Hannah Collins recommends some scary places to explore in Wales during the warmer months that summer goths and lovers of the weird and wonderful will love – from abandoned asylums to the ‘Hogwarts of Wales’.
POOL PARK ASYLUM
There’s nothing quite like an abandoned sanatorium to get the hairs on the back of your neck up. This Tudor-style manor served as an overflow residence for the nearby Denbigh Asylum (now asbestos-ridden) and hasn’t been in use since WWII.
Ruthin, Denbighshire. Listed unsuccessfully for sale in 2021 so access might be limited.
One of the country’s oldest pubs and, as such, rife with supernatural tourism, the Skirrid Inn was legendarily used for witchcraft executions and where the ‘hanging’ Jude Jeffries sated his bloodthirst using one of its beams. Visitors tell tales of slamming doors and a general bad vibe. A truly scary place in Wales.
BRON Y GARTH HOSPITAL & PRISON
Another spinetingling medical facility, this one dating back to the Victorian era, Bron Y Garth wasn’t exactly a wellness retreat. Rather, the sick and poor were brought there to work or be tortured in the name of science. Weren’t the Victorians lovely?
Penrhyndeudraeth, Gwynedd. Open: 9pm-3am Sat + Sun. Tickets: £55. Info: here
Though not a one-off, this triple-stacked bridge – built in 1075-1200, 1753 and 1902 apiece – is still a truly strange sight. The name comes from a folk tale in which the Devil facilitated its construction for a soul… only to end up with a dog’s instead of a human’s. Scary maybe in name and lore alone in Wales, but a picturesque place to visit, nonetheless.
River Mynach, Ceredigion. Open: daily, attendant on duty 9.45am-5.30pm (with seasonal variations). Entry: 2 x £1 coins at turnstile. Info: here
UNIVERSITY OF ABERYSTWYTH
Known as the Hogwarts of Wales, this stunning coastal building began has a fascinating history: once an Italian-style holiday home, then a gothic hotel, then Wales’ first university – home to real-life ‘potions master’ Professor Henry Lloyd Snape, and three gargoyles.
Yr Hen Goleg King St, Aberystwyth. Open: Mon-Sat, 10am-3pm (Old College only). Currently undergoing refurbishment. Info: here
GRAVE OF THE LAST SIN-EATER
Just over the border in Shropshire, but irresistible to include due to its metal-as-hell name. This monument in St. Margaret’s Church’s graveyard commemorates notable ‘sin-eater’ Richard Munslow – an archaic practice involving taking on the confessed sins of the dead for money. The grim duty died with him in 1906.
St Margaret’s Church, Ratlinghope. Open: daily. Info: here
UFO ROOM AT GREAT ORME SUMMIT COMPLEX
Standing at the near 700-foot peak of the Great Orme, this peculiar building was used by the Victorians for telegrams and, in the 1950s, boxing matches. But the oddest attraction is a room themed around UFO sightings, which north Wales has been infamous for since the 90s.
Llandudno, Conwy. Open: daily, 10am-5pm (Mar-Oct). Info: here
words HANNAH COLLINS
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