We’re deep in the middle of spooky season, and there are plenty of places in England to try and catch a paranormal sighting or two. Whilst many of these places offer picturesque beauty, they are also steeped in a history of spectral activity and eerie encounters. Here are some of the most haunted places in the country.
Pluckley Village, Ashford, Kent, TN27 0QS
Despite its beautiful landscape, Pluckley Village in Kent is frequently cited as one of the most haunted places in England, and was famously used for the 1990s shooting of The Darling Buds of May.
In fact, it was even ranked the Most Haunted Village in Britain in the Guinness Book of World Records in 1989, aided by the fact that an impressive 12-16 distinctive ghost sightings have been reported in the village.
It’s therefore little surprise the area has been visited by many spooky-site-seekers, with one such traveller reporting back on a trip to the local 900-year-old St Nicholas Church.
He said on Tripadvisor: “The church is haunted too but [I] didn’t hang around to find out! You can walk for about a mile through the orchards to Hothfield where another oldy woldy pub awaits, The Swan. Pluckley, the most haunted village in the UK, just fascinating.”
READ MORE: The top 10 spookiest castles to visit this Halloween
Blickling Hall, Norwich, NR11 6NF
Once home to the Boleyn family, the majestic Blickling Hall is one of the most haunted houses in Britain.
Anne Boleyn herself, who was famously beheaded by her husband King Henry VIII for failing to provide him a son, is said to visit the manor on the anniversary of her death (19th May) every year.
A member of staff working at the stately home even once reported seeing the figure of a woman reading a book in the library, who then disappeared when the staff member got close, leaving behind only a book left on a page displaying a painting of Anne Boleyn.
Pendle Hill, Lancashire, BB12 9JR
Pendle Hill’s claim to eerie activity dates back to the 17th century, when there was growing hysteria over the supposed practice of witchcraft.
Among the most famous “witches” in Britain were the 12 women who were put on trial at Lancaster Castle in 1612 for the murder of up to ten people – with ten of them subsequently found guilty. Pendle Hill is therefore believed to be the home of the witches’ restless spirits, with their bodies buried overlooking the village of Newchurch.
There have been reports of a number of people feeling being strangled with invisible hands when there, and the area now makes the most of its freaky atmosphere, offering a number of chilling ghost walks and overnight ghost hunts to visitors.
Ancient Ram Inn, Gloucestershire, Wotton-under-Edge, GL12 7HF
If you were to design the typical haunted house, you’d be hard-pressed to come up with something that looks much different from Gloucestershire’s Ancient Ram Inn. Built in 1145, atop two ancient Ley Lines that supposedly draw their energy from Stonehenge, the Ram Inn has a chequered history amid the world of ghosts and ghouls.
One of the inn’s most famous paranormal occupants is believed to be a woman who was a witch in the 1500s and sought shelter there to escape the witch hunts, until she was eventually captured – although her spirit is believed to linger on.
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Chillingham Castle, Northumberland, Chillingham, NE66 5NJ
This site is Chillingham by name, and chilling by nature. Situated just 20 miles of Alnwick, this castle was initially built as a stronghold in the 12th century and has consequently seen lots of death and gruesome activity over the years.
There is consequently said to be a number of tortured ghosts, along with the friendlier sort, that occupy the castle.
Chief among these figures are the White Pantry Ghost, who has been sighted begging for water in the inner pantry, and Blue Boy, who is rumoured to have been seen in the castle’s Pink Room, emitting blue halos of light.
Berry Pomeroy Castle, Devon, Totnes, TQ9 6LJ
Initially given as a gift by William the Conqueror to Ralph de Pomeroy, people shouldn’t be fooled by the idyllic sight of this grand Devonshire house.
The grounds are said to be haunted by two spirits: the White Lady (thought to be the spirit of Margaret Pomery) and the Blue Lady (also thought to be a member of the Pomery family, who will lure passers-by before pushing them to their death from the castle tower).
Nowadays, the site is managed by the English Heritage, meaning visitors can stroll the ancient grounds and get a full sense of its spooky history.
Samlesbury Hall, Lancashire, Samlesbury, Preston, PR5 0UP
Samlesbury Hall is known today as one of the most haunted locations in Britain, with the ghost of Dorothy Southworth – a former resident of the family home – said to dwell on-site.
Southworth’s story is a typical, ancient romantic conundrum: after the man she secretly planned to elope with, because of their different religions, was killed, Southworth was sent to a convent, where she died of a broken heart.
Many claim to have witnessed Southworth’s spirit on the grounds, and because the 700-year-old site is free, you can visit to try and witness for yourself.
Corfe Castle, Dorset, Wareham, Dorset, BH20 5EZ
Corfe Castle dates back to the Norman times, with its construction having begun by William the Conqueror, and as such it has a significant and colourful history.
The Woman in White remains the castle’s most-sighted ghostly visitor, often on the bridge leading up to the castle.
One local resident reported seeing the woman in 1967 in the village of Corfe, whilst other spooky sights and sounds have been noted, including the cries of a child and lights in the middle of the night.
Buckland Abbey, Devon, Yelverton, PL20 6EY
Buckland Abbey bears a huge amount of history, having once been owned by Sir Francis Drake, who bought it from his great rival, Sir Richard Grenville, in 1581.
Despite Drake’s hero status as an explorer, and as a vice-admiral in the navy, many locals feared his success in the Spanish Armada was the result of a deal he struck with the devil.
As a result, the great voyager’s ghost is thought to haunt the Abbey and is said to ride across Dartmoor by headless horses, with chattering goblins leading the way.
Buckland Abbey is now owned by the National Trust with visitors able to explore the site and see the drum which once belonged to Drake, and which sounds just before England is in danger – as it did just prior to the First World War.
Felbrigg Hall, Norfolk, Felbrigg, Norwich, Norfolk, NR11 8PP
Felbrigg Hall Estate was once owned by William Windham III, and it’s through him that the grounds have gained their ghostly reputation.
An avid book lover, Windham III once tried to save his beloved books after a fire broke out in his friend’s library in 1809 and would die a few weeks later after succumbing to his injuries.
Windham’s ghost is thought to frequently visit the estate’s gothic library, to read the books he wasn’t able to during his life, with staff there having reportedly witnessed him doing so on a number of occasions.
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