Tudor Places of Great Britain Book Tour: Tall Tales and Ghost Stories

Best-selling author and Tudor Society founder  Claire Ridgway joins us today to kick off the book tour for her brand new book! Tudor Places of Great Britain lists over 175 historical sites connected to the Tudor monarchs and important historical figures, from palaces to merchant houses to monastic ruins. Each listing is accompanied by descriptions and highlights, full address and website details so you can plan your trek across historical Tudor England. And now Claire will tell us all about Tudor places that have some spooky inhabitants…

Tall Tales and Ghost Stories by Claire Ridgway

Blickling Hall © Christine Matthews

Blickling Hall

Blickling Hall in Norfolk is the probable birth place of Queen Anne Boleyn and although the original Boleyn manor house no longer exists, the Jacobean house built on its site is said to be haunted by Anne every year on 19th May, the anniversary of her execution. Apparently, a carriage pulled by headless horses with a headless coachman arrives at the hall and a headless Anne Boleyn gets out carrying her severed head. The ghostly Anne then roams the hall’s corridors until daybreak, when she disappears.

Blickling Hall is also said to be haunted by Thomas Boleyn, father of Anne, on the date of Anne’s execution. Thomas Boleyn died in 1539 and legend has it that as penance for the untimely deaths of two of his children he must cross twelve bridges before cock-crow on 19th May. With his ghostly coach of headless horses, he starts at Blickling and crosses bridges at Aylsham, Belaugh, Burg, Buxton, Coltishall, Hautbois, Meyton, Oxnead and Wroxham.


Whitby Abbey

If you visit Whitby Abbey in Yorkshire, you will understand just why its beautiful and atmospheric ruins were used as settings for scenes in Bram Stoker’s Gothic masterpiece Dracula. Stoker was inspired by the imposing ruins and the ancient Whitby legend of the monstrous black dog, or barguest, which leapt ashore as Russian schooner The Demetrios (renamed the Demeter by Stoker) sank in the turbulent seas beneath the abbey. The dog was said to have run up the 199 steps to the graveyard beside the abbey and then disappeared among the dead. It is also said that the barguest roams the North Yorkshire moors and that anyone who is unlucky enough to hear it howling will be dead by dawn. It may well have been the inspiration for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Hound of the Baskervilles.


Furness Abbey

The stunning ruins of Furness Abbey are located just outside the town of Barrow-in-Furness in the picturesque Cumbrian countryside. The abbey’s lovely ruins and peaceful location give the site a tranquil and mysterious atmosphere, due in part to the many supernatural legends surrounding the location. At least three ghosts are said to haunt the ruins and it is even said that the Holy Grail and King John’s missing jewels are hidden in its secret passages.


Ordsall Hall

This lovely black-and-white half-timbered manor house in Salford has several ghosts: the White Lady, who is said to haunt the great hall and star chamber; the ghost of Sir John Radclyffe, a previous owner; and the ghost of Cecily, whose presence is always accompanied by the fragrance of roses.


Tower of London

The Tower of London is famous for being the site of much bloodshed and for being the prison of many hundreds, if not thousands, of people since it was first built by William the Conqueror in the late 11th century. It is little wonder, therefore, that it is haunted by a multitude of ghosts.

