Everyone knows New York City, but ever wondered where old York is? The original City of York is a historical city in northern England. In the past, it was one of the most important northern English cities and has a long and storied history. One may recall it from the movie Braveheart when William Wallace stormed it as he invaded northern England. It was also the inspiration for Winterfell in A Song of Ice And Fire (aka Game of Thrones).

York is the perfect location for a scary castle museum. So next time one is in England, try to visit this fascinating castle and museum with its chilling history. Also, next time in English, put the posh city of Chester on one's bucket list with its rich Roman and Tudor heritage.


York Castle Prison

The York Castle Museum is housed in 18th-century prison buildings. One can see the dark times and aspects of history wandering the original prison cells. See the exhibitions depicting some of the most infamous inmates that were housed here. The most notorious prisoner was the legendary highwayman, Dick Turpin. This was a brutal and crooked prison in its day with notorious inmates.

  • Inmates: Included Witches, Luddites, Highwaymen, and More


One of its inmates was the last woman to be burnt at the stake in Yorkshire. Others include a Luddite, a notorious turnkey, and even a young tearaway that when on to have a good life in the new colonies in Australia.

One can check the database of the former prisoners and see if they have an ancestor within these confines.

  • History As A Prison: York Castle Has Been A Place Of Justice and Incarceration For Almost 1,000 Years

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The first castle to be built here was built by William the Conqueror way back in 1068. Today the 18th Century Courthouse remains the York Crown Court and still has holding cells for those accused of the more concerning crimes - like has been happening for almost a millennium (modern England's entire history).

  • York Castle Prison: No Extra Charge (Including On the Ticket To Visit the Museum)

York Castle Prison And Museum Exhibits

One of the great exhibits here is the Shaping the Body exhibit. Travel back in time and see infamous iron corsets, crotchless pantaloons (from the time of Jane Austen), bum rolls, and a killer dress. See how 400 years of fashion ebbed and flowed and how food and fitness have shaped the body over that time.

Photo filters and the like of the current generation may lead one to come to the conclusion people are more conscious of their image now than in the past. But a tour of this exhibit will leave a different impression. One will see that at times, people went to much greater extremes to manage their body image in society. See the diet they ate or the extremely restrictive clothing they wore.

This year, the haunted castle is hosting two exciting Halloween experiences.

Halloween Traditions Family Tour

This tour looks into the past beliefs about witches and evil spirits. It delves into the origins of Halloween party games and the Halloween traditions (ever wonder of the origin of trick-or-treating?). This is a great tour for families. See here for some spooky Halloween traditions from around the world.

  • When: October 29th, 30th, 31st
  • Duration: 30 Minutes
  • Where: In The Museum's Period Rooms and Toy Stories Galleries

York Castle Museum Haunted Halloween Tour

Come and explore the haunted museum after hours as the ghosts come out. Step back in time with the York Castle Prison Gaoler after the lights go out. Hear the gruesome stories that haunt the old building, the hair-raising punishments, and the harrowing executions for those found guilty of crimes. Hear the reports of paranormal activity by the staff just in recent years.

This is an adults tour only as the themes run along the lines of sexual assault, death, and torture.

  • When: October 29th & 31st
  • Who: Adults Only (Scary)

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Visiting The York Castle Prison and Museum

As with so many museums and attractions in the United States now, it is very much recommended to pre-book the tickets in advance to guarantee entry (due to the fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic). Currently, entry times are split up into 30-minute slots giving half an hour to check-in (arrive anytime 30 mins before one's timed ticket).

  • Open: Wednesday through Sunday, From 11:00 am to 4:00 am
  • Adult: £13 Annual Ticket ($18.00 USD)
  • Child: £6.50 Annual Ticket ($9.00 USD)
  • Youth And Students: £11.70 Annual Ticket (16.00 USD)

The York Castle Museum is one of the best castles in England for exploring the past. It is also one of the best to enjoy a scary Halloween in a real-life castle that has seen some of the most chilling stories in its time.

Next: 10 Creepy Events You Need To Attend In New York This October