All across Britain, there are historic hotels with dark and bloody backgrounds.
Some of the UK’s more unsettling places to spend the night have been reported as paranormal hotspots. Others, meanwhile, are said to house all manner of extra ‘guests’ that won’t be handing back their room keys any time soon.
So, if you’re looking to liven up your night away, consider checking in to one of the venues below – if you dare.
Here are 7 historic hotels across the UK supposedly riddled with supernatural activity and ghosts from times gone by.
1. Salutation Hotel, Scotland
A particularly famous historic figure is said to haunt the Salutation Hotel in Scotland – one Bonnie Prince Charlie, who led the Jacobite rising of 1745 to try and regain the British throne for the House of Stuart. The Salutation was used by the prince in the same year and it’s alleged that he may have planned part of the rebellion from what is now room 20 in the hotel.
Sightings of a tartan-wearing figure believed to be the ghost of the prince (as well as other shadowy figures) have been reported by guests, often seen at the end of a bed, alongside strange noises and sinister voices telling people to leave.
2. Ballygally Castle Hotel, Northern Ireland
This hotel in Larne, Northern Ireland, was built in 1625 by James Shaw and his wife Isabella Brisbane and was originally used as a Protestant place of refuge during various conflicts.
The couple have left their mark on the castle in more ways than one, as Lady Isabella Shaw’s ghost is alleged to have been at the castle for almost 400 years. The story goes that after giving birth to their son – the heir that James Shaw was desperate for – James snatched the baby and locked Isabella in a turret at the top of the castle. She later died by falling from the high room while trying to escape, and her ghost is now thought to restlessly wander the hotel, searching for her child.
Guests have reported feeling Isabella’s presence in their rooms, as well as sudden temperature changes, hearing knocking on doors when no one can be seen and seeing a green mist above the castle. Brave guests can still visit Isabella’s room or embark on a ghost tour.
3. Craig Y Nos Castle, Wales
This handsome castle in Swansea, Wales, was purchased by Italian opera star Adelina Patti in 1878. It became her home until her death in 1919. And apparently, it may well still be her home, as there have been multiple reports of hauntings since the castle was turned into a hotel in the early 2000s.
There is frequent unexplained activity reported there, including alleged opera singing echoing throughout some areas of the castle, as well as other ghostly happenings attributed to patients of the tuberculosis hospital that the castle functioned as after Patti’s death. In 2004 the castle featured in an episode of ‘Most Haunted’, a TV programme that investigates sites with reported paranormal activity.
4. The Langham, England
Opened in 1865, The Langham is known as one of London’s top hotels, and also one of its most haunted. Several ghosts are said to frequent this luxurious venue, including a German prince dressed in a military uniform appearing on the fourth floor, who is thought to have jumped out of a hotel window before World War One began.
Other reputed spectres include a man in formal Victorian clothing, a man with an open wound on his face who walks the corridors, and even the ghost of Napoleon III, who spent time at the hotel in 1871 after being exiled from France.
The Langham’s paranormal activities have been spoken about publicly by BBC journalists (the BBC purchased the hotel in the 1950s) and the England cricket team, who stayed there during test matches in 2014. For those that like to be spooked, Room 333 is allegedly The Langham’s most haunted room.
5. The Mermaid Inn, England
With cellars dating back to 1156 and parts of the current building dating back to 1420, this popular East Sussex inn is filled with history and, according to some reports, a few very long-term guests. Several of the hotel rooms attached to the pub are alleged to be haunted by different spirits, some of whom are thought to be smugglers from local gangs and their wives. Room 16, for example, was reputed to be the location of a duel many years ago and is now the scene of various unexplained activities, such as bottles crashing to the floor.
Elsewhere, a rocking chair is reported to have been found rocking with no one in it on occasion, and there have been multiple reports of ghostly figures standing at the foot of the bed in some rooms. Dr. Syn’s Bedchamber is claimed to be the Mermaid Inn’s most haunted room.
6. Dalhousie Castle, Scotland
Now a luxury hotel, Dalhousie Castle has a past filled with violence. Edward I stayed there in 1298 on his way to defeat William Wallace at the Battle of Falkirk.
In 1400, Sir Alexander Ramsay – whose family owned Dalhousie for 800 years, the longest span of any Scottish castle – withstood Henry VI’s men for 6 months at Dalhousie before his capture and starvation at Hermitage Castle. Oliver Cromwell used the fortress as a base to attack Scotland.
Above all others, the ghost of 16-year-old Lady Catherine is most frequently mentioned. Imprisoned in the turrets by the enraged wife of Catherine’s laird paramour, Catherine died in the castle she now haunts along with Ramsay’s presumably homesick ghost.
7. The Ancient Ram Inn, England
Built on Pagan burial grounds in 1145, on ley lines leading to Stone Henge, the Ancient Ram Inn’s mythical aura has pervaded its long and bloody history.
A 16th-century witch hid from prosecutors at the inn before she was discovered and executed. Nowadays, visitors can stay in the ‘Witch’s Room’, which was named in honour of her ghost, which supposedly appears regularly at the inn. The ‘Bishop’s Room’ is the most feared room at the inn with ghosts of monks, soldiers and even a hanging woman reported.
Following a failed exorcism, former Bishop of Gloucester, Reverend John Yates, described the Ancient Ram as “the most evil place I have ever had the misfortune to visit”.