    • The Princes in the Tower – In the 15th century it was reported that guards saw the shadows of two children gliding down the stairs of the Bloody Tower before the children, dressed in white nightgowns and holding hands, then appeared in front of the men. The guards believed them to be the ghosts of Edward V and his brother Richard, Duke of York, who had disappeared while being held at the Tower of London. In 1674, the skeletons of two children were found at the Tower and it was believed that they were the remains of the princes.
    • Arbella Stuart – Arbella, or Arabella, Stuart, cousin of James I, was imprisoned in the Tower of London after hatching a plan to allow her husband, William Seymour, to escape from the Tower. After five years of imprisonment in the Tower, Arbella gave up hope and refused to eat, dying in September 1615. Arbella is said to haunt the Queen’s House of the Tower of London.
    • Sir Walter Ralegh – It is said that the ghost of Sir Walter Ralegh, who was imprisoned in the Bloody Tower and executed in 1618, appeared at least three times between 1620 and 1705 “to uphold the honour of his Protestant country against the threat of Catholicism”. He has also been seen wandering around the Tower.
    • A phantom bear once scared a guard quite literally to death after appearing near the Martin Tower.
    • Henry VI – The king who is believed to have been killed on Edward IV’s orders in 1471, while imprisoned in the Tower of London, is said to pace around the Wakefield Tower just before midnight on the anniversary of his death. When the clock strikes twelve he gradually disappears.
    • Lady Jane Grey – On 12th February 1957, the anniversary of her execution, two guardsmen saw a white shape on the battlements which they believed to be Lady Jane. Her husband Guildford Dudley has also allegedly been seen, sobbing in the Beauchamp Tower.
    • Anne Boleyn has been spotted at the Tower on various occasions. In 1817, a sentry is said to have died of a heart attack after being confronted by Anne’s ghost on a stairway and in 1864 a soldier from the King’s Royal Rifle Corps, who was being court-martialed for falling asleep on duty, claimed that he had been knocked unconscious after being accosted by a woman wearing a Tudor gown and French hood. When he challenged her, the woman carried on walking towards him and he realised that there was no head in the hood. He charged at her with his bayonet out, but he passed straight through her “body”. A jolt, like an electric shock, knocked him out. His story was corroborated by two of his colleagues. 
A ghostly Anne has also been seen leading a procession of knights and ladies down the aisle of the Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula, the Tower’s Chapel Royal and Anne’s resting place. This spectacle was seen by a Captain of the Guard in the 19th century, who saw a light in the Chapel but found the door locked. When he took a ladder to the Chapel windows to see what was going on, he saw the ghostly procession, which disappeared after processing down the aisle several times.


Hampton Court Palace

Jane Seymour and Catherine Howard, Henry VIII’s third and fifth wives, are said to haunt Hampton Court Palace. Jane’s white form has been seen carrying a lighted taper and walking through Clock Court’s cobbled courtyard on or around 12 October, the anniversary of the birth of her son Edward VI. Jane died twelve days after her son’s birth. 
According to popular legend, Catherine Howard managed to escape from her imprisonment in her chamber at Hampton Court Palace in 1541 and ran down the gallery to try and speak to the King who was at Mass in his chapel. She was caught before she had chance to explain herself to the King and she was taken back to her chamber screaming. That is apparently why a ghostly form is seen drifting down the gallery, now known as the Haunted Gallery, with a “ghastly look of despair” on its face and making “the most unearthly shrieks.”
Another Hampton Court Palace ghost is that of Sibell Penn, Edward VI’s former wet-nurse, who has been sighted on numerous occasions as a “lady in grey” since nearby Hampton Church was pulled down in 1829 and her remains were disturbed.

When I visited Hampton Court Palace a few years ago, my guide told me that the ghost of a little dog has also been seen in the Wolsey Closet of the Palace, and, I suspect you’ve seen the video of the ghostly figure, that’s been nicknamed “Skeletor”, caught on CCTV camera opening a security door at the palace back in 2003.
Those are just some of the ghosts that haunt British historic places and there are many more. Most properties seem to have a grey lady or two in residence!

Blickling Hall © Christine Matthews
Whitby Abbey reflection © Rob Farrow
Furness Abbey © David Jackson
Muncaster Castle © Alexander P Kapp
Orsdall Hall ©David Dixon
The White Tower ©Colin Smith
Anne Boleyn’s Gateway, Hampton Court Palace © John S. Turner

Win a copy of Tudor Places of Great Britain!

We have one copy of Tudor Places of Great Britain to give away courtesy of MadeGlobal Publishing. Just leave a comment below telling us which Tudor Palace you would like to visit, or have enjoyed visiting before.

Entries close on Sunday Dec 8th at midnight. Winners have five days to respond. Be sure to check out all the stops on the Tudor Places of Great Britain book tour.


