Tired of trick or treat? Perhaps you’ve seen enough Halloween horror films to last a lifetime? Then this All Hallow’s Eve, we invite you to try something altogether different: a spooky Halloween road trip.
That’s right, if you’re brave enough, why not get behind the wheel and take a tour of some of the UK’s most haunted sites and buildings? To help you along the way, we’ve mapped out road trips that take in some of the country’s most infamous paranormal places – from Sunderland’s Empire Theatre to The Hellfire Caves of Buckinghamshire.
At this stage, it’s worth pointing out that these spooky Halloween road trips were created just for fun, so timings may differ from the figures quoted. If you do decide to try any of these ghoul-laden journeys, be sure to take regular breaks; hey, you could even stay in one of the many haunted hotels listed – if you dare!
Ready? Then strap yourself in for a journey like no other, as we transport you on a spine-tingling tour of Britain’s most haunted sites, just in time for Halloween.
- North East
- North West
- South East
- South West
- East of England
- West Midlands
- East Midlands
- Greater London
- Northern Ireland
- Soundtrack Your Halloween Road Trip with Our Spooky Playlist
With its deserted moorlands and long, storied history, some parts of the North East can raise hairs even at the best of times. But add what is reputed to be the region’s most haunted buildings into the mix, and you have a recipe for a spooky road trip of epic proportions.
Our route begins at Bamburgh Castle, an ancient site whose ramparts are said to be stalked by the phantom of the Pink Lady. From there we travel south to Alnwick Castle, Marsden Grotto, and The Ship Isis, a pub still plagued by the spirit of Mary Ann Cotton, a 19th-century serial killer.
Need a break? If you’re feeling brave enough, hole up at The Cosmopolitan Hotel, whose rooms are said to be haunted by three paranormal entities. The route ends at the Old George Inn, a 16th-century coaching inn where lots of strange sightings have been reported.
Coming in at over 300 miles, our Halloween road trip through the North West is one to break up into piecemeal portions. There’s certainly no shortage of spooky goings-on in this neck of the woods, which may not be much comfort to Lancastrians, Mancunians or Scousers with a nervous disposition.
Fond of staying in haunted hotels? Try room 4 at Edenhall Country Hotel out for size. With talk of a female spirit spotted here, you’re sure of a restful night’s sleep ahead of your journey. From here, we bear south, where Lancaster’s Golden Lion pub offers tall tales of restless prisoners, still pining for their last pint.
In Merseyside, the imposing Speke Hall delivers a spine-chilling welcome, with the ghost of a Catholic priest said to dwell in its walls. Meanwhile, over in Greater Manchester, the Ring O Bells Inn serves up more than just warm Mancunian hospitality thanks to the presence of the so-called “Sad Cavalier” – a spectre who stomps through the pub’s upstairs rooms and has even been known to throw rocks at regulars on occasion.
From the legacy of the Battle of Hastings to bloody tales of smuggling along the Kent coast – it’s no wonder the South East is considered one of the most haunted regions in the UK. There’s a lot to get through in this ghoulish garden of England, so let’s dive straight in.
Ghostly goings-on begin at Dover Castle, whose storied walls contain everything from the ghosts of WWII soldiers to a mysterious floating lady. Pevensey and Arundel castles are equally as frightening, with all manner of otherworldly beings stalking the ancient stones.
Of course, the dreaded Hellfire Caves aren’t to be missed for those feeling brave enough, with the spirit of Benjamin Franklin said to dwell in this eerie labyrinth. Pluckley Village rounds out our tour of the South East’s most haunted sites, this being named England’s most haunted settlement by the Guinness World Records.
At 436 miles, the South West leg of our spooktacular Halloween road trip isn’t for the faint-hearted, so be sure to make regular breaks and stops if you’re determined to take it on in time for All Hallow’s Eve. The route covers sinister jails and eerie coaching inns, as well as ancient castles whose walls have a thousand tales to tell.
We begin at the Ancient Ram Inn, a Gloucestershire B&B where patrons have been known to flee in the night as a result of strange goings on. Catch some shut-eye if you can before taking in Berry Pomeroy Castle, home to classic spectres like the Blue Lady and the White Lady.
Still on the road? Make for Bodmin Jail, one of England’s most storied prisons. Here, a ghost named Selina Wedge is reputed to glide from cell to cell at night, seeking her eternal rest.
For those who dare to tread where others don’t, the East of England has some uncanny occurrences to uncover. Our 260-mile route takes in everything from historic mansions to nuclear bunkers, though some roads may be restricted, so please proceed with caution.
Our trail of terror through the East of England begins in Blickling Hall, which is thought to house one of the UK’s most famous and well-heeled spectres, Ann Boleyn. The ancient city of Norwich, of course, delivers its fair share of spooky sites, including the haunted chambers of The Maids Head Hotel.
If you’ve courage left, the Kelvedon Hatch Nuclear Bunker is well worth a look, it being built on an ancient burial ground that’s believed to be teeming with ghosts. Christchurch Mansion is also game for a ghoulish sighting or two, with its upper picture gallery believed to be haunted by the spirit of an Edwardian lady.
However warm a welcome Yorkshire offers, it pales in comparison to the creeping dread that encompasses the county’s most haunted sites and buildings. Between fabled destinations like York, Whitby and Beverley, Yorkshire delivers some of the most genuine scares on our entire UK Halloween road trip, so strap yourself in.
