Published: 30th OCTOBER 2019

6 of the most haunted places on the National Cycle Network

To celebrate Halloween, we've rounded up some of the spookiest destinations on the National Cycle Network.

The National Cycle Network is a gateway to some frightfully good places in the UK. It can take you to stately homes, national parks and stunning scenery. But did you know that it can also take you to the 'other side'?

Here are some of the spookiest places on the National Cycle Network. Are you brave enough to give them a try?

Hampton Court Palace - Route 4

Route 4 runs right alongside Hampton Court Palace - one of the UK's most popular tourist attractions. The palace may seem like a beautifully-maintained and grand building, but it has a dark past.

It's said that the Palace is haunted by Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of the notorious King Henry VIII. Catherine was accused of adultery by Henry and was put on house arrest. However, she escaped and made a run for it, only to be dragged back to her room screaming.

Catherine was executed shortly after this incident. Despite her execution, it's said that Catherine's spirit remains in the Palace. Guests and staff have reported hearing her screams from the gallery, and two women fainted in the exact same spot during separate tours in one evening. 

Coincidence? You decide. 

The Skirrid Inn - Route 42

It's claimed that the Skirrid Mountain Inn is the oldest public house in Wales. While that statement may be up for debate, there's no denying this pub's long and grim history.

The first floor of the inn was used as a courtroom for serious criminal offences. Offenders were often given capital punishment, and local legend claims that over 180 felons have been hung from an oak beam over the staircase. In fact, the markings of the rope can still be seen today.

It's rumoured that the inn is haunted by several spirits and it's known as one of the most haunted places in the UK. 

The hanging judge is said to still murmur on the upper floors of the inn while several people have reported spotting felons and the judge's hangman lurking around the inn. Other strange phenomena have included flying glasses, the strong smell of perfume and guests feeling as if they are being strangled.

Glasgow Necropolis - Route 75

Just a short ride from Route 75 in Scotland is the Glasgow Necropolis. 

The Necropolis is known locally as The City of the Dead, making it the perfect location for horror stories. 

There are over 50,000 bodies buried here and it's alleged to be the hunting ground of a 7 foot, child-eating vampire with metal teeth. At the height of this legend, local families occupied the cemetery looking for the creature that they believed had eaten two children.

Other strange sightings at the Necropolis have included a ghostly lady, whisperings from the graves, and a strange low mist at night.  

Greenwich Foot Tunnel - Route 1

You might think that walking through a tunnel under the Thames is creepy enough, but how about with some ghosts for company? The Greenwich Foot Tunnel, which is part of our London Docklands and Lea Valley route, runs underneath the River Thames and is reportedly occupied by several spirits. 

The echoing acoustics and cold atmosphere make the tunnel the perfect location for some paranormal activity.

It's rumoured that the tunnel is patrolled by an eight-year-old girl who has communicated with ghost hunters on several occasions. Other incidents have included a Victorian couple walking towards people and footsteps bouncing off of the walls. 

A few minutes in the tunnel is enough to scare even the most hardened ghost hunters. But, be warned, there is no fast getaway - the tunnel is a foot tunnel, meaning you can't flee by bike.

Mussenden Temple - Route 93

Route 93 takes you through the Downhill Estate on Northern Ireland's northern coastline. The estate is home to the domed Mussenden Temple, which is known as one of the most frightening places in the country.

The temple was designed to be a library for Frideswide Bruce, the niece of the 4th Earl of Bristol and Bishop of Derry.

It's suggested that the relationship between the Earl Bishop and his niece was suspicious. Despite their denial, the stress of the accusations is said to have affected Frideswide's health, leading to her early death in 1785. 

The temple then became a memorial to Frideswide and has since been the location of some disturbing events. Visitors have cited a strange atmosphere gripping the building and have even reported seeing blood on the floor that disappears within minutes.

It's not known what the root of this phenomenon is, but it certainly adds to the mystique surrounding this building and its strange history. 

Blickling Hall - Route 33

Henry VIII has a lot to answer for, doesn't he? Much like Hampton Court Palace, Blickling Hall is haunted by another one of Henry's executed wives. This time it's Anne Boleyn.

The hall was built on the site of an old medieval manor, which is rumoured to have been the birthplace of Anne Boleyn. After she was beheaded due to Henry's frustrations that she could not birth him a son, Anne has continued to return to her stomping ground to terrify visitors and staff.

It's said that Anne's headless ghost returns to the hall every year on 19 May, the anniversary of her execution. As the night falls, Anne rides to the house in a coach drawn by a headless horseman, with her own head in her lap. However, as soon as the coach arrives at the front door, it vanishes. 

It's not just Anne who appears on this night. Her brother, Lord Rochford, also makes an appearance. He is also headless and is seen dragged across the surrounding countryside by four headless horses.

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