Welcome to our grand tour of the haunted castles in England, where each stone tells a story, and the corridors echo with more than just the footsteps of tourists. England, with its rich history and love for a good ghost story, is home to some of the most astonishing haunted castles in the world. From the ghostly cries of Anne Boleyn at the Tower of London to the solemn marches of Roman soldiers in the cellars of Treasurer’s House, each castle we’ll explore is a chapter straight out of a historical thriller, spiced up with a dash of the supernatural.
So, grab your flashlight and a sturdy pair of shoes – we’re about to step into a world where history doesn’t just live in textbooks, but wanders the hallways and battlements of these ancient strongholds, sometimes even after the sun goes down.
Helpful Resources For Exploring Haunted Castles In England
Research Before You Visit: Each castle has its unique history and its own ghost stories and knowing a bit about these things will enrich your experience even more.
Check Opening Times and Accessibility: Some castles have limited visiting hours or might be closed during certain time of the year.
Also, many of these castles are kind of remote and might require renting a car to get there. You can use our Auto Europe link and compare the best deals from all local vendors to make sure you’re always getting the best deal. For more info, you can check out our honest Auto Europe review.
Dress Appropriately: Castles can be chilly, damp, and have uneven grounds which is why you should wear comfortable, sturdy footwear and always have an extra layer that will keep you warm if necessary.
Stay on Designated Paths: For your safety and the preservation of these historic sites, it’s important to stick to the areas open to the public.
Join a Guided Tour: Many castles offer guided tours, which can provide deeper insight into the history and hauntings of the site and share ghost stories and lesser-known facts. For example, if you’re into dark tourism you might like this Staffordshire ghost tour, this York dark history walking tour, this Oxford City twilight ghost tour, and the London ghost walk.
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Chillingham Castle, Northumberland
Chillingham Castle is 12th century stronghold with medieval architecture and shadowy history that looks like it jumped out of a gothic novel. Chillingham’s claim to fame? It’s reputedly one of the most haunted castles in England.
The most famous specter, the “Blue (or Radiant) Boy,” has been giving visitors the heebie-jeebies for centuries. Legend has it, he wails through the castle at midnight, leaving an eerie blue halo in his wake. And then there’s the ghost of Lady Mary Berkeley, who’s been wandering the halls in search of her husband who supposedly ran off with her sister.
Alnwick Castle, Northumberland
Alnwick Castle in Northumberland is where history and legend play a fascinating game of hide and seek. Alnwick might not have the same ghostly reputation as its neighbor, Chillingham Castle, but it has been around since the Norman times, and experienced a lot throughout the years. The castle’s most famous ghostly inhabitant, the “Grey Lady,” also adds to its haunted reputation. She’s like the castle’s shadowy hostess, wandering the corridors and perhaps mourning a long-lost love or untold secret.
When visiting, keep an open mind and a watchful eye. You might come for the castle’s stunning architecture and rich history, but the chance to brush shoulders with the supernatural – especially a story as unique as Alnwick’s vampire – is an experience that’s hard to replicate.
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Dover Castle, Kent
This isn’t just any castle; it’s like the granddaddy of English fortresses, perched atop the iconic white cliffs. It’s seen everything from Roman times to WWII, but let’s not forget its more ‘spirited’ side.
First off, there’s the headless drummer boy. It’s not every day you hear about a ghost who’s lost his head, but hey, it’s Dover Castle. The story goes that this poor lad met a grisly end centuries ago, and now he marches the castle grounds, drumming away. No body, no problem, right? Visitors have reported hearing the distant sound of drumming, but when they go looking, there’s no drummer to be found. Spooky? Absolutely. A great anecdote for dinner parties? Even better.
Hever Castle, Kent
Next on our list of haunted castles in England we have Hever Castle in Kent. This charming Tudor house, more famous for its romantic connections to Anne Boleyn than its spooks, hides a ghostly side that could give any gothic mansion a run for its money.
