Most Haunted Stately Homes To Visit This Year
As the UK Lockdown starts to ease, it may start occurring to you about what your plans for the summer may be. It's looking like that most wanted holiday abroad is off the cards again for another year, but there are still many places of interest that you can explore during your "staycation". We have found the top five most haunted stately homes to visit, and if you are in the area they are in....dare you visit?
Ham House, Ham St, Ham, Richmond-upon-Thames TW10 7RS - London
At number one is Ham House in Richmond-upon-Thames. Currently owned by the National Trust, the property was built in 1610 by William Murray, a close companion of King Charles I. The creation of occupants Duchess of Lauderdale and her husband, the Duke, who together transformed Ham into one of the grandest Stuart houses in England. The house and its royalist family also played a very important role during the English Civil War. The house is recognised for its historical, lavish and superb collection of paintings - you'll find all the luxuries of the era in the home's gorgeous interiors and furniture. The almost unchanged formal gardens boast an ice house, the oldest orangery in Britain and a large flock of green parakeets. Elsewhere in the gardens include a kitchen garden, a maze-like "Wilderness", complete with many beautiful spots for that unwinding picnic in the sun. Having appeared in 21 television and film productions, the home is apparently home to sixteen ghosts! Cold spots and the sounds of footsteps have all been reported at Ham House. At the centre of it all appears to be Duchess herself, Elizabeth Murray. She played a dangerous political game by being friends with King Charles II and Oliver Cromwell. It is however, on the ground floor of the property that ghostly events have been reported. Many visitors report of a strange oppressive atmosphere in the room - there is also a large looking glass that some are even too scared to see into out of fear of what could be staring back at them! In addition to this, a women in black, believed to be Elizabeth herself has been sighted on the stairs. That's not all - the ghostly screams of a suicidal young man, rejected by the servant girl he fell in love with, can also be heard. Dare visit?
Adults - £5.00
Child - £2.50
Family - £12.50
Family (one adult) - £7.50
* National Trust members free
2. Highclere Castle, Highclere Park, Highclere, RG20 9RN - Hampshire
At number two is Highclere Castle in Newbury. Highclere is known for being the filming location for the ITV drama series, Downton Abbey. It's fame, beautiful gardens and fabulous architecture has drawn in over a thousand visitors a year. The first written records of the estate date back to 749, when an Anglo Saxon King granted the estate to the Bishops of Winchester. The Bishop William of Wykeham had built a glorious medieval palace and gardens within the park grounds. However, the palace was rebuilt as Hereclere Place House in the year 1679 when it was purchased by Attorney General, Robert Sawyer. It has been said that the castle is haunted by ten ghosts! Accounts suggest that a footman who allegedly killed himself at Hereclere Castle had once haunted its corridors. To add to this, the present Lady Carnarvon's late father once greeted a "well dressed lady" with a simple "good evening" unbeknown to him that this lady was not exactly "alive"! The castle is also known for its link to Egyptology! The 5th Earl of Carnarvon, a former owner of the property, was the money behind the excavation of Tutankhamun's tomb. You can even visit to this day, the Earls wonderful collection of Egyptian artefacts and replicas in the exhibition, alongside a mahogany desk and chair owned by French military leader, Napoleon Bonaparte.
Entry Fee (Castle, Gardens and Egyptian Exhibition)
Adults - £24.00
Child - £14.00
Family (2 adults, 2 children) - £66.00
Adult Concession - £22.00
Child Concession - £13.00
Carer - Free
Entry Fee (Castle & Gardens OR Egyptian Exhibition & Gardens)
Adults - £17.00
Child - £11.00
Family (2 adults, 2 children) - £46.00
Adult Concession - £15.50
Child Concession - £10.00
Carer - Free
3. Newstead Abbey, Newstead Village NG15 8NA - Nottinghamshire
Ancestral home of Lord Byron....need we say more? The "mad, bad and dangerous to know" romantic poet. Inside the abbey, there is much to discover - the whole place is packed with history and has understandably had its fair share of ghost stories. The original ruins dating back to the 12th century are still visible and stand within the ground. Amongst the abbey are beautiful themed gardens in various styles. Discover the Gothic stone vaults to the rectory hall, which Byron himself used as a shooting gallery. According to sources, there are apparently five ghosts that haunt the abbey - The White Lady, the Black Friar, the Goblin Friar, the Rose Lady and The Rooks; each have their own interesting story...most famously, The White Lady. After Byron had sold the abbey to his old school friend, Thomas Wildman, the Wildmans befriended a young girl named Sophie Hyatt, who had recently moved to a nearby farm. As a great devotee of Byron's work, the Wildmans allowed Sophie to wander around the grounds whenever she pleased. Unfortunately, Sophie lived off the income provided by a relative...who died in 1825 and the money went. Luckily for her, she had a relative in America and went to ask for help if they could provide her with a source of income for survival. Once the motion was in place, a note was left for the Wildmans to explain where she was going. When the Mrs Wildman read the note, she immediately wanted to offer Sophie her aid and sent a rider to catch her - the plan was to offer her accommodation in the grounds of Newstead for the rest of her life. Once the rider set off, he saw a crowd gathering outside of the Black Boy pub in the market square - intrigued, he dismounted the horse to see what the commotion was all about...and there was Sophie, dead on the floor. She was run over by a cart, not hearing the drayman's warning. She can now be seen wandering through the gardens at Newstead, which she so loved. Especially down one path known as "White Lady's Walk". Definitely one to visit!
