Halloween 2021: UK’s Spookiest Road Trips Unmasked

Ghosts, ghouls, goblins and graveyards across the UK are getting ready to stir because it’s nearly Halloween. Spooky season is a bit dead without a ghost walk or a night of trick & treating, but we’re PassMeFast and we’re thriving when we’re driving. So we’ve done some gravedigging and found the 5 spookiest road trips in the UK.

Scaredy-cats beware — we’re going ghost hunting!

Britain’s Top 5 Ghost Hunting Road Trips

Scotland: Glas-ghoul to Edinb-arghhh

Scotland is Home of the Brave and you’ll definitely need a Braveheart for this trip…

We’ll be starting in Glasgow at the Scotia Bar. We’ve got a long (and scary) journey ahead of us, so swerve the alcoholic bevs and stick to the OJ. Besides, the resident ghost—the Green Lady—will be providing the thrills today. No booze required!

Next on our spooky Scotland adventure is the Cathedral House Hotel — Glasgow’s most haunted hotel. It’s said to be haunted by former inmates of the nearby Duke Street Prison, demolished in 1958. Only the exterior wall of the prison stands today and the hotel is the closest building to it. So, naturally, ghosts choose to pick on the hoteliers and residents to keep themselves amused in the after-life.

Cathedral House Hotel
Cathedral House Hotel, Glasgow

The Cathedral House Hotel gets bonus spOooOoOoky points because it overlooks Glasgow Necropolis — our next haunt.

Calling all vampire hunters and budding Buffys! The Necropolis in Glasgow city centre needs you and your wooden stake. This cemetery is apparently home to the Gorbals Vampire. He’s not any old Dracula rip-off, though. This guy is a whopping 7-foot tall and has iron fangs! Maybe he’s related to Jaws from James Bond?

Once you’re done fighting off ol’ Gorbals, pack your crucifix up and hop back behind the wheel for the 1 hour and 15 min drive across to Edinburgh — easily one of the most ghost-ridden cities in Britain.

Our first destination in Auld Reekie is in the South Bridge Vaults, where most of the local boozers boast their own tales of poltergeists. The most famous of all inhabits a bar called Whistlebinkies. The Watcher of Whistlebinkies is apparently a 17th-century gentleman who lurks in the pub waiting to spook the patrons and staff. Will he show his face when you visit?

We’re going to finish our ghost hunt with a bang at Edinburgh Castle — probably the most haunted place in the whole of Scotland. There are tonnes of ghost stories and rumours floating around here; from the Grey Lady to the Ghostly Piper that roams the underground tunnels below the castle. Watch out!

North-East: Chillingham Castle to the Ship Isis

Our holiday of horror brings us below the border to North-East England; specifically Northumberland and Tyne & Wear.

We kick things off at an old haunt where even the name will send a chill down your spine — Chillingham Castle. Ghost hunters have long loved a trip to Chillingham and many claim it’s one of the most haunted places in the UK. From the White Pantry Ghost to the Voices in the Chapel — there are loads of ghostly characters to sniff out during your trip here. Chillingham Castle hosts ghost tours and we recommend booking in advance to avoid any nasty shocks on the day.

Once you’ve been driven out by the White Pantry Ghost, it’s time to drive down the B6346 to Alnmouth. Here you’ll find our next scary stop — The Schooner Hotel.

The Schooner Hotel
The Schooner Hotel, Northumberland

This is a staple of every ghostly UK road trip. In fact, The Poltergeist Society of Great Britain claims that The Schooner is the most haunted hotel in the country, with a supposed cast of 60 ghosts and over 3,000 sightings of the creepy crew.

The Schooner Hotel has also got an impressive guest book, in addition to it’s ghost book. Charles Dickens and King George III have both stayed there over the years — maybe you’ll bump into one of their spirits on your visit?!

Get comfortable for the next leg of our journey, we’ve got a 50ish minute drive to the bright lights of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. You could easily spend a whole day ghost-hunting around Toon, but today we’ll just be nipping into the Old George Inn.

Like The Schooner, Old George also had a royal regular. In the 1600s, King Charles I was imprisoned by the Scots in Anderson Palace. The Scottish appreciate a good tipple and apparently allowed Charles to take the odd trip to the Old George for a drink. Hundreds of punters have claimed to see the spirit of Charles I sitting in his old chair, so make sure to keep your eyes peeled.

