Cornwall’s most haunted: 12 spooky places to visit

Bodmin Jail by Dennyboy, Flickr, (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Bodmin Jail by Dennyboy, Flickr, (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) - Credit: Archant

We bring you the definitive guide to Cornwall’s most haunted places.

Warning! Many of these spooky stories, which date back centuries, are historically/geographically inaccurate, but can still be investigated with a sense of fun… 

1. Pengersick Castle, Praa Sands

The Pengersick family that once owned the castle had a murderous reputation, in particular, Henry Pengersick who was also believed to practice necromancy. According to local folklore, his wife, Engrina wanders the master bedroom and stares at guests through the window at midnight. Engrina has also been spotted crawling onto the four-poster bed while holding her stomach in pain before vanishing into the darkness.

The ghost of a maid, believed to be the one who looked after Engrina in her final days has been spotted walking through walls and standing at the end of the guests' beds. Pengersick Castle is also home to a black-robed monk that stalks the corridors of the castle during the night.

2. Bodmin Jail, Bodmin

Bodmin Jail, which now houses a museum packed with artefacts to the jail's rich history, was built by prisoners in the 18th century on the order of Henry VIII. A ghost by the name of Selina Wedge is said to glide through the jail at night in a dress; her loud cries echo through the walls, grabbing the attention of children. Selina was believed to have killed her youngest son in exchange for marriage, however this malicious act ended up being a waste of time as the man didn't want her after all.

The jail was known for being a hotspot of public hangings in the 18th century and for lovers of the supernatural, visit Bodmin Jail at night for a spooktacular evening.

3. Chapel Street, Penzance

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Chapel Street is one of the oldest streets in Penzance so it may come as no surprise that a number of people have reported ghostly figures roaming around. These reports include the ghost of Mrs Baines, an ex-resident of Chapel Street. Legend has it that in an attempt to prevent children from stealing from her apple orchard, Mrs Baines employed a servant named Jan to watch over it at night. However, Mrs Baines felt like Jan wasn't taking her role seriously enough and so she crept up to the orchard one night impersonating a thief. Jan woke up abruptly and accidently fired a gunshot at Mrs Baines. Now Mrs Baines' ghostly figure keeps the locals company in the Turks Head pub.

4. Kennall Vale Nature Reserve, Ponsanooth

The picturesque woodland of Kennall Vale was once home to one of the largest gunpowder works in the United Kingdom. Tragedy struck in 1838 when a gunpowder explosion caused many deaths and destroyed five mills. Kennall Vale is now a slightly eerie place to explore. A gentleman named William Dunstan is said to haunt the area; he was a father to ten children and he left his wife a widower in the explosion.

5. Pendennis Castle, Falmouth

The 17th century castle is situated just on the outskirts of Falmouth and was built by Henry VIII as a safe place to protect the Carrick Roads when the French and the Spanish invaded. However, the enemy used the castle to trap the royalists for six months; during this time they were forced to eat their own horses and dogs until they chose to surrender. Ever since, Pendennis Castle has been home to ghostly figures including a kitchen maid who fell down a staircase to her death.

Tintagel by Valery Egorov, Shutterstock

Tintagel by Valery Egorov, Shutterstock - Credit: Archant

6. Tintagel Castle, North Cornwall

In Tintagel lie the ruins of a 12th century castle where five ghosts are believed to roam. Three of the ghosts are said to haunt nearby Camelot House Hotel where they have been known to mischievously knock paintings from the walls and tip bins over, and even wake up the guests in the middle of the night to give them a bed bath.

One of the other ghosts is rumoured to be a former employee who takes night walks from the hotel to his cottage. Finally, the last ghost was one of King Arthur's close friends and mentor, Merlin; he is said to live in the cave underneath the castle and on departure starts babbling in a language that is foreign to all.

7. Prideaux Place, Padstow

Padstow's statuesque Elizabethan manor was built in the 16th century and has been home to the Prideaux-Brune family ever since. Three ghosts are believed to be residents here. There's the kitchen boy whose ghostly figure has never left the room and a woman who sits in the corner of the morning room sewing.

There is also the ghost of Humphrey Prideaux's wife, Honor Fortescue, who couldn't cope with being a widower and so threw herself off the upper balcony; she has been known to scare visitors out of their bedrooms ever since.

8. Wheal Coates Mine, Saint Agnes

Situated in the Cornish village of St Agnes on the North Coast, Wheal Coates is best known for being one of the most famous industrial buildings in Cornwall. The ghosts reputed to linger in Wheal Coates are those of miners that lost their lives there. You can access the mine shaft only at low tide through a large cave on Chapel Porth beach.


Haunted pubs

1. First & Last Inn, Penzance

Sennen's First & Last Inn is said to be haunted by a ghostly version of the ex-landlord Annie George, from the 1800s. Annie was left to drown on the beach by an incoming tide for committing crimes against the Queen. Some have said that she can be found in her old bedroom late at night.

2. The Ship Inn, Mevagissey

When the ex landlady of The Ship Inn passed away, the inn commemorated her passing with placing a portrait of her proudly above the bar. However, in 2012 the photograph suddenly disappeared with no trace. After the picture disappeared, the inn would frequently get flooded and so got the status of 'Britain's most flooded pub'. One day, two of the tenants found the photograph disposed of in the back room and so placed it back to its original position above the bar, and the pub has been free from flooding ever since.

3. The Wellington Hotel, Boscastle

Three ghosts are rumoured to haunt the hotel: a coachman, a young girl and an elderly lady who are said to haunt room number nine in particular. The hotel has been featured in the 'Most Haunted' TV series back in 2004.

4. The Jamaica Inn, Bodmin

Between Launceston and Bodmin Moor is this spooky 18th century inn, a former coaching inn, which was the setting for one of Daphne du Maurier's novels. The Jamaica Inn is known for being one of the most haunted places in Britain; with a vicious highwayman who walks through locked doors, a young distressed mother carrying her baby who stares back at guests in the mirror and a young smuggler who roams the courtyard.

When alone, visitors and employees have said that they have heard foreign voices that come from The Smuggler's Inn restaurant, the stable bar and bedroom four.