Entry Fee (Historic House):
Adult - £10.00
Child - £6.00
Family (2 adults, 2 children) - £25.00
Parking (all day - contactless only):
Cars - £6.00
Walkers & Cyclists - £2.00
Motorcyclists - £2.00
4. Hatfield House, Great North Rd, Hatfield AL9 5HX - Hertfordshire
Only 21 miles from London, Hatfield House is a wonderful, grand Jacobean style country house surrounded by elegant gardens stretching over forty two acres. The house is a leading example of the prodigy house and was built in 1611 by Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury who was Chief Minister to King James I. The house is a prime example of the extravagant Jacobean architecture. Having been passed down the Cecil family, the house is currently owned (but still open to the public) by Robert Michael James Gascoyne-Cecil, 7th Marquess of Salisbury, Baron Gascoyne-Cecil - a British Conservative and current Chancellor of the University of Hertfordshire. During World War I, the ground were used to test the first ever British tanks! The house has also been used as a set for various films and television shows - 70 in total! These include, both Lara Croft films, Hot Fuzz, Paddington and most recently Netflix series Bridgerton. The well preserved interiors and furniture show the very best of Jacobean style and design. From the very famous "Rainbow Portrait" of Queen Elizabeth I, to the wood panelled walls and tapestries. It is very easy to immerse yourself in this period. The house is also home to Elizabeth I's many trinkets and was even home to her younger brother, Edward VI. It's rumoured to host three ghosts - 1951 it was reported that the ghost of Queen Elizabeth I was seen! The daughter of King Henry VIII is said to haunt the house after being seen in the Old Palace gateway before suddenly vanishing in the churchyard. A fire in 1835 also left its mark....a noblewomen who accidently knocked over a candle burnt to her death - her footsteps can now be heard by some in the same part of the building. Even at night time, Hatfield can be a scary place! A phantom carriage and its horses can be seen sat outside the manor in the dark! Not a place where we would want to be at night time!
Prices for Hatfield really vary depending what you are wanting to visit. All entry fees can be found using the weblink below.
5. Bickling Hall, Blickling, Norwich NR11 6NF - Norfolk
Bickling Hall is a Jacobean style home most famous for being the likely birth place of Anne Boleyn, the second wife to the ruthless King Henry VIII. The main building of the stately home was completed in 1616 and now belongs to charity, the National Trust. It is understandable why you won't ever forget your visit to the Hall. The breath-taking mansion is surrounded by ancient yew hedges and sits right at the very heart of the stunning Bure meadows. A statue and portrait of Anne may be found at Bickling reading "Anna Bolena hic nata 1507" (Anne Boleyn born here 1507). The current house you see at Bickling, was built on the ruins of the old Boleyn property, during the reign of James I by Sir Henry Hobart, Lord Chief Justice of the Common Please and 1st Baronet, who bought Blickling from Robert Clere in 1616. In most recent times, during World War II, the house was requisitioned and served as the Officers' Mess of nearby RAF Oulton. The grand Hall is actually home to one of Britain's most famous phantoms; the Queen born here herself, Anne Boleyn. Anne was famously beheaded on the orders of her vicious husband, King Henry VIII on the false terms of adultery, incest, witchcraft, conspiracy against the King and frustration since Anne could not bore him a son he most desperately wanted. Now, it has been said, her headless ghost returns every year on the 19th May, which falls on the anniversary of her execution. As the night starts to fall, Anne Boleyn's ghost is said to ride right up to the house in a coach drawn by a headless horseman with her very own head sat on her lap. The very moment the coach arrives in front of the house, it vanishes into thin air...
Adult - £10.00
Child - £5.00
Family - £25.00
Family (one adult) - £15.00
* National Trust members free
Find more places to explore across Britain during your staycations here -