Spooky UK Halloween Events
So this Halloween could prove a little different than most? For the last five years we have been documenting 30 of our top UK Halloween events for families. In 2020 things will obviously change, but we’ll be bringing you regular news of which attractions are planning to go ahead with their scare fests. Keep checking back in to our Halloween Events UK Roundup Post for 2020 for updates….
UK Halloween Events 2020
Haunted Castle Tours
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. If you are in a city for Halloween you might want to make a whole day of it and do some other spooky activities.
1 Ghosts at Muncaster
Each year Muncaster Castle in West Cumbria gives all Halloween England events a run for their money. Halloween fun will happen as normal in 2020 but numbers will be limited so best book early. This year the Seriously Spooky event will be running for a full week. Daily activities include the “Sledgehammer House of Horrors” themed show running each day, every hour, from 4pm. You will need an additional ticket for this.
But included in your ticket you’ll find plague medicine workshops, lantern and drumming workshops and fire shows. There will be Witch Warbler trails around the gardens, a Terrifying Terrace and Maze, and a Juggling Jester. The gardens will be Halloween themed gardens and there will be an Enchanted Trail. The Castle opens from 10.30am with Halloween activities each day from lunchtime where you can get stuck in to Creeping Kate’s Café and the Owl Garden Tea Room. Twilight Owls events will also be running each evening. Here’s a little taste of this ‘most haunted’ castle in its Halloween glory.
2 Carlisle Castle by Torchlight
Want to be spooked by some spirits of the north? No, it’s not necessary to head to the pub, instead visit Carlisle Castle which is offering ghost tours from 28th-31st October 2020 at 7pm and 8.30. Over 16’s only- bring a torch.
3 Warwick Castle’s Most Haunted
Warwick Castle’s Halloween Week is a favourite with spook seekers. You can do the Warwick Castle After Dark Experience which includes some spooky mazes and for an extra fee, team it with The Dungeon. Although tickets are more limited this year you can meet the Witches of Warwick, find out the legends of the castle and get lost in a maze. There are live shows and food stalls at the Digbeth Dining Club. And of course you can wander the castle at one of its spookiest times. One past scary experience was Outbreak 1349 in which you stood a good chance of catching the plague. It was given a run for its money by Seance, an intense sonic performance that tested susceptibility to a visit from the other side. Here’s a taste of a previous year’s Haunted Castle encounters…
4 Paranormal investigations at Newcastle Castle
Newcastle Castle is a great place to get into the spooky spirits. Or let the spooky spirits get into you! Last year the castle hosted a Halloween Paranormal Investigation where visitors became the paranormal investigator for the night using the spirit box to try and make communication or a temperature guns to sense a change in temperature, as well as EMF readers and static sensors. Sadly like many things it’s not happenign this year but the castle is still open Thursdays to Mondays. Booking essential.
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. Extra dates have been added since 16th October. Ghost buses go our Fri-Sun in York and London, and Wednesday to Sunday in Edinburgh. 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 still a thing even if Covid has put the brakes on some of the attractions like this Edinburgh Halloween line up from 2019. If you are in the city for a short time a ghost tour is a priority. 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 usually lots of extra tours scheduled for Halloween week although for the moment tours and numbers remain reduced and the traditional ‘jumper-outer’ has been put on gardening leave.
Edinburgh’s Mercat Tours also have a wide selection of Halloween tours available with something to suit all ages and interests. COVID 19 adjustments for 2020 include smaller groups and bring your own headphones. Here’s a taste of what we experienced when we visited the Blair Street Vaults: you should probably know that this was done in the height of summer:
6 Meet the Ghosts of York
In York the Ghost Hunt of York runs all year round, departing every night from The Shambles at 7.30pm. (Some tours also at 6pm.) Post lockdown the tours continue, but with one major difference; whereas before it was possible to rock up on the night, these days you do need to book. There are Covid 19 measures in place; numbers are reduced, your guide will wear a mask and you are advised to do so too. Reductions are available for boils and ghouls and under 4’s are free. Expect to be scared witless for about 60-75 minutes.
7 Medical Gore in London
If you are closer to London the Old Operating Theatre offers a disturbing look into old medical and surgical practices. They often have a series of graphic gory talks on during October and November including murdering mothers of the 19th century. It wasn’t about murdering your mother -that’ different talk altogether! There are also films. Post Covid-19 you will find limited timed group entries, and credit card payment only. There are alternatives to printed maps in the way of PDFs and QR codes. And be aware the museum is only accessible by a 52 stair spiral staircase. On Halloween itself, there’s often entertainment and fancy dress competitions.
8 Ghostly London Walks
Staying in London, if medical gore isn’t your thing and you want something more cultured, what about a Haunted Walking Tour? Tours are on demand for private groups, and characters from London’s dark side themes range from Sweeney Todd to Jack the Ripper. Tours continued to run post lockdown in July and August. The Haunted tours are led by London ghost expert guide Richard Jones. In this video he introduces himself….
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 2020. Only over 16’s are welcome on the tour – even if they are children of the walking dead. In Newcastle their number one ghost walk “Till Death Do Us Part” is very popular and booking is recommended.
10 Farm scares
In the north east, Lintz Hall Farm provides an ‘intense adult event’ – The Psycho Path. It has been described as a horror that is lurking, a nightmare you’ll never forget, and an event that shakes you up so much that stays in your mind forever. This Fear Ground is in action again in 2020 with The Psycho Path, as well as Psycho City, iScream and Anarchy Arcade. Book now by following the link. Who needs a theme park when you can visit a Scream Park over 700 acres?