Tudor Places of Great Britain
tudor_places_of_great_britainThe Tudor dynasty ruled from 1485 to 1603 and had a huge impact on England and Wales, not only on society but also on the British landscape.
Henry VIII was a keen builder, building and renovating properties to serve as pleasure palaces, but his Dissolution of the Monasteries also led to historic properties falling into ruin. Tudor favourites spent their new-found wealth building lavish mansions or converting castles into sumptuous manor houses as statements of their success and to impress the visiting monarch.
In Tudor Places of Great Britain, Tudor history author and founder of the Tudor Society Claire Ridgway guides the reader through properties linked to Tudor monarchs and prominent people of the time, from impressive palaces like Hampton Court Palace, through romantic monastic ruins and merchant houses, to unspoilt villages like Lavenham and Weobley. With over 175 listings, which include descriptions and highlights, full address and website details, Tudor Places of Great Britain is a comprehensive guide to British Tudor places.
Meet the Author

Claire-Ridgway-002Claire Ridgway is the author of the best-selling books George Boleyn: Tudor Poet, Courtier And Diplomat (Co-Written With Clare Cherry), On This Day In Tudor History, The Fall Of Anne Boleyn: A Countdown, The Anne Boleyn Collection and The Anne Boleyn Collection II, Sweating Sickness In A Nutshell and Tudor Places Of Great Britain. Claire was also involved in the English translation and editing of Edmond Bapst’s 19th century French biography of George Boleyn and Henry Howard, now available as Two Gentleman Poets At The Court Of Henry VIII.

Claire worked in education and freelance writing before creating The Anne Boleyn Files history website and becoming a full-time history researcher, blogger and author. The Anne Boleyn Files is known for its historical accuracy and Claire’s mission to get to the truth behind Anne Boleyn’s story. Her writing is easy-to-read and conversational, and readers often comment on how reading Claire’s books is like having a coffee with her and chatting about history.

Claire is also the founder of The Tudor Society.



74 Responses

  1. Michael Leaver

    Looks to be a fascinating book to plan a trip to UK with.
    If I ever make the trip to UK it’s hard to go past wanting to visit Hampton Court more then any with the Tower of London a close second.
    But that’s if I really have to choose and can’t visit them all.

    • Jackie Taylor/Barbee/Pruiett

      I would love to visit Hampton Court and Hever Castle! My Grandfater emigrated here from Kent England in the year 1906. His name was Sydney Cole and I have always wanted to get geneology done of the family but lack in funds and don’t know where to start,

    • jacquie

      My choice would have to be Hampton Court Palace. I have been to the very impressive Tower of London. But I will visit them all as I am infatuated with Tudor history.xoxo.?

  2. Edurne

    I’ve always envied England for all the ghhosts stories you have. Just one thing, haver yous een the video of a ghost opening a door in Hampton Court? Do you think it can be true?

    • Claire Ridgway

      Hi Edurne,
      Lovely to see you here! I have seen that video and in my opinion it’s just one of their costumed re-enactors opening the door. I could be wrong though!

  3. Pam

    I would love to Visit the Tower of London. I have never been to England but my 3rd Great Grandparents only left Plymstock in 1882 and me and my mother are saving to visit there and maybe London.

  4. Ashley Ohman

    It is my dream to visit the UK. I want to see all things Tudor but of course most definitely Hampton Court and the Tower of London!

  5. Sam Fishet

    Hampton Court Palace. A place that keeps cropping up in books fiction and non-fiction alike and has grabbed my attention time & time again. Must go there, and now I’m retired I will.

  6. Karen in Breezy Point

    I would love to visit the Tower of London someday, but all of these locations look interesting. Thanks for the chance to win!

  7. Rob Jones

    I recently had a chilly October week on a boat cruising the River Thames. My intent was to visit Hampton Court, a place I used to escort tourists to many years ago but never went in myself. It was more than I expected – I had no idea chocolate was such a prized drink, and I was taken aback to see the sheer size of some of the rooms. A fascinating experience that I will have to repeat.

  8. Amber

    I would love to visit each of these historic Tudor sites. Ghosts and spirits aside the history that happened there is so interesting I would love to go absorb all of the sights.

  9. Wendy Ahl

    Without doubt my favourite Tudor place is Hampton Court Palace – I have been on the behind the scenes tour, rooftop tour, Edward VI apartment tour, grace and favour apartment tour, ghost tour, carol singing and have even slept overnight! I think I need to broaden my horizons and visit some other Tudor places so would love to win a copy of this book.

  10. Jenny

    I have visited Hampton Court Palace and the Tower of London, and I can honestly not decide which one I preferred the most.

