Whether or not you believe in ghosts, there’s something spooky about staying in a place where sightings have been reported. Test your mettle (or cry under the covers) at some of the UK’s most haunted hotels this Halloween. Here are the stories behind a few of them:
Airth Castle Hotel in Scotland’s Stirlingshire dates back to the 14th century and is surrounded by an even older (12th-century) graveyard. The castle apparently plays host to a ghost nanny and two children who are said to have perished in a fire at the castle; sounds of children have been heard in rooms 3, 9 and 23. A ghost dog bites ankles and the screams of an attacked maid can also be heard. Calm your nerves by relaxing at the spa with this deal.
The Ancient Ram Inn in Gloucestershire has been featured on "Ghost Adventures" and "Most Haunted". Thought to date from around 1145, the building is on the site of a pagan burial ground and served as a priests’ house before it was converted to an inn. Visitors have reported hearing a crying baby in the kitchen, as well as ghostly apparitions and the sound of something being dragged across the floor -- said to be the ghost of the innkeeper’s daughter who was murdered there.
The aptly titled Chillingham Castle in Northumberland, home to the same family for centuries, was subject to many an attack from the Scottish. As such, there’s still a torture chamber in the basement with scratch marks and initials on its 7-inch thick oak door. In addition to voices in the chapel, reported visions include a pale woman who was poisoned and begs for water, as well as Blue Boy, whose screams can be heard from a tower wall in the Pink Room and whose bones were discovered behind said wall.
About 20 miles from Chester, 4-star Ruthin Castle in North Wales has the Grey Lady as a resident. The ghost of a woman who was sentenced to death for killing her husband’s lover with an axe and was buried outside the castle walls, Lady Grey now walks the battlements and the castle chapel. Spend a Sunday night there and receive a free spa treatment in the castle’s moat (for real).
On the Antrim coast, 20 miles from Belfast, Northern Ireland’s Ballygally Castle is rumoured to have played host to the ghost of Lady Isabella Shaw for hundreds of years. After she gave birth to Lord James Shaw’s son, he snatched his heir away and locked Lady Isabella in a room at the top of the castle. It’s unclear whether she fell to her death or Lord James -- or his henchmen -- did her in, but guests report a friendly ghost wandering the castle, searching for her son. Check out Lady Shaw’s "Ghost Room" with this deal.
Bring your torch and get going!