25 Spooky UK Halloween Events – 2018 edition
Fancy a combination of a trick and a treat this Halloween? Then get yourself and the kids to one of the top 25 UK Halloween Events for families. And by best I mean bloodiest and goriest. And of course the scariest, that goes without saying. In this Halloween Events UK Roundup Post for 2018 we bring you news of events and attractions around the UK that will frighten you a little or completely out of your skull, depending on your taste for the ghoulish. From zombie haunts in London to scary pooch parades in Manchester and ghosts walk in the bowels of Edinburgh, here’s our pick of Halloween UK events and experiences…
Haunted Castle Tours Kick Off the UK Halloween Events
Castles are naturally filled with stairs to the scares. These tend to lead to dungeons, towers and windswept turrets. Be careful who you follow up there and check your guide isn’t a ghoul in disguise before heading off on a tour with him or demanding a group selfie and tagging your mum.
1 Ghosts at Muncaster and Lowther
This Halloween the Lakeland castles are alive with ghoulish stuff. On Saturday 27th October Lowther Castle offers you a ‘ghastly, ghostly walk through Lowther’s past.’ Stories come from the castle’s archives and professional actors, while there’s added entertainment is from a band of stilt walkers, fire jugglers and lantern makers. Meanwhile, Muncaster Castle in West Cumbria gives all Halloween England events a run for their money. This year its Halloween festival week runs from 23rd-28th October. For the over 5’s there’ll be new Halloween Ghost Tours of the Castle (booking essential) and the Twilight Owl Display is back. (Tickets required as numbers are limited). Kids can get lost in the Scary Maze, recommended for under 12’s. There’s also Halloween entertainment from the Muncaster Monster Cabaret with aerialist shows, and an appearance by Fire Man Dave. In the stable yard you will find the ghostly grotto with spooktacular stories, lantern making and drumming workshops. There might also be the terrifying sight of the audience playing ukuleles. Bring fancy dress, a brave face and a torch. Here’s a taste of this ‘most haunted’ castle in its Halloween glory.
2 Carlisle by Torchlight
At Carlisle Castle English Heritage is offering spooky half term storytelling from 27th October – 4th November. Bring your little ones in frightening fancy dress from 11am-4pm. There’s also after dark torchlight tours for adults (or at least the over 14’s) from 29th October- 2nd November. You can also attend a spooky cinema the weekend of 3rd November. The tour runs 6.30-8.30pm and takes you around the dark corridors and rank dungeons of the most besieged castle in the country. Bring a torch and try and shine it on the lonely ghost said to wander the grounds. Or not!
3 Warwick Castle’s Most Haunted
Meanwhile Warwick Castle’s Halloween Week returns from 20th October – 4th November. ‘The Haunted Castle’ is reputed to put on one of the best UK Halloween events for families and welcomes visitors to choose Halloween activities ranging from the Scaredy Squire to the Brave Night. The day time Scaredy Squires shift offers Spooktacular shows, wondrous witches, a haunted hollows trail and a flight of the eagles at the Bird of Prey centre. And you can get lost in the UK’s only Horrible Histories maze. The scare factor is then ramped up for Daring Dukes who battle the clock to set the knight free in the escape room or seek their fortune in the abandoned house of wax. There’s fire jousting too. At night Brave Knights can terrify themselves with a special extended opening; booking early and online saves up to 20% off some admission tickets. This year’s scariest experience is likely to be Outbreak 1349 in which you stand a good chance of catching the plague. But it’ll be given a run or its money by Seance, an intense sonic performance that tests how susceptible you might be to a visit from the other side. Oh and there’s the Dungeon Lates for 18+ only. Can you stomach it? Here’s a taste of a previous year’s Haunted Castle encounters…
4 A Fright Filled Film Programme at Newcastle Castle
Newcastle Castle is a great place to get into the spooky spirits. Or let the spooky spirits get into you! There’s a programme of scary films this year at this ancient fortress in the North East of England. Just be careful who tries to put their severed fingers in your popcorn.
