Ghost hunting and Halloween family fun in Ilfracombe

A haunting experience awaits you in Ilfracombe this autumn with a host of Halloween events for all ages, plus ghost tours and paranormal nights in search of the spirits of former residents who never quite left.

The town has many historic locations reputed to be haunted and you can discover them with guided history and paranormal walks held by Devon Ghost Tours, or even join a real overnight ghost hunt with the professionals.

Read on for a brief introduction to some of Ilfracombe’s most haunted places and the spirits said to walk there to this day.

Plus a variety of spooky events and family fun to suit all ages and budgets this Halloween.

Haunted Ilfracombe

With centuries of history, some very old buildings and a reputation for smugglers, wreckers and rowdy seafarers, it is not surprising Ilfracombe has a wealth of ghost stories and reports of paranormal activity that continue to this day.

The Devon Ghost Tours team provide professional ghost hunting nights and spooky walking history tours in Ilfracombe, as well as paranormal investigation events for first timers or experienced ghost hunters.

This October, they have joined forces with the Carlton Hotel to offer a Halloween Weekend Break, Maritime Ghost and History Tour for a truly special spooky weekend.

Courtesy of Devon Ghost Tours, read on for a brief introduction to some of the town’s haunted locations.

A shadow figure captured on video in the old Slade Railway tunnel. Credit: Devon Free Spirits
Photo Credit: Roger A Smith

George & Dragon pub

This Fore Street pub dates back to the 13th century and is thought to be the oldest pub in Ilfracombe.

Photo credit: Devon Ghost Tours

It is believed four spirits still call the pub their home and several others seem to enjoy popping in from time to time!

Staff report a dog brushing past them on a regular basis and being tapped on the shoulder in the lady’s toilet, plus glasses falling, stools moving and equipment being turned on and off.

A weathered old woman is said to appear sitting in one corner of the pub and a woman with her child stands near the fireplace located near to the gents’ toilets.

Rooney Lane (Admiral Rodney)

This area is now home to the RNLI and the pub on the site was demolished in 1908, but dated back to the 1700s.

It is the scene of two of the more disturbing paranormal experiences in the town – a little girl burned to death at the former inn and there have been several accounts of people hearing the screams of a child and experiencing the smell of fire in the lane.

Others have heard the sounds of struggle and gurgling in the lane – thought to be the echoes of a fight between two sailors that led to one having his throat cut and being left to die.

The Quay

The spirit of former resident Hopkins has apparently been seen on many occasions sitting on his favourite spot on the quay wall opposite the Smugglers Restaurant.

The ghost has been reported sitting quietly for a few minutes before slowly fading away.

In 1899 Mr Hopkins sadly perished after falling from his beloved perch, but it seems he still likes to visit from time to time.

Old Market 11/12 High Street

A young life was tragically cut short in 1899 when a little girl aged five was killed by a horse and carriage after running into the road.

She was carried into the then bakery but passed away soon after.

Sounds of a child playing are still heard where the bakery used to be and toys that were kept on a table were often found on the floor as if a child had been playing with them.

Photo Credit: Jaggery

Second Stage pub

This old Victorian building on the seafront has been many things including a hotel, Hollywood’s Night Club, The Stage Door, Mermaid Inn, Seahorses and now The Second Stage.

Staff and customers have experienced all manner of weird goings-on. Clothing has been tugged and doors mysteriously locked, footsteps have been heard and shadowy figures glimpsed.

Photo Credit: Devon Ghost Tours

A female staff member heard a disembodied voice in the ladies’ toilets asking if she was okay, strange lights have been seen in the skittle alley and a pub patron saw a dark figure walking from the toilet area, plus other apparitions have been reported.

Spend an evening at the Second Stage learning the skills to become a paranormal investigator and then apply them while investigating this haunted venue.

For booking details and more spooky events, go to Paranormal events | History | Ghost Walking tours – Devon Ghost Tours, Ilfracombe Devon

More Halloween events in Ilfracombe

There are plenty of fun events taking place around Ilfracombe in the run up to Halloween to suit all ages.

Photo credit: Ilfracombe Rugby Club

October 28: The annual Spooks and Sparks Firework Night and Halloween Party at Ilfracombe Rugby Club is always popular and open to all.

With a real bonfire (yes, there was once a ‘virtual bonfire’!), firework display, live music, bar and fire performers.

Gates open at 6.30pm.

October 28 to 30: Ilfracombe Holiday Park is hosting its Halloween Ball with live music throughout the weekend, plenty of children’s activities, fancy dress competitions, the Battlemaze House of Horrors and much more.

October 25 – 28: Halloween at the Landmark Theatre features 4 Days of the Dead with a children’s holiday club, craft workshops, a family Halloween Party and more. Visit 4 Days Of The Dead – Holiday Halloween Club – The Landmark Ilfracombe and Queen’s Theatre Barnstaple (

A special £70 four-day ticket includes admission to see the film Hocus Pocus, Spooks & Sparks at the rugby club plus The Dead Can Dance Party on October 29.

Half term Halloween fun at local attractions

Several local theme parks and attractions host Halloween activities for all ages, including Watermouth Castle, Combe Martin Dinosaur & Wildlife Park, The Big Sheep and The Milky Way Adventure Park, which both have a variety of events and activities to keep youngsters entertained this half term. .

An Evening with Richard Felix. Looking further ahead, The Darnley Hotel is hosting an evening with paranormal expert and historian Richard Felix on Saturday, April 22. This is an independent event and exclusive to the Darnley Hotel.

There will be a two-course meal followed by Richard’s engaging talk ‘What is a Ghost’ and then the opportunity to search for spirits in the haunted hotel. To book visit Darnley Hotel, Ilfracombe. | Facebook or call 01271 863955.

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