The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Chillingham Castle

Residing in a village of England known as Chillingham, Chillingham Castle is a gothic structure that seems to have been duly named as it is known as one of the most haunted castles in all of England. Many castles litter the vast expanse of Northumberland; however, none are as spectacular as Chillingham Castle.

The castle has an impressive facade that has seen its fair share of Medieval terrors, wars, and debauchery. Its fortified walls century old stories, and its winding halls are haunted by the ins of its past. In this article, we will diva deep into the history of Chillingham Castle and offer you a guide to visiting it. Without further ado let’s begin our paranormal endeavor to the realm of the unknown.

The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Chillingham Castle 

History of Chillingham Castle – The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Chillingham Castle 

History of Chillingham Castle

The tale of Chillingham Castle began in the 12th century when it played the role of a monastery. In the year 1246, the original manor house was destroyed in a Scottish raid and was later replaced by a tower house that still stands tall even today. King Edward I graced the castle with his presence in the year 1298 when he was on his way to Scotland o battle a 

Scottish army that was led by William Wallace. In the Chillingham Castle, a glazed window in a frame was specially installed for King Edward I. This glazed widow was considered to be a rarity in such buildings during that era. When 1344 rolled around, King Edward III granted permission to add battlements, transforming Chillingham Castle into a fully fortified medieval castle.

The castle has hosted many important faces of history. On June 6th, 1603, Anne of Denmark, Queen of Scotland as well as her children stayed in the castle as they were on their way to London. On a journey between his two kingdoms James I (Hames I of England, James VI of Scotland) also stayed at the castle in 1717. The reign of James I unified the crowns of both Scotland and England.

Under the crown of James I, the relations between the two countries became peaceful and hence the need pf a military stronghold in the area declined. And so slowly and gradually the castle was transformed. Its battements were transformed into residential wings, and the moat was filled. Moreover, a library and a banquet hall were also built on the premises. 

During the 18th and 19th centuries, the grounds of Chillingham Castle underwent landscaping that included work carried out by famed English architect and garden designer Sir Jeffry Wyattville. On their way to Scotland in the year 1972, the Prince and Princess of Wales stayed at Chillingham Castle. When the Second World War rolled around the castle again found itself in the midst of action as it was covered into army barracks.

During the war, the soldiers billeted there stripped out the decorative wood, and burned it. By the time the war was over, the castle had fallen into a state of despair. Apart from the wood, lead was also removed from the roof which resulted in extensive weather damage to large parts of Chillingham Castle. 

For years, the castle and the estate remained linked with the Earls of Tankerville, until Peter Bennett became the 10th Earl of Tankerville in 1980 after which the landed estate was broken up and sold. When 1982 rolled around, the ownership of the castle went to Sir Humphry Wakefield, 2nd Baronet, who purchased it and started a phase of painstaking renovation. In the year 1997, the castle became a set for the movie Elizabeth.

In the movie, Chillingham Castle portrayed Leith Castle and the hunting lodge. When 20202 dawned, sections of the castle were opened for the public for tours as well as late-night ghost tours. Moreover, the outbuildings of the castle as well as its eight apartments are also available for holiday rentals.

Chillingham Castle Tours – The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Chillingham Castle 

Chillingham Tours

Chillingham Castle offers a range of tours including ghost tours and ghost hunts. These tours take visitors through the castle as well as its grounds. The ghost tours on the other hand also explore the history of the haunted areas of the castle, while ghost hunts give visitors the opportunity to carry out hands-on ghostly investigation. Visitors can also opt for Ghost Hunt Workshops that place from 10:00 p.m. to might and cost 25 pounds per person. The age restriction for the Ghost Hunt Workshop is 18 and over. Also hosted by the castle after Family Ghost Tours during holidays as well as Family Ghost Hunts without Age restrictions.

Chillingham Castle Tours Prices and Opening Times

  • Opening Times – From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily afterwards the groups for ghost tours and hunt start entering the castle.
  • Adult – £10.50
  • Concessions – £9.50
  • Children (under 16) – £6.50
  • Family ticket (2 adults and 3 children) – £26.00

Ghost Tours Details

Cost 25 pounds per person for $29 USD
Duration2 hours 
Age Restriction Over 16 years old only 
Start Time7:30 pm

Ghost Hunt Details 

Cost 50 pounds per person for $58 USD
Duration4 hours 
Age Restriction Over 18 years old only 
Start Time8:00 pm

Stay at Chillingham Castle – The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Chillingham Castle 

Daring people visiting the castle can also opt for a stay at Chillingham Castle’s self-catering apartments. These apartments are open throughout the year and also include free access to the stunning grounds of the castle. Chillingham Castle sits admits stunning lawns and formal gardens, offering its guests the true medieval experience with a dash of fear. The apartments housed on the premises each harbor their own distinct character and personalities and house period features that have been preserved for centuries. They are decked with antiques and works of art that give the rooms a very royal feel. Some even showcase views of the wooded valley and stream while others look towards the parkland and arched courtyard. 

