The most haunted hotspots in England

Date Posted: 04/04/2013

Oxford Castle Unlocked - Group Travel

Pictured: Murder, witchcraft and executions are all part of the history of Oxford Castle Unlocked.

Marking 125 years since the Jack the Ripper murders in east London, 2013 boasts a variety of spine-tingling attractions for thrill-seeking groups to enjoy, ranging from ghost walks and guided tours, to exploring haunted cities and seeking the paranormal.

Walk in the steps of a murderer

Visitors to east London can try a Jack the Ripper walking tour of Spitalfields and Petticoat Lane.

The identity of the infamous killer who stalked the Whitechapel area of London back in 1888 has remained a mystery, but the case has continued to horrify and fascinate.

Alternatively, hear the gory tale retold, in a setting that recreates the Ten Bells on a stormy night, at the new London Dungeons

Castle crypts, cells and séances

Oxford Castle Unlocked offers a history of murder, witchcraft, imprisonment and execution and is reported to be one of the most haunted locations in the country.

The castle is said to be haunted by a number of ghosts including a 12th century monk who pulls the hair of visitors to the crypt, and a man who hanged himself at the castle in 1761 and can now occasionally be seen in Debtor's Tower.

Groups can explore the castle's many frightening areas including the well chamber, prison cells and the 900-year-old crypt beneath the building. Alternatively, book a ghost tour and take part in vigils and séances in the dead of night.

Witchery in Somerset

Legend has it that during the dark ages, an old woman lived alone deep in the caverns of the Wookey Hole Caves in Somerset. She was branded a witch, and a holy clerk of Glastonbury exorcised the witch and turned her to stone.

Her frozen figure remains in the cavern, now known as The Witch's Kitchen.

Galleries of Justice Nottingham | Group Travel

Pictured: Stories of Nottingham's outlaws are rife at the Galleries of Justice.

A visit to the Witch's Castle and Kitchen in the Wookey Hole Caves can be combined with Wells & Mendip Museum where you can catch a glimpse of the witch's original skeleton, still on display.

Torture chambers in the Tower of London

The Tower of London is an iconic landmark, famous for its beefeaters, ravens and a gruesome history.

It was during Tudor times that the tower had its bloodiest period in its history, when cells and torture chambers were rarely empty of political and religious prisoners of Henry VIII.

Groups visiting the tower can see the famous crown jewels, try on a genuine suit of armour and learn about the legendary black ravens.

Seek the paranormal with Most Haunted's Richard Felix

Derby is famous for England's final hanging, drawing and quartering, and was the venue for the very last pressing to death in the country.

The city supposedly lays claim to the spirit of executioner John Crossland, a criminal who earned a pardon for carrying out the death sentence on his own father and brother.

Likewise, Alice Wheeldon, accused of plotting to murder Prime Minister David Lloyd, is said to haunt the Guildhall; and victims of the black death were buried alive at St Peter's Churchyard in the 14th century.

Join a guided ghost walk of the city with Richard Felix from television programme Most Haunted, or hold an overnight vigil in 18th century prison Derby Gaol.

Hauntings in Nottingham

Nottingham's Galleries of Justice tell some of the sinister stories behind the city's outlaws, which are brought to life in the building where they were judged, imprisoned and executed.

Take a ghost tour to hear tales of the Shire Hall's dark and sinister past and be led around the haunted corridors, cells and dungeons.

Re-enactment Tewkesbury Battleground | Group Travel

Pictured: A re-enactment of the Battle of Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire, taking place from 12th to 14th July this year. 

Ghosts of war

The Battle of Tewkesbury took place in May 1471 between the Yorkists and Lancastrians in the War of the Roses.

The slaughter of the Lancastrians on the battlefield led to this area of land being known as the Bloody Meadows. Today, the battlefield is easily accessed, and visiting groups can enjoy self-guided trails with interpretation panels to explain what happened during the course of the battle.

This summer, what’s reportedly the biggest medieval festival in Europe will re-enact the battle and transform Tewkesbury into a living history landscape between 12th and 14th July.

A ghastly past at Warwick Castle

Warwick Castle in Warwickshire is another spooky building for groups to explore. The Watergate Tower is said to be haunted by Sir Falke Greville, one-time owner of the castle, murdered by his long-term manservant who went on to pack his wounds with pig fat.

It's also said that the ghost of a young maid, who was blocked up behind one of the walls after giving birth to her master's child, wanders the Kingmaker area.

Earlier this year, the castle unlocked four never-seen-before rooms. The four ancient rooms - Barbican Battlements & Captain's Room, Bear Tower, Watergate Room and The Guards' Room - reveal tales of battle, siege, murder, power struggles and hauntings, and make for a fascinating group visit.

Headless horses at Blickling Hall

Blickling Hall in north Norfolk is a treasure trove of romantic buildings, gardens and landscaped park. However, it is believed to be haunted by the ghost of Anne Boleyn.

The apparition is said to appear every year on 19th May which is the anniversary of her execution, whereby her ghost draws up to the door of the stately home in a carriage pulled by headless horses and driven by a headless coachman.

Witches trail, Lancashire

Pictured: The Lancashire witches trail starts at Pendle Hill and finishes at Lancaster Castle.

The 16th century estate, now a National Trust property open to visitors, offers guided and self-guided tours for those wanting to delve into history a little deeper.

Dabble in a spot of witchcraft

Over 400 years ago, in August 1612, ten people were found guilty of witchcraft at Lancaster Castle in Lancashire and were executed on the moors.

Walking groups can embark on the Lancashire witches trail, which starts in the shadow of Pendle Hill and follows the route the witches took through the Ribble Valley to Lancaster Castle where they stood trial.

Once at the castle, you can take a guided tour to see the dungeons where they were imprisoned, and the courtroom where they were tried.

This list of sites was compiled by VisitEngland. Group travel organisers can visit the website of England’s official tourist board for further advice on planning a group trip to any of the featured sites and attractions.

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