There is magic in the night this Halloween, as ghosts and ghouls from all around the country come out to show their colours in various Halloween activities across England. From to haunted castles and gruesome ghost tours, to ‘death defying’ cocktails and a scareground for a fairground. See below for more spooktacular events across the country guaranteed to entertain both big and little horrors. Don’t forget to check our travel articles for lots more inspiration!
Halloween Activities and Frights for all the family
The Haunted Castle at Warwick Castle 21-31 October – Scaredy Squires, Daring Dukes and Brave Knights alike will be drawn to Warwick Castle as a spooky spell of transformation lures them to The Haunted Castle. Every guest has the chance to win a sleepover in Knight’s Village with the exclusive #666Challenge and this year – for Brave Knights – the exclusive spectacle, Séance, dials up the dread as it summons the spirits of the dead. Every area of The Haunted Castle promises treats for all ages, with lighthearted fun for Scaredy Squires and hair-raising scares for Daring Dukes, and total terror for Brave Knights. The castle remains open until 9pm between 21-31 October; as darkness falls over the ancient towers and ramparts, the scare factor rises.
A traditional Victorian Halloween at Blists Hill Victorian Town, Shropshire 21– 29 October – Join the residents of Blists Hill Victorian Town as they celebrate Halloween in traditional style. The Victorians marked All Hallows Eve with some curious customs and unusual rituals such as carving turnips (rather than the modern day pumpkins) into Jack-o-lanterns to frighten away evil spirits. Visitors can play light-hearted divination and fortune telling games with the townsfolk in their cottages, follow a trail around the historic streets to discover more about Victorian Halloween traditions and ‘meet’ Sweeney Todd, the demon barber who will be looking for more victims to dispatch. An Annual Passport Ticket allowing unlimited daytime entry into all ten museums costs £25 per adult, £20 for seniors, £15 for children under 16, £68 for a family of two adults and all their children and £50 for a family with one adult; under 5s free.
Halloween Entertainment at Blenheim Palace 21 – 29 October – This year Halloween has taken over the Blenheim Palace with thrills and spooks on selected dates, from finding a Crow in the State Rooms to a Spooky Trail to win a Halloween Treat. Hop on board the Blenheim Palace ghost train which takes you through a creepy tunnel to the Pleasure Gardens where a cackle of witchy goings-on are to be found. Families can lurk around the Labyrinth or take the Mini-Beasts Trail around the Pleasure Gardens. There will be Spooky Tours running throughout the week in the Palace with a ghoulishly special candlelit tour for brave witches and wizards. There will also be classic spooky storytelling in the cinema of the Stables Courtyard with ghostly tales; perfect for getting into the Halloween spirit. Indulge in a wickedly delicious Halloween Afternoon Tea at The Orangery during October Half Term and discover a whole host of treats in the Pleasure Gardens Deli including ice-scream and toffee apples, with pumpkin carving too! Entry available via a Park and Gardens pass from £15.90 for adults and £7.10 for children over 5. There may be a small extra charge for some activities. www.blenheimpalace.com/whats-on/events/halloween.html
Screamland at Dreamland in Kent 20 – 31 October – Screamland meets the all-new Dreamland park for the first time. Ever popular, this fear fest sees the fairground become the scareground and will feature exhilarating mazes. There will be live music, fancy dress competitions and Get Spooked will be back for plenty of family fun for the little ones. Early Bird Pre-Sale Tickets from Standard £15. www.dreamland.co.uk
Wizards on the line in the Isle of Wight 23 to 27 October – Wizard Week at the Isle of Wight Steam Railway will include displays by owls and birds of prey, magic shows, relaxing steam train rides, and the chance to tread cautiously through the enchanting Woodland Walk. Meet the friendly witches of Havenstreet and help them with magic spells and potions and dress-up as wizards, witches and other spooky characters with the chance to win prizes each day for the best costumes. Early Bird online prices adult £11.50, child £6, infant FREE, family £29.
Spooky St Albans Tours 25 – 31 October (excluding 29 October) – St Albans City Tour Guides will be hosting Ghost and Ghouls tours, with four tours on Halloween itself at 7pm, two at 7.30pm and 8pm. The tour guides take guests around the medieval cobbled streets of the city to the many centuries-old buildings where ghosts have been spotted. TV programme Most Haunted spent five days in The White Hart Hotel recording ghostly activity, including the ghost of a woman who was beheaded when she failed to duck as a coach went through the hotel’s low entrance to the courtyard in 1820. She haunts the place, dressed apparently in the travelling clothes of the 1820s period, and wanders around looking a bit forlorn. Charles Dickens got hold of this story and tells it in Pickwick Papers. Walks cost £5 for adults, £2 for children.
