With the holidays upon us and kids to entertain you’re probably looking for something slightly more exciting to entertain them than trips to local museums and art galleries. Whether you’re a UK resident or you’re planning on popping over for your holidays, there are some great places to keep the whole family entertained. With vampires, werewolves and all things spooky being so in fashion at the moment, why not check out some of the top haunted places in the UK?
The Tower of London is said to be the most haunted place in the UK. With a long history of imprisonment, torture and some rather gruesome deaths of some of the most iconic people in British history it’s really not surprising that some of them have stuck around. The most famous deceased resident of this infamous tourist attraction is Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry the VIII. Being locked up on charges of adultery, incest and treason this scandalous royal is said to wander the grounds carrying her severed head under her arm. Anne is just one of many ghosts of royal descent said to still inhabit this monumental structure, and one of the less physical too. Visitors, guards and prisoners throughout history have claimed to not only see but also feel the presence of earth bound spirits over the years.
If you’re looking for ghosts in London and in particular you were after a glimpse of Anne Boleyn and you couldn’t see her at the tower of London, it may be because she’s too busy haunting her second favourite building, Windsor Castle. Windsor Castle is one of the Queen of England’s official residents and the oldest standing castle in the world at almost 1,000 years old. When Anne’s head gets too heavy to carry around, she’s often seen sitting and staring out of one of the windows, quite ironic considering her ex-husband, Henery VIII who ordered her death is said to also haunt the castle. Even members of the living royal family have claimed to spot various members of their ancestry wandering around. Queen Elizabeth I is has also been sighted wandering around although she is only ever dressed in head to toe black which was only worn when in mourning in her day.
If you’re looking for something slightly more tranquil and a bit more rural, the beauty of the Lake District hides some sinister historical ghosts. Thirlmere Lake may look like any other calm and slightly boring lake, but hidden in its murky depths is the Armboth House. The last known inhabitants of this stunning country house were excitedly planning a wedding for their only daughter. The night before her wedding she went for a walk taking in the beauty of her surroundings when she was viscously pushed into the water, allegedly by her fiancé. Inconsolable after her death her family abandoned their house not long after. Despite the house being empty, locals still reported hearing strange noises on the anniversary of her death each year. Lights flickering on and off as well as the sounds from the rehearsal dinner were among the noises being reported. Eventually the entire village was flooded to be used as a reservoir yet those noises can still be heard and many feel a strange chill as they walk round the lake.
The SS Great Britain was the largest ship of her day back when she was originally built back in the mid 1800’s. She’s now housed at the Bristol Docks where she was first built and open to the public as a museum. She’s also said to be the most haunted ship in Briton. Sailing the seas in the Victorian era was not easy and it’s not surprising that there were several deaths on board ranging from the mundane and almost expected to the truly bizarre. One of the most ‘popular’ deceased inhabitants of this vessel is John Gray who was the ships captain in 1872. He mysteriously disappeared one night and although he’s rumoured to have committed suicide the ships records show that he was suffering from an unknown illness. Since the SS Great Briton has been has been open to the public a string of people from visitors to staff have claimed to have witnessed strange goings on. Among the most common is the sound of piano music coming from an empty music room, door handles been opened from inside empty rooms and the sound of heavy boots running down empty corridors.
The last place on my list has been left till last on purpose as it’s really not the most advisable place if you are looking to entertain your kids over the holidays. Borley Rectory is widely agreed to be the most haunted house in Briton. Unlike the other ghosts on my list, the ones that hang around here aren’t the gentle chain rattling, peaceful chill kind of ghost. Over the last hundred years this tragic house has had a gory and even horrific past. The most famous ghost to haunt this building is said to be that of a nun, the same nun who was bricked up alive in the rectory after attempting to elope with a monk who she’d fallen in love with. Throughout the early 1900’s the rectory failed to find any occupants who were willing to stay for very long and with stories of inhabitants being thrown across the room, punched and knocked down as well as young girls being locked in unlockable rooms, it’s hardly surprising. Although burning down in 1939 it still remains one the most haunted places in England.
Kim works for Schofields, a holiday cottage insurance provider in the UK