Family home to the Penningtons for more than 800 years, Muncaster Castle and grounds provide sufficient activities and entertainment to keep potential ghostbusters of any age busy and entertained for a full day.
You enter The Great Hall, part of the medieval origins of the building, and are invited to take a tour of the castle using personal audio wands. The magnificent galleried, octagonal library, with its collection of more than 6,000 books is particularly impressive. Starting life as the medieval kitchen, the room now also houses the Spook Detector under a glass dome!
The spookiness really begins in earnest once up the staircase and on to the first floor. At the end of the corridor off the staircase is a portrait of Tom Skelton, Fool of Muncaster. After claiming to be the boyfriend of Heloise Pennington, daughter of the house in the 16th century, the local carpenter was decapitated by Tom while sleeping in the stables. The carpenter’s headless ghost has been seen roaming the castle seeking his lost love, and may be responsible for strange bumping noises on the staircase.
A little way back down the corridor the Tapestry Bedroom, the most haunted room of Muncaster Castle, is also subject to paranormal happenings. With dark tapestries clothing the walls and iron fire dogs shaped like the Devil’s heads, visitors often report a chilling feeling in the room. A child is frequently heard crying towards the window end of the room, and sometimes a lady is heard singing, comforting a sick child; footsteps can also be heard. If you’re feeling fearless it is possible to spend the night in this room, but be warned: once the alarms are set there is no escape until dawn!
Other stories concern the Muncaster Boggle, who haunts the roads around Muncaster. She is supposedly the ghost of Mary Bragg, a young girl murdered in the early 1800s on the road near the Main Gate.
The castle gardens extend to 77 acres and have more than 6 miles of paths. The Terrace, in particular, offers magnificent views of England’s highest mountains.
If you’re interested in feathered inhabitants of the dark, the castle is also home to the World Owl Trust, a conservation organisation who stage flying displays featuring their wide variety of owls.
Grounds are accessible for wheel chair users, although some woodland tracks are unsuitable. The ground floor of the castle is also accessible.
How to get there
By car: Muncaster Castle is situated on west Cumbria’s main coastal road, the A595, 20 miles south of Whitehaven.
By public transport:
The Ravenglass railway station is 1 mile from Muncaster.
Creeping Kate’s Kitchen in the castle stables serves a wide selection of home-baked cakes, snacks and meals using local produce.
Ordnance Survey Landranger Map 96.
Grid Ref: SD 103 963
Ravenglass CA18 1RQ
Opening times vary; check website for details. Adults £7.50, children £5.50, family £24. Grounds and Owl Centre open daily in Nov and Dec from 11am-4pm.
World Owl Centre
The Darkest Muncaster event sees the house and much of the grounds lit up and turns the dark evenings into a magical winter experience. From the last week of Oct and weekends in Nov and Dec, dusk to 9pm.