You may know that Cornwall is simply bursting at the seams with history — both the good, and the unsavoury.
Unfortunately, all that history comes with its fair share of betrayals, sacrifices, tragedy, and sorrow.
It should be no surprise that these are the perfect ingredients for multiple intensely spooky locations, especially as Cornwall itself is one of the most haunted counties in the entire UK!
If you happen to be somebody who enjoys ghost hunting during your spare time or on holiday, buckle up because this article will cover some of the most haunted locations in Cornwall!
- Nine places that show just how haunted Cornwall actually is
- Some useful historical information while you’re ghost hunting around Cornwall.
If you’re compiling a list of spooky places to visit while you are staying in Cornwall, I highly suggest you take a peek at some of these — if you dare!
St Michael’s Mount
Tucked away in Mount’s Bay lies a tidal island known as St Michael’s Mount, a craggy castle perched upon a hill.
From the beginning of its construction in 1066 AD, this castle has seen its fair share of historical highs and pitfalls. The first construction in the area was done by Mont St Michel in Normandy, which focused on the church at the summit of the island.
Throughout its lifetime, the castle has seen many conflicts and battles such as the War of Roses in 1473 and the Civil War.
Sadly for the individuals who supposedly haunt the island to this day, their final resting place already had a plethora of sadness and blood on its soil.
There have been frequent sightings of a “lady in grey” around the castle grounds in recent times.
This ghost is thought to be the nanny of the St Aubyn family who lived on the island in the 1750s. She met her unfortunate end after she threw herself off the top of the castle, pregnant with a child its father did not want.
Strange sightings of tall, male apparitions have also been recorded on the island, as well as a ghostly monk.
The island isn’t the only place that’s haunted, but also the waters that surround it!
Sailors have recorded hearing the ghostly words of Sarah Polgrain echoing in the sea after she poisoned her husband to be with her lover. The crime was exposed and Sarah was sentenced to death by hanging.
Sarah’s lover then promised to wed her, uttering the words “I will… I will…” before the memory of her death tormented him so much that he threw himself overboard.
Jamaica Inn sits upon the famously haunted Bodmin Moor that’s widely recognized as one of the most beautiful locations to visit in Cornwall.
Rich in both history and ponies, Bodmin Moor’s roughly 200-square-kilometre area holds outstanding beauty and hides some dark secrets of the past.
The inn was first built in 1750 and was used as an old-fashioned bed & breakfast for weary travellers on the road.
It became common for smugglers to take advantage of this inn while smuggling contraband such as tea and brandy into the UK from the Cornish coast.
Visitors have recorded hearing horses pulling heavy carriages alongside the inn at night, only to find none in sight when looking outside to check the commotion.
A commonly seen apparition within the inn is a man in a large cloak and hat wandering the halls before disappearing into closed doors. With any luck, you’ll also get to experience these ghosts on your own visit to the inn like many others before you!
When ghost-hunting through the Jamaica Inn, be sure to check the Smugglers’ Bar, Stable Bar, and Room Four. These are the locations that the Ghost Society deemed to be the most haunted through the use of technology.
The haunted woodland of Kennall Vale is sure to stun you with its ethereal beauty.
This area of river and woodland was once used for over 100 years as the site of gunpowder works from the early 1810s through to 1910.
After consistently churning out up to 5,000 barrels of gunpowder annually, the works eventually fell to ruin following the ongoing occurrence of accident and death reports.
During the years when this site was active, countless men were involved in accidents that resulted in bad burns all over their bodies, and there were at least six workers who passed away from workplace injuries.
Within the past two decades, mediums have communicated with the ghosts of both a young boy and a Spaniard who claimed that they had died in explosions during the gunpowder production era.
“Shadow people” have also been spotted hiding amongst the trees in this area, and these are thought to be apparitions of those who died in the many tragic incidents that happened there in the past.
If you wish to visit Kennall Vale, there is a walking track through the woods that will take you on a reasonably flat route for about 1.5 hours.
Whether you choose to enter during the “safe” hours of daylight or to make your way through the trees under the cover of night is up to you!
It’s a hard ask to find a spookier haunted location than an old, grimy, Victorian prison!
Bodmin Jail is now known as a successful tourist attraction, but it wasn’t like that for everyone who passed through its walls.
Bodmin Jail was built in 1779 by King George III using the labour of prisoners to haul around 20,000 tonnes of granite from Bodwin’s Coocoo Quarry.
Resonating a very “uncomfortable feeling”, there is the ghost of an old woman who haunts the halls and corridors of the Bodmin Jail.
Often showing herself to visitors walking through this old jail, she has even been caught on camera by the Bodmin Jail Hotel’s Paranormal Manager in 2021.
If you aren’t faint of heart, be sure to take a look at the Victorian hanging shed on the property – the site that witnessed the last hanging carried out in Cornwall.
This 4.5-metre pit has been fully restored and is a humbling reminder of how far the justice system has come.
With such a history, there’s no doubt that many ghosts still walk those corridors – remaining confined in Bodmin Jail even after death.
Hearing “Cornwall’s most haunted castle” should prick your ears as a ghost hunter – which is exactly why you should pay a visit to Pengersick Castle if you’re a fan of all things spooky!