Inside Chillingham Castle – The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Chillingham Castle 

Chillingham Castle stands tall on land that spans 1,5000 acres, from which, on 330 acres Wild Cattle of Chillingham roam. The wild cattle consist of a feral head of medieval oxen that roam on the lands freely, untouched by man. The cattle are a separate visitor attraction, and tickets are needed to see them. The castle is unlike any other, featuring a long history, with stunning rooms filled with eccentric artifacts and antiques. The castle has a distinct charm and quirkiness, offering a seamless mix of the old and the new. 

Still Room

Still Room

During the tour, the first room that the visitors are taken into is the still room that contains a mix of artifacts as well as family history. On the wall of the room, a large pot hung that was intended for feeding the castle garrison. Another pot adorns the wall that was used to pour boiling oil over the intruders. Photos of the family that now owns the castle are displayed on the shelf, while another photo showcasing a witch also adorns the room. It is said that the witch would curse those who steal from Chillingham Castle.

Chillingham Castle’s Great Hall 

Visitors will also visit Chillingham Castle’s Great Hall which resonates with a very medieval feel. Flags and tapestries hang from the walls, and weapons are also put on display, adding to the beauty of the hall. A banqueting table also stands ready for feasting, as fire roars in the fireplace nearby.

The Stairs and the Pink Room 

Pink room

After leaving the great hall, guests are taken up a set of winding narrow stairs that themselves are a museum in their own right as different objects line every corner of the stairway. During the trip, visitors are taken to the pink where one of the castle’s resident ghosts, the Radiant Boy appears. When work was being done in the bedroom, the workers discovered bones of a young boy and near the bones, scrapes of blue cloth were found.

Legend has it that during the year 1588, the boy discovered documents relating to the Spanish Invasion. In order to silence the child, he was bricked alive along with the papers. Every night when the clock strikes midnight, echoes of the cries of a child in pain resonate through the room and the stairway. As the cries fade, a light appears along with a figure of a boy clad in blue.

The Roof Garden Lookout

The stairway leads out to the roof garden lookout where the Northumberland flag flies from the pole. From here visitors will be able to bask in the stunning views of the Cheviot hills as well as the 19th century gardens that were designed by the royal gardener, Sir Jeffry Wyattville in the year 1828. 

Edward I Room

While on tour visitors will be taken to one of the oldest rooms in the castle, Edward I Room. This room dates back to the 13th century and features various weapons and armor on the walls. Also displayed on the walls of the room is the royal permission to build battlements or license to Crenellate. The room is named after Edward I, Hammer of the Scots, who stayed here in 1298. The walls of the room hide many secrets with about 100 Elizabethan documents tucked in a hidey hole near a window that were discovered during renovations. Some of these documents related to the Spanish Armada, while some relate to the succession of James VI of Scotland.

King James I Room

Kings James I Room got its name after the visit of James I in the year 1603. This room is a suite that is decked in elegant décor with a gilded ceiling and patterned silk. The room resonates with the feel of royalty and oozes extravagance and grandeur. 

The Plague Room Library 

Lying next to the King James I Room is the Plaque Room Library which is full of family memorabilia. The room is decked with photos of visitors who visited the castle over the years. These photos are quite fascinating to look at and the fascination is accentuated by the titles of books housed on the shelves of the library. 

The Museum/ Attic 

The museum of Chillingham Castle resides in its attic, and it is filled to the brim with surprises, artifact collections, and family history. You will find a gem in every corner of the room from old rocking horses and teddy bears to uniforms and weaponry. 

The Minstrel’s Hall and Tearoom

Just before exiting the castle, visitors will be taken to the Minstrel’s Hal which houses the tearoom. The gallery of the Minstrel Hall overlooks the hall where log fires burn bright. The hall is decked with banners, spears, and tapestries that give it a timeless aura. A giant elk head also graces one of the walls of the hall. The tearoom serves refreshments to the varistors at a reasonable time. Snacks range from toasties to sandwiches that cost about 5 pounds each. 


This is common knowledge that Chillingham Castle has been occupied since prehistoric times. During the Second World War, a German POW Fritz Berthele discovered flint, axes, and antler arrowheads that date back to the bronze age. Today the Berthele room features these gems of discoveries and gives insight into the lives of local tribes that occupied the estate in prehistoric times. 

Chillingham Castle Dungeons 

Dungeon of Chillingham

During the tour, visitors also get a glimpse of the Chillingham Castle Dungeons that tell the grim and chilling bloody history of the castle. During the First War of Scottish Independence, these very dungeons were filled with Scottish prisoners. King Edward I appointed John Sage as a torturer of the prisoners. Over the years the war lasted, Sage tortured as many as 50 prisoners every week, and a total of 7500 prisoners died in these dungeons.

When the war ended, the remaining prisoners were burned alive as their children watched them from the Edward Room. Layer John Sage took an axe and murdered the children in cold blood. Today these dungeons display graphic instruments of torture that consist of cages, a stretching rack, a nailed barrel, a bed of nails, and a spiked chair.

Also Read

Ultimate Guide to Visiting Leap Castle 

5 Exotic Scottish Castles: Chronicles of History and Tales Carved in Stone

Top 7 Most Haunted Hotels: The Ultimate Guide to Getting the Heebie-Jeebies

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