Ghost Walks and Tours
Ghost tours are popular all over the world and you’ll find them all around the UK. They range from the simple, family friendly walks with a guide telling spooky stories to full on live action role play events that aim to scare the living daylights out of you. Do check what you’re in for before you take the little ones! If walking is too much for you, you could always try a Ghost Bus Tour in either London, York or Edinburgh. You can pick it up near the castle. Just check the driver is alive before setting off as the undead don’t tend to stop at traffic lights.
5 Tours Under Edinburgh
Halloween Scotland is so much a thing even the undead are signing up for tickets. In Edinburgh there are many different ghost tours to choose from. City of The Dead Tours were named Britain’s Best Ghost Walk by Scare.com and offer several different tours including a tour of The Underground City of the Dead and a Haunted Graveyard tour. There are lots of extra tours scheduled for Halloween week. Or you could organise your own using the Haunted Edinburgh app.
Edinburgh’s Mercat Tours also have a wide selection of Halloween tours available with something to suit all ages and interests. There are special Gory Story tours suitable for families with young kids and older teens will probably enjoy the special late night midnight ghost walks. Here’s a taste of what we experienced when we visited the Blair Street Vaults.
6 Meet the Ghosts of York
In York the Ghost Hunt of York runs all year round, departing every night (except Christmas) from The Shambles at 7.30pm. No need to book, not even for these popular Halloween walks but do turn up early as it will be busy. Reductions are available for boils and ghouls.
7 Medical Gore in London
If you are closer to London why not visit the Old Operating Theatre for a disturbing look into old medical and surgical practices. They have a series of graphic gory talks on during October and November on diverse themes like Tales from the Dissecting room and The Victorian séance. There are also films including Son of Frankinstein. Booking recommended as capacity is limited. And be aware the museum is only accessible by a 52 stair spiral staircase.
8 Ghostly Theatreland
Staying in London, if medical gore isn’t your thing and you want something more cultured, what about a Haunted Theatreland Walking Tour? A great way to discover some of the capital’s haunted theatres. Tours are on demand and will introduce you (hopefully not literally) to the ghost clown, the phantom prompter and other characters from the theatre’s dark side. If culture’s not your thing, check out these other London Ghost tour ideas,
9 Ghost Tours in the Dark in Newcastle
In Newcastle and Durham Alone In The Dark Entertainment run ghost tours and events all year round. There are lots of different walks, guides and haunted locations and there’s a special programme of events for Halloween week. In Newcastle their number one ghost walk “Till Death Do Us Part” is very popular and booking is recommended, especially since it is 10 years old this year.
In Durham, strange events take place at the very Haunted Finchael Farm with scary stories, ghost sightings and paranormal activity expected in a haunted woodland with ruins and barns dating back to the 1100’s. All tours feature free Halloween candy so that should calm nerves, shouldn’t it?
10 Zombie Apocalypse
If ghosts are not your thing and you like a walk with a theme, you might enjoy a zombie walk or run. At many of these events you can take part as either a runner or a zombie, assuming you have a zombie costume?
On Saturday 28th October there is a Zombie Survival Run in Newbury. You need to get over the 5km inflatable course without getting infected by a zombie apocalypse. Better start running now? The video below gives an idea of what to expect. There will also be zombies on the loose in the North East on Sunday 21st October when ZombieRunUK will be organising another outbreak of plague at Witton Castle, Bishop Auckland.
If the Zombies are putting you off there’s a Halloween Fun Run in Brighton on Saturday 27th October. This ‘spooktacular’ 5K Fun Run and Kids Mini-Mile will take place along Hove Promenade. Lancaster and Manchester also have charity fun runs going on in October.
Spooky Boat Tours
Ghost ships, sea monsters, creatures from the deep; what could be scarier than being out on the water? If you’re a water baby you might like these ideas for a Halloween boat trip. And if you’re scared of the water, then maybe you should do them anyway.
