Top 10 Haunted Places in Surrey

Top 10 Haunted Places in Surrey

Known for sweeping countryscapes and gorgeous hills, Surrey also has a haunting history. So, while you take in the vast views, keep your eyes peeled for a roaming spirit or two. By Anize Keers.

The Kings Head, Guildford

One of Guildford’s best pubs is the focus of several paranormal investigations and is said to be haunted by former staff. There have been a series of reports about sightings of an old ghostly woman, a young girl in a Victorian-era dress skipping through the building and electrical equipment faults from equipment that works fine when taken off the grounds. Staff have also reported hearing their name being called by a woman who wasn’t there, and landlords have had problems with dogs barking furiously at something. The pub is now a spot on the Ghost Tour of Guildford.

Betchworth Castle

The crumbling ruins of an 18th-century medieval stone house stand tall on a sandstone spur overlooking the western bank of the River Mole. Folklore tales are told of the haunting ghost of ‘Lord Hope’ who is said to occupy the ruins today full of remorse, unable to cross over out of guilt after he killed his own son thinking he was an intruder. Others have reported seeing the spirit of a black dog that prowls around the ruins only at night.

The A3, Guildford

 On 11th December 2002, several calls were made to Surrey Police from motorists who witnessed a car veering off the A3. However, when officers arrived, they found no trace of a crash. The results of a further search were shocking. Just 20 yards away from the reported crash site, a crashed vehicle was uncovered with the old remains of a man who had been dead a long time, the car battery was also dead. The police discovered this crash had happened five months prior. The several people who originally alerted the police were left to wonder if they had in fact seen a ghostly re-enactment of the original accident so that the discovery could finally be made, and the man laid to rest.

Haroldslea Drive, Horley

One of the most unusual hauntings of the country reportedly occurs at Haroldslea Drive. Stories are told of sightings of a paranormal troop of soldiers marching through the area. According to reports a phantom bell starts to toll at sundown before increasing in volume until midnight when the troop appears. People suspect they are headed for Thunderfield Castle which acted as a resting place for King Harold’s men on their way to Hastings.

Credit: Viktor Forgacs

The Punchbowl Inn, Dorking

Dating back to the 16th century, it is said to be one of the most haunted pubs in Surrey. There have been reports of an old man with a beard wandering the pub, with barmaids often reporting feeling the sensation of hands touching them yet no one is there. It is speculated to be the ghost of an old landlord who is unwilling to give up leadership of the pub. The pub is also said to have a resident ghost dog, with reports of a black dog silhouette and growling sounds coming from near the fireplace, before they vanish when anyone approaches. It is also so common for the door to the kitchen to mysteriously swing open on its own that locals have become accustomed to it and stopped questioning it. Staff and visitors have also witnessed jiggling door handles, eerie creaking floorboards and unaccompanied footsteps.

Guildford Castle

All that remains of the original castle of Guildford is the 12th-century motte on which the current castle keep was built. In the late 12th century, the Keep became the headquarters of the local sheriff and acted as a county gaol for the surrounding areas of Surrey and Sussex. Many of those incarcerated here were serious criminals and murderers, those found guilty after trial were kept at the gaol as they awaited their execution. The castle remained a prison until the 1600s before falling into ruin.

By the late 19th century, the castle’s owner sold it to Guildford Corporation who turned it into a pleasure park in 1988. During restoration in 2003-2004, the original battlements amongst other features were discovered and it is said to have disturbed the resident spirits. Children today have reported as being hysterical on the ground floor where prisoners would have stayed, and are said to have seen an emaciated ghostly figure chained to a wall. The castle’s Custodian, Phillip Hutchinson, operates the Guildford Ghost Walk tour where he tells his stories of paranormal happenings at the castle. Phillip has said he has experienced of happenings with lights and heaters appearing to be switched off manually when only he has been there.

Credit: Denise Barlaba

Running Horses, Mickleham, Dorking

Assumed to have been built in the 16th century, this pub has an uneasy history. Situated on the Old London Road, the inn was thought to have been a coaching inn and highwayman hideaway. Ladders were discovered in the upper bedrooms which are expected to have been a method of escape. It is said that today the ghost of a local farmer who had a mysterious death has been seen roaming the grounds along with a woman dressed in a 1920s domestic uniform with a white cap.

Baynards Park, Cranleigh

This 2,000-acre demolished country house is said to be haunted by the ghost of Sir Thomas More. He was decapitated for treason in 1535 by order of Henry VIII after he rebelled against the regime by opposing the breakaway from Rome, skipping the coronation of Anne Boleyn and refusing to swear allegiance to the king. After More’s head had been on display for some time at Tower Bridge, his daughter saved it from being discarded in the Thames and brought it back to Baynards Park. It is said a figure of a headless body roams the grounds of the ruins.

The Silent Pool, Dorking

This lake has become a popular tourist attraction for observing the eerie stillness that overhangs the sinister setting around it. Legend has it that in the 13th century, a stranger showed up at the home of a widowed man who had a son and daughter. It is said the strange man followed the daughter to the lake where he spooked her and she ended up drowning along with her brother who attempted to save her. The stranger rode away on a horse and the widowed man later came to find the tragic fate of his children. Vowing vengeance the man set out on a quest to find the identity of the stranger. He later discovered through a feather left behind from the stranger’s hat that the man was none other than Prince John, Regent of Britain. The legend does not finish the confrontation between the man and the prince, but it is thought that the death of the man’s children determined the barons in their resolve to confront John and force him into sealing the Magna Carta at Runnymede in 1215. It is said the spirits of the children haunt the lake today as their wraith can be felt through the ripples.

Credit: Sandro Cenni