The 20 Most Haunted Castles In The UK
This article is more than five years old and was last updated in June 2019.
Ancient forts and castles are steeped in history, each with its own tale of bloody battles, betrayal, murder, execution and torture. So it's no wonder that so many castle across the United Kingdom are said to be haunted. Below are the 20 castle across the country with the most famous reputations for their resident ghosts and spirits.
20. Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh
There are several ghosts who are said to haunt this historic fortress, the most commonly sighted are an old man in apron, a piper who mysteriously lost his life after getting lost in the tunnels below the castle and a headless drummer boy.
19. Cardiff Castle, Cardiff
Like most castles, Cardiff Castle has its share of resident ghosts, most of which can be found in an area known as "the palace" in the south-west corner of the castle grounds. Visitors to this part of the castle have reported seeing a strange mist, which takes the form of a faceless woman in a grey dress. The ghost is said to move things around in the early hours of the morning in the stock room. The ghost has also been blamed from opening and closing doors, causing lights to flicker and rearranging furniture.
The Second Marquess of Bute, John Crichton-Stuart and six generations of his family lived at the castle. The Marquess died in the castle and is said to have been seen walking through walls and fireplaces as well as in the chapel where he died. His wife, Lady Sophia Rawdon-Hastings has also been spotted floating through the castle grounds at night.
18. Gwrych Castle, Abergele
The castle is also allegedly haunted by a Lady in Red who is said to have been killed during a fox hunt, and the spirit of a servant girl who died following an accident while horse riding in the grounds. The presence of a former caretakers, gamekeeper, dairy maid and other household staff have also been reported, and in certain parts of the grounds dogs are often spooked and refuse to go any further.
17. Muncaster Castle, Ravenglass
One of the most haunted area is the tapestry room, where people have reported hearing footsteps, seeing the door handle turning, and even witnessed doors opening seemingly on their own. Other guests have reported hearing children crying in the dead of night, as well as the sound of a woman singing as if to comfort a poorly child. Could these sounds be connected with a young girl called Margaret Pennington who died as a child in the castle.
16. Margam Castle, Port Talbot
The land has been considered to be sacred for thousands of years and ancient tribes buried their dead in the surrounding hills. After the rise and fall of the Roman Empire in the area, the site became an early Christian settlement up until 1147, when Margam Abbey was founded and became home to hundreds of cistercian monks. With the end of English monasteries in the 16th century, the Mansel family purchased the land and in 1840 Christopher Rice Mansel Talbot built Margam Castle as an elaborate home using stone and lead taken from the abbey.
Reports of hauntings go back centuries, with claims of dark ancient spirits on the property. Until this day, visitors report cloaked figures on the ground, apparitions on the staircase, shadow figures on the upper floor and feel a negative presence throughout the property.
As well as its hauntings, the castle is also said to be cursed, supposedly because Christopher Mansel Talbot used parts of the dismantled abbey to build his home. Local legend says that this curse has brought tragedy onto the the family and ruined the Talbot line, who all died out, their wealth was squandered and eventually the castle was put up for auction in 1941. During World War II, the castle was given a new lease of life as lodgings for allied troops and they too experienced the strange ghostly phenomenon while based here.
15. Balgonie Castle, Glenrothes
The castle's owners Stuart and Kelly Morris have experienced ghostly activity including disembodied voices, the apparition of a young boy in the courtyard, people feel like they're being watched, dark shadow figures are seen and eerily, a head has also been spotted floating throughout the castle.
Kelly had one experience that felt like someone was touching and breathing on her. She felt this was an evil presence, it got so bad that Kelly has even considered moving out. It's thought that the evil presence is the malevolent spirit of a priest.
There's also the ghost of grey lady known as Green Jeanie, the owners have seen her walk past one window and look out of another. Her apparition has been reported as long back as 1842 and she's been seen throughout the castle, in the courtyard and in the land surrounding the castle. She's believed to be the daughter of the second family who owned the castle, the Lundys.
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14. Berry Pomeroy Castle, Totnes
Perhaps its most famous ghost is that of the White Lady, who is said to haunts the dungeons, having been imprisoned and is believed to be the spirit of Margaret Pomeroy. A Blue Lady is also said to haunt the castle and tried to lure passers-by into her tower, those who respond to her calls are said to fall from the tower to their death.