Let’s start with Anne Boleyn herself. She’s the headliner ghost of Hever Castle – and, yes, she has her head in these appearances. Anne, Henry VIII’s ill-fated queen, grew up here, and it seems she’s not quite ready to leave her childhood home. Visitors have reported seeing her wandering the castle and its grounds, a wistful figure in a Tudor dress. But Anne’s not the only spectral resident. The castle is also home to a few less famous, but equally intriguing, ghostly figures. There’s the ghost of a young boy who’s been seen in the gardens, and a mysterious figure in an old-fashioned nightshirt. It’s like Hever Castle is hosting a ghostly gathering, and everyone’s invited.
Berry Pomeroy Castle, Devon
Berry Pomeroy Castle in Devon is like the blockbuster movie of haunted castles in England– it’s got all the elements: dramatic ruins, a picturesque setting, and a cast of ghosts that could give Hollywood a run for its money. Tucked away in a lush Devon valley, this castle might be a ruin, but it’s far from forgotten. In fact, it’s bustling with spectral activity.
First up, meet the White Lady. She’s the A-lister of Berry Pomeroy’s ghostly ensemble. Legend has it she’s the spirit of Margaret Pomeroy, who was imprisoned in the dungeons by her jealous sister. She’s often seen drifting around the dungeons and the castle’s ramparts, probably pondering over a centuries-old grudge. But wait, there’s more! The Blue Lady isn’t about to let the White Lady hog all the limelight. The twist? She’s not trying to help you find the exit. Rumor has it she’s looking for someone to join her in the ghostly realm.
Windsor Castle, Berkshire
This list of the most haunted castles in England couldn’t be complete without Windsor Castle, the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world. Standing since the time of William the Conqueror, it’s like history decided to set up camp here and bring along a few spectral friends.
First off, let’s talk about King Henry VIII – a man who’s as famous for his six wives as he is for his ghostly wanderings around Windsor. They say he strolls the hallways, perhaps pondering his tumultuous reign, or maybe just looking for his next wife. And speaking of wives, Anne Boleyn, one of the more unfortunate Mrs. Henrys, is also said to make appearances, head and all, thank goodness.
But Windsor’s ghostly cast isn’t just Tudor royalty. There’s also Queen Elizabeth I, seen in her regal attire, floating through the library. She’s known for being a bit of a workaholic in life, and it seems death hasn’t slowed her down. Visitors and staff have reported hearing her footsteps and the rustle of her dress, because even in the afterlife, a queen’s got to keep busy.
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Muncaster Castle, Cumbria
Muncaster Castle is a place where the supernatural doesn’t just visit; it seems to have taken a permanent residence. Let’s start with Tom Fool, Muncaster’s own celebrity ghost. Tom, also known as Thomas Skelton, is more than just a spectral figure; he’s a man with a history of mischief and, let’s say, questionable decisions. He’s the kind of ghost who doesn’t just haunt a place; he owns it. Legend has it, he still roams the castle grounds, probably planning his next prank but he’s not the only ghost in town. Supposedly, the Tapestry Room is where the action is – if by action, you mean eerie cries and unexplained noises.
Carlisle Castle, Cumbria
Carlisle Castle in Cumbria is like that unassuming friend who, once you get to know them, has the most fascinating, if somewhat eerie, stories to tell. Firstly, there’s the tragic story of the “weeping lady,” said to be the ghost of Mary, Queen of Scots. She was held prisoner here in the 16th century, and it seems she liked the place so much, she decided to stick around. Visitors have reported hearing soft sobs and seeing fleeting glimpses of a lady in a flowing gown. But Mary isn’t the only spectral inhabitant.
The castle is also rumored to be home to the ghosts of Roman soldiers. Yes, you heard that right – Roman soldiers, as in from the time when the Romans hung out in England. They’ve been spotted in the castle’s underground passages, still apparently guarding the place.
