Nothing gets your heart pumping like a good old-fashioned scare. Scaring people on Halloween has been a tradition for centuries, traced back when the Celtics celebrated Samhuinn with trickery and masks. The United Kingdom is growing as the epicenter of scary Halloween festivals.
Today, you can get your fill of frightful horrors at several ghost tours and haunted houses all around the United Kingdom. Whether you’re in Scotland, England, or Wales, there’s something nearby that will put you in the spooky mood... and just might leave you creeped out until sunrise. Here are 10 of the best seasonal haunted houses in the UK.
10 Manchester: Halloween in the City
The city of Manchester transforms into a festival of fright at every turn during the Halloween season. There’s a giant rooftop monster invasion that’s as picturesque as it is scary. This more family-friendly event will feature a Trick or Treat trail, a skeleton parade, and a Room on the Broom.
But don’t worry because if you’re looking for scares, Manchester has still got some for you. Try to survive the Poisonous Maze in St. Ann’s Square. The hedge maze has been taken over by creeping vines, magical statues, and monsters that are looking for someone to steal. If you escape, you can go inside the castle on St. Ann’s Square, where Manchester’s resident mad scientist waits in the ruins of her exploded castle to drag others into her dangerous experiments.
9 Edinburgh: Paisley Halloween Festival
Edinburgh does Halloween so well. On October 31st, there will be the carnivalesque Samhuinn Fire Festival, but the weekend before, the two-day Paisley Halloween Festival takes over the entire town center. The sinister outdoor circus will have street theatre, death-defying aerialists, and a parade 300 strong, led by a Svengali ringleader. Watch giant puppet, voodoo acrobatics, and fire performers parade along the major streets, then head over to Paisley Abbey to ride the haunted carousel.
If that all isn’t enough, there will also be a silent disco, a Halloween funfair for the younger ones, and film screenings to really get into the spooky mood.
8 Kirkleatham: Scream Factory
In a small city on the east coast of England, the Scream Factory waits inside a haunted nursery to terrorize you. The horror house has won several awards in the past, certifying it as a terrifyingly good time. Under a shroud of darkness, you’ll make your way through open woodland to the abandoned nursery behind the Kirkleatham Museum, where ghosts still float around, waiting to scare anyone crazy enough to come by.
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Luckily, the event has a food court where you can take a breather between scares. There’s also less scary Children’s Twilight Hour for youngsters and people too afraid to brave the Carnival of Carnage.
7 Kenilworth Castle: Fright Nights
As the most haunted castle in England, Kenilworth is putting on a Fright Nights show for the Halloween season, and it’s sure to scare even the most skeptical of ghost-hunters. Enter the castle after dark to experience a gruesome history that will be sending chills up your spine. You’re sure to encounter any number of terrifying characters who are waiting to scare you in the dark ruins of the home Earl Robert Dudley and Queen Elizabeth I once carried on their affair in.
Will you see the spooky cradle that rock itself? Or maybe one of the forgotten souls buried on the grounds long ago? No matter what, you’ll certainly get a fright during your visit.
6 Wales: Terror Mountain
Just outside a real abandoned silver mine in Wales (are you creeped out already?) is Terror Mountain, a Halloween horror spectacular. In October they will be unleashing five new horror attractions designed to scare you silly. This year includes the all-new terrifying The Watchers, a too-relevant horror experience designed to make you confront the way we all pour our lives into the internet, unaware of who is watching us and harvesting our lives.
Head out to Aberyswyth with your bravest friends and see if you can all survive all five horrifying experiences. We won’t judge you if you bow out early.
5 Warwick Castle: The Haunted Castle
This iconic clifftop fortress and dungeons just outside of Coventry is a prime spot for a Halloween scarefest. There’s something at Warwick's Haunted Castle nights for everyone—from the youngest Plucky Pumpkins ready to try Halloween for the first time, to Daring Dukes who want to join the crew of the Paranormal Encounters TV show team as they film a Warwick Castle special. The castle dungeon will be ready to recount some of Warwick’s most torturous history.
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If you’re feeling like an extra brave Knight, you can wait until the dark mists come to shroud Warwick Castle then try to survive a terrifying maze through the bowels of the castle. If you want to survive until the next morning, you’re going to have to work together to find your way out.
4 London: The London Dungeon
Every day at The London Dungeon is a horror show. 16 rides and shows cover London’s strange history of crime, torture, and murder. You’ll confront Sweeney Todd, The Plague Doctor, and a terrifying man known only as The Torturer. There’s also an underground water ride, a convict you must escape, and a free-fall drop called Drop Dead. And that’s just every day!
During Halloween, The London Dungeon is putting on an exclusive Halloween show. What exactly will be in it seems to be a secret so the scares are most potent on the 31st. But given their normal fare, we’re sure that the London Dungeon will pull off something that will give you chills up your spine.
3 Margate: Screamland
Usually, Dreamland Park is full of family-friendly attractions like roller coasters and cotton candy. But in October, a fog descends and it transforms into Screamland when the park is filled with ghoulish thrills that hunt you down, terrifying mazes to navigate, and the eerie Woman in Black who has been spotted around the park. Can you escape her curse? Psychopathic clowns, tortured souls, and demonic minions await anyone brave enough to enter the mazes. This park is not for the faint of heart.
If you’re not up for the mazes, you can get a ‘Rides Only’ ticket that allows you soak up the spooky atmosphere.
2 North of Liverpool: Farmageddon
Farmer Ted’s Adventure Farm sounds innocent enough, but the Farmageddon event they’re holding for Halloween sounds like the ultimate in horror fests. The attractions include Freak Street, where you’ll interact with monsters, as well as four individual ‘scream attractions’ sure to scare anyone with a pulse.
Check out the Beast of Terror, which plays on everyone’s Satanic nightmare, or try to survive Contagion, where evil clowns have taken over the innocent Day of the Dead celebrations to lure humans into a world of mind-swirling madness. If you manage to escape, try to survive Malachi Throne’s Meat Locker or the Zombie Outlaw fight.
1 London: The London Bridge Experience
Topping our scary haunted houses list in the UK is The London Bridge Experience, which has been the UK’s top award-winning scare attraction for 11 years. In 2019, they're going for 13 of the most terrifying phobias. Spiders, clowns, zombies, and the human centipede are just some fo the diabolically wicked nightmares you’ll have to contend with. Escape from a terrifying and difficult escape room, or descend into the bowels of hell to fight off the restless souls that were buried there. Either way, you’re sure to leave trembling.
During the day, there’s a family-friendly Halloween show that takes guests on a spooky walk through London Bridge’s dark past, then a visit to the London Tombs.