It’s the spookiest time of the year and where better to enjoy a supernatural experience than Scotland’s most haunted locations?

Are you brave enough to venture on a tour of the truly terrifying, or experience a spooky event this season?

Castlehill, Edinburgh EH1 2NG

Scotland’s most historic sites are awash with tales of ghosts of those who have lost their lives in gruesome circumstances. Their presence is rarely a good omen. With Edinburgh Castle’s long and bloody history, the air is thick with the spectres of past inhabitants – particularly those who perished in the castle’s jail.

The Scottish Farmer:

There is one particular resident, a headless drummer, who is said to have used Edinburgh Castle as his regular haunt since before Cromwell laid siege to the castle in 1650. You can hear him pounding his drum, but he is rarely seen – which is just as well as that is a sign of danger for the castle. Not great for tourism.

Forfar DD8 1RJ. October 26-31

Every schoolchild from Dundee and Angus will have been taken on a school trip to Glamis Castle and heard tales of its ghosts. Now there’s a chance to meet them. Visitors will be taken on a brand new tour where they will be ‘treated’ to stories of the ghosts said to haunt the castle’s many majestic rooms. Following the tour, they can explore a trail that will take them into the vast and very dark gardens and grounds surrounding the castle.

The Scottish Farmer:

The cost is £17 per adult (17+) and £12 per child (5 – 17 years). Tours are from 6pm to 9pm every night, with a special adults-only tour at 7.45pm on October 31.

Cramond Rd, Edinburgh EH4 6AD. The Hallowe’en Terror Trail, Sunday, October 29

For Lauriston’s Hallowe’en spectacular, the Edinburgh Horror Festival has a family-friendly interactive adventure.

The Scottish Farmer:

Spend the morning negotiating the Terror Trail through the grounds of the castle. As well as finding the hidden horrors, there will be wizards, storytellers and also some arts and crafts to create some devilishly good souvenirs for everyone to bring home to enthral friends. You can drop in when suits until 1pm but leave at least an hour and 15 minutes to make the most of everything. It costs £7 per adult/child with gruesome sweet treats.

Via King’s Gate, Dalkeith EH22 1ST. October 13 to 29

For more than two weeks in October you can head to Dalkeith for family-friendly Hallowe’en goings-on. Explore the pumpkin patch and steel yourself to enter the ancient undercroft of The Orangerie.

The Scottish Farmer:

Wrap up well for the outdoor cinema and Fawkes Festival – a firework, light and laser extravaganza. There are also craft workshops for the little ones and spooky storytelling for all age of kids.

At Fort Douglas there is also a free Hallowe’en themed scavenger hunt for the little ones.

Caird Hall, Dundee DD1 3BB. October 25; Alhambra Theatre, Canmore St, Dunfermline KY12 7NX. October 27

Old theatres always have fascinating histories and it’s sure that more malevolent presences haunt the halls than the actors mourning their bad reviews from critics.

The Scottish Farmer:

In Do You Believe In Ghosts? there is a brand-new concept of theatre at play, bringing those who are brave enough a truly haunting night at the theatre. It’s a play, which is presented in a wildly original way, with a fresh take on ghost storytelling!

What should be a night of tales of ghosts and spectres from the “paranormal experts” turns into something very different…

Cruden Bay, Peterhead AB42 0NE.

Even if Slains Castle at Cruden Bay wasn’t the reported inspiration for Dracula, perhaps the greatest Gothic horror ever written, it would still have an atmosphere that conjures up the spirits of so many people who walked its halls.

The Scottish Farmer:

These remains date from 1597 and the castle was a popular gathering place for the great and the good in the nineteenth century. The most famous of these is, of course, the Irish author Bram Stoker.

Many places claim a connection to the famous vampire but looking at the evidence and how Castle Dracula is depicted, Slains can comfortably claim ownership.

Venues across Paisley. October 26-28, 5pm to 9pm

Paisley will once again be totally transformed into a playground for all who love the annual gathering of the ghosties and ghoulies.

This is one of the biggest events of its kind in the UK and this year the town has chosen the theme of ‘Gothic Halloween’. As always, it’s free to attend.

The Scottish Farmer:

The action is in two areas, both against the backdrop of the impressive Abbey.

