The most haunted places in Kent - 10 spooky spots to visit
On the surface, the rolling hills and cobbled streets of Kent’s towns and villages may seem like a postcard image of charm and tranquillity. However, with so much history and historic buildings, it’s no surprise that there is plenty of darkness and tall tales lurking in the Garden of England.
From screaming woods to haunted highways, Kent is infamous for its paranormal reports and ghostly sightings. As the nights draw in and days get chillier, here are some of the most haunted places to visit in Kent.
Renowned for holding the title as the ‘most haunted village in Britain’, the small village of Pluckley near Ashford is reportedly home to at least 12 ghosts.
The village features its very own ‘Screaming Woods’ and a ‘Fright Corner’, alongside plenty of apparitions and legends which have been sighted throughout the village. Some of the most common include the spectre of a drowned Gypsy woman, the eerie sounds of a phantom coach and horses, and the ‘Screaming Man’ – a poor soul believed to have come to an untimely end when working at the brickworks.
Visit St Nicholas’ where both The Red Lady and The White Lady haunt the churchyard; Dick Buss’s Lane where residents have seen the ghost of a hanging Schoolmaster; and 300-year-old The Black Horse Inn which has been the setting to many paranormal occurrences.
Dover Castle, Dover
With a turbulent past stretching back to the Romans, it’s no surprise that Kent’s Dover Castle is one of the most haunted places in the country.
Standing pride of place above the White Cliffs of Dover, this Medieval fortress is often referred to as the ‘Key to England’ as the first line of defence in a potential attack from Europe. Over the years, it’s been used to protect the English coast from marauding pirates, Napoleon’s army and the Axis forces during World War II.
One of the most famous ghost stories associated with Dover Castle is that of a young drummer boy who was reportedly killed and decapitated in one of the underground passageways during the Napoleonic War. The headless ghost of the boy has been sighted around the castle grounds accompanied by the sound of drumming. Visions of a mysterious lady in a red dress have also been reported, along with unexplained disembodied screams and glimpses of World War II soldiers.
Blue Bell Hill, Chatham
Though perhaps not as picturesque a visitor destination, the A229 in Blue Bell Hill is another infamous spot for ghost hunting in Kent.
Ghostly sightings from this location include a Bride killed in a car crash the night before her wedding and a hitchhiker who mysteriously vanishes when picked up. The Bride is believed to be 24-year-old Suzanne Browne who tragically died in a car accident on the night before her wedding in November 1965. Unsuspecting drivers have reported seeing the young woman in a wedding dress running into the middle of the road before rapidly disappearing.
A phantom female hitchhiker has also been spotted by a number of drivers, many of which have pulled over to offer a lift, before the girl evaporates. Some reports even say she makes it into the car before vanishing from the back seat.
Leeds Castle, Maidstone
Numerous ghostly stories and mysterious sightings surround the seemingly fairytale-esque Leeds Castle in Maidstone.
Legend has it that two phantom black dogs haunt the grounds of the castle – one which brings good luck and another which brings bad luck. Their origins allegedly lie in the demonic dabblings of the Duchess of Gloucester, Eleanor Cobham, who was imprisoned in the castle accused of witchcraft.
There have also been reports of an unexplained sound of footsteps on one of the castle’s spiral staircases and the unnerving tale of Alice Wykeham Martin who was believed to have psychic powers and whose portrait remains on display in the castle.
Tiny Tim’s Tearoom, Canterbury
Though a charming tea room full of delicious afternoon teas and cakes now, the historic building which Tiny Tim’s resides in is allegedly one of the most haunted in Kent.
It’s hard to believe there’s a dark past to this location whilst downstairs at the picturesque tea room, but up a rickety creaky staircase, the ‘Ghost Room’ tells a different story. Bodies of three mummified children clutching Bibles were unearthed whilst renovations took place in 2000 and the three youngsters are believed to haunt the building.
Eerily, the teeth and ringlets of hair were found in the walls, along with the names and dates of birth of the children. Visitors have reported hearing children’s laughter and feeling a chill as they walk upstairs. If you’d like to visit and experience it for yourself, it’s well worth it just for the cakes!
Reculver Towers, Herne Bay
The dramatic ruins of Reculver Towers on the Kent coast are striking in their own right, but they also hold a dark and unsettling past. Dating back to 43 AD, the coastal site was home to a Roman fort before becoming an Anglo-Saxon monastery, and then finally a church in the 12th century.
Two tall towers still remain as part of the ruins, and during excavations, numerous infant burials were uncovered, believed to have been ritual sacrifices to the Roman Gods. On stormy nights, there have been disturbing reports of the sounds of a crying baby, and a pair of hooded ghostly figures have been sighted, pacing the grounds.
The ruins are now owned by English Heritage and managed by Canterbury City Council, so you can visit the site as part of a dramatic coastal walk.
Mote Park, Maidstone
Though now popular with locals and tourists, Maidstone’s large country park was once a private country estate until its conversion to a public space at the end of the 18th century. Mote House, the former stately home on the grounds, has, however, remained largely untouched.
Over the years, visitors have reported seeing a little girl dressed in white running through the trees of the park. It’s unknown who the girl may be, but the sightings have certainly aroused intrigue and a sense of unease.
During World War II, a Canadian soldier also claims to have seen a phantom monk wandering through Mote Park.
Scotney Castle, Lamberhurst
Renowned as one of the most picture-perfect and Instagrammable spots in Kent, Scotney Castle takes on a more menacing look after dark and when some of its more dastardly stories are revealed.
The most famous ghost story associated with Scotney is that of the ‘Dripping Man’ – an apparition who has been sighted wading from the moat which surrounds the old 14th century castle, covered in weeds. The ghost is believed to be that of a revenue officer, murdered by former estate owner, Arthur Darrell.
Darell himself was thought to have died in 1720, but on the day of his funeral, mourners told of a stranger in a black cloak who said, ‘that is me they think they are burying’ before vanishing. It is assumed that Darrell had faked his own death and killed the officer before throwing him into the moat.
Bilsington Priory, Ashford
Nowadays Bilsington Priory is a beautiful venue for weddings, events and afternoon tea. However, this former monastery has seen its fair share of dastardly deeds and paranormal activity.
Dating back to the 13th century, the priory became home to the Black Canons of St Augustine before falling into the hands of drug smugglers hundreds of years later. Numerous visitors have reported sightings of ghostly monks wandering through the estate and a mysterious knocking coming from inside the walls.
If you’re brave enough, Bilsington Priory hosts ghost hunting events during October and November.
Fort Amherst, Chatham
Built during the 1700s to defend Chatham Dockyard and the Medway during the Napoleonic War, this intrinsic network of fortified tunnels is now notorious as one of the most haunted spots in the UK.
Visitors have reported hearing inexplicable voices, a woman wailing and the sound of children crying. A phantom soldier has also been seen on the lower gun floor and most guests claim to have felt unnerving presences whilst at the fort.
Since 1983, Fort Amherst has hosted its Halloween Horrors event and spooky ghost tours. You can even stay overnight in the 300 year old fortress if you’re so inclined! See their website for more information.