Spooky stately home ghost walk
I had never visited a stately home by candlelight before. So when I noticed that Trerice House in Cornwall was one of a handful of National Trust properties which organised night time ghost walks I was truly excited by the idea. And the evening was an absolute treat from start to finish. I got my three children suitably dressed for a winter’s evening walk, then I made sure that they were all armed with a torch each and we set off. Trerice house is an Elizabethan manor house, small by the standards of stately homes but maybe this is why the volunteers make such a special effort here.
The door was opened by a suitably dressed guide and in we crept. It was really odd to walk around a darkened stately home, lit only by torchlight and a few flickering candles. There was lots of information that could be read by torchlight and various small displays to add a spark of mystery to the evening. There were also a few mannequins cleverly arranged in the first room; the reason this was so clever was that it lulled my children into thinking that all the figures were shop dummies...so when we went through to a second room they had a huge shock when one of the mannequins moved and turned out to be a volunteer dressed up to play the part of a headless woman.
The manor’s main ghost seems to be the Grey Lady. On our visit she was represented by a lovely actress who walked up and down the back corridor trying to be scary but with a warm and friendly smile on her face. The story of the Grey Lady is a typical one. A servant girl was seduced by Lord Arundell, and then when she inevitably became pregnant the wicked Lord denied all knowledge of her and she killed herself.
As well as the ghosts in the house we were also treated to tales of local ghosts by a storyteller who was sitting in the barns surrounded by cobwebs. This was my girls' favourite part of the night. They liked him so much that they went back twice so I know that he must have had a large repertoire of stories because he only repeated one. The one he did repeat was about a stable boy who was killed by a bolting horse. It seems that he was either annoyed that he was quickly forgotten or else annoyed that his beloved stables were turned into the new toilet block. It is for this reason that his ghost is said to haunt the toilets - which gave me a perfect opportunity to scare my girls when they’d just been to visit the supposedly haunted toilet block.
My children’s favourite programme is Scooby Doo so they enjoyed being scared and found the whole evening a thrill from start to finish. They knew that the ‘ghosts’ were just people dressed up but loved pretending to be terrified. I am going to keep an eye out for similar experiences when on holiday in north Cornwall as I think I’ve found a new favourite family thing to do!