Ask for the lone log cabin by the creek, very spooky. It has the tallest dark trees and a sense of history in the hand built rickety wooden house - slightly red riding hood feel. And there are many years of visitors books to read.
The great restaurant is a walk away though.
All of Rye is spooky when night comes and the wind whips in from the estuary. But the Mermaid is definitely a ghostly experience. Our room had a massive four poster bed and dark pannelling across the walls. The whole house is Tudor but the cellars are from Norman times and there are apparently secret passages crisscrossing the building from smugglers' times.
There are apparently a few ghosts at the Mermaid. We didn't see any but fancy we heard quite a few knocks and creaks. If nothing else it's a great place to let your imagination run wild.
This character pub in darkest Devon has been officially inspected: it’s one of the 8 most haunted pubs in the UK. The spook certificate is in the bar. The landlady retells some good stories: at the last inspection people in the bar asked the child spirit to appear and everyone saw a coat being pulled strongly - and someone trying to touch it put her hand into an area that was icy cold. When the spirit left the curtains moved and the door closed without any wind assistance!
When my sister-in-law lost a necklace down a tiny gap between the floorboards it looked as if there might have been some supernatural assistance. Then we couldn’t find our keys… Across the square is the devil’s stone, ready for its annual turning by local heavies on All Saints day with the church bells ringing to keep the devil away!
The pub food is good, there are 4 real ales in a friendly bar much used by locals, and the refurbished bedrooms have managed to combine history with some modern amenities. The owners couldn’t have been more friendly or helpful - and they let the dog stay free. So the appalling bangs and clatters in the morning after the clocks went back were quite unexplainable, until we found a very loud Chinese couple who knew nothing of our time change and were determined to wake everyone up for an early breakfast!
The Böd of Nesbister lies on a spit of shingle on Whiteness Voe on the west coast of Shetland. Originally a stone built bothy for fishermen during the fishing season, the Böd has been converted into basic accommodation by the Shetland Amenity Trust. Its location, overlooking a lovely inlet with winding views to cliffscapes and the open sea, is remote and romantic. With no electricity, the candlelit Böd is the perfect place to encounter a ghost. It felt like a kindly soul and, obligingly, stopped its noisy business when we asked it to. In the morning we came across the visitors’ book and discovered that we were by no means the first to have had a haunted stay.
For a spooky Halloween visit you can't beat Chillingham castle in north Northumberland. I'm a sceptic but even a daytime tour of this quirky, historical building will get you wondering about spooks and spirits! For the braver visitor there are also night-time ghost hunts and haunted rooms available for overnight stays.
A small, enchanting, mediaeval castle set in pheasant-inhabited woodland and a ten minute walk from Durham CCC's Riverside cricket ground. It has everything you expect a castle to have - battlements, oriel windows, leaded glass, canopy beds, a courtyard, and even a piper to announce the evening meal.
Best of all, the castle is haunted - and if you don't believe me, just ask the West Indian and the Australian cricket teams, both of which have been victims of the ghost.
Still sceptical? Oh, that's very easy in your modern house, with electric light, before a computer. But transport yourself to a 600 year old room, with stone walls, where dreadful murders really have been committed, and watch the mist rise from the woods as night falls, and as you light your candle you'll find your sceptical laughter is now a little forced and all your 21st century sophistication cannot stop the hairs from standing upon on the back of your neck.
An amazing moated Norman castle with spooky original stone wall rooms including one with an 'en suite' oubliette. If you ask, the staff have lots of eerie tales to tell about psychic phenomena related to poachers thrown down the oubliette to die slowly. Apparently young male guests especially have sightings or weird experiences.
The King's Head serves an array of Jennings ales and, in a county with more pubs than you could care to mention, is loaded with character. For a start, it's haunted - weird noises late at night have often been reported, and a couple of Australians staying there recently were so spooked they left town.
The pub was built in 1640, and as recently as 2003 refurbishments turned up a deep well in the corner of the main bar, now covered over with a glass plate. There's a beer garden and a bowling green, formerly the stables and paddock from when this was a coaching inn. There are four rooms with shared bath too (£25), a great place to start or finish the Cumbria Way.
14 Queen's Street, Ulverston
Tel: 01229 588064
(not to be confused with The King's Arms on King Street)
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