Fright at the American Museum in Bath 27 October – As darkness gathers the American Museum will host a special late night opening for Halloween activities. Behind the doors a host of ghostly storytellers await, ready with the most ghastly tails from American folklore. Visitors begin in the shadows of the seventeenth century room where they’ll hear the story of Bloody Mary, who terrorised villagers in rural Pennsylvania four hundred years ago. Whatever you do don’t say her name three times, and don’t look back into the shadows to see who (or what) might be following…Entry prices £6.50 per child and £12.00 per adult. www.visitbath.co.uk/whats-on/museums-at-night-fright-at-the-museum-p2266143
Horrifying Hampton Court 22 – 28 October – Visitors will have the chance to discover the most rotten parts of Tudor history, joining the Court as an apprentice for the dirty jobs needed to make sure the palace runs smoothly on the Horrible Hampton series of interactive presentations for families promises to uncover the mad, bad and awful side of life as a Tudor (included in palace admission.) There’s also a Family Ghost Tour (31 October, 5 November and 7 January) where visitors can join a State Apartment Warder for an early evening walking tour where the history of the palace comes creepily to life! Along the way participants will discover the stories of ghostly apparitions, paranormal activity and all manner of spooky happenings from over 500 years of the palace’s history (tickets: £14 adults / £7 children). And there are further Ghost Tours suitable only for the over-12s on selected dates in November and January (Tickets: £27.50).
Hair-raising events in Hampshire – There’s Spooky Storytelling and a Spirit Hunt at Butser Ancient Farm in Hampshire on 25 October and then the Watercress Line steam railway celebrates Halloween with its annual Wizard Weekend (28-29 October): dress up as a Halloween spook and take unlimited rides on the Wizard Express steam train, with lots of spooky activities to keep the kids entertained. Meanwhile Petersfield Museum hosts two Museums at Night events, one for children (well-behaved adults also welcome) and one for adults: kids can enjoy Harry Potter-themed activities including a fancy dress competition and arts & crafts activities, followed by the showing of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone with food and drink provided (tickets £10 children, £8 adults). www.butserancientfarm.co.uk
Terrifying National Trust activities, across England – Spooktacular tales and scary trails await brave families this Halloween at National Trust places across the country. How about taking a spooky torch-lit walk through Lydford Gorge in Devon, or decorating a ghoulish pumpkin at Calke Abbey in Derbyshire? At Godolphin in Cornwall, Spooky Stories (25 & Sun 29 October) will see professional storyteller Mark Harandon tell spine-tingling spooky tales to intrigue children and adults alike. Hear the account of Godolphin’s famous white lady Margaret Blagge, as well as tales of ghostly carriageways and haunted chambers. At Lyme in Cheshire, meanwhile, there’s a Fright Run for the fitness- and fright-loving visitor. Choose your distance and set off across the wild moors – but be on the look-out for spooky goings on. Don’t forget to dress for running: preferably with a Halloweeny twist! Prices vary per attraction.
Eerie English Heritage events, across England – Fair is foul and foul is fair this Halloween as English Heritage lowers the drawbridges across the land to visitors, where only the fearless need apply. From ghoulish games and creepy crafts to torch-lit tales and pumpkin carving, this series of events promises a couple of tricks and plenty of treats for all. Halloween activities include torchlight tours of Carlisle Castle, Whitby Abbey will be illuminated and ghost and ghoul tours at Wrest Park, among other other-worldly goings-on. Prices vary per attraction.
Say boo across Bristol! – Step on board the SS Great Britain’s Spooky Ship to meet a splendid array of spooks spiriting around the deck telling their terrible tales (28-29 October). The ship’s cast of ghoulish characters are brought to life by Bristol Old Vic actors delivering stories inspired by the darker side of the SS’s Great Britain’s 174-year-old history. The horror continues with grotesque scars and deadly diseases: new for 2017, children can be transformed into contagious crew members with special-effect makeovers (21 -29 October). And look out for the Ragged Victorians (28-29 October). Fifteen characters will offer an immersive glimpse of the grit and grime of life in 19th century Britain. Bristol Zoo Gardens presents a Halloween Half Term inspired by Mexico’s Day of the Dead (21-29 October) featuring a haunted trail, Creepy Creature encounters and a Halloween Parade. At Bristol Aquarium, the half-term theme is Deep Defence (21 October – 5 November). Discover what’s lurking in the deep, dark depths of the world’s oceans and the curious defence mechanisms developed by the curious creatures who live there. There are also Spooky Torchlit Tours – family friendly evening, after hours (27 October) and Terrifying Torchlit Tours for the over 15s (after hours on 28 October).
