'Witch' way is it to Lancaster this Halloween?

Delve into some dark history exploring the Pendle Witches across Lancashire and stop off at some cosy and historic Robinsons pubs on the way…


Lancaster, a city immersed in history, holds tales that captivate the imagination and send chills down the spine. Amongst its haunting legends, the story of the Pendle witches stands out, with a compelling and eerie narrative. With its roots in the early 17th century, the Pendle witch trials unfolded in the Lancashire region, leaving a mark on the collective memory of the area. Lancaster Castle is where the story ended for those witches, where they were hung for witchcraft.

Lancaster Castle

If you’re making a visit to Lancaster for some spooky or gruesome history, Lancaster Castle, The Grand Theatre and Williamson’s Park are some of the landmarks you shouldn’t miss. Alongside these landmarks, our very own pub, the Three Mariners has an eerie past to learn about too. If you’re lucky, there may be a ghost tour running around the city for you to learn more. We’re only dipping our toe in the Pendle Witch history and the spooky stories of Lancaster here. But if it’s sparked an interest, there is heaps of history online to help you plan your trip.

What are the Pendle Witch trials?

In the year 1612, the town of Pendle became the stage for one of England’s most notorious witch trials. During this turbulent period, twelve individuals, ten of whom were women, were accused of practicing witchcraft and therefore put on trial. The trials and subsequent executions left a permanent mark on the region’s history.

Witches on Pendle Hill

Exploring the Pendle Witch Trail

To delve deeper into the tale of the Pendle witches why not embark on the Pendle Witch Trail. This captivating journey takes you through the places where the accused witches once lived, offering a glimpse into their lives and what led to their charges.

As you follow the trail, you’ll encounter picturesque villages enriched with a rich sense of history. Along the way, make sure to pause at the historic Pendle Hill, believed to have been a gathering place for witches. With its stunning natural beauty and haunting atmosphere, Pendle Hill adds a layer of mystique to the story.

Take in the local atmosphere:

No exploration is complete without immersing in the local culture, and what better way to do so than by visiting the region’s charming pubs? We’ve lots of pubs in and around the area, but these three recommendations ensure you don’t need to stray far from the beaten track.

The Spread Eagle, Sawley

Situated in the quaint village of Sawley in the area of outstanding natural beauty, the Forest of Bowland. The Spread Eagle pub exudes an old-world charm. Here, visitors can indulge in delicious pub food and raise a glass to the rich history that overlooks them from the distant Pendle Hill. With its cosy atmosphere, friendly staff and a chance to stay the night, the pub provides an opportunity to get away for a night and explore spooky British history.

The Spread Eagle, Sawley

The Three Mariners, Lancaster

Nestled in the heart of Lancaster, The Three Mariners is a pub steeped in spooky history. Sitting just below Lancaster Castle, it’s rumoured the pub has an old underground passage running between the two. Allegedly there have been spirits spotted in the pub over the years, with three young ladies frequently spotted upstairs. The pub has so many tales, it has even appeared on a BBC TV show ‘most haunted’ a few years ago. This quirky pub offers some excitement to your day and if believe in the paranormal – you may even feel something too!

The Three Mariners, Lancaster

The Wagon and Horses, Lancaster

Sitting on the quayside in Lancaster, a short walk from the town centre you’ll find the Wagon and Horses. This historic pub is a great place to end your day of spooky history with a traditional pub meal before making your way home. If you want to make a night of it, the Wagon and Horses also offers accommodation. If you’re visiting at a weekend, there might be some live entertainment to enjoy too.

Embarking on a journey through the historic tale of the Pendle witches is an interesting experience As you explore the area, remember to immerse yourself in the rich history, fascinating legends, and intriguing stories that have shaped Lancaster’s cultural landscape. With plenty of inviting pub visits along the way, you can enjoy an alternative and memorable weekend activity.

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