Once you’ve had a chinwag with Charles I it’s time to visit the final destination in our North-Eastern beastly tour. We’re finishing our journey in Sunderland, to visit a pub called The Ship Isis.

Ever heard of Mary Ann Cotton? She’s also known as The Dark Angel and is probably Britain’s most prolific female serial killer. It’s believed that Mrs Cotton claimed the lives of 21 people during the 1800s, including her 4 husbands. Once she was caught, Murderous Mary was sent to the gallows. But, as the tale goes, she and her many victims still roam the halls of The Ship Isis today.

Is that Mary at the bar, or have you just had one too many Cheeky Vimtos?

North-West: Lancaster Castle to the Lyceum Theatre

This is one of our longer schedules of scary sights, so you’ll want to dedicate a full day to this ghost hunt.

Our 105-mile voyage starts off at Lancaster Castle because what ghost hunt is complete without a fearsome fortress? Lancaster Castle was at the heart of the witch trials during the 1600s. At least 10 people (including the famous Pendle Witches) were trialled at Lancaster Castle and sentenced to death.

The Pendle Witches aren’t the only notorious residents of Lancaster Castle. You could also bump into The Black Monk or The Haggard Woman. Feeling brave? Book a paranormal tour of Lancaster Castle.

What becomes of the broken-hearted? Jimmy Ruffin asked it all the way back in 1967 and we still don’t have a definitive answer. However, Dorothy Southworth aka The White Lady supposedly roams the halls of Samlesbury Hall to soothe her buster ticker. As legend goes, Dorothy was a strict Catholic who fell in love with an Anglican boy. Now, this was a big no-no back in the 1700s and her family ordered Dorothy to ghost our Anglican Boy (isn’t that an Estelle and Kanye song?).

In classic Romeo and Juliet fashion, Dorothy and her banished boyfriend went off together despite their families’ demands. Sadly, the Southworth brothers jumped the couple as they were planning to leave, and murdered poor Anglican Boy. Dorothy died of a broken heart and is thought to haunt Samlesbury Hall to this day. So, that’s what became of this particular broken-hearted lady in white.

Feeling cheery after our little tale? Either way, things are only going to get creepier. Next, we’re off down the M6 to Ordsall Hall in Salford!

Ordsall Hall, Salford
Ordsall Hall, Salford

Ordsall Hall is a great little spot just outside of Manchester city centre. Again, every metropolis has thousands of ghost stories, but we’re going to focus on one little corner of this big city today. We’ve got another White Lady waiting for us there. Coincidentally, it’s another lady who died of a broken heart, and her name is Lady Margaret Radclyffe. There are a couple more ghostly residents at Ordsall Hall; Sir John Radclyffe, a bit of a perv who inhabits the Star Chamber; and Cecily, the ghost of a young girl who leaves the smell of roses wherever she goes.

We know which spirit we’d choose to bump into on our visit to Ordsall Hall! Anyway, it’s nearly the end of our North-West tour! But before the curtain call, we’re off to the Lyceum Theatre in Crewe.

It’s probably the creepiest place in Crewe because the Lyceum Theatre has an applaudable five ghostly residents in their cast.

Will you get to meet The Lonely Ballerina or Charlie The Stagehand on your visit? Perhaps the Lyceum’s own edition of the Lady in White will show her face so you can complete a hat-trick of North-Westerly White Ladies?

Have a hunt around The Lyceum Theatre website to see if there are any ghost tours during your road trip.

South-East: Plucky enough for Pluckley to Kelvedon Hatch?

Terror on the Thames! It’s time for our ghostly road trip around South-East England — starting off in Kent and finishing in Essex.

Our tale of trepidation starts at St. Nicholas’ Church, Pluckley, which holds the Guinness World Record of ‘Most Haunted Village in Britain’! How many ghosts is a world record, you ask? Well, Pluckley apparently has as many as 14, but the “official” number is 12.

Some of Pluckley’s spectral residents include a man who was smothered to death by a wall of clay; The Lady of Rose Court (who poisoned herself over a love triangle); The Red Lady (who also has a ghostly hound); and Dicky Buss, a miller who still haunts his old windmill.

