With a past full of smugglers, ancient kings, misty moorlands, and vengeful mermaids, Cornwall certainly delivers if you’re looking for a spooky stay.
Embark on scare nights, uncover a mysterious (and often magical) history, and discover lots of spooktacular spaces to explore with the little monsters in tow. And with plenty of buildings that are home to more than just a ghostly atmosphere, it’s easy to build a Halloween to-do list that sends shivers down the spine!
Ready for some scary stories with a Cornish twist? Here are some of the most haunted places to visit in Cornwall… If you dare…
For hauntingly good history…
Berrycoombe Road, Bodmin PL31 2NR
What better way to kick off our spooktastic list than with an 18th-century jail? Once housing (and occasionally hanging) prisoners between 1779 and 1927, Bodmin Jail has a dark and mottled past, perfect for those who like their history with an eerie twist. Ghost hunters will be thrilled to learn that the Cornish jail is thought to be home to a ghost with a tragic past called Selina Wedge.
Step into the shrouded history as you explore the Dark Walk and its spooky journey through the ages, brave the After Dark Experience or a Paranormal Tour, and discover the rich (and unsettling) history of the jail, which includes a visit to the only execution pit in the UK that’s in working order.
If you fancy a freakish lights-out evening of trances, transfiguration, and the various mediums connecting you with the spirits that linger in the dark, then a visit to Bodmin Jail should be top of your Halloween hit list.
Check out our guide to pumpkin patches in Cornwall for the ultimate Halloween-themed stay!
For ghostly tales and famous stories…
Bolventor, Launceston PL15 7TS
Cornwall’s most famous smuggling inn wouldn’t be complete without a ghost or two, so it’s a good thing the Jamaica Inn on Bodmin Moor is thought to be haunted – we ain’t afraid of no ghosts! Home to four haunted rooms, with The British Paranormal Association awarding the Inn an official stamp of approval for being a haunted establishment, there are plenty of paranormal possibilities when visiting this iconic inn.
Book a Paranormal Investigation, take a tour around the Smuggling Museum, or crank up the cryptics and stay for a murder mystery evening like no other. The inn’s previous guest list includes the imaginative author Daphne du Maurier, who stayed at the inn in 1930. After getting lost on the misty moor and discovering the fascinating history of smuggling at the inn, she was inspired to go and write Jamaica Inn, one of her most famous and captivating novels. It’s the perfect literary accompaniment to your visit.
While visiting Bodmin Moor, it’s worth keeping those wide eyes peeled for one of Bodmin’s other fantastical tales. The Beast of Bodmin Moor has been a popular story to delight and fright since sightings of a curious nature sparked across the moors. Was it a big cat or was it something far more sinister? Perhaps we’ll never know, but it’s fun to think about!
For Halloween fun with a side of history...
Falmouth TR11 4LP
Henry VIII’s fortress above Falmouth has a fascinating history, which visitors can discover during a ghoulish visit to Pendennis Castle. Follow the creepy clue-solving trail, listen to scary stories, and learn how to catch all the monsters that lurk in the dark, all the while listening and looking out for the castle’s host of hauntings, including the ghost of a kitchen maid that reportedly fell to her death here.
While the Halloween festivities are always fun, this Cornish castle is a great family-friendly day out throughout the year. You can tour the castle’s weaponry and defences and look across Carrick Roads at the sister castle in St Mawes.
For ghosts and boats...
The Shipwreck Treasure Museum
Quay Road, Charlestown Road, St Austell PL25 3NJ
Charlestown’s premier attraction not only explores the history of wreckages in the area with one of Europe’s largest private collections of artefacts but follows the tales of ghost sightings in the 18th century Georgian passageways, making it a must-see for anyone keen to pique their senses during a potentially fright-filled day out complete with paranormal exploration, equipment, and experiments.
To celebrate this spookiest of holidays, during Halloween half term you can up the ante on scary days out even more with their Lights Out Lantern Trail, which combines ghostly stories and dark tunnels for the greatest effect. What will you find down there in the dark?
For myth, legend, and magic...
Castle Road, Tintagel PL34 0HE
King Arthur’s land of myth and legend is chock with stories of apparitions, including the spirit of Merlin in the cave beneath the castle along with four other ghosts that roam the ruins of the 12th-century castle and nearby Camelot House Hotel. Pay a visit to the not-to-be-missed attraction to discover more about its myths and history, along with traversing the epic bridge, walking the island, and exploring the beach and captivating surrounding coastline of dramatic North Cornwall.
For haunted halls and a smuggler’s brew...
