Published On: Tue, Oct 24th, 2023

UK city is the ‘most haunted in Europe’ and perfect to visit this Halloween | Travel News | Travel

As the weather becomes chillier this autumn many people are looking for a good scare, and the cobbled streets of Scotland’s capital Edinburgh are perfect to wander this Halloween.

Not only is Edinburgh hauntingly beautiful due to its incredible gothic architecture, but the world-famous Edinburgh Castle gives the city a spooky atmosphere at night as well as being a breathtaking sight.

Edinburgh is not only a pretty place to explore but is said to be one of “the most haunted cities in Europe” according to the Daily Record who described the capital as having a history filled with “ghouls, ghosts, poltergeists and body snatchers.”

It is the perfect place for anyone looking for somewhere fun to visit this Halloween, as the city’s rich history means that there appears to be a ghost around every corner, from famous pubs to the castle and even underground in Edinburgh’s terrifying vaults.

However, Edinburgh is also a magical place for anyone who wishes to visit despite its gruesome past, as it is also where J.K. Rowling wrote the Harry Potter series. Anyone who wishes to be enchanted as well as spooked this Halloween can explore many of the city’s beautiful landmarks.

READ MORE: Gothic towers and beautiful autumn sights make Midlands city perfect place to go

Things to do in Edinburgh this Halloween

Go on a ghost tour 

Edinburgh is known for its bloody history, from the Black Dinner at Edinburgh Castle, the infamous murderer’s Burke and Hare, and the witch executions of James VI, there are lots of ghost stories in Scotland’s capital.

One fun way to explore Edinburgh’s spooky history is by visiting Edinburgh Dungeon, an interactive show put on by actors that explains Scotland’s history by scaring visitors. There is also Mary King’s Close located under the city where it is thought to be one of the most haunted locations in Edinburgh due to being where many of Edinburgh’s poorest residents died of the Black Plague in the 1600s.

You can also take a quick drive with the light-hearted Ghost Bus Tour which will take visitors to some of the most haunted places in the city while actors explain what ghosts are meant to haunt certain streets.

However, one of the most terrifying experiences in Edinburgh is thought to be the Mackenzie Poltergeist tour, located at Greyfriars Kirkyard, in which a ghost is said to attack visitors who dare go into the graveyard at night.

Watch the Samhuinn fire festival

On Halloween night, Edinburgh hosts its famous Samhuinn festival, an annual Halloween celebration which is a modern reimaging of the ancient Celtic festival of the same name in which there will be performers drumming, dancing, fire tricks, and even holding theatre productions.

The festival is said to be in celebration of the Cailleach, also known as the Blue Hag, Queen of Winter, or Veiled One in Celtic mythology. She is said to be a terrifying figure who is able to control the weather and is responsible for the weather getting colder, darker, and drearier at this time of year.

This year, the event will take place at Arthur Seat, but tickets will need to be bought for anyone wishing to watch the fiery performances.

Visit some Harry Potter locations 

J.K Rowling wrote the majority of the Harry Potter books in Edinburgh, and once said in an interview “…Edinburgh is very much home for me and is the place where Harry evolved over seven books and many, many hours of writing in its cafes.”

The author is known to have written the first Harry Potter book in a number of cafes and coffee shops in Edinburgh, the most famous being the Elephant House which proclaims itself the “Birthplace of Harry Potter.”

However, another location that appeared to have inspired Rowling is Greyfriars Kirkyard, as it is believed that many of the people buried there such as Robert Potter and William McGonagall inspired the names of Rowling’s characters.

However, the most famous gravestone at Greyfriars is Thomas Riddle, a local who died in 1806 but it is believed to have inspired the name of Voldemort, the villain in the Harry Potter books whose real name is Tom Riddle.

There is also Edinburgh’s colourful Victoria Street, which is thought to be the inspiration for Diagon Alley due to its cobblestone road, bright buildings of different colours and many bustling shops and restaurants. It is one of the most photographed areas in Edinburgh. Near Victoria’s Street is the West Bow, the location of one of Edinburgh’s most infamous witches Major Thomas Weir, also called the Wizard of West Bow.

Major Thomas Weir was a well-respected soldier in his community who unexpectedly confessed to witchcraft and satanism in 1670. He claimed he got his power from his walking stick, or staff, which he said was gifted to him by the Devil. Major Thomas Weir was burned as a witch but the idea of wizards owning staffs is thought to have been inspired by him, and is still a popular idea in literature today.

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