It happens once a year and it’s the perfect excuse to stock up on lots of chocolate and candies, wear awesome costumes and go to fancy dress parties. It is also a great time to travel. Take in the Halloween spirit this October as we choose some of the best destinations certain to give you chills down your spine.
Dublin is the birthplace of Bram Stoker, the acclaimed author of Dracula. So every year around Halloween the city transforms itself into a gothic-inspired setting in honour of the author and its most famous horror story. With an inspired programme of events, from horror film screenings, to storytelling, a pop-up Victorian fun park, or a Spooky Music Trail, there will be no lack of gruesome entertainment.
Useful information: The Bram Stoker Festival takes place this year from the 28th to 31st October. Prices vary depending on events. Find out more in the Bram Stoker Festival website.
Where to Stay: Check out our Dublin hotels. From €89.
Alnwick Castle, Northumberland
If you never heard of Alnwick Castle, we’ve got two words for you: Harry Potter. Yep, this is it, real life Hogwarts. The castle is the family home of the Duke of Northumberland, and while the current Duke and his family still inhabit part of the stately home, the remaining majority is open to the public. And in October there’s no shortage of family-friendly events. Some of our favourites include Broomstick training, and a guided tour of the lost cellars, where you’ll be invited to discover the dark mysteries that lie deep beneath the castle’s walls.
Useful information: The castle is open from the end of March through to October 30th, and most activities are free with admission. For tickets and prices visit the Alnwick Castle website. Children up to 4 go free.
Ballygally Castle, Northern Ireland
Perched on the tip of the famous Causeway Coastal Route, 26 miles from Belfast, Ballygally Castle is a stunning 17th century castle sitting on the scenic Antrim coast in Northern Ireland. The 4 star hotel is also reputedly one of the most haunted places in all of Ulster, and legend says a friendly ghost, Lady Isabella, still lives in the tower. For Halloween, Ballygally Castle hosts a special afternoon tea and afterwards invites any brave guests to visit the “ghost room” in the tower!
Useful Information: Ballygally is the perfect base to explore the famous Giant’s Causeway, as well as the Antrim Coast where the popular TV Series Game of Thrones is filmed!
Where to Stay: Book a room at the Ballygally Castle from £130 including full Irish Breakfast.
Prague, Czech Republic
If you’re still unsure where to go for Halloween then how about the ultimate European city break? Well known for its striking Gothic architecture, Prague is a fantastic Halloween destination. There are plenty of ghost tours and guided night walks around the city. Other spooky attractions include the Torture Museum, Charles Bridge with its eerie-looking statues, St Vitus Cathedral and its gargoyles, and Prague’s Old Town, the setting of many local legends and ghoulish stories.
Useful details: For more information on Prague’s tourist attractions and to find out what’s on visit the Prague official tourism website.
Where to Stay: Check out our central Prague Hotels, from €66.
There’s no place quite like the English capital, when it comes to a good horror story: think Jack the Ripper, Henry VIII or Sweeny Todd. And, as expected, there are plenty of horrid things to see and do in London for Halloween. Head over to the London Dungeons, an interactive museum and popular attraction, for some blood-curling tours including Bloody Mary, the Killer Queen and Jack the Ripper; take a tour of Highgate Cemetery for some fine funerary architecture and famous residents such as Karl Marx; or visit the Tower of London, where King Henry VIII executed two of his wives.
Useful details: The London Dungeons are especially busy during this time of year, so is best to book early to avoid disappointment. For prices and tickets visit The Dungeons website. Drop in freely for the eastern part of Highgate Cemetery (where Karl Marx is); access to the West cemetery, however, is by guided tour only. For more information visit the Highgate Cemetery website. For tickets and activities’ information visit The Tower of London website.
Where to Stay: Check our London Hotels, from £59.
London Dungeons – Image by Don via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Gargoyle St Vitus Cathedral – Image by Jacques van Niekerk via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
Dublin Bram Stoker Festival – Image via Bram Stocker Festival Website
Ballygally Castle – Image by Hastings Ballygally Castle
Prague Old Town – Image by Moyan Brenn via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Alnwick Castle Lion – Image by Keith Ewing via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)
Charles Bridge Prague – Image by torbus via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)