Oh, and if those 12, maybe 14, ghosts weren’t enough for you — swing by The Screaming Woods before you leave. There have been many stories of yells and yelps coming from deep within Dering Woods at night. Locals believe they’re from the spirits of those who died there over the years.

Pluckley sounds lovely, doesn’t it?!

Now we’re going across the Thames Estuary to visit our next destination in Essex. Unfortunately, the Dartford Tunnel is a toll road so be sure to have £2.50 spare to pay your way.

Before we get there, we go on the A229 between Pluckley and the M2 motorway. The A229 is wayyy more exciting than a toll road because it’s supposedly haunted. The old tale says that, shortly after a fatal road accident in 1965, a driver picked up a female hitchhiker from outside the Lower Bell Pub. While they were driving to the next town, the woman simply vanished from the passenger seat into thin air… Eek!

The Lower Bell Pub, Aylesford
The Lower Bell Pub, Aylesford

If you make it off the A229 and arrive as a mortal in Brentwood, the next stop in your ghost hunt is Kelvedon Hatch. There, you’ll find a super-spooky secret nuclear bunker.

From the outside, the bunker looks like a fairly standard village bungalow. Dig deeper and you’ll find a network of Cold War-era tunnels and a nuclear bunker 125-feet underground. Locals say that the bunker was built on top of an ancient burial ground, which angered the spirits laid to rest there. Others tell tales of workers dying during the construction and a disappearing foreman.

Would you dare stay in the haunted bunker for a night? Book a stay here (but don’t blame us when you get chased out by the spirit of the foreman!).

Made it through the nuclear-slash-ghost apocalypse? Good, because we’re off to Colchester Castle next. Like Lancaster Castle, this was the epicentre of the witch hunts and trials in the Colchester area.

Joining the supposed witches who haunt the Castle is James Parnell. He’s probably the Castle’s most well-known spectral inhabitant and was a Quaker who died in 1656. According to legend, James was murdered by a particularly cruel gaoler (jailer) and his wife with his spirit staying to haunt the Castle to this very day.

South-West: Jamaica Inn to Tintagel Castle

Cornwall is a county up to its neck in history, myths and legends, so it’s perfect for chasing some ghoulies (or being chased by them…).

We start our adventure in the heart of Bodmin Moor at Jamaica Inn, made famous by Daphne du Maurier’s 1936 novel named…wait for it… Jamaica Inn. Resident spirits of the Inn include a murdered smuggler and an evil highwayman who can walk through locked doors.

The Jamaica Inn, Bodmin
The Jamaica Inn, Bodmin

Keep a peeper open for things that go bump in the night while around this area. The Beast of Bodmin Moor has apparently been spotted over 60 times. People have also claimed to spot the ghost of Jan Tregeagle at Dozmary Pool, where he died after making a pact with the Devil. Blimey, you really must be brave for Bodmin!

If you’ve not bailed by now, next up on our scare-genda is Bodmin Jail. Until 1862, the Jail hosted hundreds of public hangings. Nowadays, it’s been converted into a visitor’s attraction so you can pop by to hear the grisly tales of former prisoners and gaolers for yourself. Probably the most famous of Bodmin Jail’s ghost stories is that of Selina Wedge, who can be heard wailing her way around the old slammer.

Our final trip of terror takes us north to Tintagel, home of the legendary Tintagel Castle. Fable says that this castle is home to an impressive five ghosts, three of which also terrorise the nearby Camelot Castle Hotel. The most famous of Tintagel’s ghostly quintet is Merlin the Wizard who is said to live in a cave below the castle.

Drive Safely and Happy Hunting!

That brings us to the gruesome end of our UK ghost hunting road trips — we hope you made it through in one piece. Got an idea for a ghost tour? Let us know in the comments below!

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Ready to take the faster route to driving (and take your ghost hunting to the roads?) — book your PassMeFast course today!

By Sam Plant

Sam spent the first 2 years of his PassMeFast career with the Customer Experience team, and now he’s sharing his driving experience with the rest of the world! When not writing, you can find Sam reading, playing games, or following Port Vale.

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