Its stories of ghostly encounters are well known across the North East but now it seems the dark tales behind Chillingham Castle are set to enjoy a bigger share of the national spotlight.

The 13th Century fortress in Northumberland bills itself as Britain's most haunted historic castle and now a new survey confirms its spooktacular title.

A survey of TripAdvisor reviews reveals that many are in agreement about its scare credentials which perhaps is not surprising given that it lays claim to at least six ghosts.

As locals probably know these include the ghost of Lady Mary Berkeley, wife of Lord Grey of Wark and Chillingham, and a 'blue boy' - or 'radiant boy' - said to have been sighted in the castle's Pink Room on ghost tours which, sadly for Halloween lovers, are currently on hold because of the pandemic.

The privately-owned castle in Chillingham village near Alnwick is, however, open to visitors who could well be in with a chance of spotting one of the apparitions which apparently 'walk' its corridors, rooms and turrets.

Back in the 1920s, an American heiress, Leonora, Lady Tankerville, recorded several ghostly encounters in the castle which originally was a monastery.

Chillingham Castle, Northumberland, is said to the scene of several hauntings
Chillingham Castle, Northumberland, is said to the scene of several hauntings

Among the castle's other apparitions is said to be a White Pantry Ghost while visitors have also had a sense of an unseen, but distinctly moving, entity.

While its popular ghost tours are currently off, the castle and its grounds - but not its tearoom - are open to visitors each day from 12noon to 5pm until November 1 and there is no need to book in advance so anyone brave enough to plan a visit over Halloween can take their chances.

The new survey identifies Chillingham as the most haunted castle in the UK, having notched up the most spooky mentions online.

Online broker Mojo Mortgages analysed the number and rankings of references in ‘most haunted’ articles from the past year alongside TripAdvisor reviews, and the northern stronghold came out with the highest score, beating second-place Leap Castle in Ireland and Berry Pomeroy Castle in Devon which took third place.

Another local visitor attraction also made the grade with Newcastle Castle ranked 14th place on the list of 25 but with a 'scare score' of just 3% compared with Chillingham's 60%.

And just ahead of that, in 13th place, was Gwrych Castle in Wales which, despite the country's recently-imposed pandemic travel restrictions, is still set to be the filming location for this year's series of I'm A Celebrity.

If stories there are true, contestants could face the additional challenge of camping in proximity to the spectre of a Countess Winifred which is said to haunt the ruins.

For more information about Chillingham Castle and ticket prices see here.