Ghostly Getaways

Dubbed the most Haunted Island in the UK, the Isle of Wight now hosts many ‘ghost walks’ and paranormal investigations, but none more so than on Halloween. This year there are several spooky events that you could take part in with your families and there are even nearby hostelries where you can stay that are reputed to be haunted.

Arreton, Central Isle of Wight

At Arreton Barns there will be Halloween fun for kids with daily spooky treasure hunts around the barns, visits from snakes, owls and bats and more Halloween activities from 11am till 4pm daily on the 25th, 26th and 27th October. Plus there are magic tricks with Maestro on the 26th and 27th from 12.30 till 2.30pm followed by a Ghost Walk at 3pm, which on Friday includes a spooky tea. Then at 7.30pm on Friday there’s a Halloween Half Term Fireworks Finale.

Also on Saturday 29th October they’re holding a Pumpkin weigh-in and best dressed pumpkin competition at Farmer Jacks at 12pm.

Stay: One of the oldest buildings in Newport is now a boutique B&B and one of the bedrooms even has a bath beneath the rafters. One Holyrood has exposed beams and brickwork and is a Grade II listed building. Downstairs you take breakfast overlooking the pretty garden.

Spooky Castle – Carisbrooke, Isle of Wight

Charles I tried to escape from Carisbrooke Castle twice whilst he was a prisoner, but he was nevertheless taken from here to his beheading back in 1649. His his poor little daughter Elizabeth died from pneumonia here the following year, aged only 14, and both are said to haunt these walls amongst many others. There are a whole host of spooky Halloween adventures here from Saturday 21st October to Sunday 29th October from 10am – 4pm for families and kids. Wander the grounds with the Victorian ghost hunters as they tell you macabre tales of times gone by and pass by the graveyard to discover how its occupants met a gruesome demise. Create your own terrifying Halloween crafts, and there’s a prize for the best Halloween costume each day.

Stay: Back in Newport you could take a room at the Georgian Hewitt’s Hotel that looks out on the last building that King Charles I visited on the Island before he was taken to his execution. Maybe you’ll catch sight of him in a window!

Garlic Farm

There are loads of garlic themed kids’ activities during half term week at the Garlic Farm such as the Garlic BreadMaking Workshop, Decorate a Garlic Bulb and Plant your Own Garlic in a pot to take home. Or you can carve a pumpkin.

On Tuesday 23rd and Wednesday 24th (2pm to 4pm) you can attend a workshop to make a beautiful lantern on a stick, and then return with them for theanimated lantern trail around the farm from 6pm on either October 27th or 28th. Hot drinks and food is available from the Garlic Farm on your return. 

Stay: At the Garlic Farm in one of their lovely cottages or the converted milk parlour.

Wizard Week at the IW Steam Railway – East Isle of Wight

It’s Wizard Week at the IW Steam Railway from October 23rd to 27th, and along with the wonderful railway rides you get magic shows and enchanting Woodland Walks where you can meet the friendly witches of Havenstreet and help them with their magic spells and potions. Dress-up as wizards, witches and other spooky characters with prizes each day for the best costumes, and there’s a Halloween Treasure Hunt. Then on Saturday 28th October it’s Halloween Fright Night when everyone dresses  up as witches, wizards and ghouls to take the ghost train through the deserted night time countryside with lots of spooky tales and dancing to the Timewarp at the end of the evening.

Stay: In nearby Binstead Newnham Farm is a beautiful 17th century farmhouse with extensive garden, nestled in the middle of a 350 acre working farm. You can borrow a pair of wellies for walks in the countryside and you might even see red squirrels from your bedroom window.

 Ventnor Botanic Garden, South Coast Isle of Wight

During half term week there’s The Pumpkin, The Witch and The Botanic Garden Trail with free maps at admission and on Tuesday 24th and Thursday 26th there are pumpkin carving workshops form 1pm to 3pm.

On Saturday October 28th from 7.30pm you can join Ghost Island’s Marc Tuckey for a ghostly tour of Ventnor Botanic Garden accompanied by Halloween festivities, including Chilli Con Carne, Fire Pit & Toffee Apples in the cosy environment of The Plantation Room Cafe. The garden is the former home of a TB hospital that was demolished in 1969 and some of the former patients are said to still be here. A spooky tunnel leads from the garden to the cliff edge and smugglers were once likely to have used the coastline here to bring illegal bootie ashore – maybe you’ll encounter some of them on your walk.

Stay: Stay for B&B at Lisle Combe, a large stone house overlooking the sea almost next door to the garden. Lisle Combe was built in 1815 for a sea captain and later became the home of author and poet Alfred Noyes.

Afton, West Isle of Wight

Pick your own pumpkin from Tapnell Farm’s Pumpkin Patch and carve your own Halloween lantern at their pumpkin carving station from Thursday 26th until Sunday 29th October, 11am until 3pm each day. Plus there’s Spooky Farm Fun on offer with a ‘wicked week of tricks and treats’. Enjoy Bugs & Beasties Encounters, themes Arts & Crafts to make Halloween themed things and Wonda the Witch’s Treasure Hunt around the park. There’s a scary Face Painter and you can have a go at different Halloween Games including Pumpkin Toss, Ghost Skittles, Witch's Hat Hoopla and Dress Your Mummy as a Mummy! Plus there are visits from the Isle of Wight Bat Hospital on 22nd October, Haven Falconry on 21st, 22nd, 28th and 29th October and Snake Handling with Georgina on 27th October.

Stay: Tapnell has many different self-catering options, from their wood cabins and lodges to the picturesque (and possibly haunted) manor house that sleeps over 20 people. 

Jo Macaulay

11 October 2017

By Jo Macaulay in Articles