning cupboard and slammed the door on them, and more recently, staff heard footsteps running to the door of the room they were in.

After hearing the footsteps, they jokingly asked if the ghost could help them with their research and the ghost responded: “Yes, I can”… but there was no one else in the building!

If you head over to the visitor chairs, you might see a lady ghost seated with her head bowed in prayer.

Green Park, London

If you’re looking for an outdoor haunted area, pay a visit to Green Park in London

GardeningExpress.co.uk told Express.co.uk there’s one sinister ‘Death Tree’ in the park grounds.

Don’t go too close though, as legend has it that anyone who falls asleep under the tree never wakes up again!

The team explained: “The tree has only been identified in the past by claims of a black figure that’s been spotted under the tree, park wardens have said they’ve heard a man’s voice around the area, and moans have been heard coming from the tree.”

Highgate Cemetery, London

Highgate Cemetry is a popular place for Londoners to visit, Halloween or not.

The grounds are absolutely beautiful but haunted.

In a letter to the Hampstead and Highgate Express in 1970, a vampire sighting was reported by an onlooker who had noticed it when passing the cemetery, Gardening Express explained.

He said he glimpsed “a grey figure” and asked if others had seen anything similar.

Several people replied describing a variety of ghosts said to haunt the cemetery or the adjoining Swains Lane.

The ghosts were described as a tall man in a hat, a spectral cyclist, a woman in white, a face glaring through the bars of a gate, a figure wading into a pond, a pale gliding form, bells ringing, and voices calling.

Sounds terrifying, right? Halloween is your best bet of seeing something similar at the cemetery.

Buckland Abbey, Devon

Historical figure and English explorer, sea captain and politician Francis Drake’s ghost has made itself at home in Buckland Abbey in Devon.

The Abbey is a house that was built on a former abbey owned and lived in by Sir Francis Drake in 1580.

The locals at the time feared him and thought he had supernatural powers or that he had only defeated the Spanish Armada because he had made a pact with the Devil.

His ghost is believed to ride across Dartmoor in a black coach driven by headless horses, led by twelve chattering goblins and pursued by a pack of baying dogs.

This trip is sure to send shivers down your spy, but don’t bring your dogs! Any living dog that hears the barking of the ghost dogs is said to die instantly.

The Castle Keep, Newcastle Castle

Regarded as one of the city’s most haunted locations, a night-time guided tour inside Newcastle’s Castle Keep is among the creepiest walks you could ever sign up for, according to Langley Castle Hotel.

Once used as a gloomy and inhospitable prison, you will be able to explore the castle in small groups and see what lugubrious activities you can unearth in its dark rooms, including the King’s Chamber, the Great Hall, the Chapel and the Dungeons.

Halloween is the day where spirits are most likely to show themselves, so you might witness the growling sounds and shady black figures that fellow paranormal investigators have experienced over the years.

Corfe Castle, Dorset

If you’re anywhere near Corfe Castle in Dorset this Halloween, a quick drive is worth it if you want to see ghostly activity.

The murder of 18-year-old Anglo-Saxon heir to the throne, Edward the Martyr, occurred around 978AD in this very castle.

Edward was killed by his stepmother Queen Elfrida because she wanted her own son Ethelred The Unready to be King instead.

Later, in the thirteenth century, King John imprisoned 22 captured Frenchmen in the Corfe dungeons and left them there to starve to death.

Then In 1327, Edward II was imprisoned at Corfe Castle before he was murdered in Gloucestershire.

During the Civil War in the seventeenth century, the Royalist Bankes family called Corfe Castle home and managed to prevent it from being taken by the Cromwell’s roundheads.

However, they were betrayed in 1645 and the roundheads got in and seized control, and later blew up parts of the castle.

Ever since a headless woman in white has been seen stalking the walls and battlements, and this ghost is said to be the woman who betrayed the Bankes.

Ham House, Surrey

Ham House in Surrey is well known for its ghost tours linked to the ghost of Elizabeth Murray, Duchess of Lauderdale.

Elizabeth, a friend of Charles II and Oliver Cromwell, inherited Ham House from her father in 1655.

She was an ambitious and ruthless figure who desired to be liked but would always stand up for herself.

When Elizabeth’s first husband died suddenly, she quickly married the recently-widowed John Maitland, First Earl of Lauderdale.

Some people thought Elizabeth was responsible for killing her husband and the Earl’s wife.

When Elizabeth’s second husband died suddenly, she fell into financial problems and ill health and was confined in a single ground floor apartment in Ham House.

This apartment still stands today and there’s an eerie vibe when you enter the room – dogs have been known to be reluctant to enter.

There is also a large looking glass dating from Elizabeth’s time that some people say they are too scared to glance into because they don’t want to see Elizabeth!

Staff, on entering the room, say: “Good afternoon your ladyship” just to be on the safe side.

Even more scarily, a woman in black believed to be Elizabeth has been seen on the stairs near this room, so you might catch a glimpse of the lady herself!

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