Haunted houses have always been a subject of fascination, with their dark and mysterious pasts. The history and folklore surrounding these haunted dwellings are as intriguing as the paranormal phenomena they are said to host. Many haunted houses in the UK have a rich history that dates back centuries, with tales passed down through generations. These stories often involve tragic events, untimely deaths, and unexplained occurrences that have left an indelible mark on these structures. From ancient castles where battles were fought to lonely pubs with hidden secrets, the history of haunted houses is an intricate tapestry of human emotions and supernatural encounters.
One such example is the infamous Borley Rectory, known as the most haunted house in England. Built during the late 19th century, the rectory was plagued by strange happenings from the beginning. The stories of ghostly apparitions, poltergeist activity, and unexplained noises soon spread, attracting the attention of paranormal enthusiasts and investigators. The rectory became a symbol of the supernatural, with countless accounts of eerie encounters and ghostly sightings. Sadly, the building was destroyed by fire in 1939, but the legends surrounding Borley Rectory continue to intrigue and terrify to this day. For this reason, you won’t find the house on this list.
Ancient Ram Inn, Gloucestershire
The Ancient Ram Inn dates back to 1145 and is claimed to be one of the most haunted buildings in the country. The inn is supposedly built on a pagan burial ground, and visitors have reported seeing up to 20 different spectres, including a witch who was burned at the stake, a high priestess, and even demonic entities.
One of the most notorious spirits is that of a centurion on horseback, seen passing through walls, and a young girl named Rosie, who was murdered in the attic. If that’s not terrifying enough, the inn’s current owner claims to have been physically pulled out of bed by some of these spirits, making this a must-visit for the bravest of ghost hunters.
The Tower of London, London
Few places in the UK are as historically bloody as the Tower of London. It has been the setting for beheadings, tortures, imprisonments, and royal intrigue since it was commissioned by William the Conqueror in the 11th century. This brutal history makes it a magnet for paranormal activity.
Perhaps the most famous ghost said to wander the tower is Anne Boleyn, the second wife of King Henry VIII. She was beheaded in 1536, and her headless body has been seen haunting the chapel of St Peter ad Vincula where she is buried. Other apparitions include Lady Jane Grey, the two ‘Princes in the Tower’ and a phantom bear that gave a guard such a fright he reportedly died of shock.
Also known as Massereene Castle, it was a stunning architectural marvel in Northern Ireland. Though it was tragically destroyed by fire in 1922, the remains, including the Italian tower and gardens, still stand today. The castle grounds, steeped in centuries of history, have a dark and eerie past that makes it a hotspot for ghostly apparitions and unexplained phenomena.
The most famous ghost of Antrim Castle is the White Lady, believed to be the spirit of Lady Katherine Grey, the daughter of the 3rd Earl of Hertford. As the legend goes, in 1618, Lady Katherine, distraught over a forbidden love, died after falling from her tower. Since then, her mournful ghost has been spotted wandering the castle grounds, often seen near the tower where she met her tragic end. Another chilling presence is that of a young servant boy who supposedly died in the castle fire. Visitors often report hearing his phantom footsteps or witnessing doors mysteriously open and close. A visit to Antrim Castle is not for the faint of heart as the chilling energy and tales of lost souls continue to linger.
The Jamaica Inn, Cornwall
The Jamaica Inn, built in 1750, is known for its smuggling past and its hauntings. The inn was a hub for murderers, thieves, and smugglers, who would use the foggy moor to their advantage. Visitors have reported hearing phantom footsteps and ghostly conversations in a strange language thought to be old Cornish.
One of the resident ghosts is a man who was murdered after hiding a stash of contraband in the inn. His spirit, along with the chilling sounds of horses’ hooves and the metal rims of stagecoach wheels, have been known to send shivers down the spines of many visitors.
Hampton Court Palace, Surrey
Hampton Court Palace is a hotbed for ghostly activity, with two of Henry VIII’s wives reportedly haunting the location. Catherine Howard, the king’s fifth wife, was arrested for adultery and supposedly dragged screaming through the gallery. Her ghost has often been seen, repeating her frantic escape attempt.
