From haunted vaults underneath the city streets, to tales of grave robbers, witch hunters, cannibals and executioners, Edinburgh is shrouded in myth and mystery with a truly terrifying history and the town is bursting at its eery seams with alarming activities this Halloween.
First things first is to choose the right place to stay — it is important to be just a short broom-ride from the ghostly goings on and be in a haven away from any hellish happenings. The Balmoral, part of The Rocco Forte Collection, boasts the city’s finest address at Number One Princes Street and many rooms have views of the now beautiful Princes Street Gardens which was once a deadly swamp…and the location for many a witch drowning.
Here are the hotel’s top Halloweens must-dos:
Barbaric savagery, putrid disease, inhumane medical practices and horrifying myth are all lurking in the Dungeon depths! Absolutely not for the squeamish, the Dungeon spills all of Edinburgh’s horrendous past including the infamous Haunted Labyrinth, a dark and terrifying maze of catacombs that stretches from beneath the Castle, under the Royal Mile and away into the eerie unknown.
The 31st October sees Edinburgh play host to the biggest Halloween event in the UK as The Beltane Society presents the Samhuinn Festival. This spectacular procession of music, folk dance, physical theatre and pyrotechnics will illuminate the city as the macabre medieval pageant winds its way down the Royal Mile in a modern rendition of a traditional Galoshins folk play. See the court of the Summer King vanquished by that of the Winter King, whose own court chases out the remnants of the light half of the year in a triumphant cacophony of fireworks.
Mercat Tours of Edinburgh provides some of the best ghost and history tours in Scotland which are at their petrifying pinnacle during the Hallowe’en Festival. Dramatically cloaked guides lead visitors down the narrow closes and wynds off the Royal Mile in Edinburgh’s medieval Old Town focusing on the ghastly, gory, grisly, gruesome and the ghostly – truly terrifying stuff!