Many readers will associate Wales with their dull childhood holidays; being lugged from castle to castle with Mum and Dad, being rained on during hikes, and being forced to pose for pictures when you felt like saying anything other than “Cheese”.
However, many fail to realise that there is so much more to Wales than a couple of mountains and some old ruins. The country is home to a deep paranormal subculture and has produced many of the most terrifying yet fascinating ghost stories ever told. Wales’ status as a paranormal hotspot is not something that the tourism team focuses too much on, so many tourists remain unaware of the countless spirits surrounding them during their stay.
In this article, we’re going to try and balance things out by looking at some of the country’s most famous (or infamous) spots among paranormal enthusiasts and ghost hunters.
Here are ten of the most haunted places in Wales.
1. Skirrid Mountain Inn, Abergavenny
The Skirrid Inn is a four-and-a-half-star public house in the small Welsh village of Llanvihangel Crucorney. It is said to be one of the oldest pubs in Wales and has ghosts and phantoms.
According to legend, The Skirrid Inn was once used as a courtroom and saw many men and women sentenced to death for petty crimes. Those who were found guilty were executed at the pub and hung from the staircase’s well.
Many visitors to the inn, sometimes unaware of its grizzly past, have reported witnessing the disturbing apparition of a corpse dangling from the ceiling.
There have also been many incidences of slammed doors, broken glasses, and assaulting guests.
However, not all of The Skirrid Inn’s spirits are menacing. As one of the oldest public houses in the country, the building has been the scene of much jubilation and many happy memories. Therefore, it is no surprise that employees often report hearing laughter, music, and the clinking of glasses coming from rooms that prove to be empty upon inspection.
Admittedly, this location is just outside Wales. However, such is its significance as a haunted destination, we just had to include it.
After almost a thousand years in existence, Whittington Castle is at the centre of almost as many legends and ghost stories. Some believe the castle once housed the Holy Grail, though this obviously can’t be confirmed.
Hundreds of living people, however, will support claims that the castle is indeed haunted.
Centuries of battles and betrayals have left dozens of ghosts roaming the castle inside and out, including a mysterious figure in a black cloak and hood that seems to guard the castle gates. Some visitors have encountered a phantom blacksmith, still in the leather apron, which weighed him down during his earthly life.
Perhaps the most frightening inhabitants of the castle are the numerous ghost children who are said to gaze from its windows, eying the tourists as they explore the grounds below. Children are scary enough when they’re alive, so a midnight visit to Whittington Castle is not for the faint of heart.
3. Roch Castle, Pembrokeshire
Roch Castle is home to many spirits and otherworldly beings, and countless orbs and other minor paranormal activity have been reported.
The tale of Roch Castle is steeped in mystery from the get-go, and the rumoured reason for the building of the castle may be stranger than anything which has transpired there in the past eleven centuries.
According to legend, Adam de Rupe, the original owner of the castle, ordered it to be built after a witch prophesied that he would die from a snake bite within a year. However, the witch also promised Rupe that he would live a long and healthy life if he managed to make it through the year without being bitten.
Rupe, determined to minimise his contact with venomous snakes, built Roch Castle and retired to its highest room, intending to stay there for the next 365 days.
Weeks turned into months, and the seasons passed with little activity. Though Rupe’s existence was boring, he found solace because he was still living and spent time planning his return to the outside world.
Towards the end of the year, the winter weather made it difficult for Rupe to remain inside the castle, so he sent a servant out for some wood to build a fire to warm himself. Unfortunately for Rupe, the wood had not been properly inspected, and he was bitten by a snake lurking within a log. He died shortly after, and it is believed his ghost still haunts the castle, with the greatest amount of activity being reported on the higher floors of the building.
Among other reported ghosts is the spirit of a woman, presumed to be the daughter of a family who once inhabited the castle. She has been seen floating down the halls before disappearing without a trace.
Roch Castle is owned by the Griffith-Rochs Foundation and is a popular getaway for couples hoping for a romantic weekend together. However, getting some alone time may be a little bit more difficult than it seems.
4. Llanthony Secunda Manor, Caldicot
As well as being a pain in the neck to spell, Llanthony Secunda Manor is purported to be one of the most haunted locations in the United Kingdom.
Originally built in the 12th century, the manor in its original state appeared greatly different than it does today. For the first few years of its existence, Llanthony Secunda Manor was used as a two-story grange by a monastery and was added on as the years went by.
