Are you brave enough to visit Britain's most haunted castles?

Haunted castles aren't just for Halloween. These spooky spots are guaranteed to rattle your chain all year round! We reveal the chilling stories behind Britain's most haunted castles.

29th October 2017
Figure at Fyvie castle

Fyvie castle, near Turriff, Aberdeenshire

Dating back to the 13th century, Fyvie castle now belongs to the National Trust for Scotland but, like so many British castles, it has a dark past. Its ghostly Green Lady is thought to be Dane Lilias Drummond, who died of a broken heart when her husband Sir Alexander Seton began having an affair. Her name is carved into the castle walls and its claimed this act was carried out by her angry ghost after he death.

The castle also boasts its own Grey Lady, said to be the ghost of Lady Meldrum. After her death in the 13th century she was buried in the castle grounds but when her skeleton was found in 1920 and given a traditional grave her ghost began appearing. A ghostly trumpeter has also been seen, apparently another victim of a broken heart. Finally, the castle is claimed to have three ‘weeping’ stones, that stay wet when all around them are dry. 13th century psychic Thomas the Rhymer claimed these were sacred stones which should never have been used in the castle’s construction and meant the castle was cursed never to have a male heir live to maturity.

Chillingham castle
12th century Chillingham castle has plenty of ghost stories. Image: Getty

Chillingham castle, Northumberland

Said to be the most haunted castle in Britain, Chillingham is claimed to be home to various spectres. The White Pantry Ghost was first spotted by a footman, who’d been locked into the pantry overnight to guard the family silver. He reported her as begging for water and it’s now thought she was a victim of poisoning. In the chapel, the voices of two men are often overheard talking but can never be traced. Visitors say the ghosts are often friendly.  The castle holds special ghost tours throughout the year and groups of ten or more can enjoy a candlelit meal by a roaring fire in the Minstrels' Hall beforehand.  

Berry Pomeroy castle
Berry Pomeroy castle in Devon has two reported ghosts. Image: Getty

Berry Pomeroy castle, Devon

Once the seat of the powerful Seymour family, the castle has two reported apparitions - the White Lady and the Blue Lady. The White Lady is said to be Margaret Pomeroy, who’s believed to roam the dungeons of St Margaret’s Tower, where she died after being starved to death by her jealous sister Eleanor. It’s claimed the Blue Lady is the daughter of one of the Norman castle lords and that she lures people into various parts of the castle to get them lost. Berry Pomeroy is owned by English Heritage and is open daily from June to October, and on weekends from November to March.


Muncaster castle, Cumbria

Muncaster castle is a Mecca for paranormal researchers, with visitors complaining of being haunted in the Tapestry Room, by a child crying and a woman singing. There are also many tales revolving around Tom Fool, aka Thomas Skelton, who is rarely seen but believed to play tricks on staff and visitors. The Muncaster Boggle, or White Lady is supposedly the ghost of Mary Bragg, a young girl killed in the early 1800s on a road near the Main Gate

Muncaster castle runs a Haunted Halloween week each year - this year’s is from the 26th to the 31st of October. Visitors are encouraged to come in fancy dress and bring a torch.

The castle also holds ‘scientific ghost vigils’ every year but they sell out well in advance, so if you want to join the next one it’s worth contacting the castle by email ( or by calling 01229 717614.

Glamis castle
You can spend a spooky evening at Glamis - if you dare! Image: Getty

Glamis castle, Scotland

Perhaps better known these days as the childhood home of the late Queen Mother, Glamis castle was the setting for Shakespeare’s chilling tragedy Macbeth, who begins the play as Thane of Glamis, before murdering his way to power. Just as Macbeth was overcome by visions of the ghost of Banquo, so Glamis is still said to be haunted by many ghosts. A woman with no tongue has been seen in the grounds and staring from a barred window, gesturing at her terrible injuries. The Grey Lady is believed to be the ghost of Lady Glamis, who was burned at the stake in 1537 for being a witch.A young servant boy has been seen several times, while local legend has it that the ghost of Earl Beardie is in a secret room in the castle, gambling with the devil for all eternity. This Halloween you can spend a spooky evening at Glamis on October 28 and 29, with an interactive walk through the Bewitched Wood, and haunted tours of the castle.


