30 East Drive
The level-headed and personable adman and film-maker who owns this house must be the only B&B owner in Britain who recommends you DON'T spend the night at his property. He certainly wouldn't spend a night here himself, and he says very clearly that if you choose to do so then it is very much at your own risk. Because 30 East Drive – a run-down ex-council house situated in a nondescript estate on the outskirts of Pontefract – has been voted the Most Haunted House in Britain by the Most Haunted TV show. It's said to be possessed by the spirit of a monk from a nearby Cluniac monastery who was hung for rape and murder on a nearby gibbet in the sixteenth century and then flung down a well. He first appeared in the late-1960s and terrorised the Pritchard family until they moved out, after which it lay empty until the current owner turned up to make a movie about the hauntings and then ended up buying the place (needless to say he didn't have much competition). Since then, despite the owner being at pains to play down the attractiveness of staying here, it has gained a name for itself as Britain's spookiest B&B. It's really isn't comfy, hasn't been lived in for decades and has very few mod cons (dishwashers didn't exist in the Seventies), but the owner been careful to preserve and to some extent re-create the largely 1970s decor, so visiting is like stepping back in time. There are three beds – a double and two singles – so it can accommodate up to four would-be ghost-hunters, but you need to bring your own bedding and also bear in mind that the smallest bedroom was recently trashed by the poltergeist in the middle of the night (the bed has since been fixed). If the property seems a little damp, it's because it was built directly over the ancient well into which the monk's the body was thrown: small wonder that he refuses to leave. Alcohol is not permitted and in any case the owner claims that the property's so-called 'happenings' are more likely to, er, happen if you're stone-cold sober. If the thought of all this makes you feel a little queasy you can have a 'protection spell' performed by a local medium for a £10 fee. If you want a little taster of what to expect, you can watch the trailer for the movie about the house here. Or just go and see for yourself. We would... if we weren't too terrified.
From £69 per per person per night for four people staying overnight; £99 for two people staying; £250 for anyone who dares to spend the night alone. Groups of paranormal investigators can spend the night for £250–£400.
Open all year.
Three 1970s-style bedrooms that you may have to share with a poltergeist.
30 East Drive, 30 East Drive Pontefract West Yorkshire WF8 2AN
By car, Pontefract is just a few miles southwest of the A1/M62 junction. By train, there are direct connections from London and – more frequently – from Leeds. Trains arrive – fittingly – at Pontefract Monkhill, which is on the northern edge of the town centre, a twenty-minute walk from the house. Once here, stand outside the Church of All Saints in Pontefract, near the ruins of the old Cluniac priory and castle, and look across the housing estate to Chequerfields, where you will see the hilltop where the gallows once stood: 30 East Drive is right here, at the top of the hill, opposite the site of the old gallows.
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