The Most Haunted Castle Hotels You Can Stay In
We all like a good ghost story by the fire before bedtime. We asked our customers to list the ghost stories they came across during their castle stays, which you can read about below. You can book all of the featured castles on booking.com by following the links.
Castle Leslie, County Monaghan, Ireland
Castle Leslie’s ghost is a family member, Norman Leslie, who, following his death in World War I, is said to have swapped the trenches for the Red Room at the castle. Norman values his peace and quiet, so much so that it is said he is fond of hushing guests who make too much noise!
Ballyseede Castle, County Kerry, Ireland
A World War I field nurse named Hilda is seen annually on 24 March, but she is also known to pop up at sporadic moments throughout the year. The scent of roses usually foreshadows her appearances and guests have been known to ask to switch rooms in order to improve their chance of meeting her!
Dalhousie Castle, Edinburgh, Scotland
This 13th-century castle has so many ghosts! Lady Catherine, 16, died of a broken heart when she was banished to the castle tower in 1695 after being caught with a stable hand. She is known as The Grey Lady. One of Dalhousie's famous deceased residents is Sir Alexander Ramsay, who was reportedly starved to death in 1342 by the castle’s then-owner, William Douglas. He has been seen roaming the halls and grounds ever since.
Thornbury Castle, Bath, England
Thornbury has two main ghosts, the most active one believed to be that of Jasper Tudor, former Duke of Bedford and uncle of Henry VII. He died at home in Thornbury on 21 December 1495, but today seems to take issue with the modern usage of his old bed chambers as mere office space. As a character from a very different age, he reportedly gets particularly irate when women occupy his chamber and he knocks over books and other objects from desks and shelves in protest.
The second is believed to be the spirit of Princess Mary Tudor, daughter of Henry VIII, who spent some of her childhood at Thornbury and had a particular love for greyhounds. She can sometimes still be seen wandering the grounds, always in the company of her beloved pet dogs.
Hever Castle, Kent, England
The ghost of Anne Boleyn has been seen standing at the bridge over the River Eden, wandering elegantly around the gardens and stopping at the ancient oak tree where it is said she and Henry used to court.
She turns up most often at Christmas time, especially Christmas Eve, and it seems she has friends. An unidentified spirit, known as The Unhappy Man, appears on occasion, moving slowly through the hallways moaning and groaning and the ghostly figure of a horse has been seen galloping through the castle's Long Gallery, where poltergeist activity has also been recorded.
Barcaldine Castle, Oban, Scotland
Donald Campbell, Laird of Barcaldine, was the brother of the castle’s founder Sir Duncan Campbell, who built the castle between 1601 and 1609. Legend states that murdered Donald continued to haunt his brother, Sir Duncan, as punishment for sheltering Stewart of Appin, his murderer, at his home in Inverawe, where Appin had fled after murdering Donald during the Massacre of Glencoe.
Donald Campbell reportedly haunts Barcaldine Castle out of pure frustration at the injustice he suffered. Guests often tell tales of The Caithness Room being haunted, with sightings of Donald’s ghost featuring heavily in their stories. Many who have slept on the right side of the bed claim that they felt pressure on their back or legs as though someone was sitting on them!
Amberley Castle, West Sussex, South of London, England
Amberley is believed to have many ghosts, but the most famous by far is that of a young servant girl named Emily. It is said she jumped to her death from the battlements after falling pregnant and being shunned by her lover, a local bishop.
She can still sometimes be seen today, as a bloodied figure wandering the battlements and adjoining parts of the building, and can be heard crying and even laughing maniacally around the hallways.
The sound of multiple footsteps racing towards the battlements can be heard from time to time, presumed to be the ghosts of long-dead soldiers preparing to defend the castle.
Hazlewood Castle, nr York, England
The Tansy bedroom is mentioned in a ghost book as having a black-habited monk making his presence felt in the room. A black-dressed figure walks across from the exit to St Margaret's courtyard and disappears into the yew tree.