Whitby Abbey is spooky enough at the best of times, and that’s before you read about the ghost of St Hilda. From there, we make the journey to York, a city that’s certainly seen its fair share of ghostly goings on over the years. Enjoy a drink at The Golden Fleece – it’s said to be the city’s most haunted pub.
Next, the eerie ruin of Bolton Abbey brings plenty of creepy tales, while the halls of Bolling and Hodroyd offer over 500 years of blood-curdling history between them. The route ends at The Monks Walk pub in Beverley, where the sound of jangling keys can be heard in the dark of night.
Our hypothetical Halloween road trip through the West Midlands begins at The Commandery, home to one of the most famous of Worcestershire’s ghosts, the Duke of Hamilton. Meanwhile, passing over the border into Shropshire, the Feathers Hotel is a nice place for a well-earned rest – provided you don’t mind sharing a room with a vengeful spirit with a particular dislike for the ladies.
In West Bromwich, the beautiful timber frame of the Oak House Museum holds a sinister secret or two, while just down the road, the medieval ruin of Tutbury Castle plays host to a full programme of paranormal events.
Need another place to rest your head? The Brownsover Hall Hotel is one of the last stops in the West Midlands, although you will need to keep an ear out for “One-Handed Boughton”, the hotel’s resident spirit.
Meanwhile, over in the East Midlands, Lincoln Castle presents a paranormal spectacle of epic proportions, with ghostly screams and the sound of slamming doors ever present here. Further along the route, the National Justice Museum offers up its own share of unexplained occurrences, so it’ll be up to you to judge between fact and fiction.
Heading west on the A52, any budding ghost hunters will chance upon Derby’s The Old Bell Hotel, thought to be home to no less than three spine-tingling Victorian spirits. Departing south for Northampton, the Abingdon Park Museum matches the terror of The Old Bell Hotel with its own spectres, including that of Elizabeth Barnard, the granddaughter of William Shakespeare.
If driving around Greater London wasn’t scary enough, you can add to the terror by stopping off at some of the capital’s most haunted sites. We’ve plotted a course through what are reputed to be the spookiest places in the Old Smoke, starting at The Ten Bells pub, a notorious watering hole haunted by the spirit of Annie Chapman – one of the unfortunate victims of Jack the Ripper.
Making for the Thames, call in on the Tower of London, which is said to be haunted by the spectre of Henry VI. Hampton Court Palace is our next stop, and it’s here where the ghosts of Henry VIII’s wives are still thought to linger.
Heading north, make for The Spaniard’s Inn, before taking a stroll through Highgate Cemetery, where vampires dwell. Eastbury Manor House is our final stop on the route before heading back to The Ten Bells, and we’re not sure what’s likely to be scarier – the house’s apparitions or your London ULEZ bill.
Don’t worry if you live on the island of Ireland, because we’ve got you covered with a spooktacular Halloween road trip, too. This 238-mile route is best divided into manageable portions, while you will also need to be careful not to use restricted roads to reach some sites.
To start, make for Dobbins Inn, a spectacular 13th-century inn that’s reputed to be haunted by the ghost of ‘Maud’. We’d also recommend a visit to Tollymore Forest Park, where the Blue Lady wanders the woodlands, restlessly seeking her final resting place.
Travelling north, witnesses are reputed to have seen a ghostly stagecoach outside the White Horse Hotel, while Dunluce Castle, one of the most spectacular ruins in Northern Ireland, has plenty of mysteries, tall tales and ghost stories to tell.
Proceed with caution on this epic 9-hour round trip through Scotland, taking in some of the country’s most notorious haunted sites. With 410 miles to cover on challenging roads, this is easily one of the most demanding Halloween road trips on our shortlist, but one that’s certain to take your breath away (in more ways than one).
Fyvie Castle is the starting point for our ominous odyssey through Bonnie Scotland. Here, you may encounter Lillias Drummond, who perished here in the early 17th century. Stirling Castle is also a prime paranormal stopping-off point on the route, thanks to the presence of three spectres that continue to haunt its towering ramparts.
Meanwhile, on the banks of the Tay Estuary, pay a visit to RRS Discovery, a haunted ship, moored on the dock, where eerie phenomena have been reported on board.
Like the Scottish leg of our epic UK-wide Halloween road trip, the Welsh-bound route is long and challenging, so please approach this as a just-for-fun exercise. We don’t really expect you to tour the 370-mile route, but different stop-off points can be enjoyed individually.
The trip begins at The Skirrid Mountain Inn, a seemingly charming Brecon Beacons coaching inn with a grizzly past. From here, drive west to Craig Y Nos Castle, home to some of Wales’ most fruitful and entertaining guided ghost walks.
Next, head north, where the haunted wings of Gwydir Castle are sure to delight plucky visitors. Tredegar House is the last stop on our ghost tour of Cymru, where the open-minded may encounter a ghostly procession of nuns. Shudders.
With paranormal encounters all but nailed on during your tour of Britain’s spookiest sites, all that’s left to do is buckle up and hit the open road. Of course, no road trip would be complete without the right playlist, so to inspire your tour of terror, we’ve put together a special Halloween playlist to perfectly complement your trip. Enjoy – if you can.
Thanks for joining us on our epic road trip to the most feared corners of the UK. If you feel like taking on one or part of these road trip itineraries this Halloween, please exercise caution, read road signs and take regular breaks to keep yourself fresh and alert behind the wheel.
All that’s left to say is – Happy Halloween from everyone at Holts. Remember, if you’re in need of DIY car maintenance tools to help you on your trip, we’ve got you covered. Browse the Holts range right here.