Tutbury castle, Staffordshire

This beautiful castle was once prison to Mary Queen of Scots, beheaded under the orders of Elizabeth I for treason. The Scottish queen has been ‘seen’ at Tutbury numerous times, once by a group of 40 witnesses, who initially thought she was a reenactor of some kind only to discover otherwise... The Keeper, said to wear a full suit of armour, has been seen in John the Gaunt’s Gateway, bellowing “Get thee hence” - the most recent sighting was from a visitor who, again, thought it was a reenactor, telling him to ‘get over the fence’! The King’s Bedroom is also said to be one of the most haunted rooms in the UK.

Special ghost hunts can be arranged by appointment by calling 01283 812129.


Craig y Nos castle, Powys

Said to be haunted by the ghost of famous Victorian opera singer Adelina Patti, Craig y Nos castle holds regular ghost tours and ghost hunting nights. After Patti’s death the castle became a hospital for tuberculosis patients, and visitors have reported hearing the cries of children and babies, as well as the sounds of youngers playing. The castle is so popular with ghost hunters that it now maintains a separate website as a one-stop shop for paranormal enthusiasts, where you can read all its ghost stories in more detail. Visitors can take a three hour ghost tour and then stay overnight, or even take part in an all night ghost hunt, if they dare…This Halloween there are two special overnight ghost tours on Saturday October 28 and Tuesday October 31.

Passage at Dover castle
A completely harmless passageway at Dover castle. After you... Image: Getty

Dover castle, Kent

Visitors to Dover castle have reported seeing the ‘lower half of a man’ walking through the doorway of the King’s bedchamber, while the ghost of a crying woman in a red dress has been spotted in the west stairway of the keep. There have also been sightings of a figure in blue in the mural gallery, although no one has been able to say whether it’s a man or a woman. There have also been drumming sounds heard from the battlements and the figure of a headless boy. This is thought to be Sean Flynn, a young drummer boy who was attacked and beheaded by two soldiers for the money he was carrying while on an errand. There have also been many sightings of ghosts in the tunnels under the castle. This year there is a Halloween ghost hunt at the castle on Friday October 27, running from 9pm to 3am.

Pengersick castle, Cornwall

Laying claim to the title of Cornwall’s most haunted castle, Pengersick is said to be haunted by a number of ghosts. John Milliton, who built the castle’s Tudor tower, is believed to be the Dark Lord of Pengersick, a dabbler in black magic, who once summoned a demon to the roof of the tower and his ghost has been reported by many visitors. Others say they’ve seen a monk, possibly murdered by lord of the manor Henry Pengersick in the 14th century, and the ghost of Henry himself has been sighted too. Our favourite claim is that sailors from the wreck of the St Anthony, which foundered in Gullwalloe Bay in 1527, haunt the gardens, looking for their lost treasure.

Pengersick castle is open by appointment, and there are also ghost tours organised by Ghost Hunting Cornwall. The next ones are on September 13 and October 28 and run from 9pm to 3am.

Dudley castle
Ghost hunters claim Dudley castle is one of the most haunted in the world. Image: Getty

Dudley castle, West Midlands

With a history dating back some 1000 years, Dudley castle has been claimed by ghost hunters to be one of the most haunted places in the world.

Like Dover castle, it maintains it is home to the ghost of a drummer boy, killed by a musket during the English Civil War, who drums at night. It’s meant to be bad luck to see or hear him. The Grey Lady was the subject of much speculation when a visitor to the castle claimed to have caught her on camera recently. She is thought to be the spirit of Dorothy Beaumont, who lived at the castle before dying shortly after giving birth. She’s said to be unable to rest because the requests she made on her deathbed were not granted. This Halloween there will be paranormal evenings at Dudley castle on October 27 and 28, from 8pm to 2am.

You are currently reading: Are you brave enough to visit Britain's most haunted castles? - 29th October
Subscribe to BBC Countryfile Magazine today!

Choose a subscription offer to suit you and benefit from generous savings on the shop price, free UK delivery and discounts off special editions and back issues.

Countryfile Magazine - Current Issue