As well as many extensions and remodelling, the manor has seen its fair share of owners. The manor once belonged to King Henry VIII, although most historians are sceptical that he visited the home…
The building fell into disrepair towards the end of the 20th Century. Still, it was eventually purchased by an American lady who set about restoring it to its former glory. The manor is now a much-lauded holiday home which has proven popular with travellers from all over the world, some aware of its paranormal reputation and some just hoping for a quiet place to stay.
The building has been the site of much paranormal activity throughout its history, but recent developments to the property seem to have caused unexplainable occurrences to increase tenfold.
Since the renovations, guests have reported their belongings being stolen or moved from one end of the room to the other. The chanting of monks has also been heard in various rooms throughout the manor.
On top of this, there has been much poltergeist activity in the building, with many visitors being lightly touched or pushed by unseen entities.
5. Sker House, Bridgend
Sker House is another one of those buildings used to house monks during the beginning of the 1000s. When it was first built over 800 years ago, it was a single-storey grange and was home to the Cistercian monks of Neath Abbey.
In 1543, the monastery was dissolved, and the property fell into Richard Williams’s hands, who sold it on to Christopher Tuberville.
During Tuberville’s’ ownership, the property underwent several drastic changes, and two stories were added to the original grange. As we saw with Llathony Secunda Manor, major works on historic buildings seem to encourage paranormal activity, explaining the multiple sightings of ghosts coming out of Sker House for centuries.
The manor’s most famous ghost did not begin to appear until after the Tubervilles sold the property. In 1797, a man named Isaac Williams began to let the house from its owner. Williams had two daughters, of whom he was extremely protective.
Isaac’s daughter, Elizabeth, fell in love with a poor boy from the surrounding area, and her father was infuriated to learn of their relationship. Though he forbade it, Elizabeth and Thomas kept meeting secretly and planned to elope.
When Isaac discovered their plans, he was so enraged that he locked his daughter in her bedroom and refused to set her free. She was finally permitted to leave when she agreed to marry a more respectable man from Neath and died of a broken heart a couple of years later.
Since then, visitors to the property have reported an uneasy feeling the deeper they travel through the former grange. There have also been numerous sightings of shadows and dark figures, particularly within the room where Elizabeth is said to have been locked up by her father.
Many have also heard high-pitched wails and cries coming from the room, presumably those of the young woman yearning for her freedom and true love. Some also believe that an evil presence lurks within Sker House, surprisingly common in buildings inhabited by religious orders.
6. Castell Coch, Cardiff
There are castles all over the United Kingdom, and most of them are pretty scary, regardless of whether they have a history of paranormal activity or not.
The division between this world and the next seems to be particularly thin at Castell Coch, as ghostly goings-on are regularly reported.
It was built on 13th Century ruins in 1870, meaning it is just a few of decades over 100 years old. It was designed by architect William Burgess and commissioned by John Patrick Crichton-Stuart, the Third Marquess of Bute. Crichton-Stuart intended the building to be his little hideaway in the hills, but apparently, it failed to meet his expectations.
The following owner of Castell Coch, Lady Gwendolyn, was driven out of the building not long after it came into her possession. According to Gwendolyn, she frequently encountered the spirit of a woman dressed in white. Though the ghost did not appear to be malevolent or in any way interested in the new owner’s business, Gwendolyn, like most people, decided it was one haunting too many and went packing.
The woman is not believed to have any connection to the castle but to the centuries-old ground upon which it was built. Her time on earth was marred by losing her son, who disappeared when he was still a child.
It was later discovered that the boy had fallen into a well and drowned, though the woman never learned of this. She still roams the area around Castell Coch, presumably searching for her son, unaware he had died all those years ago.
7. Margam Castle, Port Talbot
Moving from one relatively young haunted castle to another, Margam Castle in Port Talbot is next.
Though Margam Castle was originally constructed for Christopher Rice Mansel Talbot in the mid-19th Century, the grounds on which it was built were used by humans for thousands of years.
It served as an abbey from the 11th Century until King Henry VIII’s infamous falling-out with the Catholic Church, which led to him dissolving the Catholic monasteries throughout his kingdom.
Like Coch Castle, many of the ghosts at Margam Castle are the spirits of those whose lives are closely linked to the area rather than the building itself. However, one of the most familiar spirits at Margam Castle is that of a man who worked as a gamekeeper in the current building.
The man in question, Robert Scott, is said to have been murdered on the job, his life taken by an unruly poacher. Scott has been reported all around Margam Castle’s grounds, though his spirit is most frequently seen ascending the castle’s gothic staircase. Unlike a lot of castle spirits, Scott’s haunting is not residual. He frequently communicates with psychics and expresses his anger over his untimely and unjust death.
