Friday, 21 October 2011 9:23 AM
From terror-ific twilight tours in historic houses and creepy castles to spooky goings-on at the zoo, take a look at our pick of family-friendly Halloween events happening in the UK (as well as a few just for adults!).
Visit a creepy castle
Head to Carisbrooke Castle in the Isle of Wight for a spine-tingling ghost walk around one of the most ancient and haunted places on the island. Led by Professor Midnight, hear about the site’s sinister past and chilling tales of ghostly appearances. Youngsters will also enjoy taking part in the frightfully fun spooky trail, following clues around the castle to receive a Halloween treat. Runs from October 22-30th 10am-4pm.
A frightful day awaits at Dover Castle, Kent. With over nine ghosts reported to have been seen and heard at Dover Castle, you better keep your wits about you as spooky characters lead you around one of England’s most haunted castles. There is also a prize for the best children’s Halloween costume, bestowed on the most bloodcurdling attire each day. Runs from October 22-30th 10am-4pm.
Bodiam Castle (photo: Alasdair Ogilvie)
Have you got what it takes to brave the Bolsover Castle, Derbyshire, after dark? Find out about some of Bolsover's more horrific happenings and ghostly goings on, then explore the site by torchlight and meet some of the castle's previous residents: they are dying to meet you! Runs from October 29-30th 6-9pm.
Terror trails at historic houses
New this year and not for the faint-hearted, the Chatsworth Halloween Trail showcases a 500-year-old Latin spell book to summon spirits, an autopsy report for Catherine Cavendish – Dowager Duchess of Devonshire 1777 –former Librarian Sandford Arthur Strong’s death mask and a model of Madame Langhans haunting Tomb depicting her bursting through the slab clutching her baby; just a taste of the spine-tingling trail available daily in the house. Visitors will have another chance to see the house after dark on one of the popular Torchlit Tours which takes visitors on an eerie exploration throughout the house. Runs from October 22-30th.
Join a Halloween twilight trail (recommended for children aged under 12) at before returning to the restaurant for a home-cooked Halloween supper. You can also pick out spooky treats all week in the Chartwell shop. Runs October 26-28th 5pm – 7pm.
There’s also plenty of Halloween happenings at many National Trust properties from Grim tales around the grounds in Arlington Court, Devon, to ghost tours at Nunnington Hall, North Yorkshire.
Arlington Hall (photo: National Trust, Matthew Antrobus)
Spooky goings-on in the zoo
There's a distinct chill in the air as West Midland Safari Park doubles the amount of creepy exhibits and prepares for their Spooky Spectacular event that starts on Saturday October 15th.
And, as the daylight fades, staff will be bracing themselves to deliver the ultimate spooky experience as the Park comes alive with over 100 exhibits of the most haunting nature and more than 3,000 pumpkins. There are spooks galore from Wild Woods Witches, to wailing women and wandering zombies to shivering scarecrows. See what is happening after dark if you dare! Spooky Nights Runs from October 15th and 16th and inclusively from October 21st until October 30th from 5.30pm.
Head to Woburn Safari Park the Room of Doom, a specially created Halloween inspired fun filled room for parents and children, which provides both entertainment and education this half term. This frighteningly fun room will provide your intrepid little ones with an opportunity to learn about and experience those animals that some might find a bit scary!
Join a Gothic Ghost Tour
It’s easy to see why Bram Stoker was inspired by Whitby Abbey in North Yorkshire, when writing his famed Dracula, so where better to spend the eve of All Saints – Halloween? Wear warm attire for a ghost tour around this foreboding abbey and listen to the series of spooky tales from your costumed guide. Runs October 28-29th at scheduled times throughtout the evening. On October 30th and 31st, the centuries-old Ham House and Garden in Surrey will also be hosting after-dark ghost tours, followed by drinks and canapés in the 17th century Orangery.
(Whitby Abbey photo: English Heritage)
If you’re after a ghostly encounter with spirits guaranteed (the drinkable kind!), head to leading attraction Vinopolis this spine-tingling Halloween weekend on Friday October 28th, from 5pm until midnight.
With a Halloween themed Bombay Sapphire cocktail with a twist, and two Absinthe tastings on the menu, the annual Grand Ball spook-fest will warm your insides before chilling you to the bone! Come dressed to kill in your scariest attire and soak up the atmosphere in one of the capital’s most eerie yet stunning locations – deep beneath a Victorian viaduct at the illustrious London Bridge.
Included in the terrifying night is the opportunity to be photographed on the black carpet, or dare to be snapped in the haunted black cab booth complete with ghostly chauffeur. For an extra shot of Dutch courage, party-goers can enjoy four regular wine tastings and two beer tastings, along with a special serving of hearty Toad in the ‘Ole. Scary surprises, eerie acts and devilish DJing guaranteed to have you cutting some shadowy shapes on the dance floor help to round off the evening.
For the really brave head to The London Bridge Experience & London Tombs who have teamed up with the director of The Human Centipede – Tom Six – to recreate the terror of the film to give visitors the scare of their life. As part of the London Bridge-based attraction’s Halloween programme PhoboPhobia ‘After Dark Extreme Scare – The Human Centipede – will feature sets recreating the horror of the film, including the evil Dr Heiters laboratory, clips from the film and audio as well as the main attraction – a live human centipede.
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