Tutbury Castle, Staffordshire
Tutbury Castle in Staffordshire is a standout member of the ‘haunted castles in England’ club – and let me tell you, it’s not for the faint of heart. This castle is like the seasoned actor of ghost stories: experienced, dramatic, and with a flair for the mysterious. The star of Tutbury’s spectral show is none other than Mary, Queen of Scots. She’s like the recurring guest star who’s appeared in several episodes (or, in this case, imprisonments). Mary was held captive here on multiple occasions, and it appears she’s still roaming around, perhaps miffed about her royal accommodations.
Farleigh Castle, Somerset
Tucked away in the idyllic English countryside, this semi-ruined fortress is like the underrated indie film of haunted castles in England– it’s got charm, history, and a few resident phantoms that could give those mainstream ghosts a run for their money. The castle’s most notable spectral resident is the ‘Lady in Green.’ Unlike the usual grey or white ghostly attire, this lady opts for green, making her a bit of a fashion rebel in the spirit world. She’s said to wander the castle, particularly around the chapel, possibly pondering the medieval version of existential questions. Visitors have reported sightings and a feeling of being watched, which is either thrilling or utterly terrifying, depending on your stance on ghostly encounters.
Thornbury Castle, Bath
Thornbury Castle, located near Bath, isn’t your average entry in the haunted castles in England directory. First off, it’s got a bit of a celebrity status, being more a luxurious hotel now than a spooky ruin. The castle’s most famous spectral resident is said to be none other than Henry VIII himself. Now, Henry, as history buffs will know, was not exactly the ‘happy-go-lucky’ kind of monarch.
He’s been spotted wandering the halls, presumably contemplating his turbulent reign or perhaps mulling over his marital woes. Seeing the ghost of a king might be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but let’s just say, in this case, you might not be too keen on a royal encounter.Then there’s the less formidable but equally intriguing ghost of a former housekeeper. She’s often seen in the older parts of the castle, doing… well, housekeeper things, I suppose. It seems even in the afterlife, she’s dedicated to keeping Thornbury spick and span.
Bolsover Castle, Derbyshire
Perched on a hilltop, Bolsover Castle is like a sentinel watching over Derbyshire, its history as rich and complex as any ghost story. It’s said to be haunted by the ghost of Sir Charles Cavendish, who apparently still takes his role as the lord of the manor very seriously. He’s often spotted in full 17th-century fashion – because, let’s face it, if you’re going to haunt a castle, you might as well do it in style. Visitors have reported feeling his presence, which is either incredibly cool or slightly unnerving, depending on how you feel about historical figures popping in to say hello.
Tower Of London, London
Standing tall on the River Thames, the Tower of London is a mix of royal palace, fortress, and infamous prison, with a ghostly guest list to match. First up in the Tower’s spectral who’s who: Anne Boleyn. She’s pretty much the headliner, quite literally, given her unfortunate end. Anne, one of Henry VIII’s less fortunate wives, was executed on Tower Green and has been reportedly seen wandering near the Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula, where she’s buried. Visitors have reported seeing her, head tucked under her arm, because why let a little thing like decapitation stop you from haunting your old home?
But Anne’s not the only royal ghost here. There’s also the sad story of the Princes in the Tower, Edward V and his brother Richard, supposedly murdered by their ambitious uncle Richard III. These young princes haven’t quite left the Tower, often spotted in their nightgowns, looking as confused and lost as you’d expect from kids who were supposed to be kings.
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Amberley Castle, West Sussex
Nestled in the picturesque countryside, this castle-turned-hotel has a charm that’s subtle yet unmistakable, and its ghostly tales are just as intriguing. Amberley Castle isn’t about the flashy, in-your-face kind of hauntings. It’s more the type of place where the supernatural is refined, understated – you know, very British. The most famous ghostly resident is a former bishop. Now, this isn’t your typical spooky specter; he’s more of a dignified wanderer, seen strolling the castle grounds and halls, presumably pondering theological matters or maybe just reminiscing about the good old days.
