5 Spooktacular Sites to Visit this half-term!

As half-term rolls around maybe you’re looking for something to do with your kids or grandkids, or maybe you love the spooky season, or want to get out and about before it gets so cold that all you want is a comfy chair, with a good book and a hot chocolate (don’t worry I’ll cater to that aesthetic in my next blog!). Whatever the reason, welcome to my fourth blog on museums and heritage sites for History Indoors!

My last blog explored five fabulous independent museums that often get overlooked, but today it’s all about Halloween and the spooktacular places to visit this October!

The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic, Boscastle, Cornwall

First up, what could be spookier than The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic! Based in Boscastle in Cornwall, the museum explores British magical practices from ancient time through to the present. Containing objects from cauldrons, to books, to wands, the MWM is a perfect place to visit this Halloween!

It’s also not far from Tintagel Castle where legend has it that King Arthur was born. Aided in life by the magician Merlin, who’s cave is located on the shore near the castle, a trip to Cornwall this October might be exactly what the alchemist ordered!

Creswell Crags, Worksop, Nottinghamshire

If you’re based closer to the midlands and the north of England, Cornwall’s probably a bit far to go, so how about Creswell Crags in Nottinghamshire? Not too far from Nottingham, Sheffield, and Lincoln, Creswell Crags is a journey through time from the Ice Age.

Why not replace your witches’ hat for a hard hat and join the Creswell Crags team for a Witch Marks Tour! Only discovered in 2018 these witches’ marks were placed in the caves as protective symbols.

If you loved the History Indoors talks on early modern witchcraft and witchcraft in fiction, you’ll love Creswell Crags!

Whitby Abbey, Whitby, Yorkshire

Maybe you’re more into vampires than witches, and if you are, well then, there’s no better place to visit than Whitby Abbey! The abbey inspired writer Bram Stoker’s famous book Dracula which you can learn more about via the English Heritage website which explores the connection between the gothic masterpiece and the dramatic ruins of the Abbey.

If you’re heading to Whitby for October half term, make sure you’ve checked out the Whitby Goth Weekend before you go! This yearly event draws huge crowds to Whitby for a fantastic weekend. Why not also check out the organisation’s support for charities protecting bats and get involved today!

Peak Cavern, Castleton, Derbyshire

Maybe you’ll be heading to the Peak District for an autumnal weekend – I know I will! Why not make a trip to Peak Cavern, and enter the famous cave, the Devil’s Arse! Part of the longest cave system in Derbyshire, you’ll be toured around the Peak Cavern learning about rope making, stalactites, and the people who once made their living off this fascinating underground world.

The caves have been written about and visited by famous authors, including Authur Connan Doyle, and have been used as the setting for numerous films and TV, including Country File and the original BBC Narnia series.

There’s lots of events that take place in Peak Cavern, so head over to their website to explore their upcoming musical and film events in spooktacular surroundings!

Alnwick Castle, Alnwick, Northumberland

Finally, are you looking for some wizarding fun this October? If so, why not head to Alnwick Castle in Northumberland! The castle has been the backdrop for a whole host of films and TV shows including Downton Abbey (set from 1912 onwards). In the spirit of Halloween however, Alnwick was also the location for the filming of the first two Harry Potter movies and your ticket includes flying lessons

Containing three museums, state rooms, and various tours of the site, Alnwick has lots of history to explore as well as its connection to the wizarding world. What could be better than a trip to the real Hogwarts this Halloween – just be careful that you don’t find a troll in the dungeon!

Thanks, and enjoy!

Thanks for joining me for this History Indoors blog post, I hope you all have an enjoyable and safe time exploring some of these amazing sites!

By Amy Saunders

Amy did her Undergraduate history degree at the University of Winchester, and after a few years out to complete an MA in London and work in the heritage sector, came back for a PhD in Stuart history, gender, sexuality and heritage. Aside from early modern gender, sexuality and queenship, Amy is also interested in the classical world, and has taught practical mummification (with carrots not bodies!) and directed ancient Greek plays (in translation. They weren’t THAT fancy!). Amy is a distance student living in Yorkshire so hopes to introduce you all to the wonderful heritage sites of the North through history indoors. Interests: Queenship, Sexuality, Heritage, Representation.