Twilight: Europe's vampire and haunted hotspots
We're not suggesting for a moment that you are one of the scores of "Twihards" the world over, or that Robert Pattinson brings out your inner 15 year-old, but in honour of this summer's inevitable-record breaking blockbuster, Eclipse, we have been looking into some well-known haunted hotspots in Europe.
A murder-mystery weekend away may not necessarily be your thing, but anywhere with immense history usually has a dubious reputation after dark and, at the same time, stunning interiors. Elegant, lengthy painted hallways that, by day, seem beautiful can feel a little creepy at night. Stories of ancient residents known to roam the halls are par for the course in gorgeous old country manors where rambling walls and rose-filled gardens are utterly charming, despite the fact that the living quarters themselves might seem less than inviting by night.
Such place are, believe it or not, extremely popular and with good reason. There may be rumours amongst the locals of who haunts which room, but the design, history and beauty of so many of these old country manors makes them worthy of a visit. So whether you're in search of your very own Edward Cullen, or you simply want a weekend away with some history thrown in the mix, we've put together our very own list of apparently haunted, but oh-so-lovely spots for an over-night stay away.
1. Madeley Court, Shropshire
www.hotels-telford.com, 01952 680 068
A Grade II listed building, Madeley Court has rooms that date back to the 1300's, though buildings have been on site since Medieval times, making it rife with history that dates back centuries. By day it is stunning and everything one wants from a country retreat, but between the Mill, the Abraham Derby Room, the Gable, the gatehouse and two bedrooms reputed to be haunted, there is a huge amount of apparent paranormal activity. The hotel teams up with companies such as Haunted Happenings so there are group activities for those wanting to "investigate" such Poltergeist activity with overnight stays included.
2. Ardoe House Hotel, Scotland
www.mercure.com, 01224 860 600
Dating back to 1878, the traditional wood panelling, stable-sized fireplaces and sweeping hallways of Ardoe House Hotel are beautiful, but of course, seeped in history. Designed to replicate nearby Balmoral, it is a luxurious and very popular hotel, but it is set in Aberdeen which is supposed to be one of the most haunted areas of Scotland. The bedrooms come complete with enormous four-poster beds making it a popular spot for those after a romantic weekend away and the spa and sauna are popular features. But, with such history, it is widely felt many previous inhabitants from centuries gone by still reside at Ardoe House Hotel.
3. Auchen Castle Hotel, Scotland
www.auchencastle.com, 01683 300 407
Dating back to the 13th century, the impressive and very stately setting of Auchen Castle Hotel makes it an ideal location for weekends away. Its incredible setting makes it a popular destination for adventurous guests: there is ample quad biking, clay pigeon shooting and, of course, good hiking. Feature rooms have a Champagne-stocked mini bar and the restaurant is not to be missed, but Auchen Castle Hotel does come up time and again as a hostpot of haunting activity so be warned when booking…..
4. Baskerville Hall, Wales
www.baskervillehall.co.uk, 01497 820 033
With a ghost known as the "White Lady" known to roam its halls, Baskerville Hall in Wales is a well-loved favourite amongst those craving a thrill when staying away from home for a night or two. Known to appear regularly, many claim to have seen her haunting figure in the 19th century hallways of this beautiful hotel set on the edge of the River Wye and the Brecon Beacons National Park. It is loaded with modern amenities but the Victorian architecture and endless corridors make for good haunting sightings.
5. Petit Palace Posada del Peine, Madrid
www.hotel-posadadelpeine.com, +34 91 523 81 51
If you're looking further afield for some history and haunting, Madrid's oldest known hotel is the Petit Palace Posada del Peine is a must. Adjacent to Placa Mayor, its locale alone is fascinating. Placa Mayor is where the Spanish Inquisition took place and, as a result, was the site where many were burned at the stake so if the surrounding houses and hotels are haunted, it comes as little surprise. It recently reopened after a refurbishment, this time as a leading hotel in the capital, though its low lying doorways lead to little bedrooms where all sorts of things seem to go bump in the night.
6. Hotel Neruda, Prague
www.hotelneruda.cz, 257 535 557
Established in 1348, the Hotel Neruda in Prague looks creepy even if guests are lucky enough not to hear or see anything unusual. Gothic and typically imposing as so much Czech architecture is, the Hotel Neruda has long been a site where fans of ghosts stories have flocked hoping for a sighting of their own. Just a sort stroll from Prague's great monuments - the Old Town Square, Prague New Town and Charles Bridge - its wood-beamed ceilings, vaulted roofing and paper-cut windows make it inevitably associated with tales of ghostliness.
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