St Michael’s Mount
Marazion TR17 0HS
With a history dating back to the dark ages – not to mention the myth of the giant Cormoron and Jack the giant slayer in the mix – it’s no wonder that St Michael’s Mount has a reputation for being haunted. As well as whispers of a ghostly monk, there is also a resident lady in grey, while (according to reports from a number of fishermen) the surrounding waters are also reported to be haunted.
While in the vicinity, pay a visit to Chapel Street in Penzance, which – as one of the town’s oldest streets – has been the venue of multiple ghost sightings, including that of the accidentally murdered Mrs Baines. Here, you can drink like a pirate at Admiral Benbow, one of the oldest pubs in Penzance, while marvelling at the many artefacts salvaged from wreckages. Perhaps some of these trinkets and treasures have their own ghostly stories to tell…
For a hauntingly beautiful wedding…
Praa Sands, Penzance TR20 9SJ
Situated in the beachside town of Praa Sands, this ancient place of interest has been intriguing historians and ghost hunters for many years. The dramatic history and ghostly sightings started with the Pengersick family, whose murderous deeds created the perfect foundations for hauntings. It’s said that the ghoulish figure of a monk appears in the grounds at night, while around 20 other spectres have been spotted over the years.
If you would like to incorporate a bit of supernatural elegance into your special day, this historic castle is now a stunning wedding venue. Perhaps you’ll even get a phantom photobomb in your wedding pictures!
For wooded wonders and more...
Cot Hill, Ponsanooth, Truro TR3 7HJ
Once home to one of the largest gunpowder works in Britain, Kennal Vale offers a seriously atmospheric visit for the whole family. Moss covers the once working millstones, with dilapidated ruins adding to the eerie charm of the woods. A horrible accident that happened in the mill buildings in 1838 has led to the rumours of ghosts inhabiting these mysterious woods alongside the squirrels and birds.
Today, you can visit this Cornwall Wildlife Trust owned woodland and explore the many twisting paths that wind their way through the dense undergrowth. Will you spot something otherworldly? Or will you simply enjoy the return to nature this picturesque wooded wonder provides.
For coastal views shrouded in history…
St Agnes TR5 0NT
One of Cornwall’s most iconic engine houses and boasting incredible coastal vistas, Wheal Coates is a popular destination amidst walkers and historians alike. Behind the famous structure and undulating cliffline lies a darker past, however, with many lives being lost while working in the mines. It’s said that to this day, ghostly whispers are still carried on the winds and crashing waves beneath.
For a truly spooktacular visit, head to Wheal Coates for the sunset, which promises an array of reds, oranges, and deep yellows as the sun disappears beneath the horizon. Linger a little longer and you’ll be rewarded with one of the best stargazing spots in Cornwall, thanks to the low levels of light pollution and dramatic landscape.
For town-wide hauntings…
If you’re looking to visit Cornwall’s ghostly hotspot, Penzance should be on the top of your spooky list, with many hauntings to its name. The seaside town enjoyed a prosperous history thanks to the array of industries that operated out of the town, including fishing, farming, and trade. Of course, the town’s past was by no means rose tinted, with the likes of Spanish invasions, pirates, and plague filling the history books with plenty of dark corners.
The Dolphin Inn by the harbour has been wetting whistles for over 500 years, during which time three ghosts have made appearances, including a friendly captain who tours the stairwells of the historic pub. For a spot of shopping and apparition spotting, head to Chapel Street, where many ghosts have been reported over the years. Perhaps most famous amongst them is that of Mrs Baines, who died while trying to prove a point when her orchard’s watchman fell asleep at his post. Although her house was eventually exorcised by a local vicar, a ghost of a woman wearing a bonnet and nightclothes has been known to wander the ancient street.
For something a little extra…
If you want to really test your mettle this Halloween, why not embark on your very own freaky adventure as you try and break free from one of Cornwall’s many escape rooms. Housetrap Escape Rooms in Bodmin is perfect for a spine-chilling visit with the Séance room while Eureka Escape has locations in Truro, Falmouth, and Penzance, all of which combine puzzling scenes with creepy backdrops for a massively entertaining time.
Over in the heart of Cornwall, Locked In poses horrible headscratchers to make the simple task of leaving a room anything but. Will you solve all the clues in time? In Newlyn, you’ll plan your own great escape at Cornwall’s Great Escape Rooms, which feature award-winning rooms and no shortage of eerie puzzles.
Want to visit one of these spooky locations for yourself? Take a look at our holiday homes in Cornwall and start planning your supernatural stay.