Another ghastly resident is the ghost of Sibell Penn, known as ‘The Lady in Grey’. After her tomb was disturbed in the 19th century, sightings of her began to be reported and Hampton Court topped the list of Haunted Houses UK for a while. , accompanied by a mysterious sound of a spinning wheel. When a hidden chamber was discovered containing an old spinning wheel, the ghostly sightings grew even more frequent.
Chillingham Castle has a reputation for being one of the most haunted locations in the UK. It was a site of intense torture during the medieval period, and the castle’s dungeon and torture chamber remain in their original state, complete with a 7-foot deep pit where prisoners would be left to starve.
The castle’s most famous apparition is the ‘blue boy’, who supposedly haunts the Pink Room. Guests report seeing blue halos of light near the wall or hearing a boy’s cries in the dead of night. Other ghoulish sightings include the ‘white pantry ghost’, a frail figure often seen in the castle’s pantry, looking for food and water.
Created in the 1750s as a meeting place for the Hellfire Club, a group infamous for scandal and black magic rituals. It’s believed that their wickedness has left a permanent imprint with eerie echoes, cold spots, and shadowy figures.
Woodchester Mansion, Gloucestershire
Unfinished and abandoned, Woodchester Mansion is a spooky shell said to be haunted by numerous ghosts, including a phantom horseman, a tall man, and floating coffins.
The castle has a long, rich history involving family dramas, deadly plagues, and of course, supernatural occurrences, earning it a spot on the list. The most infamous ghost of Crathes Castle is the Green Lady. She’s believed to be a servant girl or a ward of the Burnett family who mysteriously vanished after becoming pregnant. Her apparition, dressed in a green robe and often seen cradling an infant in her arms, has been sighted frequently in a room now known as the ‘Green Lady’s Room’. The sightings are often accompanied by a chilling drop in temperature.
Even more disturbing, during renovation work in the 1800s, skeletal remains of a woman and a child were discovered under the fireplace of this room, lending a grim authenticity to the haunting tales. Whether the Green Lady is seeking justice or simply longing for her untold story to be known, her spectral presence continues to intrigue and chill those who visit Crathes Castle.
Situated in the heart of Pembrokeshire, the ruinous Carew Castle has stood for over 2,000 years, serving as the backdrop for countless historical events and legendary tales. The castle blends Norman and Elizabethan architecture with a unique mix of military fortification and grandeur. The castle’s history is steeped in tales of Celtic princes, Norman overlords, and Tudor magnates, making it an intriguing place filled with an eeriness only centuries of history can bestow.
Perhaps the most notorious ghost that haunts Carew Castle is that of Sir Roland Rhys, a knight who served under Henry Tudor. According to legend, Sir Roland made a deal with a Barbary Ape called Satan, promising to set him free if he helped win the battle of Bosworth. When Sir Roland failed to keep his end of the bargain, the ape supposedly murdered him and is said to have taken over the castle. Visitors often report chilling encounters with this spectral ape, with claims of eerie noises and strange apparitions. Other reported hauntings include sightings of a Celtic warrior and the ghostly wails of Princess Nest, a renowned beauty of the Dark Ages who lived a life filled with intrigue and passion.
The Skirrid Mountain Inn
During its long existence, it has seen its fair share of bloody and tragic events, including serving as a courtroom during the period of the Welsh Revolt where, allegedly, over 180 felons were hanged from the oak beam over the staircase. This dark history has led to the inn being reputed as one of the most haunted places in Wales, with chilling paranormal activities that could make even the bravest souls quiver.
Guests and staff have reported a multitude of unsettling encounters. One of the most common apparitions is that of a hanged man, seen dangling from the beam, a chilling reminder of the inn’s gruesome past. An equally eerie apparition is that of Fanny Price, a former landlady who died of consumption in the 19th century. She is often seen in the main bar and has been known to move objects and even assist in running the pub from the afterlife. Many visitors have reported feeling a sudden tightening around their neck, as if an invisible noose has been slipped over their heads, followed by an overwhelming sensation of sadness and despair. These unexplained phenomena have earned Skirrid Mountain Inn its reputation as a hotbed of paranormal activity.
Tags: Haunted Houses UK