In 2018, a ghost hunter at captured a video of what appeared to be two spirits riding horseback past the castle at night. Some think that the video could show the spirits of the Pomeroy brothers, who rode their horses off the battlements to their deaths to prevent themselves from being captured by enemies in the 17th Century.
13. The Castle Keep & Black Gate, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
The keep's most famous ghost is known as the "Poppy Girl". She's said to have been a flower girl who was imprisoned in the castle and eventually died in incarceration. Her ghost has been sighted around the building and coincides with the smell of fresh flowers.
The Black Gate was added to the castle by Henry III between 1247 and 1250, serving as an additional barbican in front of the earlier north gate of the castle, this part of the castle is also said to be haunted. Its two most famous ghosts are that of a woman seen standing on a balcony watching visitors pass by below, and an apparition seen holding a baby.
Other paranormal activity in the old castle buildings includes the sounds of ghostly chanting coming from The Queen's Chamber in the keep, where a female apparition has been seen, and unexplained screams from the gallery, as well as disembodied voices and footsteps. Visitors to the castle have reported seeing black mists, feeling like they've been pushed or touched by unseen hands and even reported being scratched. Unexplained cold spots have been recorded around the building and dark shapes, light anomalies and strange mists have been captured in photos taken in the keep.
12. Warwick Castle, Warwick
Probably the castle's best known ghost is that of Sir Fulke Greville, who is said to haunt the tower. Greville is a former resident of the castle who was murdered within the castle's walls in 1628 by a servant. There's also said to be a negative entity that resides in the dungeon, poltergeist activity has been witnessed, as well as extreme temperature changes, light anomalies, and the sensation of being physically pushed or grabbed.
11. Bolsover Castle, Bolsover
Staff at the castle have also reported sighting themselves, a security guard said he has seen unexplained lights, and another member of staff heard screaming when she was locking up for the night.
10. Craig-y-Nos Castle, Swansea
Complete with her own elaborate theatre, she invited many rich and famous friends to watch her perform on stage. After her death in 1919 her third husband sold the property, where upon it became a tuberculosis hospital for many years. The current owners are now living here as a family and restoring the property.
The ghost of Adelina Patti has been spotted all over the building, but most frequently in the theatre, which was so dear to her. The sound of singing and strange noises have been heard coming from the boudoir and the ghost of a very well dressed Victorian gentlemen has been seen here.
Since the 1920s, transparent figures of patients have been seen roaming the stairs and corridors, almost as if lost. This is a stark reminder that this place used to be a sanatorium and it's later use as TB hospital where many people died here, from that disease which took so many lives in those days.
9. Windsor Castle, Windsor
The notable ghosts that haunt the castle include that of King Charles I who haunts part of the castle. Elizabeth I haunts the royal library and has been spotted by many members of the royal family. The groans and dragging footsteps of King Henry VIII have also been heard around the castle, the face of King George III has also been seen peering out of the window in the room where he was often detained.
An area of the castle known as the Deanery is said to be haunted by the spirit of a young boy. The Norman tower is said to be haunted by a former Royalist prisoner. In the kitchen the ghost of a man with a horse has been seen who walk straight through a solid wall.
The long walk is also supposed to be haunted by the spirit of grenadier guard who killed himself here in the 1920s, he's been spotted at least twice since his death.
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8. Dudley Castle, Dudley
However, the most haunted part of the castle is the chapel undercroft, where you'll find a stone coffin which is said to have once help the body of one of the castle's most infamous residents, John Somery. His ghost has been spotted as disembodied legs beside the coffin. Others have reported feeling him tug at their clothing as they walk through this part of the castle.
Like Dover Castle, Dudley also has the ghost of a drummer boy who was said to have been killed by a stray bullet during the Civil War. He's mostly heard at night beating out drum rolls as if in battle. People have also reported seeing dark shadowy figures, hearing strange sounds throughout the castle, and even witnessed a chair flipping over during a paranormal investigation.
7. Glamis Castle, Glamis
There's also said to be a Grey Lady, thought to be the ghost of a former resident who was burned at the stake for being a witch in 1537. The spirit of a young boy has also been spotted sitting on the stone seat by the door of the Queen's room, he's believed to be a former servant at the castle.
The 4th Earl of Crawford, Alexander Lindsay, is also said to haunt the castle. He was said to be cruel man in life, but since passing has been sighted as a dark figure standing over beds in the dead of night.
