Britain is filled with stately homes and castles dating back hundreds of years – and it’s no surprise that these properties are a hit with ghost hunters.
Think sprawling gardens that once served as battlefields, grandiose homes that were the setting for gruesome murders, and heaps of unfinished business that keeps some spirits reportedly coming back for a visit.
The good news is that nowadays, those seeking the paranormal can easily access these mysterious homes, as a number of them are National Trust properties.
From the ‘most haunted house in the Midlands’ to a stately hall said to be home to the ghost of Anne Boleyn, there are plenty of properties where you can go in search of the paranormal.
We take a look at 10 of the National Trust’s best haunted properties worth having on your radar…
1. Blickling Hall, Norfolk
This grandiose residence on Blickling Estate is said to be the home of the ghost of one of British history’s most famous figures; Anne Boleyn.
Henry VIII’s second wife is believed to have been born at the estate. She was famously beheaded by the monarch.
Now it’s said that her headless ghost returns every year on the 19th May, the anniversary of her execution. As night falls, her ghost rides up to the house, but as soon as her coach arrives at the front door, it vanishes.
Her father Sir Thomas is also said to haunt the premises, having been cursed for not having tried to stop the execution of his daughter.
2. Croft Castle, Hertfordshire
Dubbed as the ‘most haunted house in the Midlands’, there are said to be around seven ghosts residing at this fortress.
The ghost of Welsh freedom fighter Owain Glyndwr reportedly haunts the site, while visitors have reported hearing the wailing of a baby.
One ghost has reportedly appeared in several locations – one person says they once entered a room to meet a friend. Their friend asked for an introduction to the lady in the room with them – but there was nobody there.
3. Corfe Castle, Dorset
These impressive ruins in Dorset have links to Civil War, murder and plenty of ghosts.
There’s Edward the Martyr who was murdered in the castle grounds by orders of his stepmother, as well as a group of Frenchmen who were imprisoned in the 13th century and left to starve to death.
During the Civil War, the Roundheads smuggled soldiers into the castle and attacked from within, later blowing up parts of the fortress.
A woman in white has also been reportedly seen walking along the battlements.
4. Treasurer’s House, Yorkshire
Roman soldiers’ ghosts have reportedly been spotted in the cellars of this property.
Retired policeman Harry Martindale’s account is the most famous, having heard a trumpet and seen soldiers walking past. Terrified, he ran to tell the curator who said: ‘By the look of you, you’ve seen the Romans!’
Subsequent archaeological research has revealed that there is evidence of a Roman road a few inches below the cellar floors.
5. Felbrigg Hall, Norfolk
The library at Felbrigg Hall is said to be home to the spirit of former resident William Windham III, who was obsessed with books and is said to return in a bid to try and read all the titles in the collection.
There have been reports of William spotted sitting at the table or relaxing in a chair. Rumour has it he only appears when a particular combination of books are placed on the library table.
6. Newton House, Camarthenshire
With a reputation as one of the UK’s most haunted houses, there have been various reports of ghostly sightings at this spooky property.
There’s the tragic tale of Lady Eleanor who was strangled to death in the house’s nursery. Her murderer is said to have been so overcome with guilt, he killed himself to be with her.
Some visitors report a cold sensation when they enter the nursery, while others say they have felt hands grip their necks.
Another spirit to keep an eye out for is Baron who is said to smoke a pipe on Sunday – and if you stand next to his portrait, you can smell tobacco.
7. Buckland Abbey, Devon
The doomed spirit of Sir Francis Drake is said to haunt this site, riding across Dartmoor in a coach pulled by headless horses.
When he was alive, there were rumours that he had defeated the Spanish Armada only because he had made a pact with the devil – so some say that he is also followed by chattering goblins on his travel.
8. Dunster Castle, Somerset
The impressive fortress is said to be full of ghosts, with members of staff claiming sightings of paranormal figures, sinister sensations and noticing animals sometimes seeming distressed for no reason.
There are reports of a man dressed in green walking through the former 17th century stables which are now a shop – and sometimes displays or unopened boxes have been disrupted with no explicable reason.
One volunteer is said to have been traumatised when a disembodied human foot appeared in front of him, while others have reported hearing loud footsteps at night when they know those parts of the castle are empty.
In the dungeons, a skeleton was found manacled by the wrists and ankles along with remains of other skeletons.
9. Ham House, Surrey
This 17th century property was once the home of Elizabeth Murray, an ambitious and ruthless Duchess who played dangerous political games. There were rumours speculating as to why certain people near her died – and handily led to her climbing the social ladder.
The sound of footsteps and an inexplicable scent of roses have been reported at the property, as well as ghostly screams.
In the ground floor rooms, visitors often say they feel a strangle oppressive atmosphere, and pets have been reluctant to enter. Oh – and only the very few brave dare to look at the imposing looking glass that sits in the house…
10. Brownsea Island
There’s something quite spooky about the woodlands on Brownsea Island, especially when the sea mist settles.
Ghosts are said to have been seen wandering the land, from a boy in a strange outfit who appears at campsites at night, while deceased gardeners have been said to tend to the fruit trees on the island.
Visitors have also claimed to hear strange happenings in the castle, from rattling beds to a ghostly figure looking out from the upstairs windows.