Hampton Court Palace has seen 500 years of drama, danger…and death. Now, members of the public can explore its darker side with new ghost trails at one of Britain’s reputedly most-haunted locations.
From 24th October (tomorrow!), there will be an all-new self-guided trail that promises to uncover the tales of history’s most famous ghostly tales.
It includes Queen Catherine Howard, who is thought to roam and moan through the Haunted Gallery. It is said she broke free from her guards after her arrest and ran, screaming towards the Chapel Royal, where the King – her husband – was at prayer, protesting her innocence.
Jane Seymour, another Tudor Queen has also been spotted. She died at Hampton Court just a few days after the birth of her son, the future Edward VI, and Henry’s long-desired son.
A Grey Lady has also been seen since Victorian times, thought to be the spectre of a Tudor nursemaid. Former resident, Princess Frederica of Hanover even noted seeing the figure, describing ‘a tall, gaunt figure, dressed in a long grey robe, with a hood on her head and her lanky hands outstretched before her’.
But all these ghostly tales aren’t confined to historic figures…. In October 2003, a new exhibition opened in the rooms behind the Clock Court Colonnade. One night, a fire alarm on one of the doors in the area was triggered after the tourists had left. Security staff went to investigate and found the fire doors wide open but nobody there.
The next day, the alarm went off again, but this time the doors were found closed. CCTV showed the door opening, then being slammed shut by a mysterious and grainy robed figure…
The darker side of the palace can be balanced out with a fun photo in the palace’s Royal Kitchen Garden, where you will find a display of carved pumpkins – which also provides you with the perfect backdrop for a photo to mark your Halloween visit to Hampton Court!
Online booking is essential here.
Photos: © Historic Royal Palaces