Happy Halloween! Here comes that time of the year again. The dark takes over the light. Adults and children dress up and go wild, looking for the spooky or frightful experiences that will make their night. If you want to take spooky holidays, then here are 30 things that you can do for Halloween in the UK. From spine-tingling haunted hotels, castles and pubs, to ghost hunts and scarefests.
Be warned: these recommendations are not for the faint-hearted… 👻
What is Halloween?
Halloween finds its origins in the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, which was celebrated in Britain, Ireland and northern France. This pagan holiday used to mark the end of summer and the beginning of winter. The Celts also believed it to be the day when the veil separating the worlds of the living and dead was the thinnest. Spirits can then freely wander the Earth and mix with the mortals.
Samhain survived the invasions of the Romans, Saxons and Germanics. The Christians even attempted to replace the pagan celebration with All Hallows’ Day. The festival’s evolution throughout history has led to the modern Halloween that we know today.
When is Halloween in the UK?
As a true fan of horror and mysticism, I can say that the UK is the best country in Europe to celebrate Halloween. It’s an ideal place to give in to its terrifying craziness.
Although Halloween in the UK is celebrated on 31st October, events are spread throughout October. Sadly, many events have been postponed until next year because of the pandemic. However, we’ve gathered up some of our top recommendations for ones you can enjoy this year (and some of our favorites for 2021 too!).
Stay at a haunted hotel
The UK has many haunted hotels and therefore, Halloween in the UK is not complete without a stay at one of them. Haunted Rooms has a whole list of spooky hotels, but here are my top five haunted hotels to help you get started!
1. Tudor House Hotel, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire
This 16th century Tudor building is located in the historic town of Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire. It is the home of many specters. A black Labrador often appears at the top of the main hotel staircase. A drummer boy doesn’t mind waking up guests in the middle of the night.
But the most frequently seen dead inhabitant is the Grey Lady, who lurks in the corridors and disappears at doorways. Some believe her to be a mistreated maid who ended her own life by jumping out of a window.
2. Lumley Castle Hotel, County Durham
Lumley Castle Hotel is a 14th century manor house turned castle. It is also a former residence of the University College, Durham. Nowadays, it is the location of a luxurious hotel with a high-quality restaurant that often organizes medieval banquets with 5 courses and wine goblets.
Situated between Durham and Newcastle, the hotel is a great place for a Halloween stay. Voted the most haunted place in County Durham, there are stories of guests running out of their rooms in their underwear and others checking out early from fear! Among the hotel’s many ghosts is Lady Lumley, who was murdered by two priests after she refused to convert to Catholicism. She still roams across the castle grounds where she was thrown into a deep well. Don’t miss the Lily of Lumley Escape Room if you stay at the Castle Hotel for an extra Halloween experience!
3. The Mermaid Inn, Rye, East Sussex
The Mermaid Inn, built in the 12th century, is one of the oldest inns in England. Entering the building is like stepping back in time… you may even meet some of its former residents as ghosts!
The Lady in White sits by the fireplace in Room 1. Another ghost walks across rooms and stops at the foot of guests’ beds. Bottles get smashed to the floor by an unknown figure, and rocking chairs rock on their own.
The Inn was even featured in the Most Haunted TV series, and has hosted celebrity guests including Johnny Depp, Andy Garcia and Charlie Chaplin. Rumor has it that many secret passages used by smugglers can also be found at the Inn. A ghastly hideaway for Halloween 2020!
4. The Ettington Park Hotel, Stratford-Upon-Avon
Spread across 40 acres of parkland, the Ettington Park Hotel was featured in the 1963 film “The Haunting”. It is reputed to be one of the most (if not the most) haunted hotels in the UK.
Candles magically float across the hotel. The ghosts of a man and his dog reside in the library, and an old woman in Victorian clothes rambles in the entrance. The former castle owners’ two young sons who drowned in the Stour River also wander across the castle.
But the hotel’s most popular ghost is Lady Emma, a former governess, who floats along the corridors and disappears into the walls.
5. Schooner Hotel, Alnmouth, Northumberland
A coaching inn dating back to the 17th Century, the Schooner Hotel saw smugglers, murderers, and vagabonds pass through. Over 60 ghosts are reported to haunt its rooms and corridors and over 3000 paranormal activities have been witnessed here.