11 Ghostly Galleon
Up in the North, Ullswater Steamers are offering a cruise on a Ghostly Galleon with two departures from Glenridding on Saturday 27th October. The crew promises a mix of magic, monsters and mayhem. The cruises depart at 12.30pm and 2.30pm and last 90 minutes. Tickets are £14 per spook, under 3’s free which includes cruise, monster balloon, sweeties and tea/coffee or pumpkin squash. Dogs are not permitted. Unless you can see through them.
13 Canal chill trips
Back in London, the Canal Museum is offering Halloween themed narrowboat trips through the dark dank Islington Tunnel. The boat will be specially decorated for trips running on Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th October, driven by a supernatural being with witches for crew. Let’s hope they’ve passed their test! Places are limited on each trip, which run several times a day. There are also some Halloween activities in the museum itself including a ghost storyteller, face painting and a spooky performance by students. After all that you never know your little ones might be wanting to go to bed before dark!
13 Royal Maritime Greenwich Ghost Tour
If you like the idea of a watery grave then why not head to Greenwich to discover the darker side of this maritime obsessed part of London. Learn about the drunken sailors sent to “Shanghai”, hear about the Cutty Sark Curse, explore hidden lanes, the creepiest tunnel in the UK and visit Charles Dickens’ favourite haunted pub. Royal Maritime Greenwich Ghost Tours run assorted Saturdays from 6th October and last 90 minutes.
14 Halloween Mini Cruise
If you want to go further afield, P&O Ferries are offering a ‘Hulloween’ mini cruise to Amsterdam, complete with Wizard Workshops and a live rock tribute band. Board the spook ship on Wednesday 31st October. Prices start at £79 for two nights accommodation, entertainment and transfers.
Dungeons, Fright Nights & Scarefests
If you want to take the family somewhere more action packed, then a few of the UK’s big attractions are getting in on the Halloween act. And I mean they are trying to outdo each other in a scarily big way. Bigger and scarier each year it seems.
15 Scarefest at Alton Towers
Alton Towers Scarefest is spooking people on 6th, 7th, 13th, 14th, and 19th October -2nd November. There’s a range of Halloween themed activities during the day and you can board your favourite rides after dark in two Scare Zones. A brand new terror for this year is the fiery Wicker Man ride. For an additional ticket over 15’s can get lost in terrifying Scare Mazes.
16 Fright Nights at Thorpe Park
Not to be ‘overshadowed’, Thorpe Park is planning some awesome Halloween Uk events again with its Fright Nights offering 5th – 31st October. There’s likely to be new live action experiences and plenty of old favourites will be returning, like the reliably terrifying scare mazes. The fright night attractions are described as intense and not recommended for anyone under 13. All that and the usual thrilling rides in the dark including the Swarm, the UK’s first winged rollercoaster, SAW – The Ride’s 100ft ‘beyond vertical’ drop and Stealth, one of Europe’s fastest and tallest rollercoasters. Here’s a taster of last years horror:
17 Vampires at the Beach
On Saturday 28th October vampires are taking over Blackpool Pleasure Beach. There’s a prize for the creepiest costumes all day but the fun really begins at 4pm when the park will transform into a danger zone filled with hordes of zombies and vampires, loosed from their prison in the catacombs of the park. Beware the stilted walking fire eaters too. If you are up for even more scares check out the newest ride. Here’s our review of Icon the Ride. Check it out before daring to climb aboard.
18 Walk into London’s Dark Past
The London Bridge Experience and Tombs claims to be the UK’s scariest all year round attraction. Inside you take a journey around the dark streets of London exploring the secrets and smells that lie beneath the world’s most famous and haunted bridge. Beyond the bridge you visit the Tombs where humans and animatronics will help you laugh, scream and cry as you come face to face with dark characters from London’s past. If you are visiting with little ones (or are a bit of a scaredy cat yourself) you can ask for a Guardian Angel tour to avoid the scariest encounters. I you are over 16 try the Phobophobia Hillbillie Halloween show on evenings 26th-28th October.
