Three spooky stays for Halloween – and one for Bonfire Night
From a castle with a secret in Angus to a manor with ghostly residents in Norfolk. Chris Carter looks at some spooky breaks.
The Monster of Glamis
Glamis Castle in Angus was once the talk of the courts of Europe due to its supposed “dark and terrible secret”, says Sean Murphy in Scotland’s Daily Record. For in addition to the usual array of ghosts and ghouls haunting the childhood home of the late Queen Mother, there was also said to lurk a “monster”. Numerous accounts of the Monster of Glamis were written at the turn of the last century, speaking of a secret chamber, wherein resided the “monstrous heir” of the 12th Earl of Strathmore. The unnamed Bowes-Lyon child was recorded as having died on the day of his birth, but many believed he actually survived, hidden away from sight. “If you could even guess the nature of this castle’s secret,” the 13th Earl reportedly once said, “you would get down on your knees and thank God it was not yours.” From £1,390 for two nights at Glamis House, which sleeps 12, glamis-castle.co.uk.
Anne Boleyn’s ghost
Blickling Hall in Norfolk stands on the site of an old medieval manor, which is believed to have been the birthplace of Henry VIII’s ill-fated second wife, Anne Boleyn, says Catherine Swan in the Daily Mirror. Her headless ghost is said to return to Blickling each year on 19 May as night falls on the anniversary of her execution in 1536. The hall is also reportedly home to many ghostly residents, including the spirit of Sir John Falstoafe, the inspiration behind William Shakespeare’s character Falstaff. The “eerie dying groans” of 17th-century politician Sir Henry Hobart have also been heard from the West Turret bedroom. The National Trust has nine holiday properties on the estate, including Barn Owl Loft, which sleeps two. From around £311 for three nights, nationaltrust.org.uk/blickling-estate
A haunted inn in Wales
Skirrid Mountain Inn in Llanvihangel Crucorney, near Abergavenny, is probably best known as Wales’ most famous haunted spot, says Portia Jones for Wales Online. At least four spirits are said to linger within the walls of the former farmhouse – some with good intentions, others harbouring a vendetta. Among them is Colonel Prichard, who was the lord of the manor and an ally of King Charles I before joining the revolt against him during the Civil War. The inn is said to have existed on the site since the Norman conquest in the 11th century.
Over the centuries it has been used as a courtroom, while an oak hanging beam bears witness to its having also been a place of execution. Guests have reported the slamming of doors, footsteps and hushed voices. From £75, skirridmountaininn.co.uk.
The birthplace of Guy Fawkes
The anniversary of the foiling of the Gunpowder Plot has been observed on 5 November every year since 1606, says Carlton Reid for Mail Online. While Guy Fawkes wasn’t the leader of the gang who tried to blow up Parliament and the King, it is his effigy, the “Guy”, that is traditionally burned on the bonfire on Bonfire Night – and it is his notoriety that continues to draw visitors to the Guy Fawkes Inn in York.
The inn has a good claim to be the birthplace of the infamous plotter – not in the early-Georgian terrace, facing York Minster and the adjacent St. Michael le Belfry church, where Fawkes was baptised (that was built over a century later), but in the cottage at the back, which is now part of the inn.
The rooms at the rear overlook the cottage and the narrow beer garden emblazoned with a bold mural featuring the plotters. “Our room had a four-poster bed, with sash windows filled with those killer views, and featured shabby-chic furniture on sloping dark-wood floors.” From £69 in low season, guyfawkesinnyork.com.