The Paranormal Society named it the most haunted hotel in Britain. Every room seems to be haunted. But suicides, massacres and family murders seem to happen the most in Room 28…
Better avoid the place on October 31, 2020… or not?
Have a beer in a haunted pub
Like haunted hotels, haunted pubs are spread all over the country and are very interesting to visit for Halloween in the UK.
6. The Grenadier, London
The Grenadier was named after its famous ghost, Cedric, a young grenadier who was caught cheating at a game of cards. He was beaten to death as punishment.
Visitors stick money to ceiling and walls, covering the interior in foreign currencies in an attempt to pay off his debt. Reports of glasses breaking, icy chills and chairs moving around make of this place a well-known haunted hotspot in London.
7. The Viaduct Tavern, London
The Viaduct Tavern is rumored to be built on top of former prison cells that are nowadays used as a cellar. And although this fact has been challenged by many, the bar’s reputation of being haunted has been backed by several staff members!
Many paranormal activities have been reported: people locked in the cellar in the dark, objects seen magically floating mid-air…
Halloween 2020 might well bring additional mysterious happenings.
8. The Ten Bells, London
The history of the Ten Bells is strongly related to that of Jack the Ripper. His last victim was seen leaving the pub right before being mutilated by the notorious murderer.
Other ghosts haunt the location as well. The Victorian landlord murdered with an ax terrorizes staff on the upper floors by lying next to them in bed. Murdered babies are also rumored to inhabit one of the rooms upstairs.
9. The Bow Bells, London
The famous toilet poltergeist of the Bow Bells pranks women by flushing the toilets while they are still seated.
This farcical paranormal activity led to the owners conducting a seance in an attempt to get rid of the specter. While they were exorcising the place, a women’s toilet door violently swung open, breaking one of the pub’s mirrors.
10. Ye Olde Man and Scythe, Bolton
One of the most haunted pubs in Britain is located in Bolton. And this time, we have proof! The ghost of the 7th Earl of Derby, beheaded in front of the pub, was caught on CCTV smashing bottles at the bar.
You can see this for yourself here. Will he make a big comeback on 31st October 2020? Other ghosts haunting the place include a woman who hung herself in the cellar and an 8-year-old girl.
Go see a Halloween show
This will have to be one to save for Halloween 2021 due to theatre closures this year, but attending a show in the world-famous West End of London should definitely be on your UK bucket list!
11. The Woman in Black
The Woman in Black has been performed for over 30 years live on stage in the West End. It is one of Britain’s greatest theater hits.
The production brings to life a stage adaptation of a ghost story perfect for Halloween. The public is immersed in a night of horror.
Spectators follow the story of a lawyer who believes his family and himself cursed by the specter of a Woman in Black. Get ready to dive in an eerie atmosphere while the protagonist attempts to exorcise his fear!
12. Phantom of the Opera
With over 30 years of live performance on the West End stage, the Phantom of the Opera continues to mesmerize and frighten his audience. The deformed composer haunting the Paris Opera House lives in an underground cavern and writes operas for his beloved Christine, a rising singer. Watch as his love story turns into a murderous rage when jealousy takes over him.
The untold story of the witches of Oz has been enchanting children and adults for years. Wicked introduces to the public the friendship between two witches with opposing worldviews, Glinda (The Good) and Elphaba (the Wicked Witch of the West). It is an absolute must of the musical world. Halloween seems like the perfect time to travel to the magical world of Oz!
Have a deadly experience at one of UK’s many scarefests and fright nights
Halloween in the UK brings a huge number of scarefests and fright nights back to life.
14. Psycho Path
Horror floods over Lintz Hall Farm as Psycho Path takes over with its terrifying Scream Park. 700 acres of farmland will be dedicated to scare attractions including a new maze of terror and Psycho City, an immersive fear scape.
This truly scary event is for adults only… and you’ll have all year to prepare yourself, as it re-opens for Halloween 2021!
15. Xtreme Scream Park
ScareCON has named Xtreme Scream Park the Best Halloween and Scream Park in the UK, and for the right reasons! The spine-tingling activities offered to visitors include five haunted houses, scary mazes, hypnotizing fire shows and gruesome street theater. Live music and food complete the event. Everything you need for a true Festival of Horrors!
