Haunted Cotswolds

24th October 2016

Categories: Media News

To celebrate Hallowe'en, we’ve unearthed some of the scariest, spookiest, most spine-tingling places to visit in the Cotswolds.

 Cotswold Ghost tours

Scare yourself silly on a ghost tour

Find out who about the many spooks and spectres of Regency Cheltenham or visit England’s most haunted village, Prestbury, the home of more than a dozen ghosts including the headless horseman,  on a Cotswolds Ghost Tour.

Discover why the streets of Bourton-on-the-Water aren’t as tranquil as they might seem at first glance on The Bloody Bourton Walking Tour.

Burford’s historic High Street is one of the most picturesque in the Cotswolds, but behind the facades, tales of ghostly going-ons abound, including a haunted priory where people have heard spine-chilling screams and the sounds of monks singing. Experience the ghostly goings on in Burford on Bill Spectre’s Ghost Trail (30 October).

Creepy castles

It’s not surprising that, with their long and often brutal histories, our English castles have quite a  reputation for spooky sightings. 

Visitors to Berkeley Castle, which was the venue for the gruesome murder of King Edward III, have reported hearing bloodcurdling screams echo down the centuries on the anniversary of his death.

Katherine Parr was once resident at Sudeley Castle and her ghost is said to still wander the corridors of the castle and frequent the castle nursery. If you spot a tall lady in a green dress, or smell apple scented perfurme, she may be nearby.

Given its 900 year history, it’s no surprise that Kenilworth Castle is home to quite a few supernatural apparitions. There are three ghosts who are reported to haunt the gatehouse, including that of a young girl who asks for her father.  People have also seen ghosts of a young boy, along with phantom horses and chickens, in the stables.

Learn more on a fright night tour of Kenilworth Castle (27 – 29 October).

Haunted houses

Woodchester Mansion is a splendid Victorian gothic mansion house (that was mysteriously left unfinished) and home to some of the scariest ghosts in the country.  A phantom horseman has been seen on the mansion’s drive, the ghost of a tall man in the chapel and even a floating head in one of the bathrooms!  To make it a bit spookier, Woodchester is also home to two colonies of rare bats who use the mansion as their maternity ward.

Several spooky legends surround the medieval ruins of Minster Lovell Hall, but none more haunting than the ghost of Lord Lovell who has been seen wandering through the ruins. We are told that in 1708 workmen found a secret chamber containing two skeletons: one of a man seated at a table, at his feet that of a dog. Lord Lovell had hidden there after defeat at the battle of Stoke Field in 1487, the last battle of the War of the Roses. His presence was known only to one trusty servant, whose sudden death left Sir Francis (and his faithful hound) to their grisly fate. His skeleton, and that of his dog, were uncovered many years later.  

At Chavenage House, you may see the headless coachman who turns up at the entrance to pick up the deceased owner at the moment of his death, who is then seen climbing aboard in his shroud! To feel ice-cold chills is not uncommon.

Newark Park is not only a beautifully located 16th century hunting lodge and stately home, it is also the location of many a spooky tale.  Learn more on a ghostly Halloween tour (31 October).

Hide under the bed…

Many of our Cotswold hotels and inns have terrifying stories of ghostly encounters and dreadful cries – hundreds of years of history and happenings are secreted within the walls but every so often, if you are really sensitive, you may experience something totally spine tingling that will raise the hairs on the back of your neck!

Dating back to the 16th century, a popular question for tourists and visitors is whether The Broadway Hotel is haunted. It is only speculation, but many people who have lived, worked or stayed at the hotel have reported seeing grey ladies disappearing up the wooden stairway. However the most consistently reported ghost has never been seen at all, only ever heard sobbing. She (nobody has ever doubted the sex of the ghost) has been heard many times by both visitors and members of staff in the early hours of the morning, usually in the minstrel’s gallery above the main lounge.

The Ancient Ram Inn, Wotton-under-Edge, is known as one of the most haunted buildings in the country and is a favourite of many a ghost-hunter!  There are so many different ghosts haunting the inn, including a witch burnt at the stake in the 1500s, The Bishop – a ghost of a monk and the spirit of a lady known as Elizabeth who was murdered and buried beneath the bar.  It is believed the old inn was built on land used for pagan burial rituals and sacrifices.

The Macdonald Bear Hotel in Woodstock was once a coaching inn with a history dating back to the 13th century. It is also home to two ghosts, Elizabeth Downing and her son Christopher, who died in 1768. Christopher has been spotted wandering the halls and guests have heard crying from one of the bedrooms.

Moreton-in-Marsh’s Manor House Hotel is known as one of the town’s most haunted buildings. The manor was once owned by the Creswyke family and is reputed to be haunted by Dame Creswyke who was horribly murdered in the house at the end of the 17th century.