6. Ruthin Castle, Ruthin
In the abandoned rooms on the upper floor, people have witnessed the sound of children running around and playing, but when they check inside the room, there's nobody there.
When the castle was a hospital, the basement was used as the mortuary. In this area since, people have witnessed hearing the sound of crying and moaning as if people were in desperate pain and need.
In the banqueting room, the ghost of the Grey Lady has been seen on several occasions, dark shadows have been seen dancing across the walls and the banqueting table has even been said to lift off of the floor.
The Lillie Suite, one of the guest bedrooms, is named after Lillie Langtry, a famous British actress and one of Edward, Prince of Wales' lovers. She used to frequently visit the castle and this was her favourite room. She is now said to haunt the room.
5. Dover Castle, Dover
The battlements are said to be haunted by a the ghost of a headless drummer boy who's believed to have been decapitated when he was attacked for the riches he was carrying while on an errand for his master. The castle is also said to be the home of a woman in red who has been spotted around the castle, as well as a cavalier.
The castle has a haunted underground area too. Below ground in the WWII tunnels, the ghost of many soldiers have been seen and their presence felt. Visitors have reported hearing disembodied voices, loud screams, and doors slamming, as well as experiencing sudden drops in temperature.
4. Tutbury Castle, Tutbury
Tutbury Castle has stood since 1070, it served as a prison to Mary Queen of Scots, and offered shelter to Charles I during the Civil War, but today the castle is just as famous for its ghost sightings and paranormal phenomenon as its important history.
3. Pengersick Castle, Penzance
Sightings include the ghost of a monk who has been seen wandering around the medieval gardens, guests have reported seeing a woman standing at one of the windows staring out at night. There's also the ghost of a young girl who haunts the basement, strange light anomalies have been caught on camera, electrical equipment inexplicably fails, and there's even said to be the ghost of a cat and a dog.
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2. Codnor Castle & Cottage, Codnor
The castle grounds are said to be haunted. The most famous story is that of a soldier of the Knight's Templar who was injured in battle and took refuge in the castle over night. The soldier died during the night, and ever since, his rather aggressive ghost has been seen wearing a dull metal helmet in the castle grounds outside the cottage. He's also seen running through the ruin of the great hall.
The grounds are also said to be haunted by a spirit known as the Grey Lady, the name could be linked to the De Grey family who occupied the castle for centuries. It's said she was a heavily pregnant French woman, and died following an accident while out riding her horse. She has since been seen gliding around the estate and the echoes of a French woman singing have been heard.
A 16th century, farmhouse known as Codnor Castle Cottage was built on the grounds of the Codnor Castle estate, it has its own history of murder, suicide and witchcraft. In the foreboding attic space there are several unusual markings, which are believed to have been created to ward off evil spirits.
The paranormal occurrences at cottage range from dark shadows, to poltergeist activity like doors slamming, furniture being moved across rooms, and glasses thrown. There have been countless reports of disembodied voices including singing, laughter, the voices of children, and blood-curdling screams.
1. Chillingham Castle, Alnwick
The castle's haunted reputation is well known and it has played host to the 'Most Haunted' team as well as other paranormal television shows. The most prevalent at the castle include the ghost of a Spanish witch who is said to have put a curse on the castle which is said to bring bad luck on anyone who steals from the castle.
There's also the ghost of Lady Mary Berkeley, she was a former resident of the castle whose husband had an affair with her sister, she died of heartbreak in the Grey Apartment. There's now a painting of her in the room which guests have claimed to see her come out of, other visitors to the castle say they have heard her grey dress rustling in the dead of night.
You might also want to look out for the ghost of a little girl who has been caught on camera in the castle's great hall. And the ghost of John Sage, a soldier who served under King Edward, but after taking a spear to his leg in battle with the Scots, was forced to retreat from the frontline and took up the role of the castle's torture in its fully equipped dungeon.
The castle's most famous ghost is the Blue Boy, it's said that guests see blue flashes of light above their beds or coming from within the castles walls. It turns out that these flashes are the ghost of a boy who was bricked up alive inside one of the walls.
During renovations at the castle the skeleton of a boy with blue clothes was found inside a three meter thick wall, the bones on his fingers were worn away from his attempts at scratching at the wall in a desperate bid for freedom.
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