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28 Oct 2021
It may be home to one of the UK’s best universities, but not all Oxford residents are students—some are ghoulish forms and ghostly apparitions. With lots of strange sightings and unusual goings on, Oxford is widely believed to be one of the UK’s most haunted places.
Take the library of St John’s College for example. Many students have reported seeing the headless ghost of Archbishop William Laud kicking his head along the floor. He was beheaded in 1645 for impeachment of the Long Parliament.
If your nerves can handle it, pay a visit to Oxford Castle one of the most haunted buildings in the UK. There has been plenty of strange activity reported. One night, as a security guard finished his patrol, his dog stopped, cowered and started growling. Two large shadowy figures then appeared — a few days later, the poor dog died.
Look out for the ghost of Mary Blandy too. She was executed at the castle in 1752 for killing her father. She has since been spotted wandering the Castle Mound, where it’s reported she was hung for her crime.
Think you’ll be safe in the pub? Think again! Oxford is famed for its haunted inns, including the Trout Inn. It’s reportedly haunted by Rosamund, a love interest of Henry II. The story goes that she died from drinking poison given to her by Queen Eleanor. Her ghost haunts the area around the inn, throwing bottles from tables and creating a smell of heather whenever she appears. Eerily, Rosamund was buried holding a sprig of heather — creepy!
With its narrow cobbled streets and rich history, it’s little wonder that York is one of Britain’s most haunted cities — it’s the perfect horror movie set.
If you’re visiting to this city for Halloween, make sure you check out The Treasurer’s House. Back in 1953, a plumber was working on installing central heating in the building when he heard a horn sound. It gradually grew louder until a phantom carthorse and legion of Roman soldiers emerged, appearing to be on their knees. It was later discovered that the house sits on the site of an old Roman road – and the Roman soldiers clearly weren’t happy with their old roads being tampered with!
Taking your four-legged friend with you, stay away from the Ye Old Starre Inne, one of York’s many haunted ale houses. The ghosts of two black cats have been spotted around the bar, rumoured to be the spectral remnants of poor creatures who were bricked up inside of one of the pub’s pillars — a practice that was said to protect against bad fortune. Even if you can’t see them, they’ve been known to get dogs pretty upset around the pillar.
Beautiful York Minster is apparently haunted too. A famous ghost story dates back to the 1820s, when two women from a tour group got lost and wandered through the building. They bumped into a naval man who whispered into one of the lady’s ears. The story goes that the man was the lady’s brother and the pair had agreed that the first person to die had to visit the other and tell them if there was an afterlife.
The hometown of Romans, Vikings and even witches, Canterbury has some interesting tales to tell. The city has a lot of secrets hidden behind its picture-perfect exterior — they’re enough to give you goose bumps.
Canterbury Cathedral is a popular attraction for living visitors in the region — but it’s also visited on dark Friday evenings by the ghost of Nell Cook. A servant to the canon of the cathedral, Nell discovered her employer was having an affair and decided to poison him with a pie. As punishment, she was buried alive under the cathedral’s Dark Entry and still haunts there today. The scariest part? Stories tell that those who have seen Nell’s ghost have died shortly afterwards.
Need a cup of tea to settle those nerves? Tiny Tim’s Tearoom is another haunted Canterbury location and is said to be regularly visited by the spirits of three young children. When restoration work was carried out, panelling was removed, revealing the children’s hair and teeth, as well as the birth and death dates for each of them. This disturbance is said to have awoken the spirits of the children, who are now sometimes spotted moving objects, turning taps on and whispering to guests.
The Scottish capital is home to many spine-tingling stories, a result of the city’s extensive and often dark history.
Proudly overlooking the city is Edinburgh castle—but it’s what lurks beneath that will really interest you this Halloween. The dungeon is supposedly haunted by a former prisoner who tried to escape in a wheelbarrow of dung. His attempt failed and his spirit now spends its days trying to push visitors over the edge of Castle Rock. Thankfully, his pungent smell makes visitors aware beforehand!
Legend has it that Greyfriar’s Kirkyard is home to the Mackenzie Poltergeist. The spirit was allegedly awoken by a homeless man who broke into the mausoleum. Since then, more than 350 people who have visited the site have reported being attacked. Many leave with unexplained cuts and bruises —are they from the ghostly figure?
Of course, we couldn’t forget about Edinburgh’s underground city, the Niddry Street Vaults. Now a popular attraction for ghost-hunters, the area became a hotspot for brothels and crime. Notorious criminals Burke and Hare reportedly used the vaults to search for and store their victims.
If you are visiting, there’s one room that remains in darkness. Despite having a sound electrical supply, every lightbulb installed would instantly explode. Anyone who ventures to the area is pushed and pulled, so it’s widely believed that it’s the work of a particularly angry spirit.
There you have it: four of the creepiest places to visit in the UK this Halloween! They’re not for the faint-hearted so you might want to travel in numbers using one of our great value Autumn tickets.