Revealed: The UK’s spookiest castles
The UK is home to hundreds of castles, each with their very own unique history. With so many castles playing host to battles and executions, rumours of ghosts and spirits roaming the halls have been passed down for generations.
Did you also know that a third of Brits (33%) believe in ghosts? With that in mind, tombola – the official sponsors of I’m A Celeb… set in one of the country’s most iconic castles - has decided to investigate the sightings.
tombola analysed 43 of the UK and Ireland’s most haunted castles and buildings in Britain. They sifted through 134,194 TripAdvisor reviews of each of the castles, before analysing 3,737 reviews that mentioned the words:
They then counted the number of reviews for the above words and created an index to provide each castle with a ‘spooky factor’ to reveal which castle or building takes the crown as scariest.
And the scariest castle in the country is…
Chillingham Castle takes the crown as the SCARIEST castle in the UK
tombola ranked the number of reviews for the words ‘scary’, ‘spooky’, ‘ghost’ and ‘haunted’ to provide each castle or iconic building with a Scare Factor - revealing the most terrifying location for your Halloween celebrations. These are the UK’s most haunted buildings…
Scare Factor Score
Chillingham Castle, Northumberland
Tulloch Castle, Dingwall
Treasurer's House, North Yorkshire
Craig y Nos Castle, Swansea
Alnwick Castle, Northumberland
Muncaster Castle, Cumbria
Glamis Castle, Angus
Dalhousie Castle, Midlothian
Berry Pomeroy Castle, Devon
Ruthin Castle, Denbighshire
301+ reviews - 15
251 - 300 - 14
201 - 250 - 13
151 - 200 - 12
100 - 150 - 11
90 - 100 - 10
80 - 89 - 9
70 - 79 - 8
60 - 69 - 7
50 - 59 - 6
40 - 49 - 5
30 - 39 - 4
20 - 29 - 3
10 - 19 - 2
1 - 9 - 1
0 - 0
Chillingham Castle, a 13th century medieval castle in Northumberland, takes tombola’s top spot for the scariest building in the UK. The castle was awarded a Scare Factor score of 35, the highest of all analysed due to the number of reviews mentioning the words ‘spooky’, ‘scary’, ‘ghost’ and ‘haunted’.
According to tombola’s research, there were 255 reviews mentioning the word ‘ghost’, with the castle boasting some of the highest levels of paranormal activity in the country. The White Pantry Ghost is said to beg visitors for water, suggesting she was poisoned. There has also been rumours of men’s voices in the Chapel, although it is never possible to understand what they are saying, and they stop talking once someone looks for them. That’s not to mention the ghosts spotted in the courtyard across the worn flagstones…
Inbaal Honigman, Astrologer and Psychic, agrees, giving it the top score for her ratings of scariest castles. According to Inbaal, “Chillingham Castle needs no introduction and is home to many famous ghosts” that you are sure to come across.
Chillingham Castle has the ‘spookiest’ reviews
Chillingham Castle also reigned supreme with the highest number of reviews mentioning the word ‘spooky’, with 69 reviewers spooked when they visited the castle.
Coming a close second in the ‘spooky’ reviews count was Alnwick Castle. The ‘Windsor of the North’ has been featured in many movies, but it has a darker side. Locals have stated they have seen the ghost of the Grey Lady who worked as a maid in the castle, along with the spooky sightings of the Alnwick Castle vampire, a tale of legend. The vampire was so feared that the locals worked together to stop him after terror and illness took over when the vampire moved among them.
Alnwick Castle boasts the ‘scariest’ reviews
With its dark past and tales of the Grey Lady and a vampire - a former deceased master of the castle - roaming the streets, it’s little surprise that Alnwick Castle has the most reviews featuring the word ‘scary’, boasting its own Scare Factor score of 24.
104 reviewers used the word ‘scary’ when describing their trip, significantly higher than Chillingham Castle with 35 reviews mentioning the same word. This suggests that those visitors have seen the Grey Lady floating through the corridors and passages under the castle.
Treasurer’s House has the most ‘ghost’ sightings
While Chillingham Castle might boast the highest Scare Factor score, analysed by tombola, Treasurer’s House certainly trumps when it comes to ‘ghost’ reviews, and a Scare Factor score of 25.
While not a castle, the historic house is enough to stop you from sleeping… 397 reviewers stated they had seen a ghost or mentioned the word after their visit. Several ghosts are reported to haunt the house, including George Aislaby, who owned the property in the 17th century. However, a group of ghostly Roman soldiers are the most notable. In 1953, these soldiers were spotted by a plumber working in the house who was so frightened, he didn’t return to work for several weeks. This same man recounted his stories for years to come and not one detail ever changed.
Tulloch Castle (329 ‘ghost’ reviews) and Chillingham Castle (255 ‘ghost’ reviews) both come second and third respectively. What is left of the 12th century castle, the Tulloch Castle Hotel is said to be the home of the Green Lady, one of the very few ghosts to have ever been captured on film. Another notable spirit is that of a maid who has been witnessed in the Great Hall and Pink Room, looking deeply troubled. Other visitors have reported feeling ice cold chills while walking throughout the castle. If you do visit, make sure to take your camera.
Chillingham Castle and Tulloch Castle have the most haunted reviews
Both Chillingham Castle and Tulloch Castle boast the most reviews featuring the word ‘haunted’. As the most haunted castle in England (Chillingham) and one of the most haunted in Scotland (Tulloch), you’ll definitely be hearing things bump in the night when you visit.
While also not one deemed one of the scariest castles in the UK according to the research, the home of I’m A Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!, Gwrych Castle, is reported to have a haunted past. The ghost of The Countess, born in 1859, is said to still roam the castle, with The Countess’ Tower the hub of paranormal activity. So, keep your eyes peeled if you are watching the show for any ghostly goings on.
For those planning to visit one of the scariest castles in the country for Halloween, Inbaal Honigman, Astrologer and Psychic, has also explained just why we are so obsessed with spirits for that one night of the year.
Why are Brits so obsessed with Halloween?
Psychic, Inbaal, says that: “In our largely secular, non-spiritual society of the 21st century, the afterlife isn't really a part of normal life. Relegated to creepy anecdotes and horror films, we don't really deal in ghouls and ghosts in our day to day existence. Halloween gives us a chance to feel childlike again.
“If we're going to be watching gory films and festooning our doors with cobwebs, then why not go the whole hog and visit a haunted castle, or go ghost hunting in a stately home?”
With that in mind, we are sharing our tips to planning the scariest Halloween of your life.
How to plan the spookiest haunted castle visit
If you are heading out to spot some ghosts, there are some things you can do to ensure the perfect, spookiest trip.
Book in advance
Haunted houses and ghost tours tend to book up in advance, so it’s wise to look at planning your trip 4-5 weeks in advance and checking availability for the most suitable dates. You may also get ‘early bird’ deals for doing so.
Research the story
The UK’s scariest castles all have a dark past, so depending on the castle/building you are visiting, read up on the ghosts that are said to roam the halls. That way, you know exactly what you are looking for and you may even be able to communicate with them if you know their past.
Visit the nearby villages to learn more of the ghostly tales
The UK’s most haunted castles are set in brilliant locations where you can continue your spooky journey by roaming the neighbourhoods, more than likely boasting even more ghostly tales.
Always wear your waterproofs
It’s October 31st in the UK, you can expect plenty of rain and bad weather. So, wrap up warm and pack your waterproofs before heading out.
If you are looking for thrillers and horrors to watch, we can reveal exactly what your favourite Halloween shows say about your personality.
TripAdvisor review data gathered from 30/09/21 to 05/10/21.