Tulloch Castle, nr Inverness, Scotland
Tulloch Castle is actually thought to have many ghosts, the most famous of which is The Green Lady. She has been sighted so frequently that the bar in the castle is actually named after her! The identity of The Green Lady is believed to be a woman named Elizabeth Davidson and her portrait hangs in the Great Hall.
The Green Lady is also one of the few ghosts that has been captured on film, prompting numerous investigations into the castle.
Dornoch Castle, East Coast of Scotland
Dornoch Castle is best known for being haunted by a thief called Andrew McCornish, imprisoned and killed for stealing ewes and rams from nearby estates. Marion Mackenzie, the daughter of his jailer, the Sheriff Substitute of Sutherland, was the first person to see Andrew’s ghost at the close of the 19th century.
She claimed to see the grey-haired man with a “weird face”, thick grey stockings and knee-breeches sitting in her father’s study when she came in from the garden one day. After running for help from her family, they returned to an empty room. Andrew’s ghost reappeared later that night next to the bed of Marion’s uncle, the minister of Avoch, while he was sleeping. Marion’s uncle woke up and told the ghost that if he did not go away he would call his brother, the sheriff. The ghost swiftly departed the room and never visited again.
After listening to his brother and daughter’s description of the ghost, Sheriff Mackenzie recognised it as Andrew. Despite Andrew’s disappearance, the castle’s new owner in 1922 took no chances and had the building exorcised before moving in.
Mansfield Castle, Royal Burgh of Tain, Scotland
In October 1902, Provost Mr Fowler and his wife, Mrs Fowler, undertook a major extension and refurbishment of Mansfield House. The architect was Andrew Maitland and the tall tower was added giving it the 'castle' look. Mrs Fowler survived her husband by 8 years, living in the house until her death on 21 February 1938.
Mrs Fowler did not leave Mansfield on her death - the presence of her ghost is often noticed by staff and guests alike. She continues to manifest her concern for the building with an increase in activity at times when there are big changes, which then subsides when the alterations are clear and, perhaps to her, satisfactory.
Ruthin Castle, North Wales
Lady Grey of Ruthin Castle is probably the most well-known and active spirit that haunts the castle. She discovered that her husband, Reginald de Grey, had been having an affair with a local peasant girl. Upon catching the pair at a romantic rendezvous, she took an axe to her husband's mistress in a jealous rage, hacking her to death.
Lady Grey was quickly apprehended and, said to be in a state of madness, was tried for murder and sentenced to death. No local clergymen would allow her to be buried on consecrated ground, so it was decided that she be buried just outside the castle walls.
She has been spotted by numerous guests and staff wandering the corridors of the hotel. There have also been reports of the apparition of a crazed woman walking through the banquet hall and the battlements wielding an axe as she moves. Her ghost has also been seen outside the castle walls wandering the grounds.
Dalston Hall, Heart of the North Lake District, England
The Handyman and Mr Fingernails are said to haunt Dalston Hall’s cellar. Sad Emily spends her time floating around Room 4, and there have been multiple sightings of a ghost who has been given the gruesome (and unwieldy) moniker of 'Girl Being Dragged By Hair'.
Oakley Court, near Windsor Castle, England
These ghosts prefer to remain anonymous. Guests and staff have reported ghostly knocks on bedroom doors and windows, and have come face to face with various spectres, including that of an elderly Victorian gentleman who comes to stand motionless by guests' beds and shrouded figures, who move slowly around the halls at dusk.
People have also had ghostly images appearing on photographs with one such example being displayed at the hotel. It shows the shadowy figure of a man sitting alone at the dining table, though the photographer and another witness reported that the table was completely empty at the time.
Roch Castle, Haverfordwest, South Wales
Roch Castle was built by Norman knight, Adam de Rupe, in the second half of the 12th century, probably on the site of an earlier wooden structure. The castle is reputedly haunted by Lucy Walter, who was born in the castle in 1630, and later became a courtesan of Charles II. She bore him an acknowledged son - James, 1st Duke of Monmouth. Her ghost, dressed in white, glides through the castle and its doors.