___________________________________________________________ Ghost Hunting Events in Cambridgeshire, Essex and East Anglia 

Castle Park Ghost Hunt Only (No Hotel) – £59



The Normans built the castle in the 11th century, but the gruesome history predates this, as it was actually built on the foundations of the Roman Temple which was attacked and destroyed in AD61 (and later rebuilt)

The castle was used as a prison for many centuries, with the earliest date of it being used as the towns gaol being 1226. It housed thousands of criminals and prisioners of war for crimes such as murder, piracy, treason, and witchcraft..

Also associated with the castle, was Matthew Hopkins, the Witchfinder general. He used the castle as a base to interrogate women suspected of witchcraft. Nineteen of the thirty two women interrogated at the castle were actually sentenced to death by hanging, during 1645

In 1648 Colchester was laid siege by a parliamentary army during the second English civil war.

Colchester has seen so many historical events which have all contributed to it being an extremely haunted town, with the castle being right in the centre of it !

With 2000 years of gruesome history behind it, this is the place to spend the night and experience some paranormal activity.. there are a number of reported ghosts sightings over the centuries. Some human manifestations, and some animal.. the most famous and regularly reported ghost sighting is actually a cat. Quaker James Parnell is also said to haunt the castle. He was imprisoned on charges of blasphemy and other offences. His gaoler was particularly cruel and forced his prisoner to climb a rope in order to retrieve food. James Parnell subsequently fell from the rope, although at the time he only suffered injuries, the fall ultimately led to his death. His pained cries can be heard within the walls of the Castle!

The house was built in 1718 on the site of an Elizabethan house by a London builder, Thomas Blagden, for Elizabeth Cornelisen of Camberwell, London. The detailed articles of agreement survive in the Essex Record Office in Chelmsford. Nothing of the earlier house survives, but some of the old timbers were reused within the new building.

The building was completed by March 1719 but sadly Elizabeth Cornelisen died before she could live in it. The house passed to Sarah Creffield who later married Charles Gray (1696 – 1782) in 1727, when the house passed to him and he lived there until his death.

He was a significant figure in the town, being an attorney, a Justice of the Peace and one of its Members of Parliament between 1742 and 1780. He was also a prominent antiquary, being a Trustee of the British Museum and a friend and correspondent of the Essex historian Philip Morant and the famous antiquary, William Stukeley.

These interests may have stimulated his mother-in-law, Mary Webster, to buy him Colchester Castle as a wedding present, adding it to Hollytrees estate which already included the eastern half of what has become Castle Park. Much of Gray’s energies went into the improvement of his house and estate.

He restored the Castle, landscaped the grounds, built the arcade at the north east corner of Hollytrees and planted the trees which give the house its name.

There is a portrait painting which hangs in the museum of a lady called Miss Anne Lisle. While visitors have viewed the painting, they have felt an eerie presence behind them and there is a tale of a white lady that haunts the museum. Phantom footsteps are heard, and piano music, even though there is no piano in the museum. Whilst the staff could not tell me any details about the hauntings at Hollytrees, they did say, that they would comfortably camp out in the castle overnight, even with the terribly gruesome history of murder and battles. However, you would not catch them staying in Hollytrees museum overnight. There is a very strong sense that you are not alone. With very little/no reports of previous ghost hunts, we may be able to delve deeper with the help of our medium, uncover the secrets of the house, and work out why the staff won’t stay working here for long!

Ghost Hunt at Colchester Castle Park includes;

  • 7.30pm – Meet at Colchester Castle
  • 7.30pm – Brief Introduction
  • 8pm-11pm – 100% Vigil in the most active areas of the castle with:
    • Use of Ghost Hunting Equipment
    • Experiments Including séances and Glass Divination, table tipping and dowsing
    • Your opportunity to participate in a medium led vigil
  • 11pm – Walk over to Hollytrees Museum (located in the Castle Park Grounds)
  • 11.15pm – 2am – 100% Vigil in Hollytrees museum with the same opportunity to participate in experiments, use our ghost hunting equipment and see what evidence our medium can pick up on.
  • Refreshments will be served during the evening.
  • 2am – Retire to the Brook Red Lion Hotel if you choose to stay! 

*The event is scheduled to finish at 2am when you will be able to join the Fright Nights team for the night at the Brooke Red Lion Hotel which is within five minutes walk from the Town Hall!



The hotel has an extremely long history associated with the paranormal. It is one of the oldest inns in Colchester dating back to 1465. There are three ghosts linked to the hotel. The first is Alice Catherine Millar, who was actually murdered within the building during 1638. Her apparition has been seen in rooms 5, 6 and 10. She’s also seen by staff in the hotel kitchen where she walks through a wall, which would have once been the doorway to her old bedroom. The spirit of a small boy is also seen in the hotel, his presence is mostly reported being sensed by other children, but he has been seen on many occasion in the parliament room, and has also appeared in photographs taken by guests staying at the hotel. It remains unknown who the boy is! Another known spirit is that of a hooded monk, said to have perished in a fire at the building which took place several hundred years ago. He is regularly sighted in the early hours, in particular in the reception area, plus the rooms and corridors leading off reception.

The Brook Red Lion will be your accommodation for the night, and what better place to stay whilst joining Fright Nights Cambridgeshire for a night of ghost hunting… What will you experience?! We will in fact be in Colchester for the whole weekend with the first night (Friday 2nd Feb) spending an evening investigating Colchester Town Hall. Join us for either night, or both evenings by booking our “Haunted Colchester Weekend” option!

Accommodation is included in the price of your ticket. Breakfast is also included on Sunday morning. Check in and out, plus breakfast availability times will be emailed to you prior to the event.

If you are a party of three, there is also the possibility of having an extra person stay in your room at a cheaper rate than a single room booking. If this is something you wish to discuss, please contact Gemma on 07887837428, or email info@frightnights-cambs.co.uk before you make your booking! There is no car park at the hotel, however all guests receive a discounted parking rate of £4.50 for 24 hours in a secure carpark (NCP Osborne Street CO27DP) just a short walking distance from the Hotel. For guests arriving with luggage or reduced mobility, there is a drop area outside the front door of the hotel on the high street. Hotel staff are happy to help with porterage.

If you require any other information at all, please do not hesitate to contact Gemma on the telephone number or email above.

Please note: Over 18’s only, no pregnant women allowed, unsuitable for disabled guests due to the nature of the buildings. There will be long periods of time where you will be standing, and there is a fair amount of walking involved, so suitable footwear is essential. Accommodation is provided. We are unable to accept vouchers for this event due to the difference in costings for a ghost hunt inclusive of bed and breakfast. For more information please see our terms and conditions. This event is organised by Fright Nights Cambridgeshire.


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