Haunted Wales: Where To Stay For a Nightmare Experience

Wales has an amazingly high number of haunted hotels with spirits that range from ghostly dogs to mischievous poltergeists. And, whether or not you like to hunt ghosts, haunted hotels are fun to visit year-round. Here are some of the most spooky, so get out there and experience haunted Wales for yourself.

Photo courtesy of Craig-y-Nos Castle via Booking.com

Craig-Y-Nos Castle, Pen-Y-Cae near Swansea

Hidden in the southeastern edge of the Black Mountains overlooking the River Tawe, Craig-Y-Nos (‘Rock of the Night’ in Welsh) was built in 1840 as a country house by Captain Rhys Davies-Powell. In 1878, the mega-famous opera singer Adelina Patti purchased the property as a retreat. After her second marriage to French tenor Ernesto Niccolini, she started a major building project at the castle, adding the clock tower, the north and south wings, a conservatory, winter gardens, and the 150-seat Adelina Patti Theatre. Madame Patti died in 1919 and, though she is buried in Paris, she was embalmed on a slab in the basement and is said to haunt the castle. There have been reports of guests hearing singing in the theatre when no one is there. It has the reputation of being the most haunted place in Mid-Wales.

In the early 1900s, it was used as a tuberculosis sanatorium for children. Guests have heard the sound of children laughing, balls bouncing, and sightings. It’s a spooky reminder of the children who died there.

Many ghost hunters have been here and lots of activity has been caught,  including full-bodied apparitions, dark shadows of figures, footsteps, and high-pitched voices along with tables and chairs moving.

Craig-Y-Nos holds regular ghost tours and events, such as seances and overnight paranormal investigations, especially around Halloween.

Photo courtesy of Plas Nanteos via Booking.com

Plas Nanteos Mansion, Aberystwyth

Located in Llanbadarn Y Creuddyn near Aberystwyth, this Georgian mansion was built between 1738 and 1757 for the Powell family who lived here up until the last of the Powells, Margaret Powell, died in 1951. The name derives from the Welsh for brook (nant ) and nightingale (eos ).

The house was once the home of the Nanteos Cup, a medieval wooden drinking bowl that has been attributed with a supernatural ability to heal those who drink from it. It was traditionally believed to be fashioned from a piece of the True Cross. A 1905 pamphlet declared it to be the Holy Grail. It is now in the care of the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth.

One of the ghosts, Elizabeth Owen, the wife of Reverend William Powell who lived at Nanteos during the mid- 1700s, is known as ‘The Jewel Lady”. She rose from her deathbed to hide the jewels her husband loved to give her and now wanders the halls at night trying to find them.

Guests have heard a phantom horse and carriage in the courtyard and then heavy footsteps entering the back door and walking towards the kitchen dragging what sounded like heavy chains.

Former groom William Griffiths was killed by the head gardener, with a rake on 12 October 1782. William still lurks among the shrubbery as if waiting for someone. A group of ghostly visitors was heard in the entrance hall in the middle of the night by various visitors, and in the stable yard, you may hear voices, unexplained horses, and a baby crying.

On a still and peaceful night, you can hear the ghost of harpist Gruffydd Evans playing his beloved harp deep in the Nanteos woods. And David Rowlands, who drowned in the lake, is often seen herding invisible animals. 

And, finally, guests have seen a striking woman in evening clothes brandishing a candelabra when a member of the family is about to die.

Photo courtesy of Ruthin Castle via Booking.com

Ruthin Castle Hotel, Ruthin

Nestled in the Vale of Clwyd on a red sandstone ridge overlooking the valley, this luxurious castle dates back to the legend of King Arthur and was built in 1217 by Edward I. Edward then gave the castle to Dafydd, brother of Prince Llewellyn ap Gruffydd in return for his help during the invasion of North Wales. The castle was given the Welsh name of Castell Coch yn yr Gwernfor (Red Castle in the Great March) when it was built.

Lady Grey is the most well-known ghost of the castle. Legend has it that she found out her husband was having an affair with a chambermaid and subsequently killed her with an axe. After that Lady Grey went mad. She was beheaded and now makes fleeting appearances, including on the anniversary of the murder, you can witness her carrying out her vengeance. Her apparition has been seen in the banqueting hall and wandering the castle battlements.

Several visitors have reported seeing the ghostly figure of a medieval knight, wearing just one gauntlet (glove). It is believed he was a soldier in service to King Edward and died as a result of defending the castle. According to eyewitnesses he never interacts with people and appears clueless about his surroundings as he wanders the grounds of the castle. 