16. The London (or Edinburgh) Dungeon
The London Dungeon, also called the Home of Halloween, gathers in its premises a total of nineteen haunting tales and two thrilling rides. Live an unforgettably chilling adventure and meet London’s scariest characters for Halloween 2020. Jack the Ripper, Sweeney Todd and The Plague Doctor await your visit…
For those located on the Scottish side of the country, the Edinburgh Dungeon will satisfy all your needs for your Halloween in the UK. You will have the opportunity to learn about the city’s dark history through immersive shows and hair-raising rides.
17. Scream Factory
The Scream Factory plunges you into a real nightmare set in the grounds of an old haunted nursery. All your senses will be overwhelmed at the North East’s largest scare event. Odors, sounds and backdrops will transport you to a horrid world. This experience will challenge the courage of the bravest for Halloween 2021!
18. Tulleys Shocktober Fest
Tulleys Shocktober Fest is one of the UK’s scariest events. Sadly, you’ll have to wait until October 2021 to be sucked into this immersive scare experience. However, Tulley’s Haunted Drive-In Cinema is happening this Halloween 2020. Watch horror blockbusters from the comfort – and safety – of your car, while ghosts and zombies deliver you snacks.
Visit creepy (haunted) castles for your Halloween in the UK
Historic castles all put on their spooky attires for Halloween in the UK!
19. Muncaster Castle
For Halloween 2020, Muncaster Castle has a range of different activities on offer. Enter the Ghostly Grotto, attend the Plague Doctor’s Workshop and follow the Witch Hunters Trail around the grounds to discover a world of magical spells. Not scary enough for you? There’s always the House of Horrors Show too! Muncaster definitely lives up to its name as one of Britain’s most haunted castles!
20. Kenilworth Castle
Halloween 2020 is taking over Kenilworth Castle. This time of the year is dedicated to the darkest side of the monument’s history. Genius storytellers will take you on a trip full of ghostly apparitions and gruesome events. The family tours will fascinate the youngest, while the adult tours will challenge even those with the strongest disposition!
21. Warwick Castle
More spooky than scary, Halloween 2020 at Warwick Castle will bring to attendees horrible tales, frightening attractions and wondrous creatures. The activities will delight the youngest and make the oldest feel young again!
Ghost hunts and tours for Halloween in the UK
Halloween in the UK calls for a mandatory ghost hunt across the country’s most haunted cities.
22. London Ghost Walks
Walk through London’s paranormally active locations and get the latest spooky and spectral news on the capital. Haunted and creepy locations await your visit – both in person and virtually – for Halloween 2020. London Ghost Tours mix chills and fun with a good chance to actually experience paranormal activities.
23. City of the Dead tours and Haunted Edinburgh app
Explore Edinburgh’s underground vaults and haunted graveyard at night with City of the Dead Tours.
The company also released the first self-guided ghost tour. Anyone wanting to explore Edinburgh’s supernatural hot spots on their own can now make the experience even more chilling. Let their interactive map take you on an educative and scary experience for Halloween 2020!
24. Mercat Tours’ Halloween tours
Mercat Tours brings thrilling expeditions for Halloween 2020. Get closer to the spirit world by descending into Edinburgh’s most haunted vaults. Hear the stories about the city’s darker past where treason, torture and blood abound. You’re in for a hair-raising and spine-tingling experience!
25. Newcastle’s Haunted City tours
As one of UK’s most haunted cities, Newcastle has a lot to offer in terms of ghost walks. Walk around the city’s old town and travel back in time. Let your guide lead you around smuggling tunnels, witches’ home and hidden historical pathways.
4000 participants reported witnessing paranormal activities during one of the Newcastle’s Haunted City tours. Maybe Halloween 2020 will be your turn to be spooked!
26. Haunted Happenings & Spooky Nights
Are you up for the fright of your life?
Ghost hunts are a specialty of Haunted Happenings & Spooky Nights, an experienced tour agency. For one frightful night, experiment with table tipping, glass moving and seances in one of their creepy and haunted inns, castles, underground tunnels or prisons. Their events are organized all over the UK, and some even take place in other European countries.
Scaredy-cats looking for good Halloween fun or fear-challengers hoping for a good fright, Halloween in the UK is an experience for your bucket list. Despite some changes this year, Halloween 2020 promises to be even more thrilling as events adapt to bring you big, scary fun despite a big, scary pandemic! I hope this article will have inspired you to book your next trip to the land of horror.
Have a fearful 31st October 2020!