Trick... or Travel: Suppliers' Most Spook-tacular Tours and the Appeal of Scary Places

Halloween Jack O Lantern Pumpkin Spooky ScarySociety's love affair with supernatural tales just seems to keep on growing, with popular films, TV series and novels feeding our gathered-round-the-fire love of a scary story year round, with Hallowe'en as the unofficial national holiday of the macabre.

But there’s nothing like the real-life thrill of visiting in person places around the world whose histories of hauntings, bone-chilling tales and ghostly sightings get a visitor's primal senses tingling while standing right there!

So Hallowe'en might be the perfect time for travel advisors to reacquaint themselves with the most spook-tacular tours to tempt their clients with the pleasure of terrifying travel.

Open Jaw asked suppliers for their favorite spooky tours - and the growing appeal of scary travel.

London, England - Evan Evans

London, UKLondon’s long history of royal intrigues and political skulduggery – as well as its wealth of ancient towers, dungeons, prisons and places of execution – make most historic places ripe for ghastly tales.

The TTC's Evan Evans conducts London tours with guides expert in ghoulish history specifically for you to immerse yourself in the city’s spine-chilling history at Hallowe’en.

"For Hallowe’en, we offer a special selection of the spookiest tours in London filled with ghost stories and the most haunted places,” says Tom Macklin, Managing Director of Evan Evans Tours. “These spine-chilling tours appeal to guests who want to get immersed in our UK capital’s incredible history and travel back in time with an expert guide," he concludes.

Its London Dungeon Tour brings the dark, bloody history of London to life walking through The London Dungeon. The immersive theatrical storytelling tour with live actors, lavish sets and special effects is a fantastic way to explore the darker side of London’s history and get in the mood for Halloween.

Guests will experience the full wrath of King Henry VIII, and join Anne Boleyn on her final journey along the River Thames to the infamous Tower of London.

Or take a Jack the Ripper tour to walk in the footsteps of London’s most infamous serial killer on a tour conducted in the evening for maximum thrills. You’ll travel back to Victorian London as you visit the real-life murder locations and hear the gruesome stories behind Jack the Ripper’s vicitims’ deaths.

Ireland - Royal Irish Tours

Dunluce Castle, Northen Ireland
Dunluce Castle, Northen Ireland

Ireland is equally scary. A Royal Irish Tours “Emerald Adventure” driving holiday takes you into the heart of a number of Ireland’s most spooky places, says Jonathan Sargeant, Director of Sales, Royal Irish Tours.

"Ireland, as the home of Halloween, has plenty spooky adventures! I love visiting during Halloween as there are so many great festivals & events going on. If you can stay in Derry/ Londonderry, you will be able to enjoy the huge parade and fireworks displays as everyone dresses up – adults, kids and visitors alike. The atmosphere is electric and there’s something for everyone.”

Guests are booked to spend the night in a luxurious, but haunted, castle. Ballygally Castle, north of Belfast, is home of the ghost of Lady Isabella Shaw, believed to have been thrown from a castle-top window by the cruel Lord Shaw. Over the years many guests have reported strange experiences and have felt a presence in their rooms. There are also endless stories of  an eerie green mist over the castle. For the very brave, during your stay you can even visit the room of Lady Isabella at the top of the spiral staircase.

During their two-day stay in Dublin, clients can travel back in time and learn about “Ghosts, Ghouls and Goodie Glover Day” at EPIC Ireland, the world’s first fully digital museum that tells the story of Irish emigration. Learn more about The Dullahan (“dark man”), a malevolent harbinger of death who served as the inspiration for the headless horseman of Sleepy Hollow, or how the local practice of burying corpses with a stake through the heart influenced the writings of Irish emigrant Bram Stoker, author of Dracula.

And clients can uncover the tragic story of ‘Goody Annie Glover’ the Irish woman who became the last person hanged for witchcraft in Boston in 1688, and how the influx of Irish immigrants, who brought their traditions and folktales, helped shape the story of jack-o’-lanterns in America.

Exodus Travels

"There’s nothing quite like the thrill of a good scare, whether it’s at Halloween or when you are travelling – it adds a unique angle in your overall experience of a place when coupled with tales of real-life hauntings or ancient burial grounds," Robin Brooks, Director of Marketing for Exodus Travels, North America, tells Open Jaw.

"We’ve certainly seen a demand for these types of stories on our trips, which our expert guides are all too happy to share !" And Brooks says a number of Exodus Travels involve "supernatural tales that have been shared at campfires for generations!"  He shared two of his favourites:

exodus travels palermo, sicily


The history of Sicily’s capital city already has a bloody history, through its ties to the Sicilian mafia. If clients are looking for a more traditional eerie happening, though, Exodus Travels recommends its "Street Food and Sunshine in Sicily” tour for its tour of Palermo whose Teatro Massimo is said to be haunted by the ghost of a nun, known as ‘La Monachella’.

The controversial project to build the Teatro Massimo involved the destruction of four churches and two convents. It’s said that the building work desecrated the grave of a former Mother Superior, and her spirit haunts the theatre to this day. During the 23 years it took to construct the opera house, many of the original backers died, including the architect– could the curse of La Monachella be the reason? You’ll have to decide for yourself – if visitors have the fortune to see the spirit of the Mother Superior herself.

exodus travels mummyEgypt

Egypt has given us so many Hallowe’en themes as the country where bandage-wrapped ancient myths and legends originate. On Exodus Travel’s Pyramids and Pharaohs in Egypt” tour, clients can get up close to the real thing – and contemplate a cautionary tale tied to ancient Egypt.

The artefact of the “Unlucky Mummy” can now be found in the British Museum, but its story begins in 1860s Egypt, where four British university students decided to pick up a souvenir of their visit, in the form of the coffin lid of a priestess of Amen-Ra. On the return trip, two of the graduates died, and a third accidentally shot himself in the arm, resulting in an amputation. The fourth lost his entire fortune (twice), a photographer and porter trying to take a photograph of it died, as did the man translating its hieroglyphs. Throughout the years since, many more people associated with the coffin lid were plagued with bad luck.

Avalon Envision in Budapest
Avalon Envision in Budapest

South of France

River cruising can sail guests right up into the heart of off-the-beaten path historic towns with rich and eerie pasts.

On an Avalon Waterways river cruise on the Rhone river in the south of France, clients can take one of their Active & Discovery shore excursions: a ghost walk by moonlight through the winding, bending cobblestone alleyways of Viviers – a hilltop, stone-walled medieval village – that brings the ancient ghosts, legends and tales of this quiet – is it too quiet? - little town to life.

"When travelling through Europe, it’s always fun to learn the ‘if these walls could talk’ stories about historic happenings while speculating about the spirits that may still linger," Ainsley Ericksen, director of marketing, Globus family of brands, tells Open Jaw.

"I’m a big fan of spooky! Anything haunted, really."

Lynn Elmhirst


With a background in broadcast news and travel lifestyles TV production, Lynn is just as comfortable behind or in front of the camera as she is slinging words into compelling stories at her laptop. Having been called a multi-media ‘content charmer’, Lynn’s other claim to fame is the ability to work 24/7, forgoing sleep until the job is done. Documented proof exists in a picture of Lynn at the closing celebrations of an intense week, standing, champagne in hand - sound asleep. That’s our kind of gal.

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