With so many spa hotels located in spectacular country manor houses, there’s no time more curious to ponder on some of the haunted histories surrounding some of our favourite retreats than Halloween. Adding a new dimension to your spa break, here are the histories behind some of the UK’s haunted hotel spas…
In a quiet location on the outskirts of Blackburn sits an imposing country manor that just so happens to also be home to a rather fine Spa Naturel. However, the 700-year-old mansion also has a rather tragic past, believed to leave it a haunted hotel to this day.
It is the setting for a love story gone wrong, where Lucette, a French governess, was wooed and then jilted one Christmas by a dashing army officer. Distraught, she threw herself off a bridge into a river, and since then it’s said that she has been spotted around the hotel and has even appeared in photographs. Rumour has it that these sightings become even more pronounced at Christmas time, although no word on whether she’s made it to the spa yet.
An elegant and romantic hotel, with far reaching views of the North Downs, Eastwell Manor is a tale of two halves. The indulgent hotel is a delicious escape for couples and the mews cottages are a favourite for groups of friends enjoying quality time together. Meanwhile, the Champneys Spa is the height of health and wellbeing from the famous health spa brand.
While wellbeing is utterly contemporary however, the property, which has a history going back 450 years, is said to have to have a few ghosts roaming its halls. Guests at the former royal residence are said to sometimes see a horseman riding towards the house and then veering off and disappearing into a nearby lake. It’s also said that a white lady appears before porters at night at the haunted hotel.
A real life fairytale-style castle dating back to the 13th century, Dalhousie Castle sits in acres of woodland and parkland overlooking the River Esk. Within easy reach of Edinburgh, it’s all fabrics, tartans, tweeds and twills inside. Beautiful original features have also been retained, such as an ancient stone stairway which guides you to the striking barrel-vaulted dungeons, home of the Dungeon Restaurant and ‘Secret Bar’.
The 800 year history of this magical place as the home of the Ramsay family is one intertwined with Scotland’s most prestigious past, from battles and royalty to the footnotes of Shakespeare and even as the base of Cromwell himself for a time in the 1600s. So it is only fitting that there’s a haunted hotel tale or two to complete its arsenal of historic intrigue. It is said the resident ghost of Lady Catherine Dalhousie roams the halls. She was a laird’s mistress, who was imprisoned by her lover’s wife and starved to death. It’s said that she’s been spotted on those steps into the dungeon, and guests have also recounted hearing strange noises and even been tapped on the shoulder by her.
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