Dark tourism and haunted attractions have been a growing trend in the United Kingdom, with over 30,000 searches in the past year alone.
The UK is home to some of the most haunted places in the world, from deadly dungeons to ghoulish graveyards. But did you know that some of your favourite family-friendly tourist attractions are actually haunted too?
Holidu, the search engine for holiday rentals has rounded up a list of Britain’s most popular tourist attractions that double as some of the most haunted sites in the whole country.
Using the database from Higgy Pop’s Paranormal Hub, which has over 350 entries of scary sites all over the UK, the number of searches on Google in the past year was extracted to find out just which of these paranormal places are most popular with tourists.
Start creating your perfect spooky season bucket list now to help you get into the Halloween spirit!
- British Museum, London – 135k+ searches
The most popular haunted tourist attraction for 2021 is the British Museum in London.
This is a gigantic museum that displays two million years of human history and culture, and it is said that some of the ancient artefacts and human remains are regularly spooking both visitors and staff!
Museum guards have reported many instances of hearing things go bump in the night, from unexplainable noises and sudden drops in temperature to doors swinging open and ghost sightings.
A tourist destination that millions flock to every year, maybe you’ll want to have your wits about you during your next visit…
- The Tower of London, London – 110k+ searches
The Tower of London, located on the north bank of the River Thames, is the first of many creepy castles in this ranking.
Founded in 1066, this castle has a gruesome past which has resulted in it being riddled with terror and fear. It is said that most of the ghosts that haunt this castle are unfortunate souls who met an untimely and unjust death.
These ghastly sightings are so far beyond just flickering lights, with reportings so intense they feature repugnant smells, ice-cold rooms, suffocating sensations, and even grizzly bears. Millions of visitors line up to pay this castle a visit and hear the sinister tales of imprisonment, torture, and execution.
Scared yet? Grab a friend and join one of the many ghost tours offered in the tower to get your fright on!
- Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Blackpool – 110k+ searches
In third place is a family favourite destination, where you can expect rollercoasters, candyfloss and… ghosts?
Pleasure Beach began its scary story back in 1930 when the now-infamous ghost train first opened its doors, the first ride to ever use the name ‘Ghost Train’ – some might say that was tempting fate?
One of the original ride operators, nicknamed ‘Cloggy’, was dedicated to his role there, so dedicated that following his death over twenty years ago, he decided to still come back.
Mysterious footsteps, groaning sounds, scratching noises, and the sound of clog-laden footsteps are not unusual within the ride, noises which staff members insist are not part of the experience.
Ghost Train aside, you can also expect to be spooked by a phantom hanging man and a blood-stained woman at other rides in the park. Who fancies saying hi to Cloggy and friends?
- Heathrow Airport, London – 110k+ searches
The haunted history of Heathrow Airport might not be one you’re familiar with, and it might be one of the last places you’d expect to see on this list of paranormal places – but you’d be wrong.
The main story is one of a tragic plane crash which happened in 1948 and a man who arrived at the scene asking if anyone had seen his briefcase.
Firefighters later reported seeing the body of that same man in the wreckage. Since that day, the briefcase-carrying ghost has been spotted on the airport runways several times. Not convinced?
In 1970, the Heathrow Airport radar office picked up a signal which looked like a person on the runway, only to find no one there when emergency services rushed to the scene.
Ghost hunting might not be your typical airport activity, but definitely keep an eye out when you next find yourself at Heathrow.
- Warwick Castle, Warwick – 110k+ searches
Next up is Warwick Castle, a castle that has a history dating back to 1068, with settlements on the site also going as far back as 150 years prior to this.
The castle was the location of many bloody battles and tragedies, from being attacked to suffering from fire damage.
The best-known ghost that is said to haunt the tower is Sir Fulke Greville, a former resident of the castle who was murdered in 1628 by one of his trusted servants.
If this wasn’t enough, there have also been reports of creepy energy in the dungeon, witnessing of poltergeist activity as well as extreme temperature changes and flickering of the lights.
If you want to fully embrace the chilling atmosphere of this castle, there is an official Halloween event being hosted there!
- Windsor Castle, Windsor – 90k+ searches
Off to a Royal residence now, Windsor Castle has its own sinister side. It is said that up to 25 ghosts have been spotted here, including a sighting by none other than Queen Elizabeth II and her sister Margaret, who claimed to have seen the ghost of Elizabeth I.
It is said that her ghost can be heard pacing around the library, causing the sounds of loud footsteps and floorboards creaking before she appears.
The ghosts of many other royals have also been seen, including one of a huntsman for King Richard III in the grounds outside the castle. Legend has it that those who encounter him are struck by misfortune. Do you dare to chance your luck?
- Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh – 74k+ searches
Edinburgh is thought to be one of the most haunted cities in the world. So, it’s only natural that Edinburgh Castle, one of the oldest and the most iconic building in the city, has its fair share of spooky stories.
The most famous ghost that lives in the castle grounds is a piper who went missing hundreds of years ago, whilst playing his pipes in the tunnels beneath the castle.
The piper was never to be seen again but is said to still be walking the Royal Mile to this day. Visitors to the castle have also claimed to have encountered the spirits of French prisoners from the Seven Years War and colonial prisoners from the American Revolutionary War – and even the ghost of a dog!
- Clumber Park, Worksop – 49k+ searches
Clumber Park is a historical country park located near Worksop and is now managed by the National Trust.
The main house that used to sit in the park was demolished in 1938 after being damaged by a series of fires. What was left of the area was a Grade I listed chapel, a four-acre walled kitchen garden, and the park itself – oh, and a ghost.
It is said that the grounds are haunted by the Grey Lady of Clumber Park, a woman that wears a long grey cloak.
If you want to spot her, the best days to visit are the misty ones. Visitors have tried to get close to her, but she vanishes into the mist. Do you feel brave enough?
- Edinburgh Playhouse, Edinburgh – 40k+ searches
Next, we have the Edinburgh Playhouse which is the UK’s largest working theatre in terms of audience capacity.
The Playhouse is a cultural hub in the city, hosting events such as musicals, concerts, and ballets all year round. But what about its haunted history, you ask?
The resident ghost is named Albert, who has been lurking the corridors of the theatre since the 1950s when paranormal activity was first reported.
It was then that an officer claimed to have spoken to a man dressed in grey who identified himself as Albert, but there were no staff by that name.
Since then, sightings of Albert, especially on the sixth floor, have been reported ever since.
- The University of St Andrews, St Andrews – 40k+ searches
Last up is the University of St Andrews. Not only is this one of the best universities in the UK, but it also has its own spooky title of being the most haunted university in the world!
The university dates back almost six centuries, making it incredibly historic, so it’s no surprise that this history comes with its ghoulish tales.
From the ‘ghostly monk’ in St Rule’s Tower in St Andrews Cathedral to the ‘white lady of St Andrews’ who is most often spotted in the months of October and November. It’s time to take a trip to visit one of these Scottish-accented characters.
The study was conducted using Google Search Volume to find the most searched for destination with a haunted past.
From the Higgy Pop’s Paranormal Hub database (higgypop.com) we included more than 350 haunted destinations, all of which are located in the United Kingdom.
Then we compiled a ranking based on the attractions that have been the most searched for on Google in the past year. In the event of a tie, we gave priority to those with the most reviews on Google.