England has a rich and sometimes gruesome history, making it the perfect location for travellers wishing to add a few frightful sights or gasps of horror to their trip. The country has been home to witch hunts, ghost sightings, demonic possessions, and countless of other terror-inducing events. From castles to mansions, to even entire villages, these spooky places could be a unique and unforgettable addition to any holiday. Let’s take a look at the spookiest places in England that will give you chills.
1. Tower of London
Constructed almost 950 years ago, the Tower of London is perhaps Britain’s most famous haunted destination.The building was commissioned by William the Conqueror in 1078 and the tower walls have held multiple executions, tortures, and suffering, imprisoned souls. The once queen of England, Anne Boleyn, not only spent happy years within the infamous Tower, but also, as ordered by her husband, William XIII, was incarcerated and executed at this location. With the many executions held here, there have also been multiple ghost sightings. In fact, BBC once sent a team of paranormal experts to the Tower to investigate; one in ten of the creepy things they experienced are to this day left unexplained.
2. Pendle Hill, Lancashire
In the late seventeenth century, Pendle Hill was the home to twelve accused witches, all of whom were thought to be murderers. There were ten hangings that took place on Pendle Hill, the result is in an eeriness surrounding the 557-metre-high ground. The location has continued to be associated with witchcraft, and each Halloween hundreds gather there to witness the supernatural. Be wary of the paranormal, though; some visitors report being strangled by invisible hands.
3. Hampton Court Palace, London
There are over 1,300 creepy chambers inside this palace, home to many reported ghosts that include one named Skeletor. The ghost of the Gray Lady, a nurse at the house in 1562, has been held responsible for the persistent sounds of an antique spinning wheel. The Screaming Lady, the spirit of a woman actually executed in the Tower of London, is said to be haunting the gallery. Multiple victims have experienced chills or have even fainted, indicating that the Screaming Lady may still be there today.
4. Hellfire Caves, West Wycombe
The man-made caves are located over a quarter of a mile underground, and they’re considered to be one of the most haunted locations in the United Kingdom. The cave has a history of hosting many pagan rituals, including satanic rituals, orgies, and sacrifices. Today, evidence of a poltergeist comes in the form of mysterious pebbles being thrown as well as sounds of footsteps and chanting. If you’re a visitor 18 years and older, you may be able to attend the ‘Double Dare,’ a ghost tour by candlelight followed by a paranormal investigation.
5. Saint Briavels Castle, Gloucestershire
The castle has been a popular choice for ghost hunters, and it rarely leaves visitors disappointed. One of the most hair-raising noises reported is the sound of a wailing baby, but it’s the history of the building that might induce the most fear. Beneath one trapdoor is a dungeon where captives were locked up and simply forgotten. If that’s not scary enough, try visiting the Hanging Room. You, too, might leave feeling a lingering sensation similar to a rope around your neck.
6. Ham House, Surrey
Supremely royal and one of the finest houses in England, Ham House has been the home to Elizabeth the Duchess and Elizabeth the ghost since the 1650s. Elizabeth reportedly still wonders through the home she once loved dearly, wearing a black dress and shoes that clack as she walks up and down the stairs. The room the Duchess once resided in (and died in) is much colder than the rest of the house, and it brings about a very uncomfortable feeling to anyone that enters.
7. Borley Rectory, Essex
Thought to be the most haunted house in England, Borley Rectory is so famous that there are movies and books about the paranormal activities that have taken place there. Local legend has it that a monk and his future bride were both killed there after attempting to elope. As the inhabitants of the rectory changed in the years to come, the once peaceful spirits began to wreak havoc on those who lived there. Not only have multiple noises been reported, but occupants have also have had items stolen, have been suspiciously locked out, and have even been slapped and suffocated by unseen forces. Visitors today can bear witness to poltergeist activity by viewing the pleas of the ghosts, seen as messages written on the walls.
8. Chillingham Castle, Northumberland
The history of this garrison castle includes death, and a lot of it. Equipped with a dungeon, an armory, and a gruesome torture chamber (that even has a sloped floor to drain the blood!), it’s no wonder that the castle is still home to many ghosts. Along with all of the beheaded knights, there are three main phantoms to look for: Lady Mary Berkeley, the Blue Boy, and the Torturer. Listen for whispers during the midnight ghost tour, as these are sure to give you the chills.
9. Pluckley, Kent
This quaint village has been given the Guinness Book of World Records title of “the most haunted village in England.” This award is in large part due to 12 different reports of ghost sightings on what is referred to as “fright corner.” The ghosts vary in appearance, from a Screaming Man, who was killed many years ago in a quarry accident, to the Old Gypsy, who fell asleep while smoking a pipe and burned to death. The village is also home to a haunted pub and the eerie St. Nicholas church, a location rich with supernatural activity. Knocks and bursts have been heard there, and on many nights the lights are seen flickering. While there are only 12 officially reported ghosts, try your luck at spotting one of the other 30 that are thought to be living there.
Whether you love the supernatural, or you just want to give yourself a scary adventure, you can’t pass up visiting some of these spooky places in England. So, which one do you think you’ll visit first?
Chris Young: Originally from England, Chris moved to Australia in 2001 where he lives with his lovely wife and two sons. He’s the founder of England Explore, which is dedicated to the love of his place of birth and his appreciation of the culture and history of England. He hopes that his site gives others insight into the true essence of England.
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1 CommentLeave a comment
There’s nothing spooky about Pendle Hill in Lancs. It’s interesting but not spooky. It’s a pretty little village in the middle of nothing with a tiny museum run by a really friendly guy, some nice hiking trails and a few pubs.
Hampton Court Palace could be spooky if it wasn’t for the millions of tourists. Who in their right mind would bother haunting Hank and Mabel on vacation or Ohio or one of the many Japanese holidaymakers taking photos of door handles?!
If you want a genuinely spooky place head just across the border to Wales. There’s a place called Llancaiach Fawr. It’s a haunted manor house from the 17th century. Some complicated history to do with the English civil war. It’s well worth a look.