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Christmas in one of the most haunted hotels UK, anyone?

Madeley Court Haunted Hotel

Entrance to William and Mary Room, haunted hotels UK
Enter if you dare

Would you stay in one of the most haunted hotels UK?

Have you ever spent a night in a haunted hotel? Could you sleep? We had, and we hadn’t slept a wink, but we were doing it again anyway.

For the second year in a row we were celebrating Boxing Day at the historic Madeley Court Mercure, a 16th century manor house built on the site of an ancient  monastery. So much ghostly potential! Being unaware of this on our first stay, we had inadvertently spent a spookily sleepless night here. This time, we were acutely aware of its reputation as one of the most haunted hotels UK but we had found a good deal on and it was very pretty!

The ghosts of Christmas past

Reading some online reviews on spooky websites before bed on our first visit (not the wisest of moves in hindsight), we discovered that four main varieties of spectre were available:

  • a table-shifting poltergeist in the Old Mill, 
  • Victorian maids in the attic, 
  • a half-man who sits on the end of your bed in room 11 (which half we wondered?) and 
  • a faceless hooded monk who drifts around the grounds in and amongst the dead of night.
This was not the full list and each room seemed to have its own additional pet ghost.

Check-in lottery: Which room/ghost would we get?

At check in we discovered that all the good rooms (and by that I mean the haunted ones in the main building) had been taken by a coach party. We were to stay in a less glamourous outbuilding. I found myself both relieved and disappointed at the same time.

The fact that our room stood apart from the main building meant that we would have to cross the headless monk’s path to get to it after dinner. Depositing our bags we noticed that the window’s directly overlooked Poltergeist Mill. The room’s decor was quite modern but it boasted some original stone walls, making haunting all the more likely in my book. We still stood a chance of ghost action.

Dinner time at a haunted hotel

The upside of sharing the hotel with a coach party was that as we had decided to eat on site (for extra festive boozing opportunities), the group would be able to provide a Christmas (Russ Abbott?) party atmosphere. This would surely be preferable to the previous year when we had dined alone in, albeit it very appropriate, silence in the monastic hall.

Arriving for dinner, our fellow party goers were white-of-hair but doing a good job on the hubbub front in the restaurant. Although we were sad to be ushered into the adjacent and apparently empty Priors’ room,  this part of the hotel did come with the possibility of other dinner guests. 

I’d heard that parties of ghost monks had in the past been spotted sitting on the rafters, but looking up, we couldn’t see any feet dangling above us. There was an intriguing false wooden wall but nothing was rattling behind it, so we over-ate alone again.

The hotel had over-catered for the group, so dinner came with a bonus unordered round of roast potatoes for us. As 3 courses were included for our £15 we were persuaded to go for a totally unnecessary cheese board. Each.

As the oh-so-many wedges of brie arrived, the chatter emanating from the room next door waned, to be replaced with several rounds of sporadically silent, but also impossible to ignore, bingo. Party on people. We struggled manfully through the mounds of whey and staggered into search of seating out of earshot of the caller’s “7 and 3 …….73!”.

The William and Mary room ghost?

The previous year we had sunk into red velvet sofas and tucked into celebratory Christmas drinks surrounded by the opulence of the William and Mary room. We had spent the evening vaguely on edge looking out for that room’s ghost to appear in the doorway and were strangely looking forward to a second chance of a sighting. This year however, in a bout of over-organisation by the hotel staff, it had already been set up for breakfast, so we were left with the only other seating area available, the lobby.

Christmas party in a haunted hotel?

Near religious silence hung heavily in the air again as we sat in front of the teenage receptionist 3 feet to our right.

I enlisted husband’s help to hijack the juke box sitting quietly behind us, and with a little phone wizardry we invited Mariah, Frank and Leona to the party. The night ended with the arrival of a paramedic, one member of the coach party having clearly partied a bit too hard. Or had they seen something? All talk, as the last group members standing drifted to their rooms, was of the other hotel residents, the ghosts. 