    Hampton Court is a little out of the way of London but easily accessible by a train from Waterloo station. It is rich with culture, not just Tudor, but also Stuart and Georgian, and is full of rich décor, vivid paintings and beautiful gardens. It honestly feels like you have stepped back in time as you immerse yourself in the culture of the time. I loved how interactive it was, with costumed actors, mazes and even a real roaring fire in the Tudor kitchens (this was during the autumn and made the atmosphere even more realistic and amazing).

    The Tower of London is very poignant and thoughtful place. I went when the poppies were in the moat and it was one of the most beautiful things I have ever witnessed. There is a glamorous side of the Tower, with the gleaming weapons in the armoury and the gloriously glistening crown jewel collection (worth the entrance fee alone!) but it is also a very sad place full of emotion and turmoil. It was heart breaking to hear some many sad stories, but also very enlightening and even at times peaceful when reflecting over lost lives but knowing that they are now at rest.

    Both are amazing places and I heartily recommend that everybody, not just history or Tudor fans, should visit them if they get the opportunity.

  11. Marsha Terry

    I have visited both the Tower and Hampton Court Palace. When I got back to my hotel that night, I dreamt of a little black dog.

    • Yvonne Drew

      I have been fortunate to visit many of the Tudor sites over the years.
      Each time the visits have made me read more about English and Scots history. To understand the times I think you have to read European history as well. They are so intertwined .

  12. Devon Marie

    This book looks fascinating. I have always wanted to visit Hampton Court Palace. One day, I would love to be able to visit all of the Tudor palaces.

  13. Anne Barnhill

    Oh, these are wonderful stories of Tudor (and other ) ghosts! Thank you! Congratulations on the new book! Of course, I’d LOVE to win a copy so I can plan my (someday) trip to England! All Best to you!

  14. Sherry

    I’ve visited UK before but did not have the opportunity to take the Tudor Tours. If I could go back, I would love to visit Hampton Court Palace!

  15. Anne Marie Bouchard

    We have been to Hampton Court and the Tower. I would have to say of the two Hampton Court took my breath away. Next on my list is Hatfield House on our next trip to England.

  16. Jill

    Living in the USA, I have always had a fascination with Tudor times! I always wanted to visit Hampton Court. The building is absolutely beautiful and haunting at the same time!! So rich with history and stories just waiting to be told!

    I also want to visit the Tower of London. If those walls could speak of the executions that went on there! I still wish the apartments where Anne Boleyn stayed were still standing. I would of loved to see where one of my favorite historical women spent her final days.

  17. Louise Dorst

    I would love to revisit Hampton Court with my husband Gert Slagmolen who’s picture is in July on the tudor calender 2016, to take some more great pictures and perhaps witness the gost appearance

  18. Liz Powell

    I love Kentwell Hall. I have been there twice to the Tudor Re-enactments and they are absolutely fantastic! The hall is stunning, the authenticity is spectacular in every detail, in the costumes, practices and even the way the re-enactors speak to you. There was even a preacher with a ‘fallen angel’ in a jar!! Before you enter, you can exchange some money for Tudor coins, which you can then spend inside the grounds at various stalls selling such things as biscuits or wooden toys. Entrance is through a ‘time tunnel’, mean’t to represent your going back to the past. It is a fabulous experience for everyone who is interested in the tudor period.

  19. Elizabeth

    I have visited the Tower of London-loved it and had an experience in the bloody
    tower. My friend and I all of a sudden felt the room temp drop drastically, then a horrible feeling of dread and evil; needless to say we literally ran out!

  20. Mer

    Hampton Court Palace was a “bucket list” item for me. Went on a quiet day. Magic. Hever Castle is next on the list!

  21. Liz Evans

    Looks like another fascinating book by Claire. Just added more stops to my itinerary for my trip in May

  22. star

    Hello Claire ,
    Any fan of the Tudors wants to visit Hampton Court . All of the historic places you mentioned would be worth a visit . Hampton Court is where I would like to visit .

  23. Sarah

    My fiancé and I will be heading to England for our honeymoon, as history buffs we can’t go past the tower of londen with its amazing and colorful history.

  24. Cora Sutherland

    I have visited the Tower and was fascinated. History comes alive for me when I visit historical sites such as the Tower. One place I loved and remember well is Hatfield House. Where Anne’s daughter Elizabeth lived away from court during her sister Mary’s reign. When I was there I could imagine Elizabeth beside a huge tree when she received Mary’s ring and was Queen of England. Anne’s daughter went from there to become to me history’s most fascinating monarch.

