Halloween is fast approaching, and with Britain's history containing gruesome goings-on that include public execution, witch hunting and the Black Death, why not get out and about by visiting some of our most historical towns and cities during the big weekend? Commandeer a King's Ferry coach with your friends and head up to one of the following with your friends and family to see what they have to offer for this special festival of pumpkins, ghosts and ghouls.
York is one of those places where reminders of the past can be found simply by strolling around. The massive walls that encapsulate the city do a lot to help the medieval atmosphere, but there are also attractions aplenty that help to enforce it. Firstly, there is the unforgettable York Dungeon. Like its London-based cousin, it has a pretty gruesome reputation, and its live action maze is certain to send shivers down your spine. Then there are ghost hunts and trick or treat extravaganzas taking place at some of the most historical locations, which include the stunning cathedral and Clifford's Tower. You can also expect fun and games at the Castle Museum and at Jorvik, an authentically recreated Viking city. If that doesn't spook you, this will - York is the most haunted city in England, and possibly even in Europe! A recent survey highlighted 500 ghosts that have been repeatedly seen by people. See if you're among the lucky - or unlucky - few who witness them. A trip to the appropriately named Evil Eye cocktail bar is highly recommended - you'll certainly be more likely to see ghosts after one of their beautifully mixed mojitos.
Nottingham, for all its tales of Robin Hood and his Merry Men, has been subjected to some pretty dark times. With its splendid castle, Gallery of Justice and extensive network of caves, there is plenty of opportunity to revel in its eerie history. Embark on a ghost walk that points out the locations where tragic events have occurred, such as where a young girl's body was hidden in the wall to cover up her murder. Or head along to Market Square, where the Hangman once stood with his shiny wooden scaffold, made of Sherwood oak - the same bark that was made to craft unspeakable weapons of torture in the local gaol. Even wandering through the old Lace Market streets at night is an atmospheric experience, and one you'll have to endure if you're to visit one of the venues claiming the much-contested Oldest Pub in Britain label. Keep your eyes peeled - it's said to be haunted.
Village of Pluckley
Kent is home to the Village of Pluckley, which was once named the most haunted village in England by the Guinness Book of World Records. It's still a favourite of ghost hunters, with 16 restless spirits said to reside here. On an average visit, you might see a screaming man running alongside the road and Fright Corner is home to a long-deceased highwayman. Meanwhile, on a lonely hill, an old schoolmaster who was brutally hanged by his own schoolchildren is said to stalk other potential victims. And on the picturesque old bridge, an old woman can often be seen smoking a pipe. Pluckley has featured in many television programmes and has an olde worlde feel about it, which certainly helps the ghost hunting atmosphere.
With its ancient castle and cobbled streets, Warwick is more than a match for anyone seeking atmospheric, spooky fun at this time of year. Halloween brings in the ghost hunters and families who want to take advantage of half term, with thousands flocking into the dungeons of Warwick Castle to enjoy their special live action maze and hear grisly tales of times gone by. Falconry, jousting and other enjoyable activities are also great fun to observe.