Fun Halloween getaways around the UK

With the gloomier nights and the cooling weather comes the frightening prospect of Halloween. It’s been three years since we’ve had the chance to properly celebrate this ghoulish festival of all things spooky and supernatural.

That’s 36 months with little in the way of Halloween games, haunted houses, pumpkin carving and more!

Thankfully, this year’s frightening fiesta takes place on a Monday, meaning you can take advantage of the weekend and enjoy a short break to one of the UK’s spookiest destinations. Hop on a train to Bath, Bristol, Oxford or Cardiff and you’re guaranteed to discover some ghostly goings on.

To give you and your abominable brood a helping hand, we’ve pulled together this handy guide to places to stay and things to see, perfect for a haunted holiday. We’ve included everything you might need, including top ideas for haunted hotels, Halloween activities, ghost walks and fun things to do with the kids.


Where to stay

The Francis Hotel is not only one of Bath’s most luxurious hotels, situated in a beautiful Georgian building just minutes from the city’s major attractions, including the famous Royal Crescent, the Roman Baths and Bath Abbey, it’s also supposedly haunted by a former housekeeper. Stay the night in one of the hotels’ feature rooms, complete with a four poster-bed, and listen out for the ghoulish scraping of walls!

What to do

For a spooky trip to Bath, start by getting in the Gothic mindset with a visit to the city’s magnificent Bath Abbey, and enjoy the fan-vaulted ceiling dating from the 1500s.

Just outside the Abbey’s main entrance, in the Abbey Churchyard, next to the city’s Georgian Pump House, you’ll find the plaque marking the spot where Mary Shelley’s apartments once stood, and where she wrote part of her genre-defining novel Frankenstein.

Fans of the famous monster should take a trip to Mary Shelley’s House of Frankenstein, an immersive museum at 37 Gay Street, full of artefacts and spooky paraphernalia.

Culture and entertainment

Like all good playhouses, Theatre Royal Bath has its very own resident ghost. The Grey Lady, so the story goes, was once a keen theatregoer and fell in love with one of the actors. As the feeling was not mutual, the woman hung herself, and has been haunting the theatre – and the neighbouring Garrick’s Head pub – ever since. Let this tale add a little frisson to your otherwise cheerful enjoyment of the theatre’s brilliant programme of touring and commissioned shows.

What better way to explore the city’s most haunted locations than with a ghost walk? Join Brother Fergus and Doctor Lynch, creators of Bath Ghost Tours, for a gruesome walk around key sites, where you might even see a ghoul for yourself.

Activities for kids

You and the family can enjoy free entry to Holburne Museum’s collection and discounted entry to their exhibitions at the institution’s late-night Halloween event (28 October, 17:00 to 21:00). There will be a museum trail, face painting, a fancy dress competition and a puppet show.

Over at the Herschel Museum, there will be another fun-filled late-night event (29 October, 18:15 to 22:30, tickets are £30 for a one-hour session for up to six people) that will explore the myths and legends of the Halloween sky, including – if the sky is clear – some telescope stargazing.


Where to stay

South-east of the city centre, near the spooktacular Arnos Vale Cemetery, sits Bristol’s most haunted hotel, Arnos Manor Hotel. Built in the mid-1700s, the building boasts its very own chapel – formerly a girls’ school run by nuns. Allegedly, one of the nuns fell pregnant and took her own life. Her remains – so the story goes – were hidden by her fellow sisters.

What to do

Join the Haunted and Hidden Bristol Walking Tour and discover some of Bristol’s most haunted places, revealing the darker side of the city, exploring historical creepy spots and famous film and TV locations. The walk departs from Bristol Cathedral, College Green, every Friday at 8pm – booking is compulsory. See the website for prices.

Culture and entertainment

Among the destinations likely included in the above walking tour is the Bristol Old Vic. As well as being haunted, it is also one of the country’s top theatres, with great productions for adults and the whole family. It’s the perfect time of year to enjoy a play in a cosy – and stunning – historical building.

