This list of creepy places to visit in Manchester is tailored to paranormal pilgrims. Joining a ghost tour can be a great way to spend an evening in the city, especially if you prefer spine-chilling tales over loud music, football matches, and crowded clubs.

    Many of the city's most beautiful landmarks have a long and bloody past, while urban legends and tales of mystical creatures have been passed down for centuries. From underground tunnels and haunted pubs to medieval churches and imposing manor houses, Manchester has its fair share of creepy spots. This guide lists just a few of the ones sure to get the goosebumps going…


    Albert Hall

    Getting ghostly on the dancefloor

    Albert Hall is a well-known music venue in the heart of Manchester. It sprouts from the busy traffic lanes between Deansgate and Spinningfields. You really can't miss it – just look out for the elaborate Gothic and Baroque façade, which dates all the way back to 1908. Even so, it's one of the creepy places to visit in Manchester.

    Aside from the A-list rock bands and indie trendsetters that have taken to the stage here, some say that the Albert Hall has also seen its fair share of ghosts and ghouls. The main story is of a poltergeist who turns on lights and moves curtains on the upper levels of the auditorium. Grab tickets early for one of the headlining acts to see if you can see it for yourself.

    Open: 27 Peter St, Manchester M2 5QR, UK


    photo by Mike Peel (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified


    Smithills Hall

    Haunted great halls and grounds

    Smithills Hall is a Grade II-listed manor that has a story that goes back to the 14th century. It stands on the edge of the West Pennine Moors near Bolton, some 35 minutes' drive from the heart of Manchester itself.

    You won't have to take long wandering the eerie interiors to see why it's a shoo-in for one of the spookiest spots in The North. Behind the half-timbered exterior are great halls lined with creaky oak floorboards, and shadowy alcoves filled with cobwebs. Keep your wits about you as you explore, because the ghost of one Colonel Ainsworth – onetime master of the manor – and George Marsh – a Bolton farmer who was tried here in 1555 – are both potential encounters.

    Location: Smithills Dean Road, Bolton BL1 7NP, UK

    Phone: +44 (0)1204 332377


    Boggart Hole Clough

    Beware the goblin in the woods

    Boggart Hole Clough spreads over a grand 76 hectares of land in the Manchester suburb of Blackley. That puts it a little on the north side of the city, around 20 minutes' drive up the Rochdale Road. You can come to escape the buzz of Spinningfields, or for a taste of the town's creepier side.

    Indeed, Boggart Hole Clough is said to be stalked by a strange, mythical creature known as a boggart – hence the name. It's thought to live in a long-lost farmhouse somewhere deep in the woods. Brave folk might want to go in search of that. Others will stick to the picnic spots for an alfresco lunch at double speed.

    Location: Charlestown Rd, Blackley, Manchester M9 7DH, UK


    Wardley Hall

    The home of the screaming skull

    Wardley Hall has a prestigious Grade-I listing for its handsome early medieval architecture and rich English heritage. It also gets plaudits from ghost seekers, who flock to the spot near the M60 ring road on the west side of Manchester to unravel tales of the supernatural.

    The haunted reputation of Wardley comes from one main artefact: the preserved skull of Father Edward Ambrose Barlow. The skull used to belong to a head that was unceremoniously plonked on a spike by an angry mob back in 1641. Later, it was saved to honour Father Barlow, who had become a martyr. These days, some say they can hear the skull issuing high-pitched screams on stormy nights.

    Location: Wardley, Worsley, Manchester M28 2ND, UK


    photo by Keith Williamson (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified


    Barnes Hospital

    Abandoned buildings are a sure bet to get creepy

    The Barnes Convalescent Hospital is a one-time sanitorium and WWII treatment centre. It was used from 1875 to 1999 but is now nothing more than a shell of a building close to the A34 between Manchester and Stockport. It's an impressive shell, though, with grand Gothic belltowers and redbrick architecture.