  25. Katherine

    If I ever got to travel to England I would have to visit all of these places, though The Tower of London would be on the top of the list seconded by Hampton Court Palace!

  26. Jillian Neyhart

    I would love to visit Hampton Court. It is the setting of many Tudor books I have read. I am also interested in the various ghosts that have been spotted there. This entire book looks fascinating. Thanks for giving one away to a lucky fan!

  27. Shane

    I really want to visit Hampton Court, with Blickling Hall coming a close second.

  28. Elizabeth Hatanaka

    The Tower of London is one of the many places that I would love to visit in the future. It is so much fun to get to learn about the history of these amazing places. Thank you!!

  29. Caren

    My daughter and I are both Tudor addicts! Would live to be able to visit all the sites with her it would be so special!!

  30. Sarah Contreras

    I am fascinated by the Tudor Era and would love to visit Hampton court and the Tower of London seeing as there is so much history and both of those places.

  31. Dennine Odom

    I have a visit planned in June and Hampton Court palace is at the top of my list. This book would really come in handy for planning my trip of a lifetime. Thanks!

  32. Wendy

    What Castle to visit? I would want to see them all, the above article is very interesting guess Queen Anne Boleyn hold a lot of interest, would love to get hold of this book is it available in Australia?

  33. John Topping

    Hampton Court is my favourite iconic structure of Tudor design,
    Showing how the rich and famous lived and dined.
    From ghosts that go haunting,
    the grandeur and history of this palace is truly daunting.

  34. Barbara

    I would love to visit Hampton Court it is so rich in Tudor history. Oh to be able to walk where King Henry VIII , and his wives, and courtiers walked ,and to feel their emotions would be so grand. The White tower, Blickling Hall, Hever Castle, so many wonderful places to visit and enjoy are all places on my bucket list of must do adventures.

  35. Sara

    Glastonbury Abbey..I used to live about 45 mins away but the only times it occurred to me to visit was during the rock festival and so I always forgot for another 12months..

  36. Maureen

    I love th wonderful history of England. I have been to the Tower of London and Whitby Abbey. I would love to see Hampton Court

  37. Marjorie Lytle

    Hampton Court would be my choice. that place takes you back in time. I was there and you can feel the past as you walk around.

  38. Sallie

    I would so love to visit all of the castles in particular the Tower of London and Whitby Abbey. All of the UK with its history and stories if ghosts has intrigued me for years!

  39. Jackalyn hirniak

    I’d love to see Hampton court and hever I’m a huge Tudor fan and Anne Boleyn is my favourite queen

  40. Cynthia Clark

    I’m waiting for my husband to retire, then we’re coming to England. I’ll probably cry when the plane lands. I’ve been waiting for it for 45 years. LOL Gee, I suppose the Tower of London will be our first stop. Hampton Court our second.

  41. Daniela

    Hever Castle in Kent I visit on a regular occasion. It’s so beautiful, the history fascinates me, especially the courtship of Henry and Anne. The Italian gardens are lovely all year round. Great facilities if you have a young family too. I love it!!

  42. Julie Thomas

    Would love to visit Hampton Court Palace. My 10 year old son adores Tudor history and want to encourage his passion!

  43. Stephanie

    I love Tudor history! I’ve been hoping to visit England and tour Tudor palaces since I started reading historical fiction from the era. Would love to see Hampton Court, Windsor Palace, and of course the Tower!

  44. Jesse

    I have been to the tower and to Hampton Court but didn’t know about all the ghosts! A great excuse to go back!

  45. Sharon

    I would love to visit all of these places. Hever and Hampton Court are tied for first place on my list. Then the Tower of London. Congratulations on your book Claire. Looking forward to reading it.

  46. Barbro

    If I had to chose, I think I would choose Blickling Hall. BUt I would also love to see Hever Castle. I am planning a roundtrip in England next summer with my daughter and this book would be an ideal companion.