www.ssgreatbritain.org, www.bristolzoo.org.uk, www.bristolaquarium.co.uk
Spooky goings-on in Stratford-upon-Avon – The wizards of Stratford’s most magical attraction are working their magic ready for Halloween as a spooky atmosphere stretches its ghostly arms throughout Magic Alley. During October guests will be amazed, spooked and surprised as the wizards create a bewitchingly bespoke adventure based on the Lost Years of William Shakespeare. Follow the clues and solve the puzzles to be rewarded with a treat – an audience with the Pumpkin King in his throne room. If you don’t enter into the ‘spirit’ he might just play a trick on you! Meanwhile, prepare for a scare this Halloween and explore the grounds of Shakespeare’s New Place. Hear the spooky tale of Shakespeare’s ghost, who roams the rooms in search for his quill. Celebrate All Hallows week at Mary Arden’s Farm with spooky pumpkin carving (small charge applies). Visit Chedhams Yard for pumpkin carving on 28 October and make your own magic lantern to take home. There is no charge for the pumpkins or candles. Open 10am – 4pm with free entry.
www.seekthemagic.org, www.shakespeare.org.uk/visit, www.chedhamsyard.org.uk
Best Halloween activities for… ghoulish grownups
Get spooked at Fright Fest, Bolsover Castle, Derbyshire – 22 – 31 October – The doors to Bolsover Castle – one of the spookiest castles in the country – will be opening after dark for a brand new scare experience this Halloween. Built on the site of a pagan burial ground, there have been reports of ghostly apparitions and haunted happenings in the Little Castle and now you can discover the spine-tingling truth! Live actors, special effects and scary surprises combine to make this a terrifying event, not for the faint hearted. Before taking a wander around the haunted castle, call in to the bar for a special Halloween brew, catch a showing of the Only Fools and Corpses play and practice your scream on the spooky fairground rides. Entry costs £13.00 per adult.
Sample ‘death defying drinks’ with a Mexican twist at Dandelyan, London – 27 – 31 October – Mexico City’s highly acclaimed Licoreria Limantour will be lending two of its top bartenders to London cocktail bar Dandelyan this Halloween, to bring laid-back Latin vibes and South American ingredients. Playing with the ideas of zombification, and cheating death, Dandelyan’s multi-sensory menu will comprise of five cocktails. Preservation will also be a key inspiration as the cocktails will extend the life of botanicals beyond nature’s intentions. Celebrating the flavours of Mexico with ingredients such as dried herbs, chilli and wood. Sample the menu via a 30-minute tasting experience where you will be guided through the ingredients used, paying per cocktail, ranging from £11-13 each. www.morganshotelgroup.com/mondrian/mondrian-london/eat-drink/Dandelyan
Adults only Halloween Ghost Tours, The National Brewery Centre, Burton 27 – 28 October – Dress to impress and freak people out for these tales of passion, scandal and tragedy. Join one of the Halloween ghosts tours and work out whether the stories real, or simply old wives tales that have become part of legend. There are three tours each evening at 7pm, 8pm and 9pm. Tickets: £9.95 and include three beer tasting vouchers per adult.
Halloween Adult Ghost Tour Late Night Special, Hampton Court Palace – 31 October, 22.20 – For one night only, Hampton Court Palace will hold an exclusive late night tour that will take you further into the deepest and darkest secrets of the palace. From the spot where two bodies were discovered in shallow graves in the 1870s to the haunted realm of former Grace and Favour apartments, where will you find yourself when midnight approaches? Delve into eerie tales of residents past, with the route taking in parts of the palace normally closed to visitors, from empty former Grace and Favour apartments to disused stairwells. Tickets for the late night special cost £35 and include a warming beverage on arrival.
Spooky Salisbury ghost walks Salisbury, Wiltshire – Join Salisbury City Guides as they search for Salisbury’s secretive ghosts. Salisbury has an amazing collection of ghosts, so if you think you’re brave enough, listen to spine chilling tales of hauntings and gruesome happenings from the city’s past. These tours include tales of witches, wizards, ghosts and the violent death of the Duke of Buckingham, plus much more. Explore hidden parts of the haunted city and hear tales of things that go bump in the night. Walks depart from Salisbury Information over Halloween. Tickets are available in advance from the Information Centre or from the Guide on the day.
Go ghost hunting in ‘Europe’s most haunted city, York, North Yorkshire – York claims to be the world’s first city to run ghost walks – you’ll soon see why, with tales of murder, mayhem and gore at every corner.The ancient city of York in Northern England – with its history of brutal conflict and shocking tragedies – reportedly boasts more ghoulies, ghosties and wretched souls than anywhere else in Europe. That is, according to the International Ghost Research Foundation, which lists a total of 504 alleged hauntings here. Walking down the city’s eerie alleyways and peering into its mysterious nooks and crannies, it’s easy to let the imagination run wild. Join the hour-long walking tour and let the theatrical guides horrify you with tales of lost Roman Legionnaires, mass suicides and gruesome executions. Keep a look out for the Lost Boy and listen for the Lonely Piper, while discovering the city’s rich history and seeing its famous sites. Several companies run tours, including the Original Ghost Walk, which claims to have run the world’s first ghost walk over 40 years ago. Adults £5; Children £3.