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The Most Haunted Spots in Nottinghamshire

23 October 20 words: LeftLion

The National Justice Museum might be the most haunted location in Nottingham, but there are plenty more creepy spots to try your hand at ghost hunting. So grab a torch, a brave mate and a spare pair of kecks, and check out some of the following supposedly haunted Notts spots

Wollaton Hall
By day, the beautiful Elizabethan mansion is the prime spot for picnics, dog walks and trying to grab a quick deer snap on your lunch break. But by night, Wollaton Hall gets properly spooky, and is said to be home to a cavalcade of ghostly figures. As perhaps the most famous phantom resident, Lady Middleton – who lived in the hall after being paralysed in a fall – is said to roam the rear of the property, freaking out anyone brave enough to walk there alone. Plenty of visitors have also reported the feeling of being watched, hearing distant voices screaming and even being grabbed by ice-cold hands. They’ve either got a groundskeeper that needs reigning in, or a serious ghost problem. 

Newstead Abbey
With enough ghostly characters to justify a Scooby Doo reboot, Newstead Abbey is home to, among others, the Black Friar, the Goblin Friar, the Rose Lady, the White Lady and a flock of haunted rooks containing the souls of old monks. Okay, so their method of naming ghosts stinks, but the stories behind them all are pretty chilling. Our favourite haunted happening is easily that of Lord Byron’s ancestor, Sir John Byron, whose big, beardy presence would emerge from his own oil painting and scare residents. The painting was lost for 160 years before being rediscovered in 2015. It remains to be seen whether his ghostly presence has returned with it…

Bestwood Lodge
In what might just be the greatest Tripadvisor review ever written, one irked guest said of Bestwood Lodge, “the showers are weak, rubbish breakfast and it’s haunted.” We can’t attest to the first two accusations, but there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence for the latter. The old love nest of Nell Gwynn, the orange seller and actress who served as King Charles II’s bit on the side, much of the spooky activity at this imposing venue stems back to her. Reports of a strong smell of oranges whenever kids stay in the rooms are common, and staff have spoken of seeing figures walk the halls, only to disappear into thin air. Disembodied voices have also been heard in the cellar, where bodies are said to be buried. We’ll grab an Airbnb if it’s all the same. 

Clifton Hall
For most people, a ghost story is just that: a story. We all like getting scared, and tales of haunted houses, unquiet spirits and goofy ghosts do just the trick. But for millionaire businessman Anwar Rashid, paranormal activity legitimately tried to ruin his life. After purchasing the 52-room Clifton Hall, his family began to feel terrorized by a supernatural presence that they felt was trying to get rid of them. Comparing his experiences to the film The Others, it started with strange noises, mysterious male voices and sightings of grey figures, before the unexplained discovery of blood spots on his 18-month-old son’s clothes. Rashid wisely packed up his family and high-tailed it, giving the keys back to the bank just eight months after moving in.  

Nottingham Castle
With so many ghost stories languishing in vagaries, it’s nice to have a proper historical figure haunting one of Notts’ most iconic locations. Roger Mortimer was king in all but name, after teaming up with his lover Queen Isabella to have Edward II murdered back in the 14th century. It backfired, as the late-King’s son, seventeen-year-old Edward III, captured Roger during a daring raid at Nottingham Castle, and later had him executed, despite his mother’s pleas for mercy. The decision clearly irked Rog, whose ghost apparently still hangs around the new Notts Castle, anxiously pacing back and forth, probably trying to figure out whether Isabella was worth the trouble. He’s not alone, at least, because her voice has been heard desperately pleading for his life. Who knew treason could be so romantic?

The City of Caves
As if being pitch black and centuries old wasn’t freaky enough, Notts’ subterranean cave network is apparently home to any number of unsettled spirits and spectres. Having at various times been used as a tannery, public house, Victorian slum and World War II air shelter, it’s fair to say that those sandstone walls have got some stories to tell. Unfortunately for us, they choose to tell them by way of unexplained sounds of explosions, disembodied voices, dark apparitions and shadowy figures. One reported sighting even described a woman, dressed in Victorian-era clothing, wandering lost while loudly crying. Whether she’s an unsettled spirit from the era of the old slums is anyone’s guess, but we’ll leave the investigating to you lot and stay safely above ground, if you don’t mind.  

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