A comprehensive guide to Cornwall’s most illustrious ghouls and where to find them

If there’s anywhere in the UK that nails both sun-soaked surf ‘n turf vibes, as well as spooky, misty, and maybe a little creepy vibes, it’s Cornwall. Such range! But for today’s article, we are going to be focusing on the latter, the often overlooked side of Cornwall that makes it such a unique and wonderful place. The appeal of a spooky, perhaps haunted location is undeniable so why not get acquainted with some of Cornwall’s most illustrious ghouls? That is, unless you’re afraid…

Abandoned castle in thick fog, Cornwall, UK.

- © Adam Knauz / Shutterstock

Maud (Pendennis Castle, Falmouth)

Constructed by Henry VIII as an artillery fort in 1540 due to its strategic location, Pendennis Castle is known as one of Cornwall’s most haunted spots. Located near Falmouth, a visit to Pendennis Castle makes for an ideal day trip for anyone curious about the supernatural. As you wander through the castle, you’ll find yourself transported back to the Tudor era. It isn’t surprising that many reports of ghostly sightings have taken place here and it is likely you might stumble upon Maud, who is said to haunt the kitchens. Once a kitchen maid, Maud is believed to have been tasked with taking meals and trays up and down the narrow winding staircase that leads to the kitchen. It is said that she tragically fell to her death on the unreliable stairs and that she now haunts the area. Visitors have said to hear her stomping around the stairs, and there’s a chance you’ll even come face to face with her. 

The castle is open daily to visitors from 10am to 5pm, although this is subject to change so we suggest you check the schedule in advance. Entry tickets start at £12.50 for adults and £8.60 for children. Find out more about booking your tickets here

The many spirits of the Jamaica Inn

The Jamaica Inn is one of Cornwall’s most notorious haunted locations. Made famous by author Daphne Du Maurier in her iconic 1936 gothic novel, the Inn carries an unwavering aura of mystery and darkness. The 18th century coaching inn is located on Bodmin Moor and is renowned for its association with smuggling. Many ghosts are said to roam the rooms of the Jamaica Inn, among them, a stranger who sat at the inn’s bar, sipping an ale, and was mysteriously lured outside by an unknown call. The man was drawn into the moor, where he disappeared, never to be seen again. Presumed murdered, his body was never found but throughout the years, many visitors have reported seeing the figure of a ghostly man standing beside them at the bar, perhaps waiting to finish that pint of ale he never got to.  

The Jamaica Inn is still a working business, and is still a source of many spooky stories. Why not stay or dine in the inn and perhaps come face to face with a ghoul yourself?

The Jamaica Inn Cornwall

The Jamaica Inn

The Jamaica Inn located in Bodmin, Cornwall provides 20 rooms with attached bathrooms, complimentary WiFi, and Sky channels showcasing a range of sports and movies.
£59 /night

Selina Wadge (Bodmin Jail)

Bodmin Jail is a historic prison located not far from Bodmin Moor and the Jamaica Inn (the area really seems to be a hotspot for paranormal activity). The prison was built in 1779, under King George III, mainly by and for prisoners of the Napoleonic Wars. Over 50 inmates were executed by hanging at the jail between 1785 and 1909 so it’s no surprise the place has kept a very sinister aura and many visitors report being overcome with a feeling of dread as they enter the premises. Many ghostly figures are said to populate the halls of the prison but one that stands out in particular is Selina Wadge. Selina was one of only four women hanged for murdering their child in the last three decades of the 19th century. She was tried and found guilty for murdering her son and was hanged in 1878. Legend has it you can still feel her presence in the prison’s hallways, tugging at small children and even imposing strong feelings of fear upon pregnant people. 

Bodmin Jail is open daily from 9:30am to 6:30pm. Ticket prices start from £18.50. You can also choose to stay in a wing of the jail which has been fully restored as a luxury hotel, that is, unless you’re afraid of ghostly figures paying you a visit in the middle of the night.

Bodmin Jail Hotel Cornwall

Bodmin Jail Hotel

Located in Bodmin, just 31 kilometers away from Newquay Train Station, Bodmin Jail Hotel presents guests with a myriad of amenities including a fitness center, complimentary private parking, a charming terrace, and an in-house restaurant.
£197 /night

John Milton (Pengersick castle)

Often referred to as “Cornwall’s most haunted castle”, Pengersick Castle is a dream spot for any lover of all things spooky and supernatural. It’s got it all, a kind-of scary fortified manor house as the setting, overlooking the sea which can quickly turn dark and misty, a couple of late medieval towers, and most importantly, over 20 different ghosts freely roaming the premises. One of its most famous ghouls is John Milton. Legend has it, Milton tried to poison his wife, but when she outsmarted him and switched their cups, the devil was upset and dragged them both down to hell. His spirit is said to haunt the castle despite historical records showing he died in 1570 and his wife in 1579. 

Merlin (Tintagel castle)

Tintagel has captured the imagination of visitors from around the world for centuries due to its alleged connection to King Arthur. Legend has it that Arthur was conceived at Tintagel and therefore the place holds a lot of mythical significance. Under the castle, you’ll find Merlin’s cave tucked away by the ocean front and it is said that visitors have come face to face with the ghost of the legendary wizard at this very spot. So while you’re visiting, be sure to keep an eye out for any meandering spirits of infamous sorcerers.

by Editorial Team
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