Ghost hunting

We set off for a midnight stroll through the very Scooby-Doo mists, peeking into the poltergeist’s function room (the furniture was disappointingly stationary), and wandering over the monk-free grass.

In the end the only shadowy figure was the photo of ghost-hunting husband skulking in front of the foggy mill.

Bumps in the night?

Time for bed, but would we actually sleep?

The window in the room opened directly on to the lawn at head (less?) height. I closed it just in case glass proved tricky for the undead.

Self-spooking every time I woke in the night, I refused to open my eyes for fear of a grey face looming out of the darkness. Loo trips involved entering a wire-glassed vestibule area, chilled by the icy winds seeping through the original oak door. These were spine-chilling but possibly only physically.

The cold light of day

Fortified by the equally cold light of day in pursuing our haunted hotels UK experience, we checked out the oak spiral staircase behind the lobby, peered behind creaky doors into cellars, and roamed the higgledy-piggledy corridors looking for ghostly maids and the infamous room 11. 

Although the room was sign-posted in hallways the numbers themselves did not appear on any doors. Had it had been spirited away? No, the receptionist told us, if you are looking for ghostly fun – check into “The Gables” on the first floor. Disappointingly, she herself had not witnessed any apparitions. We did some more paranormal investigation but no half-men appeared and it was time to checkout.

Is this one of the most haunted hotels Uk?

Most haunted hotel in Britain? The jury (also of 11 – spooky?) is still out. Room 11 next time? Maybe. If we are feeling brave and the coach party doesn’t beat us to it.

If you are partial to a bit of ghost hunting, you can participate on one of the hotel’s regular ghost hunting events lead by actual paranormal investigators.

Would you or have you stayed in one of the most haunted hotels UK? Did you see a ghost? Would love to hear your spooky tales in the comments below!

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31 thoughts on “Christmas in one of the most haunted hotels UK, anyone?”

  1. I haven’t stayed in a haunted hotel before, but this sounds intriguing. Saving it incase I am feeling brave on my next trip to the UK!

  2. Oooohh.. this is right up my alley! I love unusual hotels. The only time I experienced something like this was when I spent a night in a haunted Soviet prison in Latvia. I managed to sleep but had to leave the lights on in my cell the whole night. 🙈

  3. I found myself adding characters from the TV show, Ghosts, to your descriptions of the spooky apparitions, bringing them somewhat hideously to life! Though, to be fair, I think I would have found the coach party more scary than the prospect of ghosts!

  4. This is absolutely amazing! I would love to do this. I’ve visited my family for Christmas in Rye numerous times and love the history, charm, and haunted tales in some of the buildings. I’d do it!!!

    1. Ha. The worst one for me was St Briavel’s YHA where there is an actual oubliette in the bedroom floor and the loo is accessed via a pitch black stone spiral staircase. 😁

  5. Oh how spooky! I’ve stayed in a few haunted hotels before, but thankfully nothing ever happened haha. This looks like a cool experience though, especially around Christmas.

  6. You had me at spooky. I am so up for these kinds of adventures! On top of everything, the charm this place oozes is over the top!

    1. Yes the wood panelling inside and the grand exterior made for a pretty impressive place to lay my head (if not to sleep). Good one you! I want to hear your ghost stories when you do!

  7. Love this and would totally love to stay here. I loved haunted hotels a day recently stayed in 2 while here in NY. So, clearly the next time I’m in the UK I need to stay here! Thanks for sharing your experience.

  8. What a beautiful hotel! I love learning about the spookier side of the places we visit. It’s one of the things I love about the UK – almost everywhere seems to have a resident ghost! I can’t work out if it’s a shame you didn’t encounter anything more spooky or not! Either way, it looks like a beautiful place to stay!

    1. Thinking about it, I’m not sure I would have liked to actually meet one. The stories are fab though and the fact that you might is a bit of a buzz.

  9. Wow! This sounds incredible. Not sure I could stay in a haunted hotel though, I get freaked out far too easily. Room 11 would definitely be a no-no for me!

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