11.18 AM Thursday, 25 April 2024
  • City Fajr Shuruq Duhr Asr Magrib Isha
  • Dubai 04:26 05:44 12:20 15:47 18:50 20:08
25 April 2024

Tourists flock to 'haunted' castle hotel in UK

Visitors enjoy its historic character, scenery and serenity. (Supplied)

By Nadim Kawach

Eighty-year-old Peggy Ramsden of Britain packed her bags and stepped out of her house for a waiting taxi. The woman was heading for a castle hotel for her fourth holiday despite reports that the place was haunted after it was built over 500 years ago.

“I love that place…it is really beautiful and magnificent…this is my fourth holiday in the castle…I have heard of the reports that ghosts have been sighted in the place but I am not bothered…I just enjoy my stay there,” she said.

Peggy is one of hundreds of people, mainly elderly, who converge on Bodelwyddan Castle Hotel every now and then to enjoy its historic character, scenery and serenity.

The Castle is close to the tiny village of Bodelwyddan near the North Welsh twin resorts of Rhyl and Prestatyn, two small beautiful coastal villages that are surrounded by the sea on one side and neat green mountains on the other.

The Castle was built around 1460 by the Humphreys family of Anglesey as a manor house. Its most important association was with the Williams-Wynn family, which extended for around 200 years from 1690.

There have been many reports of ghost sightings at the castle, including that of a soldier in one of the galleries. Sir John Hay Williams, a descendant of the Williams-Wynn family, wrote in 1829 that during a period of refurbishment, human bones were found near one of the chimneys.

They were built back into the wall, which means they remain there to this day. The castle has also been the subject of two TV ghost episodes.

In the 1980s, the site was bought by Clwyd County Council with the aim of developing the castle as a visitor attraction.

Partnerships were formed with several prominent museums and art galleries, such as the National Portrait Gallery and the Royal Academy of Arts, so that the castle could be used to display objects from these collections.

Part of the Castle remains open to visitors of all ages while another part leased to the UK’s hotels chain Warner Leisure which turned it into a luxury hotel in 1994.

“We receive visitors from many parts of the UK and other countries……the place is always busy and many of the guests are elderly people who come to enjoy history, nature, and calmness,” a hotel official said.

Peggy said she enjoys strolling in the green areas surrounding the Castle and going to the museum inside the hotel before relaxing for a couple of drinks at night.

“They have a lot of amusement activities there…they have archery and other sports…I see people from all over the world and they seem to be enjoying different things there…besides being a magnificent place, the food there is lovely,” she says.

According to the town council, the Castle has been through many stages of developments and uses over five centuries before it was taken over by the British defence minister during the World War II.

Its records show that the ministry transformed the Castle into a recuperation centre, officers’ mess and a place for soldiers to train.

“The rare and listed practice trenches used by the soldiers are still on the grounds today directly above Rabbit Wood (now children’s adventure play area),” the council said.

In 1983, local authorities purchased the property and in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery, restored it back to its Victorian splendor.

“It is an amazing place…it is massive but peaceful and quiet.…there are too many things to see inside and outside the Castle,” said Aliciae Collison, another British woman who prefers to spend her holidays at Bodelwyddan Hotel.