  47. Underdogge

    I live in the UK so I suppose I have a bit of a head start over people from overseas for seeing these places. There are still many places I haven’t seen though. I worked and lived in London for a time and saw the Tower and Hampton Court Palace – and less well known, Sutton House in Hackney. One of the guides explained that when it was built Hackney was open country – of course it is a busy London borough nowadays. Now that I’m back in the English midlands, a few miles down the road is Tixall Gatehouse (more or less a shell for many years after a fire) where Mary Queen of Scots was interned albeit for a relatively short time – in the early 1990s some posh “mews” houses were built abutting the Gatehouse; out of my price bracket though. Then in the town of Stafford there is the “Ancient High House” Most of it is a museum now – but people can get married there, though of course they have to book beforehand (I would imagine quite a long time beforehand but I’ve never tried to get married there!). On the eastern side of Birmingham (in the suburbs but the ‘built up’ suburbs) is Blakesley Hall museum – though I haven’t been there for over 40 years though I did like it. I don’t know if there are any ghost stories there. Another one I visited a long time ago was Rufford Old Hall in Lancashire but do you know, although my Dad’s side came from near Liverpool (well it would be “Greater Liverpool”) now – I have never visited Speke Hall – it’s on the “to do” list.

  48. Underdogge

    My previous post was a bit long – but I forgot to ask, does Claire think that the story about the man seeing the hood without a head inspired the song “WIth ‘er ‘ead tucked underneath ‘er arm” (which I mentioned some time ago on another thread)? Wikipedia says the song was written in 1934 which was of course a very long time – centuries – after the original incident.

    • Claire Ridgway

      Hi Underdogge,
      I don’t know for sure, but I expect the incident did inspire the song as it was a well-known story.
      I don’t know Tixall Gatehouse so I’ll have to look into that one – thank you!

      • Underdogge

        Well as I say it’s been a shell for many, many years.

      • Underdogge

        I was wrong about Tixall Gatehouse still being a shell – and I have mentioned this on “The Anne Boleyn Files” as well. It’s been renovated and is now a plush hotel.

  49. Eliza

    I have visited the Tower of London twice and Hampton Court Palace once and I would gladly visit both again!

    It was an amazing experience, almost magical… To be able to walk there, visit the Chapels, the buildings, the gardens… Simply amazing!

  50. James Mewborn

    It’s been a number of years since my wife and I visited Britain, but reading even the summaries in this article makes me want to go back. As a member of the Tudor Society and a fan of Claire Ridgway’s writings, I would love to win this book.

  51. Adrienne Dillard

    I want to see them all! Hampton Court and the Tower especially, but the place I really want to see is Rotherfield Grey’s. It’s at the very top of the list 🙂

  52. Carol Nichols

    I loved the Tower. I spent my one day in London in the Tower with my daughter on the way to her graduation in Sheffield. It was fascinating to see the actual place after all the books. I wish I had taken the guided tour, but was happy to take pictures and watch. Hampton Court would be my next to visit.

  53. Daniel Morris

    I would love to see the Tower and Hampton court because I don’t remember them that well and as I am returning to England on Monday I hope to see them always have loved the Tudor buildings

  54. Jessica Ashbrooke

    Hampton court palace and Definatley have to see where Henry Tudor is buried

  55. Gail Marie

    I would never get tired of visiting Hampton Court Palace, there is so much to see. I have visited twice and still have not been able to see the tennis court as it was closed both times. The last time, we went in the maze and found our way out which was a lot of fun.

  56. Denise Duvall

    I would love to visit them all, but if I had to choose just one, it would be Hampton Court.Just because there have been so any documentaries of all the people who lived there. It looks like a beautiful place.

  57. Nancy Smith

    My favorite place of the listed places, and my favorite place of all my travels, is the Tower of London. It’s history is fascinating, and I’m touched by the little chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula where Anne Boleyn (along with many other unfortunates) is buried

  58. Janette Putland

    Furness Abbey would be my first Choice. I would love to see the Cumbrian Landscape with my own eyes and Furness Abbey’s grey ruins contrasted against the picturesque green meadows. One of many Tudor Castles these remnants intrigues me with the mystery of hidden passages and the myth making sorrow ding our Lord’s Holy Grail would be sublime and excites me greatly.

  59. Olga Hughes

    Entries are now closed. Thanks to everyone for entering and congratulations to James. Enjoy your copy of ‘Tudor Places of Great Britain’!


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