We shiver our way through the country's top 10 haunted-house holidays

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Experience some of the most ghostly buildings in the world, if you dare...

Get ready to have your spine tingled on a ghoulish weekend break at one of many haunted locations in the land...

1. Coombe Abbey hotel, Warwickshire

Originally built as a Cistercian Abbey in the 12th century, Coombe Abbey has been restored to its former glory by its current owners, No Ordinary Hotels. Set in 500 acres of parkland, overlooking formal gardens and a tranquil lake, Coombe Abbey has had many reports of paranormal goings-on, including a hooded monk believed to be the ghost of Abbott Geoffrey, who was brutally murdered in 1345 and who allegedly wanders the grounds. Footsteps along the cobbles, doors slamming shut and the feeling of not being alone in your room have seen some guests run from their rooms in the middle of the night. There are reported sightings of a horseman riding near the lodge house, and a woman in Victorian dress riding a bike. Mediaeval banquets, murder-mystery weekends and Halloween events are all available.

Coombe Abbey


2. The Maids Head Hotel, Norwich

 02The Maids Head HotelWith a history of hosting influential characters, such as Queen Elizabeth I, The Black Prince and Catherine of Aragon, it's hardly surprising that people claim to have seen some spooky sights over the years. A woman believed to be a former maid has been seen moving around the hotel silently, followed by the smell of musty lavender. The ghost of a man believed to be one of the former mayors of the city has also been seen in the courtyard of the hotel. Regular events include Halloween gatherings  and murder-mystery nights.

Maids Head Hotel


3. The Tudor House Hotel, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire

The Tudor House Hotel, Tewkesbury, GloucestershireDating back to the 16th century, Tudor House Hotel, overlooking the River Avon, is rich in history, with oak beams, open fireplaces, an original priest's hole, a secret garden, and an oak door with axe marks from Oliver Cromwell's soldiers. Dating back to 1540, there are a few spectres that have appeared to visitors. 'The Grey Lady' walks the corridors, vanishing upon reaching a doorway. She is believed to be the ghost of a maid who once worked here and who after cruel treatment by her mistress leapt from a window and plunged to her death in the garden below. Reports also suggest the hotel is frequented by a drummer boy, who has awoken many a guest in the middle of the night to the loud sound of a kettle drum.

Tudor House Hotel


4. Lumley Castle, Durham

Lumley Castle, DurhamStanding proud for more than 600 years, Lumley Castle dominates the County Durham landscape and is regarded as the most haunted place in the county. Of a number of ghosts, the most popular is Lady Lumley, who was apparently thrown down a well in the castle grounds by two priests. The castle was in the headlines for its hauntings in 2005, when some the Australian cricket team reported strange activity and refused to sleep on their own. One member of the team was so frightened he fled the room and ran to reception in his underwear. A mischievous spirit known as Black Jack also plays pranks on guests, like sliding glasses off the table and moving belongings, and there have been reports of children talking, screams, and laughter originating from the top floor. Elizabethan banquets and murder-mystery weekends are regular events.

Lumley Castle


5. The Bull Hotel, Long Melford, Suffolk

The Bull Hotel, Long Melford, SuffolkFirst constructed back in the mid-1400s, The Bull Hotel's very oak beams radiate the history of hotel. The ghost of Richard Evered, murdered in the hotel back in 1648, is rumoured to haunt the hotel's halls and corridors. The story goes that two men were having an argument about politics and it got so heated that one stabbed the other and he was laid out in the hallway. People ran to get help and when they returned his body had disappeared. His ghost is said to haunt Room Four.

The Bull Hotel


6. Pluckley, Kent

Pluckley, KentThe quaint and peaceful village in Kent has a reputation for being the most haunted village in Britain, even holding its own Guinness World Record for having between 12 and 16 ghosts. These ethereal figures include a screaming man, who may have worked at the village brickworks and is said to have fallen to his death, and a highway man stabbed with a sword and pinned to a tree at the aptly named Fright Corner. Other ghosts said to haunt the area are that of a schoolmaster found hanged by his pupils and of an old woman who used to sit on a bridge, smoking her pipe, drinking gin and selling the watercress she had gathered from the stream. She is reported to have burnt to death when accidently saturating herself in gin and then catching alight with the pipe she smoked.

Town Guide Pluckley


7. Throstle Hall, Lancashire

Throstle Hall, LancashireStay in a cottage in the heart of 'witch country'. Pendleside is an area recognised mostly for the infamous Pendle witch trials of 1612, which are among the most famous in English history. The 12 accused all lived in the area surrounding Pendle Hill and were charged with the murders of ten people by the use of witchcraft. A 17th-century cottage, Throstle Hall, was unearthed a few years ago at the foot of the hill under a grass mound, complete with a sealed room and the remains of a cat skeleton bricked into the wall, later believed to have been buried alive to protect the cottage's inhabitants from evil spirits

Throstle Hall


8. Tintagel, Cornwall

Tintagel, CornwallTintagel village, on North Cornwall's rugged Atlantic coast, is well located for aspiring wizards wanting to visit the magical Merlin's Cave. Located on the beach below Tintagel Castle, legend states that the wizard Merlin found a baby King Arthur washed ashore in the cave where he lived below the castle. There are many holiday cottages and B&Bs catering for weekend guests.  

Visit Cornwall


 

9. Wookey Hole Caves and Glastonbury Tor

Wookey Caves and Glastonbury TorThe historic village of Wookey Hole in Somerset is an option for holidaymakers seeking a mystical break. Guests can visit the ancient limestone Wookey Hole Caves which date back over 50,000 years and take part in a number of Halloween activities for the family, such as meeting the legendary Witch of Wookey.

Wookey

 

Further afield, guests can visit the ancient spiritual site of Glastonbury Tor. The maze pattern on Glastonbury Tor, similar to Cretan labyrinths, was created for ritual purposes long before the Druids are said to have used it in their rites and initiation ceremonies, and the Tor today is variously called a magic mountain, faeries' glass hill and Grail castle among other terms.

National Trust

10. Or simply head to North Norfolk

North Norfolk...…with its scores of recorded ghostly sightings and haunted buildings, including Anne Boleyn, who rides through Blickling Estate carrying her head, and The Screaming Cockler of Stiffkey – the ghost of a girl drowned whilst cockling. According to Visit Norfolk, Blakeney Tunnels are home to long-legged spidery creatures called 'hytersprites'; there's a She-wolf at Castle Rising, and a poltergeist at Sandringham. In Long Stratton you might come across a phantom coach, while Hickling Broad is haunted by a Napoleonic ghost. Last but not least, you might spot the Brown Lady of Raynham Hall or the Ghost Fiddler of Binham Priory. And that's only for starters…

Visit Norfolk


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