Literary Halloween Haunts

24th Oct 2012

Literary Halloween Haunts
It’s that time of year again. A time to search for costumes that don’t have the prefix of ‘sexy’, stock up on sugary treats, and scare ourselves silly with gory films and creepy literature. Halloween is upon us once more. So if you’re looking for ghoulish inspiration galore, here are some days out to terrify the entire family.

Starting in Scotland, you can’t go wrong visiting Glamis Castle (pictured above), home to the royals and inspiration behind the glorious Macbeth. Situated in a park as grand as the castle itself, there are regular guided tours and lavish events, but the real draw here is its claim to being one of the most haunted castles in the UK.

Rumours of secrets rooms, monsters and ghosts a-go-go abound online, and have been used as the basis for numerous books. Other literary connections include books by Kelley Armstrong, whose works were inspired by the Glamis turrets and suits of armour.

Wales holds some of the most stunning of Romantic landmarks, and none are more revered than Tintern Abbey. With original structures from as far back as the 12th century, the gothic beauty of the castle has attracted writers from all over the world with its one-of-a-kind views and classic structure, and was perhaps most famously described in William Wordsworth’s much loved poem Lines Written A Few Miles above Tintern Abbey.

Want to spend Halloween honouring our nation’s late, great writers? There are hundreds of places around the UK where you can get all gothic at literary legends’ last resting places.

Firstly, take a trip to the village of Haworth in West Yorkshire. There’s a reason these parts are known as Brontë Country: it is home to the parsonage where the Brontë sisters lived and wrote their internationally adored work.

I’ve talked before about taking a trip to Top Withens, reputed inspiration for Emily Brontë‘s gothic tale of violent passion, Wuthering Heights, and it’d be amazing, if a little chilly at this time of year.

Or you can take a trip to Brontë Parsonage itself, which has been lovingly adorned with the Brontës possessions. You can even see some of the original works themselves, alongside the parlour room where Emily passed away.

Beside the parsonage is Haworth Parish Church, where Patrick Brontë preached, and where all of the Brontë’s (except Anne, who is buried in Scarborough) have been laid to rest.

Finally, there is one grave in Britain that appears to be more visited than any other. Located in Heptonstall in Hebden Bridge is Sylvia Plath’s final resting place in the church of St Thomas.

Plath was haunted in an entirely more serious way than any Halloween spooks could help us appreciate, and there is no better way to honour and respect her memory than a trip to her grave. The location also offers spectacular views of the surrounding area, including Stoodley Pike.

Still in search of spooktacular literary Halloween haunts? Then try Whitby Abbey or Highgate Cemetery.

(Images via Rev Stan, Gordon M Robertson, jim.middleton123, Jennifer Boyer)


  • Jess says:

    If anyone fancies doing something bookish on Halloween, The Travelling Suitcase Library is having a Dark and Stormy Book Swap in Arcadia, Leeds (the Arndale Centre in Headingley) from 5-9. No fancy dress allowed in the pub, sadly, but we’ll have plenty of spooky stories and also be serving spooky themed snacks on the menu


  • Excellent article – what a great topic!

    Tintern Abbey is one of my favourite places in the UK, not least because of its proximity to Hay-on-Wye for a spot of book shopping.

    And I loved the line about searching for costumes that doesn’t have the prefix “sexy.”