We’ve decided to do something a little different for Cottage of the Week today. Around this time of year we get a few enquiries from people looking to stay in haunted properties. Now, believe it or not, not many people are happy to promote their cottage as being ‘haunted’, because let’s face it, you’re catering to a far more niche audience than you would be if you said ‘heated swimming pool’, ‘onsite spa’ or ‘free beer’.
So while we can’t promise ghouls and ghosts (they’re not the most reliable features after all!), we can focus on a range of properties with a loose connection to Halloween. The good thing about all of these properties is if you want to spend your holiday walking around in the dark talking to yourself like Derek Acorah, you can. Alternatively, if you just want to enjoy a holiday and stay away from the spooks, you can do that too!
Mellingray in Otterham Station, nr. Camelford
In 2008, reporter Ian Belcher spent a night at Mellingray cottage in Cornwall. The article is now behind The Times’ pay-wall but it still haunts the far reaches of the internet. Basically, Ian was in pursuit of ‘a grey man’ but only found a portable TV that was probably not haunted. Still, the surrounding area is also rumoured to feature a piano that plays itself, the ghost of an architect – who possibly designed the ultimate haunted house – and the spirit of an old lady who, in a rare case of supernatural safety, appears behind moving cars.
Still, this lovely barn conversion and detached annexe are set in 11 acres of garden and natural pastures so there’s plenty of opportunity to get some fresh air and enjoy the local wildlife.
Rockley in Tuesnoad, Bethersden, Kent
According to the Guiness Book of records, Pluckley in Kent is England’s most haunted village. This apparently inauspicious claim makes us wonder when they’re going to recognise our record for the most invisible kick-ups. Anyway, while we wait official recognition, here’s a little more info on Pluckley…
The village offers between twelve to fourteen ghosts. Obviously they’re not the easiest things to keep tabs on, so we understand the discrepancies! These include a highwayman, screams from the local pub, a phantom coach and horse (hence the highwayman, we assume), a miller, a schoolmaster, a colonel, brick-maker, ghostly ladies of many different hues and even the ghost of a female watercress seller who allegedly passed over while smoking a pipe and subsequently fell asleep! With this array of spooks we imagine employment opportunities for ghosts are fairly low in Pluckley.
Our cottage in the area is located in nearby Tuesnoad. If you’re not interested in apparitions then you might enjoy the fact that the surrounding area was the filming location for the idyllic Darling Buds of May. Rockley also offers a spacious breakfast room, with a cosy log-burner for chilly evenings, and some beautiful exposed beams. It’s set in spacious well kept grounds with a children’s play area, tennis court and fenced heated swimming pool with changing facilities.
Eversfield in Goathland, nr. Whitby
With an ability to attract thousands of fans, while instilling abject terror in full-grown adults, Count Dracula is like the Justin Bieber of the un-dead. If you’re after proof then all you have to do is pay a visit to Whitby at Halloween. This beautiful little seaside town is forever linked to Bram Stoker’s famous creation. Even in peak season you’ll see more foundation and eyeliner than is probably sensible in the summer months.
Our next cottage is located near to Dracula’s favourite holiday resort in the pretty village of Goathland. The village’s train station was transformed into Hogsmeade station in the first Harry Potter film, so the spooky connection doesn’t end there. The popular ITV series Heartbeat also used the village as its filming location. Eversfield is a suitably imposing Edwardian country house that has been fully refurbished to a high standard. It also offers a relaxing view of sheep grazing the common.
Lea Hall in Matlock, Derbyshire
That terrifying sound you hear while we detail our final cottage may be nothing more than the sound of a barrel being scraped but we’ll use any excuse to talk about Lea Hall in Matlock. This property – a Grade II listed 17th and 18th-century manor house – was the childhood home of Florence Nightingale. It sleeps 20 guests in 10 en-suite bedrooms so you shouldn’t get lonely! There’s a drawing room with crystal chandelier, open fire, flatscreen TV and soft furnishings that are perfect for relaxation. The dining-room is set in the older part of the hall, which dates back to the 1600s, and has a wood-burning stove and seating for 20. Basically, it sounds like a real-life location for a game of Cluedo.