The Great Inns of Britain are a collection of 20 historic coaching inns and small independent hotels in some of the most beautiful countryside and dramatic coastlines of the UK. 

Steeped in rich history and quirky, local traditions, some dating back to the 1300s, there’s a tale to tell, of ne’er do wells, of ghoulies and ghosties and things that go bump in the night. As Halloween approaches and we near the witching hour, here’s some spooky updates, some seasonal flavours and tempting (trick or) treats from the Great Inns of Britain.

The Bell Inn, Essex

Inside the saloon bar you’ll find a curious collection of ossified hot cross buns hanging from the ceiling.  It began in 1900 when Jack Turnell took over the running of the Inn on Good Friday and marked the occasion by hanging a bun from the beam.  It’s a tradition that has continued ever since.  These days, a prominent local from the village is invited to hang the annual Good Friday bun.

Frank and Josephine Bonson took over the Bell on 11 November 1938, their daughter Christine, took with her husband John Vereker, in 1970. Together the Vereker’s continue to develop the business to this day.

The Bell Inn served, from its earliest days, as a coaching inn as can well be seen from the courtyard and the archway with the gallery above. One of the less pleasant incidents in the Bell’s history concerns the use of an area to the rear of the building for burning-at-the stake. It was during Mary Tudors’ troublesome reign that local landowner; Thomas Higbed was accused of heresy. After a trial during which he refused to abandon his faith, Higbed was convicted and returned to the village for the sentence to be carried out. An historic blue plaque on the front of the building commemorates the grizzly event.

White Horse & Griffin, Whitby

Renowned as the landing spot for Bram Stoker’s Dracula you would expect the White Horse and Griffin to have many ghosts in its closets. This recent Yorkshire Post article illustrates some of the many interesting and fascinating facts behind this delightful coastal inn that has played an important role with many historic figures. Not all ghosties and ghoulies but fascinating all the same.

The Peacock, Rowsley

The Triple ‘S’ old fashioned (Stefan’s smoky, spicy Old Fashioned) is the perfect cocktail to get you in the Halloween spirit at The Peacock.

There’s lots of magical mischief and mystery taking place just down the road at Haddon Hall, where children are invited to join our little school of sorcery, where they can enjoy a plethora of ghastly games and activities and earn the Sorcerers’ wings including potion making, wand decorating and making their own brooms and hats. As well as some spooky happenings for grown-ups too.

The Bear Hotel, Crickhowell

The Bear at Crickhowell will celebrate the season with mulled wine and mulled cider running throughout. The Bear’s Head Chef has created a special vegetable Risotto, full of autumnal colours and flavours on Halloween night.  The bar is going all out to celebrate and is quite the talking point in the village.

Shibden Mill Inn, Halifax

The 17th Century Shibden Mill Inn, near Halifax, is steeped in a rich history, and beautifully located in the stunning Shibden Valley Set in the grounds of Shibden Hall, explore the home of Anne Lister (1791-1840), the remarkable protagonist upon which Sally Wainwright’s Gentleman Jack BBC television series, staring Suranne Jones, is based.

Celebrated for its award-winning food and well stocked bar, Shibden Mill Inn has created a bewitching  Halloween dish of Pumpkin set custard, carrot cake, salted honey ice cream, yoghurt meringue.  Wash it down with a delightful glass of wine, perfect to get you in the Halloween spirit!

We hope you enjoyed our Spirit Guide and we wish you a suitably spooky and happy Halloween from the Great Inns of Britain.