11 Zombie Apocalypse
A zombie walk or run has traditionally been a bone stretching way to celebrate Halloween. Due to post COVID 19 restrictions it remains to be seen whether any of the runs will go ahead. Here’s a taster of what you are missing. You could always organise your own Halloween family zombie run instead?
Spooky Boat Tours
Many of the boat tours we normally report on here have been cancelled for this year. We’ll let you know if we hear of any that are running. In the meantime if you are in London there’s this…
12 Royal Maritime Greenwich Ghost Tour
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 on assorted Saturdays from 3rd October 2020 from outside the entrance to the Cutty Sark and last 90 minutes.
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 still doing Halloween this year.
13 Scarefest at Alton Towers
Alton Towers Scarefest always spooks in October and November. There’s a range of Halloween themed activities during the day and you can board your favourite rides after dark in the Scare Zones. We recommend the fiery Wicker Man ride. For an additional ticket over 15’s can get lost in terrifying Scare Mazes that have included post-apocalyptic sewer systems where groups were split up and required to appease ‘the creature.’ New for this year is Freakshow Toxic Junkyard Maze and a garden lights ‘whispering souls’ attraction. There’s reduced capacity for 2020 so do book ahead if you want to take the family.
14 Fright Nights at Thorpe Park
Not to be ‘overshadowed’, Thorpe Park offers awesome Halloween UK events again with its Fright Nights. Last year saw two new live experiences within eight attractions designed to scare, like the reliably terrifying scare mazes. The fright night attractions are described as intense and not recommended for anyone under 13. This years Fearstival has the usual thrilling rides in the dark including the Swarm, the UK’s first winged roller coaster, SAW – The Ride’s 100ft ‘beyond vertical’ drop and Stealth, one of Europe’s fastest and tallest roller coasters. There are currently discounted tickets for sale for £42 although some dates have sold out. Read our review of when family travel blogger Laura Hitchcock visited a fright night with her kids. There’s a new maze for this year; Roots of Evil and this viciously spooky one is returning:
15 Happy Halloween for Tiny People
Paultons Park hosts ‘Happy Halloween‘, described as a ‘friendly, frightful, fun fest.’ This year’s Happy Halloween runs from 15th October to 2nd November 2020. Enjoy the display of 4000 pumpkins, ghosts and spooky meet and greets. This year the little ‘uns can enjoy the Legend of Paultons Manor theatrical show, Pepper and George’s spooky Halloween makeover and fun with Pickles the Pumpkin.
16 Spend your Halloween in Captivity
The London Dungeon, ‘the home of Halloween’ marks it with a whole raft of putrid goings on. While the Dungeon is scary all year round, the scares are ramped up for Halloween month with 19 live shows, actors and rides. The events sell out each year, and this year is particularly likely with COVID 19 restrictions in place. Under 16’s must be accompanied. Scottish families might prefer The Edinburgh Dungeon. It’s not more comfortable but perhaps a little more convenient.
17 Vampires at the Beach
Vampires regularly take over Blackpool Pleasure Beach and last year was no exception. The park was transformed into a danger zone filled with hordes of zombies and vampires, loosed from their prison in the catacombs of the park and running round attractions like Icon the Ride. The Pleasure Beach has scaled down activity for this year but will be running its rock music filled Circus of Horrors from 27th-31st October with a family and an adult only show as well as a COVID secure Halloween Drive in Cinema showing films like The Addams Family, The Invisible Man and the Rocky Horror Picture Show. On the subject of theme parks, if you were planning on Visiting Screamland in Margate this year, you’ll be sad to know the theme park is closed apart from some small events.
18 Witches in the Dungeon
Staying in Lancashire, the Blackpool Tower Dungeon cooked up an exciting Pendle Witches story for 2019. We sent mum of five Laura Keeler and two of her kids to experience plague, invisible cabbages and witching mischief and in this post looking at the three best attractions in the UK at Halloween she gave us her verdict on just how scared they were. Blackpool Tower Dungeon has reopened with COVID_19 policies in place. Booking is essential
19 Fright Fest by the Sea in Scarborough
Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph Theatre is organising a programme of live theatre and film exploring the supernatural, macabre and magical throughout winter. Meanwhile there are night time ghost tours of Whitby Abbey and Scarborough Castle between 28th-31st October, plus spooky trails and fancy dress competitions through half term. There’s fancy dress half term fun on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, plus fun for families at the Moors National Park Centre; seek out bugs and night creatures on 27th and 29th October. You can also go ghost walking with expert guides including Whitby’s Dr Krank, Smuggler George of Robin Hood’s Bay or the Whitby Storyteller.
Outdoor City Fun
20 Manchester’s Mad Science
Manchester’s Halloween festival is a star of UK Halloween events nationwide. Halloween in the City traditionally lights up some of the city centre’s most iconic buildings in gory green. This year Halloween in the City takes place from 26th October to 1st November 2020. Although there will be fewer live events for obvious reasons there will be the usual monsters on the buildings, a pumpkin lantern trail and scarecrows at Spinningfields.
21 Scale the Dome
If you’re in London and like being out in the dark then you could go looking for ghosts up high. 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. For this year, tours are more intimate, running at 10 rather than 30 people. And you won’t need to wear the climbing suits normally provided- just bring your own suitably warm clothing – and do book in advance.
22 Potter in the City
There are many ways of immersing yourself in the world of Hogwarts on Halloween. The Warner Bros Studio Tour is a good place to start. Unfortunately the planned Dark Arts exhibition has been cancelled but you’ll still find much spectacle. (No not that kind of spectacle!) Numbers are limited post lockdown as social distancing measures are in place. There are signs to follow, face masks must be worn and all tickets must be pre-booked. Elsewhere in London, you can take a Harry Potter walking tour with Get Your Guide.
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.