Few locations can match the Isle of Wight when it comes to walking, with the island being world-renowned for spectacular scenery, rolling hills and charismatic coastline - a feast for the eyes indeed.
Its enigmatic atmosphere also makes it a veritable tourist hotspot when it comes to hair-raising after-dark trails - and if you're looking to get on your feet during the Halloween period or simply looking to get spooked far from your usual haunts, there’s nowhere better.
Behold our breakdown of the scariest, most spine-tingling walks on the so-called ‘Isle of Fright’ - ideal for visitors during the spooky season, or at any time of year for self-confessed ghost-hunters.
Ventnor Botanic Gardens
For almost a century, world-renowned chest treatment centre, the Royal National Hospital, specialised in aiding those with the killer disease, tuberculosis. The building, which measured almost half a mile wide, was demolished in 1969, and the site was transformed into the Ventnor Botanic Gardens. Renowned as the institute was, it couldn't cure every one of the ailments, and it’s said that the souls of those claimed by the lung disease continue to haunt the site even now.
Keep an ear out for weeping or groaning ghosts - some have even reported the stench of ether, or seeing phantom nurses in old-fashioned uniforms strolling between the flowerbeds. There have also been numerous reports of mysterious, floating orbs - a staple of any good ghost walk. So, whether you’re in it for the lush plant life or the spectral apparitions, you’ll find what you’re looking for waiting in the Ventnor Botanic Gardens.
Video courtesy of Visit Isle of Wight
The streets of Shanklin
Landguard Holiday Park is just a short wander away from the streets of Shanklin and, during October every year, you’ll be able to experience the annual ‘illuminated outdoor spectacle’ known as the Dark Nights celebration, which sees this seaside town welcome some rather spectacular - and, if we may say so, unearthly - lighting displays. There’s also a rather scary procession which marches down the roads - be prepared to witness dancing skeletons, witches and wizards as you wander Shanklin.
Over the years, this annual spectacle has evolved to incorporate installations, animations and even pyrotechnics, celebrating the equinox and the arrival of the dark nights! Lovers of all things spooky will enjoy spending an evening on the streets of Shanklin, watching the procession and even participating in this phantasmal festival.
Between Newtown and Calbourne
If you're up for a challenge, why not try the walk from Newtown to the quaint and idyllic village of Calbourne? If you decide to take this spooky route, keep your eyes peeled for a pub called the Falcon or the Vulcan. This unearthly dwelling was reportedly visited by a pair of men who set out on the same journey as you and thought it might be wise to stop for a drink en route.
Upon entering, they became aware that something wasn’t quite right with the pub, but were unable to decide what it was. Hostile stares from their fellow drinkers didn't help, so they drank up quickly and left. Since then, however, not a soul has found any trace of this phantom pub. You might be equally unlucky in your quest, but we wholeheartedly encourage you to try. Apparitions may not be everyone’s cup of tea when it comes to a good old-fashioned pub crawl, but lovers of all things macabre will relish this opportunity to chase the supernatural.
Video courtesy of HenryGT3
Walks around Carisbrooke Castle are particularly popular during Halloween season, but they’re great fun any time of year if you’re a thrill-seeker with a penchant for finding poltergeists. Britain's fortifications have a longstanding reputation for being haunted by all manner of ex-inhabitants and casualties of war, and Carisbrooke Castle is no exception.
Considering the terrible things that happened here – imprisonments, torture, executions, murders, battles and much more - it's no surprise that this is one of the most haunted locations anywhere on the Isle of Wight. A nighttime stroll around the fortifications or the surrounding forests may well lead you to an encounter with a departed spirit - so if you’re feeling brave, head out after lights out and prepare to stumble upon some ancient spectres.
Video courtesy of English Heritage
Burnt House Lane
If you see Burnt House Lane on your travels on the Isle of Wight and fancy your chances of seeing a ghost, make a beeline for this infamous area of the island. This chilling local story revolves around the infamous Michael Morey, who killed his nephew before burning the entire building to the ground to conceal the unspeakable crime he had committed. While the nephew was granted safe passage to heaven, Morey himself was condemned to stay on the island for all eternity, and his spirit is most often seen hanging from a gibbet somewhere along the road. A terrifying tale, to be sure!
If you’re looking for somewhere to stay whilst you’re on the Isle of Wight, we have some fantastic holiday parks located close to all of the scary trails and walks.
And the scares don’t have to end once you’ve finished getting your ghoulish fix, especially at Halloween - as our holiday parks also host a variety of spooky on-site activities for the whole family to enjoy. So, if you’re visiting us in October, don’t forget your costumes!
Check out our range of holiday parks on the Isle of Wight to get one step closer to your very own ghost-hunting holiday in the UK.