Next on our list of the most haunted places in Wales is Llancaiach Fawr Manor in South Wales.
Nobody is quite sure of the exact date when Llancaiach Fawr Manor was built, but references to the building appear in John Leland’s Itinerary, released in 1537. Most historians agree that there wasn’t much time separating the manor’s construction and the Itinerary. The consensus is that the manor was built in or around 1530.
It was constructed on the ruins of another building and was designed to be handily defended should relations between Wales and Britain break down. Today, the Grade I building operates as a living-history museum, though visitors to Llancaich Fawr Manor experience a bit of undead history while there.
The manor’s ghosts are many and varied in their behaviour, with almost every room in the building having its spirit assigned to it. Rather than simply materialising – which they do with some frequency – the manor’s spirits make themselves known through blasts of cold air, random scents, and disembodied sounds such as footsteps and voices.
Many expectant mothers who have visited the castle have reported feeling uneasy and dizzy upon entering the building, with most having to sit down or leave before their condition worsens. This could be linked to the spirit of a young boy who is often seen and heard by the manor staff.
It is believed that the boy met his end after falling from one of the manor’s upper rooms, which left him with fatal injuries. However, the injuries do not seem to plague the spirit in the afterlife, as he is quite active and has been reported to tug on guests’ sleeves and lead them by hand throughout the manor.
One paranormal researcher who investigated Llancaich Fawr Manor even claimed to have summoned the boy using a simple ball in a cup toy. According to the investigator, she was aided by the child in landing the ball inside the wooden cup after multiple failed attempts to do it herself.
One of the most haunted places in South Wales, we regularly hold ghost hunts here. See the button below!
The site on which Cardiff Castle is built has been one of the most critical pieces of land in all of South Wales since the 1st Century. It was here that the Romans built one of their many defence structures during their time, ruling over what would later become the United Kingdom.
It is believed that the original Roman fort lasted for about thirty years, coming down just before 100 AD. After Roman rule ended, there wasn’t a lot of activity on the site until the Normans came galavanting along in the early 1000s.
Cardiff Castle was constructed during this period, though spotty records mean no set date can be given. After being passed from owner to owner, Cardiff Castle fell into the Bute family’s hands, who held onto it until 1947, when the Fifth Marquess of Bute presented it to the county council.
There is a lot of history at Cardiff Castle, so it should be no surprise that paranormal activity at the building is reported with startling frequency. Of the many haunted rooms in the castle, one of the most active is the stockroom, where items are moved around and rearranged almost every morning by an unknown force.
The few who have been lucky (or unlucky) enough to be there when this happens report that the items are moved by a faceless ghost garbed in a flowing white skirt, resembling more a cloud of smoke than a human.
The daily paranormal activity also occurs in the main dining room of the castle. It is here at a quarter past three every morning that the room doors open and shut themselves, regardless of whether they have been locked.
The spirit of the Second Marquess of Bute is frequently spotted at Cardiff Castle, which oversaw restoration on the site but died before it was completed. He is seen navigating the castle like the traditional ghost, walking through walls until he gets to his desired location. For the Second Marquess of Bute, that location is a room next to the chapel, where he passed away in 1848.
Now a luxury hotel, Plas Nanteos Mansion was built in 1739 by William Powell. However, evidence shows an earlier dwelling on the site. In the large dark cellar, you can see the large front door and two windows built into the walls belonging to the former property, Neuadd Llawdden.
The Nanteos Cup is the most famous story associated with Nanteos Mansion. During the dissolution of the monasteries in 1539, seven monks escaped the nearby Strata Florida Abbey and took refuge in Neuadd Llawdden, carrying with them an ancient relic known as the Nanteos Cup, reputed to be the Holy Grail!
The monk’s bodies are believed to have been buried beneath the cellar after many years of guarding the cup. After purchasing the property in the 1700s, the Powell family inherited the mysterious relic. Generations of the Powell family would continue to experience strange paranormal activity during their 250+ year ownership of the property.
Countless ghosts walk the halls of Nanteos Mansion, but perhaps the most terrifying of all relates to the Grey Lady. Her mysterious long flowing figure had been seen by countless family members, staff, and visitors, always carrying a candlestick and walking on the staircase. Her sighting would often mean that death was coming in the family.
Her ghost has also been seen by a member of staff staying in the Pink Room. One night, they were awoken to find a woman leaning over the bed, staring at them!
For more info on the many spirits that haunt the Nanteos Mansion, join Haunted Rooms on one of our extremely popular Haunted Breaks.