Scarily good!

Travel, October, EDP Norfolk

Travel, October, EDP Norfolk - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2006

Thrills

Ensure you have a truly hair-raising experience this Halloween by visiting the Maids Head Hotel in Norwich. At 800 years old, the Maids Head is said to be the oldest hotel in the UK as well as being home to some of Norfolk’s most famous ghosts!

A former maid dressed in grey is thought to roam the building leaving the scent of musty lavender and a former mayor is believed to occupy the courtyard. The hotel boasts an award-winning one rosette restaurant, WinePress@Wensum, which has 40-plus wines to choose from. Embracing its spooky features, the hotel is holding a murder mystery event on November 1, when visitors can enjoy a three-course meal and entertainment for £35.

The Maids Head Hotel, Tombland, Norwich, NR3 1LB; 01603209955; reservations@maidsheadhotel.co.uk

Watchful

Why not amplify the spook factor of your Halloween this year by treating yourself to a visit to north Norfolk’s iconic Cley Windmill. Enjoy remarkable views of salt marshes and coast in this tranquil 18th century converted windmill. A candlelit three-course set menu for £32.50 is sure to set the tone if you’re ready for a spot of ghost-hunting. Although there are no recorded relics at the windmill itself, you may be “lucky” enough to encounter Black Shuck, the huge black hound said to stalk the coastline since Viking times, making him one of the oldest phantoms in Britain.

Cley Windmill, Cley-next-the-Sea, NR25 7RP; 01263 740209; info@cleywindmill.co.uk.

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Mystery

Create some mysterious memories staying at The Bell Inn in Thetford over Halloween. The 15th century building is bursting with charm, retaining many period features such as the Elizabethan wall paintings and a secret passage out of the inn, certain to create an eerie atmosphere. The recently refurbished restaurant offers classical English food and the bar has a fine selection of beers and ales. With such a historic past it is no wonder that this fascinating hotel is said to be occupied by ghosts, such as the ex-landlady, Elizabeth Radcliffe, and a hooded monk, who apparently haunts the main suite bedroom!

The Bell Inn, King Street, Thetford, IP21 2AZ; 01842 754455; 6410@greeneking.co.uk.

Character

Soak up some of the atmosphere at Manor Farmhouse near Happisburgh. The part-Tudor, part-Georgian house is bursting with character, incorporating beautiful wooden beams and picturesque rural scenery. With only two rooms, this bed and breakfast is the perfect location for a Halloween. Close to Happisburgh, where Arthur Conan Doyle found the inspiration for his tale The Dancing Men, don’t miss a trip to the red and white striped lighthouse. The village is also reputed to be home to the Happisburgh Torso, an unfortunate ghost missing his legs and whose head is dangling from his neck.

Manor Farmhouse, Happisburgh, NR12 0SA; 01692 651262; manorathappisburgh@hotmail.com

Six spooky places to visit in Norfolk this Halloween

Why not make your goosebumps rise with a visit to some of our county’s spine-chilling haunts?

1 Built in 1619, Raynham Hall is said to be haunted by the ghost of Lady Dorothy, “the Brown Lady”. After committing adultery, her husband, Turnip Townsend, is alleged to have locked her away until her death.

2 The 12th century Castle Rising, near King’s Lynn, is said to be blessed with presence of the ghost of Queen Isabella of France. In 1326 Isabella’s lover, Roger Mortimer, murdered her husband, Edward II. Edward III ordered Mortimer’s death and imprisoned Isabella in Castle Rising. It is said her screams and laughter can be heard within the walls of the castle.

3 Blickling Hall, it is said, is home to the ghost of former Queen, Anne Boleyn. The Boleyn family resided here from 1499 to 1505. Her ghost is alleged to arrive at the hall in a coach driven by a headless horseman with headless horses. She is described as being dressed fully in white and clutching her severed head.

4 One of Norwich’s oldest pubs, the Adam and Eve, close to the Cathedral in ancient Bishopgate, lays claim to the ghost of Lord Sheffield, killed during the 1546 rebellion. His ghost is said to interact with the living - for example, staff have felt “someone” run ghostly fingers through their hair.

5 Elm Hill in Norwich is believed to be haunted by Father Ignatius, forced to flee the city after several of his curses resulted in deaths. He is said to loiter on the hill, grasping a black Bible and muttering curses.

6 Previously a Roman Catholic chapel, built in 1794, the Maddermarket Theatre in Norwich is allegedly haunted by the ghost of a monk. He is said to have been responsible for hiding costumes, moving props and opening and closing doors.