Then there’s the Lady in Grey. She’s a bit more traditional in her haunting habits, often spotted in the gardens and the older parts of the castle. Some say she’s searching for something or someone she lost long ago. It’s the kind of melancholic ghost story that makes you want to pour a cup of tea and ponder the mysteries of the afterlife.
Pengersick Castle, Cornwall
Pengersick Castle in Cornwall, with its unique blend of history and hauntings, certainly knows how to hold its own in the competitive world of haunted castles in England. Let’s talk about the resident specters. There’s the obligatory Lady in White, because no self-respecting haunted castle would be complete without one. She’s said to roam the gardens, perhaps lost in thought or maybe just looking for her lost keys (because, let’s face it, we’ve all been there).
But the Lady in White isn’t the only spirit calling Pengersick home. The castle also boasts a phantom monk, because why not add a little medieval mystery to the mix? He’s often seen in the tower, perhaps pondering the mysteries of the universe, or maybe just wondering what’s for dinner in the afterlife.
Conisbrough Castle, South Yorkshire
This castle, with its imposing keep and crumbling walls, has the kind of understated spookiness that creeps up on you, rather than jumping out screaming. The castle has a supposed resident specter known as the White Lady. She’s the classic ghostly figure who seems to have a penchant for dramatic appearances, usually around the castle keep. Legend has it she’s the spirit of a woman who met a tragic end (because what self-respecting ghost story doesn’t involve a bit of tragedy?). She’s often spotted, ethereal and wispy, adding a touch of spectral elegance to the ancient stonework.
Dudley Castle, West Midlands
Dudley Castle in the West Midlands, while not as headline-grabbing as some other haunted castles in England, carries its own unique blend of history and hauntings with a certain dignified spookiness. The star of Dudley’s spectral lineup is the Grey Lady, because apparently, every castle needs a color-themed ghost. She’s said to be the spirit of Dorothy Beaumont, who sadly passed away along with her baby. Dorothy’s ghost is not your run-of-the-mill chain-rattler; she’s more of a wandering soul, reportedly seen in the castle’s chapel and gardens, perhaps in search of her lost child or a final farewell from her husband.
But Dudley Castle’s ghostly appeal isn’t just limited to Dorothy. There’s also been talk of a drummer boy, who, true to his title, is heard rather than seen. The distant sound of drumming, with no apparent source, adds a rhythmic mystery to the castle, like a heartbeat from the past.
Lancaster Castle, Lancashire
Lancaster Castle in Lancashire stands as a stoic reminder that not all haunted castles in England are about dramatic ruins and misty moors. This castle, with its robust towers and thick walls, has a vibe that’s more ‘mysterious guardian of history’ than ‘abandoned house of horrors’.
The castle’s most famous supposed ghostly residents are the Pendle Witches. These poor souls, accused of witchcraft in the 17th century, were held and tried within the castle’s grim walls. It’s said that their spirits have never really left, and can you blame them? After all, if you were wrongfully accused of witchcraft, you might also stick around to set the record straight. Visitors often report an eerie feeling in the rooms where the witches were held, as if the walls themselves are whispering ancient secrets.
Carisbrooke Castle, Isle Of Wight
Last but not least, we wrap up this list of the most haunted castles in England with Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight. This well-preserved fortress combines the charm of a historical site with the allure of ghostly tales, making it a unique blend of education and eeriness.
The most famous ghostly resident of Carisbrooke is none other than Princess Elizabeth, the daughter of King Charles I. Her story is a blend of royal drama and tragedy – she was imprisoned in the castle and met her untimely death there at a young age. Visitors have reported seeing her ghostly figure in the room where she died, a solemn reminder of the castle’s less glorious past. It’s as if she’s still hanging around, perhaps a bit miffed about her royal accommodations turning into a prison cell.
How did you like this list of the most haunted castles in England? Did you ever visit any of them? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments below.
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