Everyone likes a good ghost story, right? And out of ‘everyone’ a good percentage of us are fascinated enough to visit a haunted house/castle/gas station (do ghosts haunt gas stations?) once in our lives. But when it comes down to people who would be willing to actually spend a night in the aforementioned haunted house/castle/gas station (do they let you sleep in gas stations??) the numbers dwindle. Never fear! Here is our handy-dandy guide of 5 Ghost-Free hostels conveniently located near some super-ridiculous haunted Scottish castles.
5) Whitefalls Retreat-Hikers Bothy (Located near Eilean Donan Castle)
Located 7 miles outside of Dornie, this is a perfect place for hikers, naturalists, and those who want to spend some quiet time away from the hustle and bustle of city life. This is a ‘bring your own food, in your own car’ kind of place, but it does come equipped with hot showers, a BBQ pit, and no curfew (for those who want to wander the hills after dark). Even more importantly it’s located near this:
Eilean Donan Castle, which couldn’t look more haunted if it tried. Originally built in the 13th century, this castle has a long and eventful history which has resulted in its current ghostly residents: the Spanish Soldier and Lady Mary. You won’t even have to venture into the depths of the dungeons to meet them! The Spanish Soldier is known to show up in the gift shop with his head under his arm.
4) Aberdeen Youth Hostel (Located Near Balmoral Castle)
Though the Aberdeen Youth Hostel may LOOK haunted, don’t worry, it’s specter-free. Operating out of an epic historic building in the heart of Aberdeen, this hostel offers all the amenities (internet, free parking, easy access to the downtown night life) that a ghost hunter will need to relax after visiting:
Balmoral Castle, home of the Queen herself. Though more commonly known as a quiet retreat for the royals since the time of Victoria and Albert, Balmoral has a spooky past. The most famous ghost even has a name, John Brown. (Okay, not super original, but still, that’s his name) A longtime servant at the castle, and easily identifiable by his kilt, John Brown has been spotted by none other than Elizabeth II, herself. Could it be he’s still waiting to serve his Queen (and rumored lover) Victoria?
3) High Street Hostel (Located Near Edinburgh Castle)
Fun fact: The original owner of this 470 year-old building was beheaded in 1581 for straight-up murdering the Queen’s husband. Luckily for the future owners, he decided not to dwell on it and moved on into the afterlife. Now, what was previously known as Morton House is a bustling hostel, providing free Wi-fi, laundry facilities, and free hot chocolate! Oh, and it has the benefit of being located conveniently near:
Edinburgh Castle. Don’t let the cheerful fireworks fool you, this castle has been the site of some of the worst battles and goriest deaths in Scotland’s history. (The site has been around since 850 BC mind you, they’ve had a few millennia to accrue) Want to see a ghost? Meet a poltergeist? Experience those horribly creepy temperature drops that they always shriek about on Ghost Hunters? This would be the place for you. Keep an eye out for the little headless drummer boy. Parumpapumpum.
2) Sandra’s Backpackers (Located Near Ackergill Town Castle)
Located in Caithness, this hostel is perfect for groups, with accommodations for up to 30 people (assuming you’re travelling with your entire extended family). Not only does Sandra offer guests 10% off on goodies at the snack bar, but there are also bikes for rent and plenty of information on local tours. No need to join one though, since you’ll be able to guide yourself right to:
Ackergill Town Castle, former home of the Keith family and current home of the ghost of Helen Gunn. The Keiths and the Gunns were the Hatfields and McCoys of Scotland in the 15th century, and so it was not without a startling amount of goodwill that the Keiths abducted young Helen Gunn and imprisoned her in the tower. What happened next is murky, but one long fall and a broken neck later and Helen has been personally responsible for scaring the bejeezus out of everyone at the castle ever since. She’s been spotted wearing both green and red, so color blind visitors are in deep trouble.
1) Willy Wallace Independent Hostel (Located Near Stirling Castle)
The Willy Wallace bills itself as ‘the brightest and liveliest’ hostel in Stirling, which seems slightly unfortunate seeing just how dead and dark William Wallace is. It’s a truly charming accommodation however, offering themed bunks (i.e. The Ewan MacGregor) and discounts for those traveling in groups or with families. Well heated, with plenty of showers and kitchens to go around, this hostel puts you in a truly prime location to journey to the final haunted castle on our list:
Stirling Castle, which hosts not 1, not 2, but at least 4 spirits, if not more. One of these, the Highland Ghost, has even been caught on camera. Through the centuries, Stirling has been the sight of at least 8 sieges, and one ghost, the Pink Lady is rumored to be a mournful widow still looking for the husband she lost during battle. Be nice to her okay? That’s a long time to miss someone.
So there you are, fearless traveler! Follow our advice and you’ll be sure to sleep tight, assuming you don’t scare yourself silly on the castle tour in the morning.