Travelers who love history, architecture and exploration may want to add castles to their United Kingdom vacation itineraries. Centuries old castles in Wales and Scotland hold a variety of wonders, each with their own intriguing legends. Many of them are also home to ghosts, or reputed to be. From Scotland’s romantic Highlands to the lush hilltops of Wales, these are some the UK’s most interesting haunted castles.
Carreg Cennen Castle, Wales
Dramatically located on a hilltop, overlooking the Welsh countryside in the Brecon Beacons National Park, Carreg Cennen Castle is one of Britain’s most impressively located castles.
Legend has it that the original fortress dates back to the Dark Ages, held by knights during the reign of King Arthur, and the current castle ruins go back to at least the 13th century.
If you’re coming to visit the castle, definitely bring a flashlight, or as the locals call it, a torch. I was able to rent one from the teashop down below Carreg Cenne and was glad that I did. There are some dark, scary passageways, where you may feel ghosts lurking from battles past. The caves beneath the castle are said to be home to approximately 50 soldier ghosts. How they got that number, I’m not sure, but I also don’t want to find out.
Blair Castle, Scotland
Located in Scotland’s Southern Highlands, Blair Castle dates back to the 13th century and has hosted a variety of important guests throughout history, including Mary Queen of Scotts, Queen Victoria, and Bonnie St Charles. Additionally, a grey lady, who appears and disappears silently, causing chills for those who’ve seen her, is said to haunt Blair Castle.
As the traditional seat of the Dukes of Atholl, Blair Castle held an important strategic spot on a main route into the Highlands, so many have passed through the stunning, heather covered lands surrounding this castle. Today, you can tour both the inside of the castle and enjoy country-sporting pursuits on the castle grounds, like horseback riding and fishing. If you ride here, you may be saddling up on a sturdy, round Highland Pony, a fun way to see the grounds. This fairytale-like castle completes the fantasy by having the last remaining private army in Europe.
Bodelwyddan Castle, Wales
In Northern Wales, Bodelwyddan Castle has an international reputation for its paranormal activity. In addition to ghost sightings, unidentified bones have been found buried within the walls. This Welsh castle was featured in the TV series Ghost Hunters International and Most Haunted, and is open for public visits. Bodelwyddan Castle has over 500 years of history and art on display from the National Portrait Gallery, but there’s one room that may give you chills.
The sculpture room is a part of the house that’s said to be a hotspot for paranormal activity. A staff member purports seeing a woman in a white dress float through this room, where art and sculptures are on display. If you visit, you may be lent a device called a dowsing rod, so you can test the energy. I did this on my visit and wasn’t sure if I was causing the rods to move or perhaps they were moving because of something else!
This Victorian castle was once owned by the Williams Family and also once served as a recuperation hospital for wounded soldiers during World War I, a history that fuels further fodder for ghost activity. Whether you believe it or not, this castle makes for an interesting, if not eccentric, visit in Wales.
Visit Bodelwyddan Castle by watching “Travels with Darley” Wales on Amazon Prime and on your local PBS TV station and Create TV.