Ever fancied a spooky weekend looking for ghosts in a real haunted hotel? These hotels in Devon have all had supernatural sightings reported.
1) Chambercombe Manor, Ilfracombe
One of Britain’s most famous haunted houses, Chambercombe Manor was featured in the Living TV series ‘Most Haunted’. It has long been reported to be haunted by the ghost of Lady Jane Grey.
Spookier still, in 1865, a tenant noticed a window outline that did not correspond to a room inside the building. When they investigated they found a small sealed room containing a bedstead with a skeleton in it. The skeleton is believed to have been a titled lady visiting relatives at Chambercombe who was shipwrecked in a storm on the rocks at Hele. When she later died in the room, the occupants of the Manor took her jewellery and sealed her in. A section of the partition has now been removed so that visitors can see into the chamber.
Chambercombe Manor hosts guided tours, paranormal events, overnight paranormal nights and murder mysteries. Holiday accommodation is available in luxury cottages.
2) The Devil’s Stone Inn, Shebbear
The Devil’s Stone Inn has a certificate in the bar to prove it has been officially inspected and recognised as one of the eight most haunted pubs in the UK.
The bedrooms and bathrooms are said to be haunted by the ghost of a little girl aged around seven years old. Sometimes seen with a gray bearded man thought to be her father, she is said to be a friendly ghost, and has ‘appeared’ on request in the bar, by moving coats and closing doors. She is also blamed for pictures falling off the walls.
The pub itself is a former farmhouse which was converted into a coaching inn in the 17th century. It is named after the Devil’s Stone, a large glacial rock on the village green, which is said to imprison the Devil underneath it. Following local tradition, the village bellringers turn the stone over every year at 8pm on Guy Fawkes Night (5th November) to protect the village from disaster. Once the stone has been turned, the celebrations begin in the Devil’s Stone Inn.
Local legend claims there is also a hidden tunnel connecting the Devil’s Stone Inn to the church.
3) The Royal Castle Hotel, Dartmouth Quay
The Royal Castle Hotel has played host to Queen Victoria, Edward VII, Sir Francis Drake and Cary Grant, as well as providing a home for several of King Charles II’s mistresses.
At 2 am on autumn mornings, a ghostly coach and horses can be heard arriving, taking on a passenger and driving away. This phantom coach is said to date from the time of King William and Queen Mary’s arrival from the Netherlands in 1688. The Queen arrived first and stayed at the Royal Castle Hotel, which was then two pairs of houses with a narrow courtyard in between. The King was forced by a storm to land in Torbay instead of Dartmouth, and a coach was sent to fetch Queen Mary, arriving at the Royal Castle Hotel shortly before 2 am.
Ever since then, staff and guests at the hotel in the autumn have reported hearing horses’ hooves crossing cobblestones, a carriage door opening and closing, followed by the crack of a whip, the chimes of a long-gone clock, and the horses whinnying as they speed the coach away.
4) The Lord Haldon Hotel, Dunchideock, near Exeter
A large country hotel which has hosted many aristocratic guests, the Lord Haldon Hotel has had many reports of ghosts.
The most tragic story is that of an eighteenth century servant girl who appears to be distressed and dripping with water. Locals believe she became pregnant by a man of higher social standing, and was murdered in the lake to avoid a scandal.
A more mysterious ghost, seen several times, is a large man with rolled up sleeves. He appears by the frosted windows in the back of the old lounge, next to what used to be the stables, and when his outline is seen through the windows, his height matches the previous floor level.
Another unexplained ghost is a young girl who knocks on guests’ doors and calls out their first names in the early hours, between 1 and 3 in the morning. Guests and staff have also heard sounds of footsteps when nobody is there.
5) The Royal Clarence Hotel, Exeter Cathedral Yard
Built on the site of the explorer Sir Walter Raleigh’s fathers’ house, the Royal Clarence Hotel is the beginning and end point of Exeter’s Red Coat guided Ghosts and Legends Tours. It is claimed to be home to three friendly ghosts, one of which may be Sir Walter Raleigh himself. Famous visitors to the Royal Clarence Hotel have included Lord Nelson, Nicholas I, Czar of Russia, the author Thomas Hardy, and Hollywood actors Clark Gable and Gary Cooper.
Queen Victoria’s father, the Duke of Kent, travelled to Exeter to receive the freedom of the city, but died while staying in Sidmouth on 23rd January 1820. His body was transported to the Royal Clarence and embalmed there before transportation to his funeral in Windsor.
Haunting manifestations include coughing sounds on the top floor, which some have claimed to be the ghost of Sir Walter Raleigh. A gray lady ghost has also been seen looking out of a window.
Another part of the Royal Clarence Hotel is the Well House Tavern, which has a crypt in the basement with a skeleton, believed to have been a victim of the plague.
While visiting Exeter Cathedral Green, you might also keep an eye out for a monk, a nun, a three headed man and a tall glowing figure, who are all reported to haunt that area: it’s not surprising people say that Exeter is one of the most haunted cities in Britain!