Halloween is just around the corner, meaning you may well be looking for a scary experience to get you in the mood for the spooky season.
That doesn't just mean binging the latest TV horror series. What if you want to hit the road and walk in the footsteps of the dead yourself?
Vehicle battery company Quality Source has compiled four ideas for day trips that take in some of the most haunted places in England.
From exploring creepy castles to grabbing dinner at petrifying pubs, we have all the information you need for a journey guaranteed to leave you feeling satisfyingly spooked out.
Director of Quality Source, Rowland King, said: "We’re all about encouraging people to feel confident on the road, enjoying road trips and getting out and exploring the nation, which is why we wanted to create the spookiest road trips possible to give people an exciting and haunting way to spend their Halloween in 2021.
"After the height of the pandemic, we’re all eager to get out there with friends and family and just celebrate and explore and these road trips are a great way to do that...if you can stomach them.”
The four road trips outlined below can all be completed in a day, but feel free to adapt them to suit you best.
Read on, if you dare...
North East – The Friendly Ghost Tour
SCARE LEVEL: 2/5
11.00: Chillingham Castle, Northumberland (Next Stop: 55 Minute Drive)
Start your day with a snack in the tearoom at the picturesque but deeply haunted Chillingham Castle. The estate is said to have some of the highest levels of paranormal activity in the UK, so it is not for the faint of heart.
There are multiple friendly ghosts reported to be living within the castle grounds, with some visitors having reported hearing voices calling them, feeling hands touch them in empty rooms and taking orb-flooded pictures that change when developed.
14.30: Winter's Gibbet, Tyne and Wear (Next Stop: 1 Hour 6 Minute Drive)
From here, drive to Winter’s Gibbet for a walk in the beautiful Northumberland countryside, where you’ll find the lone pole used to hang murderer William Winter in 1792.
His body was left to hang until his clothes rotted away. There have been reports of Winter’s spectre appearing near the pole, said to appear as though he’s mourning his own death.
17.30: The Shakespeare, Durham (Next Stop: 1 Hour 30 Minute Drive)
After your stroll, where better place to stop for dinner than the most haunted pub in Durham? Locals say they've heard everything from random screaming to an old sewing machine squeaking as though trying to pedal itself.
There are more peaceful places to have a pint, but if you’re looking to have an interaction with the paranormal then it’s the perfect place to stop.
21.00: Whitby, North Yorkshire
The evening is the perfect time to visit the spooky seaside town of Whitby, which is so flooded with tales of ghost sightings that it was a key source of inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
Although there are a whole host of spectre sightings, one of the spookiest tales is of an old man who fell to his death in the lighthouse during a bad storm. Many visitors have reported seeing his presence rushing along the pier towards his certain death.
North West – The Witch Hunt
10.00: Lyceum Theatre, Cheshire (Next Stop: 1 Hour 10 Minute Drive)
Begin your day at the Lyceum Theatre, which is so haunted that an exorcism was attempted in 1969 to clear the spirits. Unsuccessfully, that is. There are six ghosts that haunt the theatre, including a small boy, a lady in white and the ghost of a distraught ballet dancer who took her own life in a dressing room.
While there, keep your eyes out for items going missing, random whistling noises from the stalls, sudden changes in temperature and smells of both smoke and perfume.
12.30: Samlesbury Hall, Lancashire (Next Stop: 37 Minute Drive)
Samlesbury Hall is said to be one of the most haunted locations in the country. Resident spirits include Dorothy Southworth (the white lady) who died of a broken heart and now aimlessly wanders the estate.
And if you’re feeling peckish while ghost hunting, they also serve delicious tapas...
15.15: Pendle Hill, Lancashire (Next Stop: 1 Hour 58 Minute Drive)
After a relatively short drive, you’ll find yourself at Pendle Hill, home of the Pendle witches who were famously executed in 1612. They are said to haunt the walkways to this day.
For this stop make sure to bring appropriate shoes as it’s a slightly strenuous walk, but well worth it for the atmosphere.
19.00: The Black Swan Hotel, York
Finish up a long day of hauntings with dinner in The Black Swan Hotel, where sightings of ghosts are so common that bar staff have even named one of them. Matthew is said to be a Victorian pickpocket known for making things go mysteriously missing.
In the kitchen, there’s reputedly a figure of a man in horse riding gear who often appears singing. His sightings baffled staff until they realised that the kitchen was built over the original stable yard…
Midlands – The Spectre's Revenge
10.00: Croft Castle, Herefordshire (Next Stop: 1 Hour 33 Minute Drive)
Begin your day on 1,500 acres of haunted land at Croft Castle. The estate was owned by the Croft family for more than 700 years, but financial problems forced them to sell the property.
It is said their ancestors' ghosts still reside in the castle to this day, continually causing disturbances.
13.30: Aston Hall, West Midlands (Next Stop: 57 Minute Drive)
You will find perhaps the most troubled ghosts of this guide at Aston Hall. Spectre sightings include a servant who hanged himself after being caught stealing and the owner's daughter who was locked in a cell for 16 years after trying to run away.
Not only can you tour the manor and gardens, but there’s a stable cafe if you want to stop for lunch.
17.00: Derby Gaol, Derbyshire (Next Stop: 28 Minute Drive)
The jail opened in 1756 and has a very gruesome history. With nearly 60 hangings in total for crimes as petty as stealing a goose, there are reportedly a whole host of angry ghosts haunting the premises.
The cells are even available for brave souls to spend the night... if you can handle it.
19.30: Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem, Nottinghamshire
Finish your day with dinner at the most haunted pub in Nottingham.
The building and the caves below are thought to date back as far as 1068, with the walls covered in scratches from prisoners whose haunted souls still remain in the property. If you arrive at the right time you’ll even hear their screams…
South – Smugglers and Pirates
13.30: Berry Pomeroy Castle, Devon (Next Stop: 1 Hour 25 Minute Drive)
Begin your day at Berry Pomeroy Castle, a Tudor mansion ruin where ghosts have reportedly been caught on film.
Beware of the blue lady in the tower – she will beg and beckon you to join her, but if you do legend has it that she will push you to your death.
17.00: Jamaica Inn, Cornwall (Next Stop: 1 Hour 51 Minute Drive)
Cornwall’s most famous smugglers inn is not for the faint-hearted – even TV series Most Haunted said the spot gave them one of their spookiest episodes of all time.
Luckily, not only is it a hive for paranormal activity, but it has an extensive dining menu so you can fuel up for your final stop.
21.00: Chambercombe Manor, Devon
On October 30, you can attend a Halloween special event from 21.00 to 02.00 for a fully immersive paranormal experience.
Spectre sightings regularly include pirates, with the manor’s most famous ghost dating back to 1865. In this year, the then-tenant carried out repairs to the roof and came upon the outline of a window that didn’t have a matching room.
Mediums visiting the house have picked up on several spirits, including that of a confident man who once tried to possess a woman during a séance held in the Tudor Room.
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