Halloween fun is upon us and here’s five family-friendly haunts in England that can be enjoyed by the whole family, says RICK HALE
Spooky season is here and the night when the Vale between our world and the land of the dead is its thinnest is upon us. That’s right Halloween is almost here.
During this darkest of seasons you and your family may be looking for some scary fun to complete the holiday.
If so, then you are in luck because across England can be found several frightening places with extraordinarily active ghosts open for tours, ghost walks, and even ghost hunts.
If you and your brood are courageous enough, here are five well known haunts sure to chill you to the bone. And have you coming back for more.
Halloween Fun Places in England
Borwick Hall, Lancashire
Topping our list for spooky family fun is the Grade II listed Borwick Hall in Lancashire.
The earliest parts of this imposing Gothic manor house dates as far back as the 14th century.
Two centuries later in the late 16th century, the tower was extended to make room for the manor house we see today.
After falling into disrepair in the early years of the 20th century, it was saved from the wrecking ball by John Alexander Maitland.
After Maitland ‘s death, the building was a hospital and morgue during World War II.
Later it was used as the Lancashire Youth Club Association. But now it’s the property of the Lancashire County Council. And they are very aware of their ghost.
According to legend, the daughter of a former owner protested against an arranged marriage by going on a hunger strike.
When her behaviour got out of hand her cruel, uncaring parents locked her in the tower where she eventually succumbed to her starvation.
Since her death, the girl stalks the house seeking revenge on those unlucky enough to cross her path.
Visitors have reported seeing the grotesque form of an emaciated girl wandering the corridors of Borwick Hall.
While others have claimed to either be grabbed or pushed by a cold skeletal hand that reaches out from the shadows.
Those who have come face to face with her, states that she has a mad look in her eyes. And she lets out an ear piercing cackle before vanishing.
Borwick Hall offers tours and ghost walks to those brave enough to encounter this horrific ghost.
Slough Fort, Kent
Along the shores of south east England in Kent, can be found Slough Fort.
Slough Fort was built in 1867 to protect the Thames from an invading French army.
Thankfully, that attack never came and the 7 gun casement was removed in 1912.
For almost a century the fort sat until 2009 when the English Heritage bestowed upon it a Grade II listing.
It was at this time the owners realized that something beyond human understanding was happening behind its thick stone walls.
Visitors to the Fort have reported a dreadful presence in the brig that seems to closely watch people from the shadows as they tour the former cells.
No one knows who this entity was in life but it is clear it does not want anyone there.
A second ghost who is more often heard than seen is a little girl who haunts the right wing battery.
She is heard running throught the room giggling and playing innocent pranks.
As with her darker companion in the brig, her identity has been lost to time. Her name is unknown.
Slough Fort is open for daytime tours and the fort hosts organised ghost hunts throughout the month of October.
Ryecroft Hall, Manchester
If ever there was a house that just looked like it should be haunted, the Grade II listed Ryecroft Hall in Greater Manchester would be it. And it most certainly lives up to that reputation.
Ryecroft Hall was built in 1849 and was used as both a hospital and morgue during the first world war. It’s in the morgue where the ghostly goings-on are said to be their most active.
When one enters the deep, dark recesses of the cellars that were used as the morgue, they are immediately met with a deep feeling of sadness mixed with dread.
Although apparitions are regularly seen throughout the house, it is in the former morgue where dark shadowy figures dwell. Waiting for the unsuspecting soul to enter their domain.
Wookey Hole Caverns, Somerset
Can I share a secret? I am intensely claustrophobic so exploring underground caverns is not exactly for me.
However, Somerset’s very haunted Wookey Hole Caverns might just change my mind.
In 1912, a 1000 year old skeleton was discovered leading many to believe this was the skeletal remains of the legendary witch of Wookey Hole.
According to legend the wicked witch cursed the relationship of two young lovers to fail. Why, you may ask. Well, she couldn’t stand seeing two people so happy.
Distraught over the end of his love affair, the young man became a monk and swore vengeance on the witch who destroyed everything he cherished.
One day, he cornered the witch by the underground river. After blessing the water he splashed the witch who immediately turned to stone.
The stalagmite that is believed to be the petrified witch can still be seen by the river today.
The ghost of the witch is believed to stalk the caverns to this day looking to curse whoever crosses her path. But the witch is not alone in haunting the caverns.
The apparition of a man, believed to be a potholer who drowned in the river has been seen in the subterranean chambers.
And the ghost of a child who was believed to have perished in the cave after getting hopelessly lost calls the ancient limestone caverns home as well.
Wookey Hole Caverns are open daily for tours. However, it’s during the Halloween season when the caverns come alive.
Between 22 and 31 October, Wookey Hole hosts its Halloween Spectacular for Children.
Kids can thrill to the tales of the witch and ghosts said to haunt Wookey Hole Caverns.
The Commandery, Worcester
Rounding out this list of haunted family Halloween fun is Worcester’s oldest building, the Grade I listed The Commandery.
According to historians, the Commandery was founded as a hospital in the 14th century by St. Wulfston, Bishop of Worcester.
Throughout its history, the Commandery has been used as a chapel, an almshouse and headquarters for royalist troops during the civil war.
The ghostly activity reported at Worcester ‘s oldest building includes the Duke of Hamilton, who perished as a result of his wounds at the battle of Worcester.
The duke’s apparition has been seen in the Solar Room which was reportedly his favourite room in the house
Tall, lanky shadowy figures are routinely seen throughout the Commandery and are even known to interact with visitors.
The Minstrel’s Gallery and the Great Hall are said to be where you can experience these frightening phantoms.
And lastly the horrifying phantom of a witch is said to stalk the underground cells where she was imprisoned before being sent to her final reward.
The Commandery offers its famous After-dark tours beginning at 6:30 PM. And your children will thrill to stories of the ghosts that haunt this ancient building.