Head on over to the iconic Clifton Observatory, overlooking the amazing Clifton Suspension Bridge, to catch a special screening of the British comic classic Carry On Screaming (26 October, 6–8:15pm). This ribald send-up of all horror movie tropes makes for perfect viewing on a cold and spooky evening.

Activities for kids

On Sunday 30 October, Bristol city centre will come alive with a ghoulish lantern carnival. Bump in the Night Spooky Lantern Parade will showcase a whole host of illuminated giant puppets, travelling from Broadmead to King Street. For the creative kids among us, there’s also the opportunity to help make the lanterns at special workshops throughout October – see link for details.

From 15 October, families can take part in the annual Bedminster Halloween Haunted Trail. To get started, pick up a map from one of the participating stores (marked with spooky window stickers – there are a few on North Street) from 15 October, and get monster-hunting.


Where to stay

Originally a castle and then a prison, Malmaison Oxford certainly has precedents when it comes to being one of the country’s most spooky hotels. Several ghosts have been sighted in the area, including one young lady who allegedly poisoned her father. But asides from all the ghouls, Malmaison is a boutique hotel like no other.

What to do

Oxford, with its many historical buildings and tumultuous past, is ripe for a good old ghost walk. Oxford Ghost Tours, available from 30 October, lets you hear the spine-chilling stories of some of the city’s most unsettling deaths and the phantoms that still wander the streets.

Halloween at Blenheim Palace includes a fun-filled nightime trail for all the family, including a new installation, as well as the opportunity to enjoy a hot toddy or hot chocolate. See the website link for ticket prices and details.

Culture and entertainment

If you’re going to encounter a ghost anywhere in the city, it’s most likely to be wandering around Oxford Castle and Prison, home to some very unpleasant historical events. To help you along the way is Dr Charles McGhoul, who can take you on his Spectre Ghost Tour, every Friday at 18:30 – see the link for ticket prices and booking.

Previously an old nunnery, Oxford Playhouse is home to a few ghosts, among which is a spectral woman with a white veil over her face, stalking the stairwell. But asides from these creepy goings on, Oxford Playhouse is also a great place to catch a show, including touring comedy acts, to help brighten up you otherwise macabre trip.

Activities for kids

At the Science Oxford Centre this autumn, the whole family can enjoy some spooky science and a woodland pumpkin trail. The October Half Term Family Days takes place on 22, 25–27 and 29 October. Tickets are £7.50 per person.


Where to stay

Cardiff’s most haunted spot, the Coal Exchange Hotel – formerly a market floor and offices for the city’s coal trade – is a luxurious place to lay your head for the night, made all the better for the increased likelihood of encountering a ghost or two.

What to do

Like all good fortifications, Cardiff Castle has its fair share of ghouls and ghosts. Take a wander round the magnificent building and discover the stories of those who once lived there, including 3rd Marquis of Bute who apparently experimented with summoning ghosts. Let’s hope some of them have hung around since then.

Culture and entertainment

New Theatre, Cardiff is haunted by a woman who is said to have fallen from one of the boxes. She’s been hanging around ever since, which means she’s probably caught some of the theatre’s great shows. There’s loads of top theatre, comedy and music coming up, so go and check it out, being sure to keep an eye on those boxes.

Activities for kids

Families can keep their little horrors entertained during the autumn holidays at the Half Term Halloween Trail at St Fagans National Museum of History (29 October–6 November, 10:00 to 15:00, tickets £3.50). There’s also a chocolate treat for those who complete the trail.

Just when you thought you were safe to don your slippers and retire your dancing garb, you can now go clubbing with your kids. Mini Ravers Lil Monsters Halloween Festival, 16 October 16, 12:00 to 15:00, at DEPOT Cardiff, looks to be a great afternoon of dancing and dressing up for all the family.

Book your tickets for a spooky getaway now at No booking fees when you book direct, and get 1/3 off with a railcard.

13 October 2022
Family fun I

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