Travel | Alternative Britain

Where is the most haunted place in Britain?

Why has our countryside inspired ghost stories for millennia?

Ian Vince
6 min readFeb 16, 2022



Britain has a long and often dark history, with our ancient landscapes and buildings telling the tales of our ancestors. Our history is also steeped in tales of ghostly goings-on with the countryside and ancient monuments and buildings providing the perfect creepy fodder.

From ancient castles to haunted hills and spooky inns, here is my guide to the most haunted places in the UK, with a look at the history behind each myth and legend.

Ding Dong, Woon Gumpus, Boscawen-un, Zennor, Madron and Mulfra; even the place names of west Penwith, on the far toe of Cornwall, can sound like the syllables of a mumbled prayer. The climate and landscape add their own low murmur; when the mist billows in from the Atlantic over rounded granite tors and lonely menhirs, it muffles almost every sensation, leaving only the mind’s eye racing to fill the void and animate the silhouettes.

It’s a truth not lost on writers of supernatural fiction and suspense that wild places are perfect locations for their stories, all the more so when they lie close to a body of water. Whether it is the house that stands alone on an island, a wide-open heath, the moor or the mire, they are the natural habitats of both the ghost story and the murder mystery.

Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles is famously set on a murky Dartmoor, with the added thrill of a near-universal myth in Britain — that of a local supernatural black dog. Susan Hill’s terrifying The Woman in Black is set against the windswept and deserted coastal marshes and offshore islands of Northumberland. It is not the authors who set up a brooding atmosphere for their fiction by using the weather and landscape; it’s there in our minds already.

Penwith, Cornwall

Photo by Sandra Ahn Mode on Unsplash

Penwith is, at its heart, a wild and isolated moorland even at the peak of summer but, like many uplands, it reserves its most macabre and spine-tingling moments…



Ian Vince

Quick precis: Author, writer, ghost, online DJ, hopeless optimist, lapsed cynic, curios and bric-a-brac.