19 Into the Dungeon with You
If you think the Halloween events UK season just gets longer and longer you may be right. The London Dungeon, ‘the home of Halloween’ is marking it with a whole month of putrid goings on. While the Dungeon is scary all year round, the scares are ramped up for Halloween month with 19 live shows, twenty actors and two rides. You can check the countdown clock to the big night on their website which lists the days minutes and seconds to spookageddon. Early bird tickets are available for some nights at £15. The events do sell out so get your ticket quick. Under 16’s must be accompanied. Scottish families might prefer The Edinburgh Dungeon. It’s not more comfortable but perhaps a little more convenient.
20 A Spooky Twilight at The Tower
At the Tower of London this October half term you can retrace Elizabethan adventurer Sir Walter Raleigh’s life with ‘Walter Raleigh Beat the Block.’ In the 400th anniversary year of his death by execution, you can meet Sir Walter and discover the choices he made. Or take a Twilight Tour on selected Sundays between November and April visiting Traitors’ Gate and the Bloody Tower. The stories of the wardens are sure to horrify you. But give the scaffold a wide birth just in case.
21 A Right Royal Spooking
Hampton Court Palace, Henry VIII’s former home is becoming the venue for a Beast Quest. The interactive experience gets everyone to complete a series of tasks to get rid of the beasts unleashed in the palace. Halloween also sees the return of the spine tingling Halloween Ghost Tours including a late night special on 31st October. There are three special The Family Ghost Tours starts at 6.30pm on 31st October, 4th November and 6th January (min age 8). On this evening walk you will hear stories of ghostly apparitions and paranormal activity at the palace. An adult ghost tour also runs on assorted dates from 31st October – February. (min age 15). And the late night special for the over 18s? I’m afraid if I tell you more about this I’ll have to kill you. But it starts at 10pm and its advised you book tickets early. Tours also run on selected evenings throughout the year so if you can’t make Halloween, check the website for alternatives.
22 Scale the Dome
If you’re in London and like being out in the dark then you could go looking for ghosts up over London. Down at the Greenwich Peninsular you won’t need a broomstick to fly over the Thames; you can take a twilight cable car on the Emirates Airline Cable Car. While you’re there visit the 02 Arena and you can climb up and scale the dome, climbing over the roof on a special walkway. Book onto a sunset or twilight tour with a few ghoulish sweets in your pocket for that special Halloween feeling.
City tours and fun days
23 Festival of Northern Gore
Manchester has a Halloween festival with plenty of tricks and treats. It’s a star of the UK Halloween events nationwide. Come nightfall some of the city centre’s most iconic buildings will be lit up in a gory green for Halloween. There’s scary theatre in a shipping container, a trick or treat trail, a spooky pooch parade and a record breaking attempt of the most people wearing bedsheets and pretending to be frightening. Head to Market Street, St Ann’s Square, Exchange Square, Deansgate and King Street for two days of Halloweekend family friendly fun on Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th October.
While in Manchester you might want to pit yourself against the Blood Baron at the Crystal Maze Experience. As a time vampire and master of manipulation he will use his powers to steal time from your team.
24 Red Letter City Treats
Stuck for a gift idea? Red Letter Days offer a selection of city based ‘untreats’ including a Vintage Jack the Ripper haunted London bus tour for two, a retreat to a London zombie battle bunker and a chance to become a zombie yourself and scare the punters going to the London Bridge and Tombs.
25 Potter in the City
There are many ways of immersing yourself in the world of Hogwarts on Halloween. The Warner Bros Studio Tour near Watford always put on a good show and this year the theme is Dark Arts. There will be 100 floating pumpkins and a Halloween Feast in the Great Hall. You can learn wand combat moves in an interactive experience with Wand Choreographer, Paul Harris, and duel with Death Eaters in the Studio Tour’s backlot. Or in Edinburgh you can go on a free Harry Potter walking tour or read letters left to JK Rowling by fans in the place where she wrote her books.
Ideas for Outdoor Halloween Activities
For more Halloween Ideas check out this post on 13 cheap and free things you can do outdoors for spooky Halloween fun.