Celebrate All Hallow’s Eve with a spine-tingling stay at one of these properties, says Sarah Marshall.
Some of the UK’s oldest buildings function as hotels, so it’s no surprise that many have their own resident restless souls. Chilling tales and macabre stories of ghoulish guests are frequently regaled, sparking interest, intrigue and perhaps a little bit of fear.
But nothing beats experiencing a haunting for yourself - especially at this time of year.
Anyone brave enough to confront spooks firsthand should book into one of these haunted hotels for the night:
5. YHA Beverley Friary, Yorkshire
Six centuries ago, Dominican friars lived in this property, which is now one of England’s most atmospheric hostels - it was even mentioned in the Canterbury Tales. A number of haunted happenings have taken place over the years, including sightings of a Dominican Friar standing next to the kitchen door and smiling. Occasionally, apparatitions are said to pass through the dining room, and footsteps can be heard throughout the building.
Book it: Beds from £15. Visit yha.org.uk/hostel/yha-beverley-friary
2. The White Hart Hotel, St Albans
In 1820, a rather unpleasant incident occurred at this former coaching inn when a woman had her neck broken while riding coach riding into the hotel’s entrance. Elizabeth Wilson’s ghost now roams the building, along with the apparition of a young girl who died in a fire. Spectre-seekers should stay in room eight, where a man has been seen sitting on the bed and the message, ‘Meet me in room 7’ has appeared on a mirror.
Book it: Doubles from £104. Visit whiteharthotelstalbans.co.uk
3. Dalhousie Castle Hotel, Edinburgh
What’s more sinister than a hotel with its own dungeon? Dalhousie Castle’s has been transformed into a smart French restaurant with two AA rosettes for excellence, but there are still reports of ghosts hovering in hallways and floating along corridors on the floors above. Room four is supposedly haunted by a young girl, and one guest reported having her foot stroked and also hearing a female gasping in the corner.
Book it: Rooms from £187 per night from hotels.com.
4. The Old Bell, Malmesbury
Claiming to be the UK’s oldest hotel, this 13th century Grade 1 listed building has hosted many visitors in its time - with some refusing to ever leave. Known as the Lady in Grey, a woman is frequently seen in the east wing, which is built upon part of the abbey churchyard. There are portraits of her hanging in the hotel, and staff claim to have seen her in the James Ody Room. That’s not all. On one occasion, another room appeared to be locked, however, when a manager climbed inside through a window, he discovered a wardrobe had been wedged in front of the door.
Book it: Doubles from £120. Visit i-escape.com.
5. Borthwick Castle, Scotland
Built almost 600 years ago, Borthwick has enjoyed a colourful and - at times - gruesome past. One of the venue’s most famous occupants was Mary Queen of Scots who sought sanctuary here with her husband in 1567 while on the run from Scottish noblemen. Around 1,000 pursuers surrounded the castle, although she successfully escaped through a window dressed as a pageboy. Many people say she often returns and can be found wandering around the grand halls.
Book it: Doubles from £140. Visit borthwickcastle.com.