The county is packed full of hidden gems that you absolutely have to visit. And there are so many things you simply must do or try or see one day.
But some of the stories behind Kent’s most notable places are a little more sinister. In fact, there are an abundance of ghost tales that have been retold time and time again over the years.
Whether you believe in paranormal activity or not, some of these stories are truly chilling. And while some of these places may look unremarkably an unsuspecting, the tales behind them are less so. Some even have spooky stories to match their grand exterior.
Either way, it’s safe to say some of these stories are chilling enough to keep you away when the nights draw in. These are Kent’s most haunted buildings and the freaky goings on that have been reported over the years.
There’s not just one scary story attached to Dover’s iconic castle. The apparition of a woman in a red dress has been seen within the stone walls of the old keep.
A cavalier has also been spotted in the area. In the so-called secret underground tunnels, ghosts of Second World War soldiers have been seen and felt, going about their daily duties by numerous tourists.
It was in these tunnels that a couple heard violent screams and cries for help. Under the impression the spooky noises were part of a planned event, they were startled when they were told by staff there were no such things happening that day.
These soldiers are said to be escapees from Dunkirk and one figure in khaki, with a blurred face, was seen walking purposefully along a corridor in 2013. The Arthurian hero Sir Gawain is also reportedly buried here.
The battlements of Dover Castle are also thought to be haunted by the headless spirit of a drummer boy who was murdered during an errand involving a large sum of money.
It is believed the boy was decapitated by thieves who stole money that he was carrying.
His headless ghost has been seen a number of times across the castle grounds, often heard banging his drum purposefully.
Disembodied voices have been heard during the night, doors have often been witnessed opening and closing of their own accord. Sudden unexplained drops in temperature has also been reported.
According to HauntedRooms.co.uk, a camera crew that was walking past the castle keep once heard a loud scream, coming from the battlements above, as if someone had flung themselves over the edge to their death.
Convinced someone was falling towards them, they jumped for cover. Moments later, the scream ceased, but no body hit the floor.
St Bartholomews Hospital, Rochester
A woman has been ‘seen to walk through the wall in one of the side rooms’.
The most sinister story, retold the same way, involves a little crying boy, aged six to eight, with brown hair and a tatty white shirt, grey sleeveless pullover, grey short trousers, and long socks, which are down by his ankles.
They claim he always seeks his mum or dad and his appearance usually meant there was going to be a death on one of the wards.
One of the Medway’s best known tourist attractions is home to a ghost by the name of Lady Blanche de Warenne. In 1264 the castle was under seige by the rebel, Simon de Montfort, when Blanche fled to the top of the building. Wrong move.
She died after she was pierced in the breast by an arrow. Now, mysterious footsteps are said to be heard in the castle to this day.
Hoo St Werburgh, Parish Church
The headless remains of a teenager, thought to be around 700 years old, were uncovered over two years in the grounds back in 2005. The grim discovery, according to the Daily Mail, was made by archaeologist Dr Paul Wilkinson, director of the Kent Archaeological Field School.
She is believed to be a witch because her head was found next to her body.
The number of ghosts supposedly spotted ranges from the sailor stomping around aboard HMS Gannet and the Spanish-looking man wandering around the exhibitions late at night. There are also rumours that one worker was filming the Commissioner’s House and caught the ghost of a young girl looking out the window…
Theatre Royal, Chatham
A ghost is said to haunt the Theatre Royal, Chatham, with several sightings in the 20th century. The paranormal being was seen watching shows. If he likes it, he will stay. If not, he will stand up and walk out.
The building is also said to be haunted by a woman in a long evening dress, and others said they have experienced mild poltergeist activity in the building.
Building on Hawks Lane, Canterbury
John Hippisley, who runs the Canterbury ghost tour, tells the story of Abigail. She committed suicide after several years of being beaten by her husband.
Abigail ultimately had the last laugh, as her death was mistaken as a murder for which her husband was found guilty and hanged. Her spirit is said to linger in the upper part of the building.
The twelfth century cathedral is a famous pilgrimage site where Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury from 1161 to 1170, was murdered.
However, the ghost of another murdered Archbishop, Simon Sudbury, is said to walk the Cathedral.
Killed by Wat Tyler, the head of the Peasant’s revolt, in 1381, Sudbury’s pale and bearded ghost haunts the tower named after him.
Interestingly, despite the fact that the ex-Archbishop’s head was buried in a different place from his body, he does not appear as a headless ghost.
He actually appears as a solitary figure, dressed in grey robes and is often seen haunting a bedroom in the tower, reportedly tucking the occupant in at night.
There is a passage in the cathedral known as the ‘Dark Entry’ which is thought to be haunted by the ghost of Nell Cook, who was a servant of a canon (priest) at the cathedral.
Nell was furious with her boss after discovering his affair, she poisoned the canon and his mistress with tainted food.
As punishment for her crime, Nell was buried alive beneath the ‘Dark Entry’ and her spirit haunts the passageway on dark Friday evenings.