In the Hallowe’en Trail Zone, weaving its way from Cotton Street to Abbey Close, go through the gates to see Frank & McSteins Fire Show, Spooky Bat Cave and Raven’s Realm.

In the Live Performance Zones there will be a theatrical experience from Spark! LED Drummers and Pyroceltica.

The streets will be bustling with sword-swallowing, stilt-walkers and community music and dance performances. In addition there will be spectacular aerial acrobatic performances from All Or Nothing’s flying vampires, as well as marshmallow pits, a haunted funfair and street food.

St Andrews KY16 9QL

As a town, St Andrews oozes centuries of history from every cobble and wynd, so it isn’t surprising it has ghostly stories.

There is talk that St Andrew’s Cathedral is by two ghosts. One is a monk, a friendly spirit who people say they’ve met on the St Rule’s Tower stairs.

The Scottish Farmer:

Also, for two centuries there have been sightings of a woman wearing white gloves, floating through the grounds before entering the tower – this is the White Lady.

Kelso TD5 7RL. Hallowe’en Trail, October 20-29

At Floors Castle near Kelso, they take spooky season seriously and close the castle and grounds for the duration of the Hallowe’en Trail.

From October 20 to 29 the gardens and woodlands are the place where apprentice potion makers can pick up the ingredients to make the Witches’ Brew. Of course, there are the spirits of the Floors Castle servants to thwart as they guard the precious potion mix.

The Scottish Farmer:

This is a Hallowe’en Trail, so the castle does warn there are some scary scenes and a bit of gore so to keep this in mind when considering if it’s right for your little ones; also your dogs, who are welcome on the trail as long they’re on a lead.

It is an outdoor event so dress accordingly – a map and directions to the start of the trail will be given. Tickets are £5 from the website or on the day from the Garden Kiosk for everyone (under ones go free).

Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, Oct 11-14

Dracula: Mina’s Reckoning is a new adaptation of Stoker’s classic by playwright Morna Pearson.

It’s been produced by the National Theatre of Scotland and Aberdeen Performing Arts in association with Belgrade Theatre, Coventry and has been making its way around the country, gathering superb reviews.

The Scottish Farmer:

In this telling, we are in Aberdeenshire, in a psychiatric hospital in 1897, with the character of Mina Murray at the centre of the story. Mina is at the hospital to escape the horror she has encountered with Dracula.


One of the darkest folk horrors ever written, the Scottish rural locations made The Wicker Man movie an absolute classic and it still attracts fans to its filming locations.

Apart from Plockton, which was the harbour of Summerisle where Sergeant Howie (Edward Woodward) lands in the seaplane, most of the locations are in the south-west, with Kirkcudbright being used as Summerisle itself.

The Scottish Farmer:

Culzean Castle was used as the grand home of Lord Summerisle (Christopher Lee) himself.

The exterior shots of the film’s Green Man pub were filmed on Ann Street in Gatehouse of Fleet.

Many of these locations remain remarkably unchanged since the filming back in 1972.

Portlethen, Aberdeen AB12 4PT. Tuesday, October 31

Northern Frights is a spooky events powerhouse of the north so Hallowe’en is a time when things get extra ghoulish.

Make your way through this special Haunted House and meet the ghosts, ghouls and other strange creatures to give you the creeps.

The Scottish Farmer:

It wouldn’t be the scariest night of the year without some surprises – for all the family but as with all events certain children might be too spooked. Get dressed up (there are prizes) and head down for a hair-raising night.

The Jubilee Hall is wheelchair accessible and free tickets are available for carers.

Stromness KW16 3LR

Skaill House on Orkney has some truly chilling ghost stories, many coming from experiences of the current Laird, staff who work there and visitors.

The Laird’s dog (and dogs are never wrong!) alerted him when she started barking with her hackles raised – he heard footsteps, but no one was there.

The Scottish Farmer:

This is said to be the ghost of Ubby, who built the small island in Skaill Loch by rowing back and forth with stones and dropping them – he is said to haunt the wing of the house where he lived.

That’s just one of many hair-raising sights and sounds and even smells that have been reported here. But reports say they’re all pretty friendly spooks.