Other areas of the castle are prone to mysterious noises, footsteps, inexplicable changes in temperature, a large glowing ball of light, and the appearance of a little girl running up and down the halls and knocking on room doors in the middle of the night.

Bodelwyddan Castle in Rhyl, North Wales

Bodelwyddan Castle Hotel, Rhyl

Bodelwyddan Castle was built in the Clwydian Mountains around 1460 by the Humphries family of Anglesey as a manor house. The Williams-Wynn family lived here from1690-1920. It underwent renovation in 1829 during which a skeleton is said to be found in the wall near one of the chimneys. The skeleton is said to remain in the castle wall. 

One of the prominent ghosts in the castle is The Blue Lady. She wears a flowing blue dress and wanders the corridors before slowly disappearing. She has also been seen in the kitchen where she rattles dishes in the dead of night, and likes to wander the Sculpture Garden.

During WW1 the property was used as a recuperation hospital for wounded military personnel. Visitors have reported seeing a ghostly man in a WWI soldier’s uniform in one of the castle’s galleries.

Some visitors have claimed to have heard the sound of children playing when there are none around. People entering the Toy Room have also said they’ve felt their clothes and hair tugged as though by a mischievous child, while Victorian girls have also repeatedly been seen standing looking out onto the courtyard below.

The Cellar Man is a mischievous spirit who lurks in the cellar and likes to pinch and pull on unsuspecting women’s hair.

From sighs and voices, shadow figures, mysterious bangs, and doors being inexplicably slammed shut to reports of dragging noises across rooms and people being touched or even shouted at…all these things have been reported to hotel management. Guests have also experienced voices, strange sounds, and lights. Many guests have also reported a feeling of being followed or shadowy figures walking corridors and disappearing through walls.

Photo courtesy of WelshTreasure.com

Gwydir Castle, Llanrwst

Located in the Conwy Valley on the edge of the flood plain of the River Conwy, Gwydir Castle is the ancestral home of the Wynn family. The name Gwydir derives from either Gwy-dir which means ‘water land’ in Welsh as the site has long been subject to flooding from the River Conwy. It could also be Gwaed-dir ‘the bloody land’ having been the scene of many a battle.

By the 14th century, the Welsh knight Hywel Coetmor, who had fought in The Hundred Years War as a commander of longbowmen under Edward the Black Prince of the Battle of Poitiers in 1356 and is recorded as the first owner of the manor house on this site.

Sightings of ghosts at the 14th-century castle date back to the 1800s. Visitors have seen a white or grey woman and were overcome with what smelled like a rotting corpse. She is believed to be a maidservant who was the victim of Sir John Wynn (1628-1719), who seduced and murdered her and then buried her in a castle wall when she became pregnant. There have also been reports of a temperature drop, and the feeling of being touched on the shoulder.

The first Sir John Wynn (1553-1627) also haunts the building and is most likely seen on a spiral staircase. Other ghosts include a dog, whose bones were discovered in 1995, and crying children.

Photo courtesy of Baskerville Hall via Booking.com

Baskerville Hall, Hay-On-Wye

Set in over 130 acres of Welsh countryside overlooking the River Wye and the Brecon Beacons National Park, Baskerville Hall was built in 1839 by Thomas Mynors Baskerville for his second wife, Elizabeth.

It is the namesake of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Hound of the Baskervilles who was a family friend and regular visitor. It is thought that Conan Doyle was influenced by a local ghost story about the restless ghost of Sir Thomas Vaughn AKA Black Vaughn’s black dog that appears as a death omen to generations of the Vaughn family.

There is also a white lady who haunts the Rose Garden and a male ghost who likes the main staircase. It is not uncommon to hear banging noises and footsteps in the corridor once the lights are out.

Photo courtesy of Roch Castle via Booking.com

Roch Castle, Haverfordwest

Roch Castle is set on a dramatic rocky outcrop overlooking St. Bride’s Bay and the Preseli Hills. Built by Adam de Rupe in the 2nd half of the 12th century. This restored castle offers 360-degree views of Pembrokeshire.

Adam de Rupe was a Norman knight. According to legend, a witch prophesied that he would die as a result of a venomous bite from a serpent or adder within the year. Determined to avoid his fate, he built Roch Castle as a hideout, intending to stay in the highest tower for the next year. As it got to be winter, Rupe sent a servant out to get wood for a fire. The servant didn’t inspect the wood properly and Rupe was bitten by a snake hiding in the firewood. He died soon after and his ghost is believed to haunt the highest floors of the castle.

