Dare you stay in a haunted house

Spooky Halloween stays to send a shiver down your spine

In Holiday Homes, Unusual by Kai

Spooky Halloween stays

Of all the human emotions, fear has to be the strangest. No one wants to feel afraid, and the idea of our children living in fear is, in itself, terrifying. Isn’t parenthood just a series of exercises in helping our kids overcome their fears? And yet, come Halloween, the no-fear rulebook goes out the window.

In a reassuringly safe environment – a cinema or haunted house – fear is an emotion we crave. Just as some people enjoy fiendishly spicy food, many of us get off on scaring ourselves. If the terror level is pitched just right, there’s something elating about feeling the hairs on the back of our neck start to rise, whilst knowing, deep down, that there’s nothing to fear.

So that’s the science of fear; now let’s see it in action through five holiday properties that conceal a haunting past. This Halloween, bring your partner or gather your family and prepare to confront the things that go bump in the night. Remember, fear is all in the mind. There’s nothing in these properties to be afraid of….right?

A regal retreat in the Cotswolds – but mind the ghost

Spooky Halloween stays

There are many reasons to want to stay in Painswick’s Court House Manor. The Grade I listed home dates back centuries and is utterly resplendent, from its immaculate grounds and period features, to the grand dining hall, seven bedrooms and jacuzzi.

Any reasons not to stay in the manor? Er…nothing really. Well, aside from the ghost. Every historic home worth its salt has a spectral figure associated with it, but Court House Manor’s has more clout than most. Its gardens are reputed to be haunted by a guest who frequented the property during the 1643 Siege of Gloucester. His name? King Charles I. If you’re going to stay in a haunted home, choose one with a superior calibre of ghost.

Stay at Court House Manor

Jeepers creepers – what else is occupying this Scottish castle?

Scottish Castle

Most horror is all in the mind. Master the psychology of terror and you’ve got nothing to fear. Of course that’s easier said than done, especially when you’re staying in a castle like this.

On the surface, everything is perfect, and yet, when night falls, it’s hard to shake that goose-bumpy, spine-tingling feeling. Don’t worry; whatever happens you’ll be just fine – with space to sleep 13, there’ll be more than enough friends and family to ensure you make it through till morning. Don’t get too congratulatory when dawn comes though – the next night you’ve got to do it all over again.

Stay in this Scottish Castle

Go for the jugular and hit Whitby

Vanguard, a family friendly lighthouse keepers cottage

Whitby, Whitby… What’s Whitby synonymous with again? Oh, that’s right: only the creepiest and most enduring villain of all time. Dracula has been terrorising fertile imaginations since Victorian times, and the Count still looms large today. Try checking into Vanguard, a lighthouse keeper’s cottage that overlooks the whitewashed town. Close by lies the ruined abbey that inspired Bram Stoker’s fiendish creation, and which hosts suitably spooky Halloween-themed events. While in Whitby, avoid embarrassing yourself by asking for directions to Dracula’s grave. Apparently that actually happens. Even more terrifying than Stoker’s vampire novel is the fact that some people believe it was all real.

Check into the Lighthouse

Cabin fever in the Chiltern Hills

Log Cabin in Henley on Thames

Horror can rise from the most innocuous of places; a blissful rural retreat; a scenic log cabin; even in the hot tub. If you’ve even seen one horror film, you’ll understand this basic trope: everything is OK at the start. As you step into this one-bedroom holiday cabin, nestled on a private estate, everything should be better than OK – it should be idyllic. Indeed, as you sink into the hot tub with a glass of fizz, you could be forgiven for thinking you’d just found the best place in the world. And perhaps you have.

Still, with the Midsomer Murders town of Wallingford (and former home of murder mistress Agatha Christie) just two miles away, you’ll certainly have food for thought. Tragedy is born out of beauty and terror can stem from tranquility. Regardless of what happens on your cabin holiday, you’ll want to leave the kids behind – this shack sports an adults-only certificate.

Stay in this Chiltern Hills log cabin

What happens on the Moors stays buried on the Moors

Ingleby Manor

Both in real life and in fiction, the North Yorkshire Moors hold their share of secrets. While undoubtedly beautiful, they’re also a desolate, isolated place, where civilisation is but a word and only the strongest survive. The Moors doggedly keep their secrets, resisting each generation’s attempts to uncover them. Speaking of secrets, Ingleby Manor must have witnessed its share of dark deeds over the centuries. The grade II building, which sleeps six, was the country home of one of Henry VIII’s courtiers. Its 50 acres of exquisite gardens give way to the untamed fury of the moors and all that lurks upon them.

Book into Ingleby Manor

Fright night escapes

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KaiSpooky Halloween stays to send a shiver down your spine