Hallow-scream Spooky Cultural UK Trips
My friends recently said to me that I’m an absolute Halloween fanatic…and before that I’d never really noticed. It became clear to me when I’d looked back at all the places I’d traveled to in the UK alone just for Halloween (half term) from a really young age and all the spooky Halloween experiences and tours I had been on – I’m always the one in the group trying to get the rest on a spooky ghost tour.
Although it’s definitely a dream to go somewhere scary like Transylvania or to the Festival of the Dead in America, I’ve stuck to UK spooky getaways for now. However, I have been dead impressed by the spooky cultural activities in the UK. My favourite UK cities to experience Halloween in have been:
Halloween in Edinburgh
A personal favourite location of mine has to be the city of Edinburgh – it is spooky looking enough even without the ghost stories. A weekend here might not be enough for all of the creepy tours and experiences that are available but luckily I live in the city so have had plenty of time to experience them.
You could say I went in at the deep end on the first tour I chose to do in Edinburgh, the Edinburgh Night Walking with the Underground Vaults. This tour was haunting but not for you if you’re in any way jumpy or claustrophobic. You’ll hear the ghost stories of the city in the Blair Street Vaults under South Bridge.
The candlelit tour of the underground vaults is frightening (and fun), also quite enchanting for the thrill-seeker… like myself. Overall this tour in Edinburgh is very culturally interesting and it isn’t too long so you definitely remain intrigued. I would suggest doing this tour at night… as late as possible.
My parents love visiting me in Edinburgh and I suggested they do a tour during their visit, so they booked the Doomed Dead and Buried Tour with Hotel deal in Edinburgh which they ended up loving. The tour was similar to the Edinburgh night walking tour and they stayed in the Crowne Plaza in Edinburgh included in the deal, they managed to get breakfast added to the bill the next morning – a win win!
A funny but scary tour that is a must is the Edinburgh Dungeons, with actors, good sound effects and lighting it is sure to scare you… but is also sure to give you a good laugh too. It’s a bit more light-hearted than some of the other tours I have been on so it definitely appeals to more people, I was able to bring along a lot of my friends on this tour.
Last but not least there is the extreme paranormal ghost tour, this is really spine-chilling. It includes graveyard visits, haunted taverns and being plummeted into complete darkness. You should wrap up warm as this is a walking tour and you’ll definitely want to do it at night near to Halloween! With the name ‘Extreme Paranormal Underground Ghost Tour‘ you’d think it would be extreme… the two times I have gone on this tour have varied vastly but both spooky, just depends on your tour guide and how spine-chilling they want to make it.
If you’re looking for something more cultural and less spooky then I’d highly recommend going to find your perfect pumpkin and picking it yourself at Craigie’s Farm and Deli Cafe just outside Edinburgh.
Halloween in Belfast
Across the water to another great spot for Halloween, with such friendly people you can’t really go wrong. Belfast has an amazing fireworks show that happens right in the city at the titanic quarters, this is definitely a family friendly event for everyone and it is just a few nights before the big day (Halloween).
Of course I had to take a trip to the once named ‘best place in the world to spend Halloween’…Derry/Londonderry. They hold an amazing festival with performances and food, fancy dress and dancing in the street!
Awakening the Walls is a great event around the old walls that enclose this city, the atmosphere and the crowds added to this incredible experience with my friends.
Although we had really enjoyed these events and the festival, we were looking for something a bit more ghoulish, so we went on a hunt for something a little more chilling. After a quick internet search I came across the story of Springhill, with some scary stories including a widower that still roams the house. It is a national trust property so you can visit it throughout the year.
You’ll not be stuck for scary and haunted castles around Northern Ireland, they are pretty much in every county.
Back to the city were we took a Ghost Walk around Belfast, it was interesting to find out more about the spooky history of this city. It was also recommended that we went to The Jungle, Fright Night. It was a complete sensory overload with lights, sound effects and actors jumping out to make it a night full of frights – just what we wanted! I’m not sure if I’ve ever been so afraid, although I don’t know if I’ll admit that to my friends.
Halloween in Cardiff
Cardiff was another October half-term trip, seems like I just really like to get that break away before Christmas.
If you’re looking for an event like Fright Night in Cardiff then you can find a similarly spooky night in Rhondda Heritage Park called X-Scream.
Overall my trip to Cardiff was made very ghoulish, going there with no plans and making it one of the best trips was a great feeling – especially exploring the city by night. Here are some of the places we explored at night:
- Cardiff Castle: It has been said that in the early hours of the morning in this castle the dining room doors open and close by themselves, even if they are locked. People have also spotted historic figures walking through the castle at night… so we definitely had to go on a ghost tour. The tour takes you around the castle where you are told true accounts of the supernatural happenings inside, mostly with the lights off. Wrap up warm because the castles temperature was differing from room to room – is this a sign of something else? We were pretty spooked out but unfortunately were a group not lucky enough to see anything paranormal.
- Cardiff Royal Infirmary: Although we couldn’t go into the infirmary we decided to see it from the outside in the evening and found some of the stories from inside the infirmary and read them out. I think we scared ourselves more than we imagined we would. It is quite Gothic from the outside which added to the effect.
- *St Fagans Museum: *Another ghost walk – you think I’d be sick of them by now! But no, each one is different and uncovers the history of somewhere new. Overall this was a chilling experience where we toured the old museum listening to stories of previous paranormal phenomena.
Halloween in London
Finally the big smoke… This has always been a spot my family travelled to for those half term breaks at school and we always begged my parents to go on some scary tours, not that we had to convince them!
Obviously London has its fair share of ghost stories and myths from the past – with all of the ghost tours and walks to go along with it.
I’ve only taken a few spooky tours in London but there are many more on the bucketlist. The Ghost Bus Tours in London is a theatrical view on a sightseeing tour to see the darker side of London so there is some comedy on board the bus but also stories of torture and murder in the sights of the city.
Being in the city of London of course you have to take a Jack the Ripper walking tour, you’ll experience a whole new side of London from seeing the historic house in Whitechapel to hearing the full story of Jack the Ripper. This was a very interesting tour, something worth doing as a cultural experience and is that bit creepier around the Halloween break.
I’ve traveled quite a bit around the UK for October half-term, and therefore have experienced Halloween in the capital cities. I used to be a fan of the cheesy Halloween parties when I was younger but as I have got older I want to experience where Halloween comes from and the spooky stories and cultural influences that surround these cities. Some of these tours and experiences are funny and a laugh but some really delve into the history of these locations.
I am a student who enjoys travelling… like every other student eh? I try to travel when and where I can, even if that just means the next city over. I am mad about football and rugby so wherever the sport is I am there, and wherever the sun is – give me a ticket and I am off!