The de Rupe family died out by the 15th century and the castle was eventually taken over by the Walter family. Lucy Walters was born at Roch Castle in 1630. She bore Charles II a son, James, whom Charles made Duke of Monmouth. James would grow up to become the ill-fated leader of the 1685 Monmouth Rebellion and end his days on the headman’s block. Lucy is the most consistent of the castle’s ghosts and appears as a transparent figure clad in a white dress that roams the corridors and floats through locked rooms and doors. You can hear her running footsteps in the middle of the night.

Photo courtesy of The Castle Hotel via Booking.com

The Castle Hotel, Conwy

Located on Conwy’s main high street, this old coaching inn was originally two hostelries – The King’s Head and The Castle. They were combined into what is now the Castle Hotel.  

Built on the site of a 12th-century Cistercian Abbey, this 300-year-old inn is said to be haunted by an angry chambermaid. A few days before her death, she requested that her body be taken back to Anglesey. The landlord failed to carry out her last wish and, after the funeral, many strange occurrences started to happen at the hotel…until her body was exhumed and taken to Anglesey.

In 1832, skeletal remains, believed to be plague victims were exhumed in the yard of the Castle Hotel. A phantom cat has been felt jumping on and climbing over beds at night. There are also water jugs that shatter, unexplained whistles, and an apparition of a man.

Photo courtesy of the Britannia Inn

The Britannia Inn, Llangollen

Located at the foot of Horseshoe Pass in the Clwydian Range in northeast Wales. Britannia Inn was most possibly built as early as the 13th or 14th century by the monks of nearby Valle Crucis Abbey as extra accommodation for the monks. 

Phantom monks still inhabit the building, with some guests claiming to have caught glimpses of monk-like shadows in several main public rooms. One woman woke up surrounded by monks which slowly faded from view. Another woman, who woke up in the night, went to the window to see a group of monks walking through the car park. There have also been two monks named William and Francis who stand by the fireplace. 

Visitors have observed orbs flying about, crashing noises, doors opening and closing on their own, and suitcases thrown about. A clock that was locked in a cabinet the night before is always found on the floor in the morning. 

Photo courtesy of The Black Boy Inn via Booking.com

The Black Boy Inn, Caernarfon

Originally built in 1522, The Black Boy Inn is one of the oldest inns in Wales. Located within Caernarfon’s historic town walls, it was originally two hostelries – The King’s Arms and The Fleur de Lys, until one landlord bought the other one out and it became the Black Boy Inn.

At the back of the Black Boy Inn, there was once a convent that explains the sightings of a ghostly nun seen walking through the building. One of the spirits is known as The Strangler as it’s said to manifest itself with the feelings of hands being placed around the neck.

Many guests have heard the sounds of a phantom child crying in one of the Inn’s bedrooms. It is alleged that if you ask whether the child is ok, it stops crying. Several members of the staff have also seen a ghostly figure of a man sitting in the bar area of the pub watching people pass by.

Photo courtesy of Miskin Manor via Booking.com

Miskin Manor Hotel, Pontyclun

Located in the idyllic Vale of Glamorgan, a house has been on this site since the 10th century. This Victorian manor house was built in 1864. The origin of the name ‘Miskin’ is thought to come from the Welsh words Maen Cun or “Lovely Plain”. Miskin Manor was owned by the Williams family for many years and was descended from the Welsh bard David Williams (1809-1863). Williams was known by his bardic name ‘Alaw Goch’ and was a prominent coal owner in the Aberdare valley and a keen supporter of Welsh culture and the Eisteddfod.

Miskin Manor’s most famous ghost is a lady who only appears in the bar area between midnight and 1 am. The owner believes she lived in the house and follows a path between the bar and drawing room where there used to be a staircase. The hotel porter is said to have grown used to her appearances.

The ghost of a young girl has also reputedly been seen in one of the most active rooms, the “Oak Room”. She is seen sitting in the corner and the sounds of her laughter can be heard coming from the room when empty. She’s also been seen playing in the gardens.

The staff has claimed to have seen a family of 10 ghosts sat around a dinner table and the apparition of a male figure has apparently been seen by visitors and staff in the Oak Room.

There is also a story about a large heavy painting flying off the wall when someone in the bar area questioned the existence of the lady ghost.