    If that sounds like the sort of place that would be haunted, that's because it really is. The whole thing is a mass of eerie corridors and abandoned surgery rooms. It looks like a cross between something out of Chernobyl and The Walking Dead. Remember: this is a derelict building site, so it can be dangerous to wander around.


    photo by Mike Peel (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified


    Greengate Brewery

    Brewing up somewhere pretty creepy

    You might know the Greengate Brewery as purveyors of fine English ale. Much of their grog is made at this site in Middleton, some 25 minutes' drive to the northeast outside of Manchester's centre. But it's not all frothy beverages and beer. There are also hauntings to contend with.

    There's a whole stack of strange incidents in the history of the Greengate Brewery. For a start, loads of construction workers died while building the place in the 1820s. It was an ominous beginning because several brewers were killed by drowning in the VATs in later decades. All that was enough to catch the attention of TV's Most Haunted, who came here and left pretty quick.

    Location: 369 Grimshaw Ln, Middleton, Manchester M24 2AX, UK

    Phone: +44 (0)1616 432487


    photo by Steven Haslington (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified


    Underground Manchester

    What lies beneath?

    Underground Manchester is the collective name for the subterranean half of the city. And it really is a half – there's a whole web of tunnels and caverns and bunkers that seem to go on forever once you dip below street level in the self-proclaimed capital of The North. The most popular entrances for tours of Manchester Underground are near Barton Arcade and in Deansgate.

    What awaits is surely one of the most disconcerting parts of town. You'll see colossal WWII cellars that have been abandoned since the 40s and walk tunnels where the so-called Manchester Rat People once resided. Some folk even talk of paranormal happenings, like the spirits of children that supposedly haunt the bomb shelters. Creepy stuff.


    photo by Rachel D (CC BY 2.0) modified


    Peveril of the Peak

    Seek out the apparitions between pints

    The Peveril of the Peak tavern is a glimpse at the Manchester of old. It's tucked into the quaysides just north of the Rochdale Canal Tow Path, where it proudly sports its greenish tiled frontage beneath the glimmering new buildings of chic Deansgate.

    It's been there for over 300 years. In fact, it's been run by the same family for several generations. They're pretty open about the paranormal activity that goes on within – reports of levitating pint glasses and strange sounds are common. Ghost hunters who love a good northern ale and a game of darts will feel right at home here. 

    Location: 127 Great Bridgewater St, Manchester M1 5JQ, UK

    Open: Daily from noon to 11 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)1612 366364


    photo by Tony Grist (CC0 1.0) modified


    Manchester Cathedral

    Meet the fearsome Black Shuck

    Manchester Cathedral is a great mass of Gothic turrets and carved stone apses dating back to 1421. It's one of the central landmarks in the centre, which you'll find looming high above bustling Victoria Street – the very beating heart of the city.

    You can come to see the shimmering stained glass and the soaring vaulted ceilings. Or you can come to tread a church that's supposedly haunted by the elusive Black Shuck, a ghostly hound that appears with blazing red eyes and shaggy fur. There are other tales of strange apparitions appearing to pilgrims at the altar of Manchester Cathedral, not to mention medieval architecture that's sure to set the spine a-tingling.

    Read more

    Location: Victoria St, Manchester M3 1SX, UK

    Open: Sunday–Thursday from 8.30 am to 6.30 pm, Friday–Saturday from 8.30 am to 5.30 pm


    Ring O' Bells Pub

    Spooky tales from the English Civil War

    The Ring O' Bells Pub in Middleton isn't just one of the creepiest spots in Manchester – it's considered one of the creepiest in the whole of the UK. Look for it in the suburbs of Middleton, out in the rising foothills of the Apennines north of Manchester.

    It has stood for hundreds of years, and its creepy credentials come from the fact that it was once a hideaway for royalist troops in the English Civil War. The story goes that they were all betrayed and massacred in the upper room of the pub. The drinking hole has never been the same since. Either way, the ale and the food are still fantastic.

    Location: St Leonard's St, Middleton, Manchester M24 6DJ, UK

    Phone: +44 (0)1616 549245

    Joseph Francis | Contributing Writer

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