According to legend, anyone who is unfortunate enough to see the ghost of Nell Cook will die soon after.
The cathedral is also said to be haunted by a monk who can be seen walking in the cloisters with a thoughtful expression on his face.
The Grand, Folkestone
A ghost has long been thought to haunt the dining room of The Grand hotel. One recent reviewer on TripAdvisor wrote: “I swear on my life, someone was in the other bed in my twin room.
“The next morning, I looked over to the other bed, but it had not been slept in, but I know what I saw.”
Leas Pavilion, Folkestone
The Edwardian building has been out of use since 2007. The old theatre and nightclub is said to be haunted by the ghost of a former elderly caretaker who hung himself inside the building.
Apparently his out of control gambling habits had led him to commit suicide, according to Janet Cameron’s book Haunted Kent. Former members of staff have reported feeling his presence in the listed building, especially inside the old dressing room.
Doors are said to open and close with no explanation and equipment would move before performances to where they needed o be – almost as if the ghost of the old man was trying to aid the staff.
Southcliff Hotel, Folkestone
The hotel is thought to be haunted by the ghost of a former owner of the building, a soldier, who now frequents the right hand side of the site.
Grand Burstin, Folkestone
A woman called Mary was brutally murdered after refusing the advantages of one of the chefs at her work place.
Her ghost is said to haunt the Burstin Hotel, former Royal Pavilion Hotel.
Her ghost appears, reflected in mirrors and glass, wearing a white dress with long flowing, black curly hair.
The Dukes Head, Hythe
The ghost of an old man has been frequently spotted strolling around the pub and has even been named ‘George’ by those that have met him!
Shurland Hall, Isle of Sheppey
If you hang around Shurland Hall around midnight, you just might be unlucky enough to come across a ghostly lady wearing black silk.
She is said to be Grace Davis, a woman who drowned herself in the pond there in 1769.
On Sheerness Docks, as a shiphand was walking towards the custom buildings, he claimed he saw a tall apparition in Elizabethan clothing walking ABOVE the road.
As the ghost reached the Garrison Port Fort he passed through the wall, disappearing completely.
Wellesley House School, Broadstairs
In the early twentieth century author Dennis Wheatley encountered a man with a white, bloated face while boarding at a school in Broadstairs – thought to be Wellesley House.
He thought the figure was a burglar, and a hunt ensured on the property after his sighting.
However, the figure had disappeared, leaving no trace.
A few years later, during the First World War, Wheatley was told the figure he encountered was an elemental, accidentally summoned by the headmasters.
Theatre Royal, Ramsgate
Originally built in 1787, it is the oldest in Kent and the second oldest in England – and is reputedly the most haunted in the country..
The original theatre burned down in 1829, and was rebuilt in 1879.
And news of hauntings began to surface in 1918, when the ghost of actor-manager Sarah Thorne was seen. Paranormal activity is said to be more concentrated around a trapdoor in the theatre that leads to what was once a smuggler’s cave.
Ghostly goings on have also been reported both onstage and backstage, and in one of the boxes, where a man jumped to his death during a performance.
There are conflicting reports about the suicidal gentleman, but he was possibly an actor. Another thespian ghost is reputed to be responsible for creating strange floating lights around the stage.
Strange goings on are commonplace at the theatre. In 1966, Alfred Tanner, who was working on its redecoration, encountered several spooky happenings including strange noises, and the apparition of a ghostly head.
Ramhurst Manor, Leigh
Ramhurst Manor house in Leigh is said to be haunted by several ghosts, with sightings dating back to the 19th century. Servants in the 1800s said they could hear strange noises, whispers and the rustling of silk, despite the house being completely empty.
A medium was eventually called, who said the ghosts stood by the front door and wanted to be released from the property.
Every castle has a ghost story or two, and Chiddingstone is no exception. A female ghost riding a horse is said to haunt the lanes around the castle, recognisable by her three corner hat.
She disappears when she reaches the site, but her origins remain unknown.
Hever village and castle are said to be haunted by several ghosts including Henry VIII’s Queen Anne Boleyn. Anne Boleyn’s ghost is said to haunt the castle and its grounds, crossing the bridge once a year on Christmas Eve.
Her father Thomas Boleyn’s ghost has been seen in the village travelling in a ghostly horse-drawn carriage, and a farmer is also believed to haunt the area after being robbed and murdered in the 16th century.
Knole House, Sevenoaks
Some people believe Knole House is home to the 17th century ghost of the Duchess of Cumberland, Lady Anne Clifford.
Lady Anne married the spendthrift third Earl, Richard Sackville, who bankrupted himself and went to war with his wife’s family. The Lady’s ghost is said to walk the avenue of trees north of the gate house at Knole – now known as Duchess Walk –on windy nights.
Keeping Lady Anne company is the Black Knight, who’s said to roam the older parts of Knole whenever misfortune is about to befall the great house.
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