While this castle is undoubtedly beautiful and mystical to look at, this historical site is a place of much woe and despair.
A man named Millaton erected the castle as a defensive tower in 1510, and he attempted to escape justice after committing a murder.
Against all odds, he managed to remain hidden from the law and ended up dying in the tower. He spent his life hiding and never left the tower’s walls for longer than a short stroll.
The defensive structure was then converted further into a fortified manor house in 1530 before being abandoned and left as part of the Godolphin family’s estate.
Ghost-hunting experts believe there to be around 20 separate entities residing within the castle. Guests who visit the property report issues with technology such as their cameras or flashlights, even when they have brand-new batteries inside them.
Two of the most commonly seen ghosts in Pengersick Castle are a monk within the forest at the end of the garden and a woman standing in the windows staring out into the sky.
This castle is now used for weddings and other functions, but if you’re a keen paranormal enthusiast you should definitely add it to your list of haunted locations to visit in Cornwall!
Chapel Street, Penzance
Penzance is a historical market town found to the far west of Cornwall. Known as the most haunted street in the county, you should hesitate about giving this location a miss!
The ghost stories spoken about within the town originate from Penzance’s tragic past, which includes deadly tsunamis, pirate raidings, the plague, and attacks from the Spanish Armada.
If you choose to take a stroll through Chapel Street at night, you better remember to carry your wits with you.
If you want to see the ghost of an old woman shot to death in her apple orchard, head to Turk’s Head Pub for your highest chance of a sighting.
Mrs Baines may just be waiting for you there, wearing the same nightgown she wore during her death whilst trying to prevent thieving children from stealing her beloved apples.
St Mary’s Church is another haunted location on Chapel Street that you should visit.
Ghostly funeral processions have been seen in the church’s graveyard at night, so explore it if you dare. Don’t forget to bring a torch and your camera in case you witness any paranormal activity!
Tintagel is an area of Cornish land that has been occupied by the Romans from the third to fourth centuries, but it wasn’t made famous until it was named the place of King Arthur’s birth in the twelfth century.
The Tintagel Castle itself was built in 1233 AD by the youngest brother of Henry III — Richard, Earl of Cornwall.
Richard is said to have purchased this piece of mostly unusable land due to the legend of King Arthur in an attempt to “tie himself” into its myths and histories.
Beneath the castle within the rocks lies Merlin’s Cave, a 100-metre natural cave that’s only accessible when the tide is low.
Merlin was a prophet in the twelfth century who supposedly assisted with transforming a man into the exact likeness of another in order to sneak him into the castle.
According to legend, Merlin used to live in the cave, and his ghost is still known to haunt it to this day. Be extremely cautious when venturing beneath the craggy cliff into the cavern as English tides can begin to come in faster than you’d expect.
Aside from this castle being a haunted location, the history tied to it is super interesting, and you’ll definitely want to bring your camera along on your visit!
Prideaux Place is one of the oldest habitable homes in the West Country — and its residents?
There have been many sightings of ghosts and spirits within this house, including a ghost dog who attempts to guard the bed within the Park Room.
Within the scullery of the house, a young boy is said to dart around the room. It’s been said that he lived in Prideaux Place at some point in the past.
There are also a few different women who have been seen traipsing around the manor in different rooms such as the drawing room, the great chamber, and the main staircase.
Prideaux Place makes for an exciting stop for ghost hunting, if you’re up for the challenge — just don’t believe that everyone around you in the house is still alive…
King Henry VIII built Pendennis Castle as an artillery fort to guard the mouth of the Fal estuary back in 1539.
In the centuries since then, the castle has been harbouring not just guns and weaponry, but also a curious number of unseen residents.
Perhaps the most well-known ghost in the castle is Maud, a maid who once fell to her death from the staircase. Many visitors have described her as being quite loud, so you likely won’t miss it when she makes her presence known!
There are also reports of the sound of footsteps on a staircase near the Tudor kitchen – even though the area has already long been closed.
Keep your eyes peeled when visiting the half-moon battery, because you just might glimpse disembodied boots walking by themselves…
For daring visitors who love the thrill of paranormal experiences, ghost tours are organized at Pendennis Castle. It’s a great way to learn more about the site’s history while also having the chance of experiencing so much more!
The Bottom Line
This list of haunted locations in Cornwall is definitely not extensive, but it has hopefully sparked some excitement and motivation towards ghost hunting during your time in the county.
After all, it’s not every day that you get such a plethora of spooky places to explore in such close proximity to one another!
Remember to always respect the locations you are visiting, especially as Cornwall is home to many historical buildings and sites.
If you’re fortunate enough, you’ll get your fill of scary experiences during your visits to the castles, hotels, landmarks, and other haunted areas!
As you set out, we wish you the best of luck with your ghost hunt; you are without a doubt far braver than most.
Introducing Eliot, the Editor here and Cornwall local with a wanderlust spirit and an insatiable appetite for adventure. With a passion for the great outdoors, he can often be found catching waves on his surfboard, scaling peaks on a hiking trail, or discovering hidden gems in his exploration of Cornwall.